Dressing for success may be hard for some to do on a college student’s budget. That’s why University of Iowa students have opened a professional clothing store on campus, and all the clothes are free.
Students spend four or more years on the Iowa campus, working hard in classes to do one thing, land that job after graduation. But students say that’s hard to do without also dressing the part.
"That first interview going into the work force is crucial. It is critical," UI junior, Lindsey Meyer, said. "You are ready to get started on the rest of your life and everything has been built up to it."
On top of making the grades, packing a resume, and nailing an interview, Meyer said the outfit is just as important.
"They need to ace that first interview out of classes and, if they don’t have the right attire going into the interview, it can set them apart from applicants that might have been better prepared, or had the funds or accessibility to those professional clothing," she said.
Meyer is the executive director of Clothing Closet. She got involved in opening it as a sophomore through the student government. It was during a previous government campaign where students were asked about campus needs.
"They responded that professional clothes were inaccessible and expensive," Meyer said.
As a group, the students looked at other college campuses to see what they were doing. She said they found that career closets were fairly common.
On Thursday, September 13, they opened the Clothing Closet. It helps students dress for success by giving away free interview-worthy clothes.
We had a student come in during our grand opening looking for a pair of pants and unfortunately we weren’t ready to give clothing away at that point but he came back the next day so he would be prepared for the job and career fair coming up," Meyer said.
The clothing racks are filled with donations and other items are thrifted by the students that run it. Each semester, a student can get five items for free. Meyer said those can be used for interviews or their future jobs to help even the playing field.
"Going in ill-prepared with an outfit that doesn’t represent you or the work that you have been putting into your degree, it’s disappointing," she said. "It puts you at a disadvantage for that job."
The Clothing Closet is always looking for donations, but Meyer said shoes are what they are really in need of. The closet is located on the second floor of the Iowa Memorial Union in room 213.
The current hours are Sunday, 3-5 p.m., Monday, 1:30-4:30 p.m., Wednesday, 5-8 p.m., and Friday from 9:30 a.m-12:30 p.m. and 1-4 p.m.
More information can be found on its Facebook page.