During the annual What (Not) To Wear: Career Fashion Show, UMass Amherst students, staff, and local consultants strutted on a makeshift runway in appropriate interview outfits, office wear, and business casual attire. This year's event, hosted by Oscar Collins of CMASS and senior biology major Donisha White, featured clothing options from Marshall’s, T.J. Maxx, and Men’s Wearhouse.
The models, accompanied by a PowerPoint presentation, walked through each event of a typical industry experience, from the interview outfit, to daily office wear, and even appropriate options for casual Fridays. Students showed off a wide range of styles for men and women, including key brands for suits, pants, blazers, and even shoes. “The most important thing is to be comfortable and yourself,” said White. "If you feel good and you look good, you'll make an even better impression on your supervisor and coworkers.”
As for the “don’ts” of workplace fashion, Collins and White emphasized that checking a company’s policy is the best way to go in any case. “You can never be too over-dressed,” said Collins, but noted that paying attention to what other professional are wearing can better inform your day-to-day outfits. White added that while it’s okay to show off your personality, you always want to put your best foot forward and not distract from your work.
The event's Career Q&A section allowed students to get personalized advice about professional attire. Discussions ranged from cleaning instructions for certain fabrics, to winter weather woes, to plus-size wear and beyond. "Fashion trends come and go," said Collins, "but professional attire is so classic and interchangeable that it never go out of style."
Afterwards, consultants from local stores, including Hannoush Jewelers, J.C. Penney, and Macy's among others, helped students one-on-one with feedback on interview attire and instructions for tying a tie. Students also perused the Career Clothing Tag Sale, with local stores selling light used and affordable professional clothing and accessories for under twenty dollars. From blazers and button-downs to cashmere sweaters and dresses, the tag sale had multiple opportunities to start a professional wardrobe on a budget. "You can always find cheaper alternatives for looking great, starting with your own community of friends, colleagues, and businesses," said Collins. He added that "finding a few key, basic pieces allows you to mix and match, expanding your wardrobe immensely."
Special thanks to Career Services, Center for Multicultural Advancement and Success, Commonwealth Honors College, Residential Life, and UMass Athletics for co-sponsoring this event.