For women, business and fashion intersect at Fox

Business students who are expected to dress professionally face barriers in college.


Students in the Fox School of Business are often required to wear formal attire, but for some students, the cost of business casual clothes can be a barrier. 

A high-quality suit can cost up to $1,000, but if your budget is tight, you can get a decent option for about $250-300, Business Insider reported. 

Two-thirds of undergraduate students felt underdressed in a professional setting, and one-third didn’t attend an interview or information session because of a lack of professional clothing, the Cornell Daily Sun reported in 2018.  

Anushka Agarwal, a senior management information systems major, said the requirement to dress professionally shouldn’t come as a shock to students. For some student professional organizations, especially those with professional speakers, as well as professional development events and class presentations, business casual is required, Agarwal said.

“Most students who come into business schools should expect to do this because they have to do this in the workforce,” Agarwal said.

The Klein College of Media and Communcation’s career center has a Career Closet program, where they provide free business attire to students in need. 

Fox does not have a similar program, but Corinne Snell, Fox’s assistant dean of student professional development, said there are resources available in the Center for Student Professional Development to make business attire more affordable. The center advertises consignment shops, which provide gently worn, high-end clothing at discounted prices. It also encourages students to shop at department stores with student discounts, she said.

“There [are] ways to dress professionally and look sharp without breaking the bank,” Snell said.

Trevone Edwards, a junior risk management and insurance major, said although these suggestions are offered, there is a lack of discussion about students with low economic status ability to buy professional clothing. 

“There is an implied assumption that you have business attire, and there needs to be more conversation around what do you do if you can’t afford to buy professional attire,” Edwards said.

If Fox students are not dressed properly for an event they are often denied entrance, Edwards said.

These standards help students make a good first impression with future employers, Snell said, adding that, “students tend to feel differently when you are dressed professionally, exuding more confidence and having better posture.”

People who dressed professionally obtained more profitable deals in negotiation than those who didn’t, and also that people prefer clothing that matches expectations⁠, like surgeons in scrubs, or businesswomen in business clothes, according to a study from Scientific American, a science and technology magazine.

People at Fox take you more seriously if you are wearing business clothes, and employers are more likely to talk to you or look at your resume, Agarwal said.

“[It] makes me feel more confident if I look nice and am dressed nice,” she added. 

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