Women running for public office can now borrow clothes for free with this new program

It’s part of M.M.LaFleur's mission to "take the work out of dressing for work."

Prominent women's clothing company M.M.LaFleur launched "Ready to Run," this week, a new program that vows to lend clothing -- at no cost -- to women running for any level of public office.

It’s all part of their mission to "take the work out of dressing for work."

"This spring, we’re taking things a step further," the company wrote in an email to shoppers on Presidents' Day. "By lending our clothes, for free, to any woman who is running for public office -- whether it be for the House of Representatives or your town council."

Sarah LaFleur, the company's founder and CEO, told ABC News that they’re launching this initiative to make running for office a little bit easier for female candidates, and to ultimately see more women win.

"We would love to see more women elected to public office," LaFleur said. "[Though] we don’t purport that clothes are really what make the difference here."

She added, "But ... If we know for a fact that a lot of women who potentially don’t have access to these kinds of clothes, or the kind of money that is required to buy new clothes, if this is an impediment, then we want to make sure that that’s actually one thing they don’t have to worry about when they’re on the trail."

However, once the numbers rolled in, M.M.LaFleur recognized they wouldn’t be able to send out that note, and instead opted for a different message: asking customers how the company could support women and their brands going forward.

In just 48 hours, more than 1,000 responses poured in, she said.

"One of the common themes we heard was, 'hey, I think we just need to do more to support women who want to go into politics,'" LaFleur said.

According to the announcement, candidates interested in the program should email the company with their name, credentials and a description of the office they’re running for.

After verifying their info, LaFleur said the candidates can order up to five items featured on their website, and keep them until they "decide to drop out of the election, or until they become elected, whichever comes first."

The candidates will, however, have to independently check that their local campaign regulations allow for participation in the program.

Less than 24 hours after sending out the announcement email on Monday, M.M.LaFleur has received about 300 responses.

The cost for a venture of this magnitude? LaFleur wouldn’t share an exact number, but she did mention that the funds are coming from the company’s budget for corporate social responsibility.

This new program launch comes on the heels of a groundbreaking two years for women in politics.

Earlier this month several female lawmakers donned white outfits at the annual State of the Union address to commemorate, for the third year in a row, the women’s suffrage movement. This year, to honor the 100th anniversary of women securing the right to vote.

"I think clothes can actually hold a ton of symbolism," LaFleur told ABC News. "And it’s really lovely to see, I think, female politicians recognizing the power of that and what they can do with it."

And don’t forget 2018, which was dubbed the "Year of the Woman,"after a record-breaking number of female candidates, over 100, won their races for public office.

Included in this group of female lawmakers was New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who shared M.M.LaFleur’s initiative early Tuesday morning as an Instagram story.

"Shout out to @mmlafleur for this initiative," Ocasio-Cortez posted wrote in her story, featuring a photo of the email announcement. "As a candidate, a large part of asking people to vote for you is helping them visualize you on the job. As a member, that professionalism helps you challenge subconscious bias."

She added, "So shout out to anyone helping, and if you know someone running ask them if they want an old blazer or dress!"

LaFleur said she appreciated AOC’s commentary, praising the freshman lawmaker for hitting on the mission of the program.

"She got to the heart of, I think, why clothes can be such a transformative tool," LaFleur said. "It’s the power of costume; they have the power to change not only the way others feel about you, but the way you see yourself."

She told ABC News the company expects the "Ready to Run" shipping process to begin by the end of this week.

Top Stories

Top Stories

Top Stories

Top Stories

ABC News Live

ABC News Live

24/7 coverage of breaking news and live events