Transition to Adulthood

Dress for Success!


3 minutes - Article

Look and feel good, no matter you bank account balance!

When Holly Cooper was in her 20’s she was in downtown Toronto, far from her traditional homelands of the Kahkewistahaw and Ochapowace First Nations in Saskatchewan.

“I was making $7.50/hr. I had to share accommodation rather than have my own apartment. I had to make choices around dollars coming in and what I could afford going out. I had a difficult time managing expenses.”

Secondhand shopping

Holly wanted to look and feel good, no matter what her bank account balance was. So, she shopped for clothes in Secondhand, Thrift and Consignment stores.

Wearing rich woman's old clothes

“I dressed well in my 20s,” smiled Holly, “I called it ‘wearing rich woman's old clothes’. And on a budget! You can find ways to look good and professional the way that you choose to. Our people, we have humble traditional beliefs. If that's where you have to shop, that's OK. And if you want to shop there all your life, that's OK too. I still do.”

Holly feels that dressing well helped her start to believe in herself and set future goals. When she was 25, she got her drivers license and applied for a car loan. In her early 30’s, she got a mortgage and bought her first home. She says if its possible for her, it’s possible for anyone.

“If you want to get to that point, maybe you can make some of those choices. Have something to work towards and empower you to either take more education or take a risk on a new job.”

Still living on a budget

Today, Holly works at the ATB Financial, as the Director of Indigenous Relations. She still lives on budget.

“I'll always double check myself. Do I really need this? Why am I doing it? Because it's trendy? Or that's what everyone is getting? The latest technology? I try to check myself and live within my means.”

Holly remains thankful for all the great thrift store finds back in the day.

“I still buy things from consignment stores,” she says, “I donate all of my clothes to make sure that I give back from how much I received over the years. I still have some pictures I pulled out in my 20’s, and I was like, wow, you looked pretty good!”

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