Polished & Professional
Third Annual Clothing Closet Attracts More Than 400 Students

Just before 3 p.m. on February 18, a crowd of students waited outside the doors of the Student Union Ballroom, eagerly anticipating the start of Armstrong’s Third Annual Clothing Closet.

For three years, the university’s Career Services Office has been providing students with the opportunity to receive a free set of gently-used professional attire, including pants or skirt, shirt, jacket, shoes, tie and belt. In other words, everything a person needs to make a good impression as they enter the workforce.

The Clothing Closet is stocked by the generous donations made by members of the community. Deja Bleu consignment shop, The Rotary Club, David’s Dry Cleaners, residents of The Landings, local law firms, individual donors and Armstrong alumni, faculty and staff came together to provide more than 1,000 items of clothing and accessories to the Clothing Closet this year.

The Clothing Closet originally started in 2012 with just a single suit from Armstrong President Linda M. 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,” said Allison Lyon, Armstrong’s assistant director of Career Services.

From its modest beginnings, the Clothing Closet has grown into a community-wide event advocating professional readiness and dressing for success. Last year, 270 students shopped the Clothing Closet, excitedly awaiting the event’s return. This year, 410 students attended and walked away with apparel and accessories in hand, equipped with the clothes and the confidence they need to shine in any interview.

The Clothing Closet is important to Armstrong students because it helps them develop their personal brand. While students 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 you are 100 percent in control of when it comes to first impressions,” said Lyon. “It shows that you are serious and ready to go into the professional world.”

Clothing Closet volunteers offered assistance and a smile to every student they encountered. Students of all majors, academic levels and backgrounds flowed in and out of the Student Union ballroom doors Wednesday and Thursday, browsing through professional threads in pursuit of a polished look.

For Colburn Paul Clark, a Radiological Sciences major who recently transferred to Armstrong, the Clothing Closet couldn’t have arrived at a better time.

“I don’t really have any professional attire,” he explained, “and I’m in the market for a job right now.”

Clark said the Clothing Closet is a great benefit to the student body and provides so much more than clothing.

“It encourages students to think about professional opportunities, to think about applying for jobs and the practical application of obtaining a degree early on in your career path,” he said.

For students who missed out this time around, be sure to join Career Services next year for the Fourth Annual Clothing Closet to receive a free set of professional attire, so you can get closer to reaching your career goals