Career Closet Comes to Campus: Free Professional Clothing for Students


Photo provided by E&H College

The Career Closet will be open in the Fellowship Hall in the Chapel’s basement for students to come and pick out free professional attire.

The van Vlissingen Center for Career and Professional Development is offering a “Career Closet,” a place for students to build a professional wardrobe for free.

Students can visit the Chapel Fellowship Hall March 30-April 1 to pick from a variety of professional clothing. The Career Center’s goal for the closet is to provide students with an opportunity to build a wardrobe for interviews, internships, and jobs.

The Career Closet will be open March 30 10 a.m. – 4 p.m., March 31 4 p.m. – 8 p.m., and April 1 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Rebecca Buchanan and Sarah Fisher, professors at Emory & Henry, came up with the idea for the Career Closet after noticing students’ hesitancy to attend an interview due to clothing hindrances. Students lacked the confidence to go to their interviews, as they had insufficient access to clothing, low funds to purchase clothing, and were not provided the general knowledge of appropriate attire.

Christine Arias, who works in the Career Center, said, “Students said they declined going to an interview and felt the anxiety about what to wear was enough to say never mind.”

The van Vlissingen Center views their students as highly skilled, highly educated individuals. Mrs. Arias elaborated, “It’s sad to think that they end up not pursuing the opportunities they want because they don’t have the appropriate clothing.” “We want to squash that barrier,” she said. “There’s enough of us to ensure that problems with attire are not the struggles they are facing in an interview.”

Pulling from across the Emory community, the Career Center has collaborated with Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI), E&H Facilities, the Memorial Chapel staff, and several academic departments to alleviate interview stress.
Arias especially highlighted Facilities, saying they were the “unsung heroes” of the event, having partnered with them nearly two months prior to organize the event.

She praised the community-wide engagement to organize and supply the closet for E&H students.
“E&H staff, faculty, alumni, and current students all pitched in to donate professional clothes in good condition, ranging from “smart casual” to the traditional “business formal” type clothing. The selections will be organized in a gender neutral fashion and completely free of charge.

Arias wants to advance all students.
“We see this as a DEI event, because career development is a social justice issue, giving everyone what is needed to flourish in the world of employment,” she said.