DECATUR — Wendy Taylor is studying nursing and has found that sometimes patients will need help dressing.
Zack Stroud, clothing sales associate for The Brass Horn, was more than happy to teach her how to tie a tie at the Dress to Impress event held at Millikin University on Wednesday.
“I never knew how” to tie a tie, Taylor said. “I’ve been asked a few times to do it and this was my opportunity.”
The event was sponsored by the Tabor School of Business and supported by Waite’s Dry Cleaners, Brass Horn, Marina’s Bridal and the Center for Academic and Professional Performance.
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“This event offers free professional dress clothing that’s been donated by the Millikin community as well as the Decatur community,” said Kalli Collins, academic intervention specialist. “Students are here to pick out some clothes, they can try them on, we can get alterations from Marina’s Bridal, Zack is here to give some clothing advice, all those great skills to learn before going into a job interview.”
After the event, she said, a clothing room will be available at the Center for Academic and Professional Performance for students who need clothes for internships and job interviews, year round.
Senior Jacob Williams, who is studying video production and digital marketing, said that like most college students, he has a tight budget, and professional clothing costs a lot.
“I don’t have a whole lot of dress clothes,” he said. “I have some old dress clothes from choir, but nothing like more modern type that’s very formal, nothing that’s interview wear. This is the time for (interviews). (Stroud) was helping me out and giving me different suggestions, because I’m not very good with what to wear with what.”
Learning to tie a tie was a popular activity, and both Stroud and RJ Podeschi, dean of Tabor, were kept busy with that task. Podeschi is left-handed, which complicated things somewhat when his student was right-handed, but they laughed about it and got it done anyway.
“A lot of students may not have the resources (to buy dress clothes),” Podeschi said. It’s expensive to go buy this type of clothes. And to have this type of resource, to look their finest for an interview, it means a ton to be able to get a step up in the career world.”
At first, when the pandemic hit and office workers began working from home, how they were dressed didn’t matter, Stroud said.
“Fortunately, in the past year, everything has kind of upgraded toward being dressier,” he said. “People are going out and want to buy suits, and buy ties. It’s a nice thing to see.”
“This is awesome,” said Taylor, the nursing student. “Some young people don’t know, ‘What, exactly, should I wear (to an interview)?’ They wear something trendy and that’s not necessarily what that employer is looking for. If they’re in business attire and they’re looking good and ready to hire, that’s better than if they come in off the street with trendy clothes on.”
The event began in 2019, said Megan Lockhart, president of Delta Mu Delta, a campus business honor society, but was derailed by the pandemic. With the campus career fair scheduled for next week, providing the advice and the clothing for interviews ahead of time was especially important.
“They haven’t really had the experiences that need professional clothing,” she said. “So they’re introduced to presentations and internships in college, and they probably don’t have the clothing. And we all know that college kids are broke, usually, and it’s nice to be able to provide that.”
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Contact Valerie Wells at (217) 421-7982. Follow her on Twitter: @modgirlreporter