BUCKHANNON – Students receive quality education at West Virginia Wesleyan College, so why shouldn’t their appearance reflect that?
That was Shauna Hambrick Jones’ thought process when she founded the program, Clothes for Pros back in December of 2016.
During an end-of-the-year meeting at the Student Success Center, Jones said she brought up an idea to establish a closet where students would have access to free business attire and items that can be worn to interviews and class presentations.
“When I came to Wesleyan as an undergrad, I was a first-generation student, and I had a very meager wardrobe, and I remember what that was like to be stressed out about having something nice to wear to such events,” she said.
Once Jones got permission from Wesleyan to begin the program, she began soliciting donations from faculty, staff, alumni and the community.
“We have a Clothes for Pros for females and a Clothes for Pros for males, and that way it’s individualized so we’re trying to make them feel that it’s okay to have these clothes and not be embarrassed about these clothes.”
Jones advised students can take the equivalent of one full outfit each semester and may keep the clothes for future presentations and interviews.
“It’s not only for the immediate event that they need them for, but they can hold onto them for future events,” she said.
Though the closet has only been open for a short time, Jones said the students have been grateful for Clothes for Pros.
“They don’t have disposable incomes to necessarily go out and purchase something, so the students that do use it have been very excited that we have this and they’ve been very positive about it,” she said.
Jones added, “When you are coming up on something stressful like (an interview, presentation) even though it’s a positive stress, when you feel like you look good, then it gives you a little more confidence.”
Student in search of a professional outfit may contact the Student Success Center at firstname.lastname@example.org or text Jones at 304-704-8371.
Folks looking to help out Clothes for Pros through donations can also reach out to Jones via the above email address and phone number.
“We’re always looking for gently used or new professional wear that is contemporary enough that college students will wear them,” Jones said. “And any accessories, of course, briefcases, portfolios, shoes, belts, ties, etc.”