For college students on a budget, the expense of buying affordable, professional clothing for internships, job interviews and networking events can be a challenge — but thanks to the UNT Career Center and faculty and staff, help is on the way.

The Career Center's annual “Suit Up” event is set for Nov. 2 and will give students a kick-start for their future careers. This is the second year for the event, which allows students to pick out free, professional attire such as slacks, dresses, sport coats, blouses, shoes and belts.

The goal is to help ensure our students are ready for internship and interview opportunities, says Deidre Leslie, associate director at the Career Center.

“There's only one chance to make a first impression, and that first impression is based on appearance, attitude and manners,” she says. “Employers and interviewers form a subjective opinion about a candidate in the first two minutes of an interview. When one looks good, they feel good and their self-confidence seems to be elevated.”

How to get free professional, work attire

From 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 2, students can visit Chestnut Hall Room 120, present their student I.D. and pick from a variety of professional clothing items. Clothing is donated by the UNT community, Denton community, as well as local companies, businesses and employers who recruit at UNT and are involved with the campus. Students are encouraged to arrive early for the best selection of clothes.

Students are limited to one professional outfit. They may choose from two options:

Option 1:

  • One top (blouse, dress shirt, sweater, blazer, suit jacket)
  • One bottom (pants, skirt, etc.)
  • One accessory (jewelry, tie, belt, shoes, etc.)

Option 2:

  • One full suit or dress
  • One accessory (jewelry, tie, belt, shoes, etc.)

Students also will be given a booklet that includes:

  • Clothing size charts
  • Local places to find affordable, professional clothing
  • Tips for dressing for an interview

Additionally, there will be a tie tying station and consultants will be available to answer students' questions about proper dress.

“This is a great event for students because it provides them with free professional clothing that could mean the difference between a job offer or not,” says Bryttnie Jones, a career development specialist in the Career Center.

How to help students

The Career Center also has opportunities for faculty and staff at UNT, as well as the Denton community, to get involved.

The Career Center is asking UNT and Denton community members to donate clean, lightly worn professional clothing at designated drop off locations in the community and on campus. This year, the Career Center will have a donation booth available:

For those who cannot drop donations at either market day, items can be taken to the following on campus locations:

  • Career Center's main office in Chestnut Hall, Suite 103
  • College of Business Career Center office in the Business Leadership Building, Room 262
  • Career Center satellite office at Discovery Park, room C111

Faculty and staff also can schedule on campus donations for pick up by calling the UNT Career Center at 940-565-2105.

The following clean, very lightly-worn items are needed and can be donated:

  • Dress shirts and blouses
  • Sports coats
  • Dress slacks and khakis
  • Skirts
  • Dresses
  • Men's suits and blazers
  • Plus-sized attire
  • Ties
  • Belts
  • Professional jewelry
  • Professional shoes
  • Sweater sets
  • Auxiliary items such as clothing racks and hangers

All donated clothing will be given to students at the Career Center's Nov. 2 Suit Up event.

“With classes, books, rent, food and all the other expenses that all students have, financial pressures shouldn't stop a student from dressing professionally,” says Sean McNamara, career advisor in the Career Center. “We're dedicated to helping our students impress area employers because clothing is an important part of the first impression.”

-- Gabrielle Ebron, URCM student