Armed with cell phones, students filling seats near the runway snapped photos and admired their peers’ attire. On this day, the first floor of Alter Hall had been transformed into the setting of a chic fashion show.
Helping to define the dos and don’ts of business attire, the Center for Student Professional Development (CSPD) at the Fox School of Business hosted its third annual “Work Your Wardrobe: A Fashion Show For Young Professionals” event April 15 in Alter Hall’s Undergrad Commons.
Two-dozen student-models wore styles appropriate for smart business, business casual and business professional scenarios, with each of the looks originating from one of three sources: their personal closets, local consignment shops, or from CSPD retail industry partners.
“I have to be honest – I never knew the difference between the three styles,” said sophomore Chirag Chandna, a Management Information Systems major who modeled a business-casual look. “Now, I can say that I do.”
Work Your Wardrobe has become a staple for Fox’s CSPD, said co-organizers Holly Pfeifer, Assistant Director of Corporate Relations, and Lindsay Teich, Assistant Director of Career Competencies. Pfeifer and Teich said their interactions with Fox students generated a large volume of questions in regard to the culture of business-appropriate couture, leading to the event’s inception.
“One of the core components of the CSPD model is impression management, which accounts for both the verbal and nonverbal communication vehicles of a student’s professional development,” Pfeifer said. “The show is, and continues to be, a great success among students, faculty, staff and employers because it breaks the stereotypical mold of what resources a business school should provide.”
Work Your Wardrobe is a part of the CSPD’s full-service approach to preparing Fox’s students for the professional world upon graduation, engaging students with resume reviews, interview clinics, internship and job fairs and more.
An interactive, hour-long event, Work Your Wardrobe encourages those in attendance to vote on the origin of each outfit. In between walks down the runway, student-models acted out brief skits centered on educating students on how to properly accessorize or tie a necktie. Student-models also offered tips, like avoiding open-toed shoes and maintaining confidence in their looks.
“Feeling comfortable is important, but looking business-appropriate is just as important,” said senior Kehinde Adewunmi, a Management Information Systems major who modeled a smart-casual look. “I’d say a majority of students, before they work with CSPD, just don’t know the dos and don’ts of what to wear to work.”
“I used to think smart-casual meant a nice T-shirt and a nice pair of jeans,” said junior Ryan Rinaldi, a Finance major who sported smart-casual attire. “Obviously, there’s more to it than that, and that’s what Work Your Wardrobe tries to teach students before they make a regrettable fashion mistake in the workplace.”