The nonprofit organization Bottomless Closet in Midtown offers resume training and provides gently used business clothes to women on the job hunt.

Leadership say they're seeing an uptick in clients due to pandemic-related layoffs.

What You Need To Know

  • The number of clients has steadily grown since the start of the pandemic

  • The nonprofit accepts gently used or new clothes at their Midtown office

  • For more information contact

Aaliyah Vasquez is a client. Late last year, Vasquez decided to quit her nine-to-five banking job to begin her gender affirmation journey.

“The transition, it’s a long process. It can be mental and physical. For me, the hardest part was first accepting myself,” Vasquez said.

Five months after beginning the process, she’s trying on new suits to present her true self to the world when finding the next job.

With the help of Bottomless Closet, she’s getting the clothes, resume help and as an added bonus, the confidence she needs to nail an interview.

“There are transphobia, we know that. And it happens very often, and I was very scared. When I got here I honestly felt like crying," Vasquez said.

Vasquez was brought to tears because she felt accepted.

She admits the hardest thing about applying for jobs is not the credentials; she has an MBA and is bilingual. The challenge she says is whether she thinks people are looking at her differently.

“I was feeling really down because it has been really hard for me to obtain interviews. So, I was blaming it on my transition because I’ve never had such an issue obtaining a job,” Vasquez said.

Bottomless Closet Executive Director Melissa Norden said a lack of confidence can be a problem, not just for those transitioning, but for many of the nonprofit organization's clients when they first seek help.

“The clothes are really a vehicle here to having you feel that confidence,” Norden said.

The organization said it’s very busy.

The number of clients has steadily grown since the start of the pandemic. Year-to-date from 2021 to 2022, there was a roughly 50% increase in clients served from 150 to 221. So far this year, it has already nearly doubled the number of clients served last year with 405.

While Norden said she'd love for her clients to score a job after the first interview, she knows the word “no” is part of the process, especially because each individual faces their own challenges.

“We can’t change their education background. We can’t change if they have a prison record or things like that, but we can change how they present themselves, and how they believe in themselves,” Norden said.

Vasquez said with the help of Bottomless Closet she believes in herself again, more ready than ever to start this next part of her life.