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OSU-Tulsa Career Closet offers free suits and fresh confidence to students

Published: Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Whether it’s a job interview, a networking event, an internship or anything in-between, it’s important to stand out – for the right reasons. Professional events usually require professional attire. But what if your closet is more casual than business?

That’s where Bessy Valera found herself last fall, as she prepared for a scholarship banquet in her final semester.

“I had to look presentable,” Valera said. “When I looked at my clothes I realized, wait a minute, I can’t wear any of this to the banquet.”

Between being laid off, finishing up school and raising two children on her own, Valera didn’t have the time or money to think about shopping for a nice, new suit.

She explained her situation to one of the event’s organizers, and they referred her to the OSU-Tulsa Career Closet in North Hall 103.

“I was impressed by the variety,” Valera said. “There was a selection of sizes and styles. For a free service, I was blown away.”

After trying on a couple things in the fitting room, she left that same day with a new suit.

“I just cried. I’m a crier,” Valera said. “And when I asked ‘how should I pay you?’ they insisted it was free. So I cried again.”

For JJ Smith, the assistant director of student services, opening the career closet last fall was a no-brainer.

“We want our students to be ready for job opportunities, and that includes looking the part,” Smith said. “If we can do something to help them be confident and advance their career, why wouldn’t we?”

The Career Closet operates entirely on a donation basis. All of the closet’s brand new and nearly-new jackets, slacks, skirts, shirts, shoes, ties, belts and blouses are available to students to try on and take home for free, no strings attached. Students can take up to four clothing items from the closet per academic year.

After graduating in December, Valera has used her suit several times since her scholarship banquet, including job interviews. One of those interviews led to a new job with a schedule and salary that fits her needs.

“I wore the grey jacket and skirt I got at the Career Closet to my second interview, and I felt confident,” Valera said. “By the end of the interview the hiring manager said ‘I like you, Bessy’ – and I knew right there I was going to get the job.”

Currently enrolled students can make an appointment to visit the Career Closet via email.

The Career Closet is run solely on donations and is always accepting new and like-new business wear. If you’re interested in donating clothes, head to North Hall 103, or email tulsa.careerservices@okstate.edu.  

OSU-Tulsa graduate and Career Closet user Bessy Valera models her go-to blue blouse.
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Media Contact: Aaron Campbell | 918-594-8046 | aaron.ross.campbell@okstate.edu