photos c/o Marcus Lopez Photography
Attitudes & Attire® Celebrates 20 Years With Luncheon and Fashion Show
by Dawn Mellon
Sometimes, I think the reference to our city as "Big D" is code for Big Drama. Other days, I think it stands for Big Dreams. Case in point: Attitudes & Attire, a local non-profit agency that's has been turning women's dreams into reality for 20 years. In celebration of its Platinum anniversary, the annual Attitudes & Attire Luncheon and Fashion Show held last week at the Dallas Market Center focused on Boots to Heels, a program aimed at helping female veterans in their journey toward self-sufficiency and stability in civilian life. In fact, the fashion show models included former clients of Boots To Heels who represented three branches of the U.S. Military - Army, Navy and Air Force - and who proudly waved an American flag as they commanded the runway sporting looks from Eileen Fischer and the Attitudes & Attire Boutique. The 20th Anniversary Luncheon and Fashion Show featured fashions from the Attitudes & Attire® boutique and designer Eileen Fisher. An outfit, donated by acclaimed business woman, the late Ebby Halliday, was modeled in this year’s fashion show. She had worn the signature suit at many Attitudes & Attire® events to bring the agency good luck.
It's hard to believe that women who have dedicated their lives to serving our country have returned, in some cases, to wage another war - one with weapons like domestic violence, unemployment and homelessness. In fact, 40% of the country's homeless population is comprised of veterans. One graduate of Boots to Heels, a 12-year Army veteran, gave a candid account of her experience with 'military sexual trauma,' a secret she guarded for fear of its potential ramifications on her career. But, when she nearly lost her life to her then-husband's violent behavior, she mustered the courage to leave him. That decision brought about a new set of challenges. With no education, no job, no clothes and five children for whom to care, she felt destitute. Shortly thereafter, however, the veteran sought refuge in the Attitudes & Attire's Boots to Heels program. Today, she is gainfully employed after graduating from college with honors and earning a Registered Nursing license - a perfect example of how Attitudes & Attire turns dreams into reality.
Instrumental in shaping the Boots to Heels program, Retired Brigadier General Robin Akin was this year's recipient of The Kim Dawson Attitude Award. Her service includes several tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan and leadership of rescue missions in earthquake-ravaged Haiti. Akin also served as deputy assistant chief of staff for the combined military forces in Korea, with responsibility for logistics maintaining the readiness of 1.3 million personnel. In Akin's acceptance speech, she focused on 'hope' and how it motivated her to get involved with the Reserve Officer Training Core (ROTC) as a means of working her way out of the low-income environment in which she was raised. Fast forward 32 years and the highly-decorated war veteran is continuing her legacy of providing hope by developing, coaching and mentoring other veterans and by shaping the Boots to Heels program. The afternoon ended with a surprise tribute to Attitudes & Attire Director and Founder Lyn Berman for her foresight in forming the agency two decades ago, which has positively impacting the lives of more than 20,000 women. Attitudes & Attire's goal is to build women's self-esteem by providing various workshops, dental assistance and new clothing. The agency is located at the World Trade Center and can be reached by calling 214-630-1667 or going online to www.attitudesandattire.org.