Dressing for success

In conjunction with the Career Center’s Dress 4 Success program, Macy’s provided a fashion show in Mitten Hall to show students the best ways to make a good first impression with a classy wardrobe.

In conjunction with the Career Center’s Dress 4 Success program, Macy’s provided a fashion show in Mitten Hall to show students the best ways to make a good first impression with a classy wardrobe.
As the snow fell outside Mitten Hall on Monday, Feb. 15, students set the catwalk ablaze.

Hosted by the Career Center’s Dress 4 Success program and co-sponsored by Macy’s, Temple’s Kappa Sigma fraternity, Delta Zeta sorority and the Society for Human Resource Management, the runway showcased business-professional and business-casual dress for men and women, available at the 1300 Market St. location of Macy’s.

Jim McLaughlin, co-chair and recruitment coordinator of Dress 4 Success, and fellow co-chair and Office Manager Jennifer Bunch coordinated the first fashion show to kick-off career week, McLaughlin said.

Recently, McLaughlin attended a Temple University Greek Association meeting in search of models and co-sponsors. He also received a flood of e-mails from students who wished to volunteer as models, disc jockeys and backstage assistants.

Rachel Brown of the Career Center said the staff chose Macy’s as the clothing provider because the store is a huge retailer and its representatives have attended job fairs in the past.

“We want to strengthen the relationship,” Brown said. “[Macy’s] was all over it, and very enthusiastic. [The company] provided approximately 18 outfits and was very supportive.”

President of Kappa Sigma Brett Weinhardt, a senior secondary education major, said he and his fraternity brothers co-sponsored the event to instill the importance of leadership.

“As a fraternity, one of our pillars is leadership,” Weinhardt said. “To be a leader in the business world, you need to know how to dress for success.”

“Be confident in your abilities,” Weinhardt added, “and dress in that confidence. I learned how affordable it is to dress professionally. And you don’t need a $500 suit to look professional.”

President of SHRM and senior human resource major Kendra Dickenson said she believes the event helped show students the importance of professional dress in the real world.

“Your first impression is a lasting one,” Dickenson said. “If you come in looking snazzy … the best you possibly can, you’ll definitely have a leg up on someone who doesn’t. The best way to present yourself is put-together and professional.”

The show featured students from all concentrations, including accounting, theater, human resources and psychology. The main theme was to stress one’s individuality and personality through clothing, while maintaining a professional image.

Organizers dedicated the first half of the show to business professional looks, featuring Jackie O. collars, pencil skirts and waist-cinching belts for women. Macy’s stylists named yellow the trend color for spring. The men’s couture in the first half featured vests, patterned ties and well-fitting suits, using blue as the “power color.”

During intermission, human resource professionals from Enterprise Rent-A-Car and the Philadelphia Eagles offered students advice for professional dress. A representative from Enterprise said she has had to ask a lot of applicants to leave at the end of the interview due to their lacking professional appearance.

“You don’t get a second chance to make a first impression,” she said.

In the business-casual portion of the event, male models donned flat-front slacks, mock-zip sweaters and subtly layered patterns. The ladies wore big spring patterns, bright poppy and yellow pieces and mixed looks, such as edgy leather “iconic” jackets with ladylike blouses.

Senior chemistry major Steven Okoye said he enjoyed the show and learned more about first impressions at interviews and the color-contrasting possibilities.

Lauren Shinfield, a junior public health major, said she thought the ladies’ clothing was too conservative, consisting of mostly black attire but said the men looked great.

“It was a good experience, and the professionals who spoke were really helpful,” Shinfield said, adding that when it comes to dressing professionally: “If it doesn’t look right, it probably isn’t.”

One of the models, Lauren Fernald, a sophomore pre-nursing major, said she learned what is acceptable and what isn’t. She said she now knows how to shift from the high school world to the professional world.

Personality and the power of self-expression was the theme of Monday evening’s fashionable affair, which stressed that although an employer must see your talents brought you to the office, it is your personality and integrity that will keep you there.

Before hitting the closest department store or consignment shop, there are some fashion faux pas students should avoid, including leggings, too revealing or poor-fitting clothing, jeans, sneakers and sweatpants.

The Career Center also suggested some places to find business appropriate attire, as recommended by Temple students, including Macy’s, Banana Republic, H&M, JoS. A. Banks and Target.

Some inexpensive, green alternatives include the Greene Street Consignment, at 700 South St., and the Revivals Boutique, at 258 Haverford Ave. in Narbeth, Pa.

Alexis Sachdev can be reached at asachdev@temple.edu.

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