The Life Cycle of a Garment Donated Working Wardrobes’ When Working Wardrobes was founded in 1990, self-esteem, including wardrobing, was top-of-mind. From the beginning, we realized that clothing is more than just what a person wears, it is the power to choose how a person presents themself to the world.

“Enclothed cognition” is a term coined in 2012 that describes how our perception of ourselves can be altered by our clothing. When navigating the complicated job market, job seekers need all the support and confidence they can get. Working Wardrobes provides confidence through our career development and job skills trainings that culminate with wardrobing services, where clients work with a personal shopper to pick out an outfit to wear to a job interview.

Working Wardrobes Life Cycle of a Donated Garment

Wardrobing ServicesStep One: A Garment is Donated

Working Wardrobes accepts clothing donations from national retail chains,  local businesses, and individuals like you. Our Donation Center in Irvine accepts donations of clean clothing on hangers, shoes, purses, jewelry, and accessories. We accept clothing of all styles, including office wear, business casual, athleisure, vintage, and casual- and we very much appreciate donated items that are brand new! Individuals who wish to donate can stop by during operating hours without an appointment.

Once received, donated clothing is inspected by staff and volunteers to assure quality and then sorted. Business attire is distributed to our Wardrobing Center to outfit clients for interviews.  Other items are sent to our retail stores, where they will be sold.  Those sales fund programs for our clients who are seeking help to rebuild their careers. 

Step Two: Wardrobing Services

Suitable professional clothing is offered to our clients as the final transformation as they prepare for an interview. Personal shoppers and stylists help clients one-on-one to find perfectly fitted suits, shoes, and accessories to get them interview-ready (and to wear when they get the job!) Clients experience the utmost dignity and personal attention in our Wardrobing Center. Once their Success Suit is on, we see that their “outside” matches their updated “inside” – and the confidence they gained in their skills and abilities is now reflected in what they are wearing, with pride. We empower clients to look their best on interview day, and your clothing donations help make that happen.

hanger storeStep Three: The Hanger Boutiques and Outlets

Any garments that do not go to wardrobing services are upcycled to The Hanger Boutiques and Outlets. Shopping at a Working Wardrobes retail store has benefits for the buyer, the environment, and the community.

Shoppers benefit from access to high-quality clothing at a discounted price. The environment benefits as more people shop resale and avoid buying fast-fashion which unnecessarily uses environmental resources. The community benefits as the funds from retail sales support Working Wardrobes’ ability to provide programs and services (workshops and certifications, resume building, critical needs assistance, etc.) to individuals seeking self-sufficiency through The Power of a Paycheck™ which ultimately improves our community, one person at a time.  

Thanks to generous donations of clothing, Working Wardrobes is able to make a difference in the lives of approximately 4,000 men, women, Veterans, young adults and adults reentering the workforce every year.

Donate and shop today!

Visit our website for information on how to donate clothing and discover the treasures of  shopping in our retail stores in  Laguna Niguel, Tustin, Costa Mesa, or Garden Grove.

About Working Wardrobes

Working Wardrobes is Orange County’s foremost workforce readiness nonprofit, providing the tools to at-risk men, women, young adults, and Veterans so they can achieve the dignity of work. Founded in 1990 by Jerri Rosen, Working Wardrobes has been serving Southern California for over 30 years by providing assessments, job training, career placement, and wardrobe services to almost 115,000 clients to overcome barriers to employment and achieve The Power of a Paycheck™. For more information, please visit