An occasional series of scenes from a journey through our region.
The late costume designer Edith Head said, “You can have anything you want in life if you dress for it.” She won eight Academy Awards for her work.
But it’s a lot harder when you’ve experienced homelessness, poverty, addiction or domestic abuse.
Residents of Hope Place, run by the Union Gospel Mission, brought in two local stylists to outfit all 101 women living there. Children got to participate as well.
Each had a “Sunday best” suggested for them.
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Domonique White, 31, with her long braids piled high atop her head, is a presence.
She calls her hair “my crown, my royalty.”
When she came out of the dressing room, she says, “People clapped. I heard the applause and knew I am rocking this.”
Her outfit was a black, pink and red wrap dress. With 3-inch high heels, “it elongates my legs,” she says. “I can wear it to church, to a party, to a date.”
Through Hope Place, White says, this is her first year sober since age 16.
Nicky Crohn, 41, wore a blue and black floral wrap dress. She’s been homeless three times.
“I was a full-blown alcoholic. Lost everything,” she says. “Now I got my dignity back.”
And, “it honors Easter.”
Tyra Kusack, 26, received an A-line white dress with lace jacket.
“It’s super-humbling,” she says. “When you’re homeless, you’re used to getting your stuff stolen.
“This has so much meaning.”
All clothes were donated for the two-day sessions.
“This is huge,” says Union Gospel Mission’s Torie Rynning, “because it comes with no strings attached. It’s freely given. They’re putting their lives back together.”
“I feel validated with the support,” Crohn says. “They treat you like a human being.”
White adds, “I feel hot, I feel sexy. I can dress it up, I can dress it down.”
Now, she says, she just has to break in those high heels.