Career Services introduced the Career Closet — a new resource that provides professional attire for students to rent free of charge for interviews and other professional events — at the Attire for Hire fashion show Feb. 25.
The Career Closet, which opened Feb. 26, provides students with a range of styles and sizes of professional attire. Students can visit the closet, located in Career Services, to check items out for free and keep them for a maximum of seven days. This closet is open to all students Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Cheryl Rotyliano, assistant director of Career Services, said the office established the Career Closet to ensure that professional attire is accessible to all. Rotyliano said she has worked to ensure that the closet is inclusive for all sizes and genders.
“If you can’t pay for it, you end up in a situation that is different from the student that is sitting next to you,” Rotyliano said. “So this was an effort to level the playing field for everyone.”
The clothing donations were provided by faculty and staff on campus, as well as alumni. Rotyliano said Career Services will continue to collect donations from alumni, community organizations, faculty and staff to keep the closet full.
“We received at least 300 pieces of clothing, and we pared it down for what makes sense for interviews and things,” Rotyliano said. “Currently, we have matching suits, professional attire for interviews with a range of sizes, and we feel pretty good about that.”
The runway show, held in Clarke Lounge, was a collaboration between Career Services, the Professions Program in the School of Business and Women in Business. There were approximately 50 attendees at the event, including models, staff members and students. The event showcased some of the pieces included in the Career Closet that students could borrow, including smart casual, business casual and business professional styles. Pieces in the closet include matching suits, dress pants, blouses, cardigans, dress shirts and blazers.
The event also aimed to educate attendees on how to dress professionally for different situations, like potential interviews or networking events. Participants spun a wheel, which indicated potential career-related circumstances, and competed against one another to select appropriate professional outfits given the hypothetical career-related situation.
As models made their way down the walkway, attendees learned useful fashion tips from the masters of ceremonies, Annemarie Farrell, associate professor and chair of the Department of Sport Management, and John Fracchia, career engagement and technology specialist in Career Services. These tips included how to wear these styles appropriately in a professional setting, where to wear these styles and alternative options for each style. For example, the masters of ceremonies suggested wearing a dress or skirt at knee length or below and a tailored blazer to evoke a business casual style.
Senior Anastasia Harry said she found the event to be resourceful and informative.
“This event is important because obviously, we’re going to have interviews, and we’ll have to dress a certain way to look presentable for people to take you seriously,” Harry said. “So that is a plus, and I really actually enjoyed it.”
Sophomore Lochlyn Hejl said she attended the event because she is a peer career advisor in Career Services and wanted to gain a stronger understanding of what the Career Closet is.
“I thought it was a really fun way to kick it off,” said Hejl. “With my career field, I personally don’t do internships as much, though I feel like I will definitely recommend it to other people.”