A first impression can make or break an interview, and at McDaniel College, the campus and community came together to offer fashionable, professional clothing at a discount price.
The college held its first resale pop-up shop for female students Monday, and the proceeds will benefit McDaniel scholarships for women, according to Robyn Allers, special liaison for college relations.
“We just thought that we had a lot of resources of professional women,” Allers said. “We want to support this endowment at the same time we are supporting our students.”
Suits, skirts, dresses, belts, scarves, jewelry, shoes, and more filled McDaniel Lounge. Some of the items still had tags — several of them name brand. A gray Giorgio Armani suit was displayed at the front of a clothing rack.
Tiombe Paige, owner of Cultivated clothing and gift boutique at 15 East Main St., Westminster, estimated the suit was worth well over $100, but nothing at the pop-up sale was sold for more than $10.
“We wanted people to be able to walk out the door with something,” Paige said. “Think about what that would mean to somebody.”
Allers connected with Paige to form the event and also reached out to Nordstrom personal stylist Stacey Jones, who works at the Towson store.
Jones provided free styling consultations to students. Paige brought clothes from her store, and other items were donated.
“I want to give to young women what someone gave to me,” Paige said.
Members of McDaniel Women’s Leadership Network, of which Allers is a part, donated clothing. Students also placed boxes around campus to collect clothing donations. Allers said she hopes this can be a regular event.
As students entered the lounge, Jones guided them through the racks, helping them choose items to try on in the pop-up fitting room.
“First impressions are everything, especially interviewing,” Jones said.
Freshman Katherine Guensler finished her shopping spree with an armful of clothes.
“This is actually genius,” Guensler said. “I love this idea and concept.”
She plans to wear some of her new clothes to McDaniel’s Job and Internship Fair on Thursday, where more than 30 employers will meet students and locals. Allers said she planned the pop-up sale prior to the fair so students could prepare themselves.
Jahnai Sands, a senior, volunteered at the sale with her fellow executive board members of Phenomenal Women, a campus organization that strives to empower women. She said the organization used some of its money to provide plus-size clothing for the sale when they realized they lacked such options within the donated clothes.
Through Phenomenal Women, Sands has met students who wanted to go to the job and internship fair in the past, but chose not to.
“They didn’t want to go because they didn’t have clothes,” Sands said.
The accounting major has experienced first-hand the impact of clothes on an interview.
“I felt more confident. I got the job,” Sands said.
Senior Onesha Smith is president of Phenomenal Women and also volunteered at the sale. She grew up wearing hand-me-downs while living in Baltimore.
Smith recalled the first job and internship fair she attended. She borrowed her roommate’s clothes, which did not fit her well. Smith said many students put most of their money into tuition and have little else to spare, so it was refreshing to see the college offer a way to obtain professional clothing at an economical price.
“This was never an option for me where I come from,” Smith said. “Coming to college is a blessing.”