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Service offers free professional clothing for students, alumni

A young woman, with her back to the viewer, looks through racks of colorful blouses mounted on the opposite wall.
The Career Closet includes dresses, skirts, blazers, blouses, dress pants, and accessories for students and alumni at any stage in their professional journey.

We’ve all heard the age-old advice that we should dress for the job we want, not the one we have. Academy Award-winning costume designer Edith Head once said, “You can have anything you want in life if you dress for it.”

At the College of Business and Economics’ (COBE) Career Closet, Boise State students can find professional clothing to help them dress for life they want, free of charge. Clothing for men and women is available.

The Career Closet opened its doors in 2018 as part of the COBE Career Services office with a focus on accessibility, inclusion and professionalism. Cierra Abellera, ‘18, and other members of the MLK Living Legacy Committee led the effort.

Laura Chiuppi and Monique Halgat, director and administrative assistant of COBE Career Services, respectively, now oversee the Career Closet. Students and alumni make an appointment to “shop” the closet and find professional clothing like blazers, shirts, dresses, and pants. Participants can take up to four pieces of clothing per semester.

In addition, students can consult with student and staff attendants, not only on clothing choices, but application, interview, and workplace advice.

“Professional attire can be important during job interviews, whether that’s in person or online,” Chiuppi said. “First impressions happen really quickly. If you can show that you’ve put yourself together, you can show respect for your employer and the hiring process.”

Madison, who’s name has been changed so she can remain anonymous, is a student in her final semester earning her degree in supply chain management with a minor in marketing. She recently left the Career Closet with a matching two-piece suit, a blouse, and a separate pair of dress pants. She described getting dressed for interviews as ‘pre-gaming’ for work.

“Laura [Chiuppi] has helped me with every stage of the process. She’s given me one-on-one help with figuring out where to apply, revising my resume, and now preparing for my interviews is just the next step in the process,” Madison said.

Another student, Thomas, is graduating this spring with a degree in global studies and minor in international business. He has several Zoom employment interviews scheduled in the coming weeks, and says he already feels more prepared with his picks from the Career Closet.

Chiuppi and Halgat continue to receive, clean, and sort donations from local partners and businesses. Local donors include Balsam Brands and Boise State faculty and staff.

If you or someone you know is in need of professional attire for an interview, work event, or first day on the job, visit the COBE Career Closet webpage and make an appointment today.