Clothing Closet helps students dress for success

On February 12 and 13, Career Services hosted the Second Annual Clothing Closet in the Student Union Ballroom. More than 250 students attended the event and walked away with the clothing and accessories needed to look their professional best.

“Almost everyone walked out with a full professional outfit including pants, shirt, jacket, shoes, belt and all,” said assistant director of career services Allison Lyon.

Last year, the Clothing Closet served approximately 200 students in a two-day span. During this year's event, that number was almost reached on the first day.

“We are just really proud of the outcome of this year's event,” said Lyon.

Career Services graduate assistant Abby McAvoy was responsible for the collection of donations and the execution of the two-day event.

“The best part of the event was seeing how appreciative students were. I think they truly understand the value of receiving a professional outfit and how it can contribute to their path to being a professional,” said McAvoy.

The Clothing Closet started back in 2012 with just a single suit from Armstrong President Dr. Linda Bleicken.

“Dr. Bleicken had professional clothing she wished to donate from her very own closet, and she thought that Armstrong students could benefit from the clothes,” explained Lyon.

At that moment, the Clothing Closet was born, and Career Services began soliciting donations. In just a year, the event has grown significantly, in large part due to the commitment of generous donors. Deja Bleu consignment, David's Dry Cleaners, residents of the Landings, local law firms, individual donors from the community, and Armstrong alumni, faculty and staff came together to provide more than 1,300 pieces of clothing and accessories.

According to Lyon, the Clothing Closet is important to Armstrong's students because it helps them put together their personal brand. While they may walk away from school with a top-notch education, they may not know how to present that to potential employers.

“Clothing is the one thing that you can 100 percent control when it comes to first impressions,” said Lyon. “It shows that you are serious and ready to go into the professional world.”

In addition to giving each student one free professional outfit, the Clothing Closet also offered other crucial services including career counseling and advice on how to polish the perfect professional look. Full-time Armstrong student and independent sales director for Mary Kay, Angel Macaulay, set up a booth to help female students with the perfect professional makeup.

“It's all about a clean face and simple makeup,” said Macaulay. “Makeup should be natural and could be as easy as some mascara and lip gloss.”

Director of career services George Lantzounis was hands on at the event helping male students figure out their proper sizes.

“Most students don't know their neck or sleeve size, or even their suit size, so I'm measuring them,” said Lantzounis.

Lantzounis was also showing students how to tie and tie and talking to them about proper grooming habits and etiquette.

Armstrong student Jessica Rozier is graduating in December with her master's in health service administration, and preparing to interview for various summer internships. Thanks to the Clothing Closet, she was able to find a stylish grey suit that embodies the look she is trying to achieve.

“It looked plain on the rack, but once I tried it on, it just looked so elegant,” said Rozier. “I've been looking for a suit for over a year, so I'm happy that I finally found one.”

Freshman Antoniu Negra is a biology major on the pre-medicine track, and though he already has a job at a jewelry store, he just couldn't pass up the opportunity for a free outfit.

“I have to look professional at my job and am also looking for a second job, so it always helps to have a variety of clothing to adapt to any situation,” he said.