Cultivating confidence


Quinten Sargent

Katherine Munoz, junior international business major, shopping for clothes with Chelsea Conley, Director of Donor Relations. 

Quinten Sargent

After weeks of preparation, Missouri Southern’s Career Services hosted the sixth annual Dress to Impress: Professional Clothing Giveaway on Mar. 4 –A partnership between Southern and the Joplin Area Chamber of Commerce’s Young Professionals Network, giving students an opportunity to expand their professional wardrobe prior to Spring Career Fair on Mar. 11, 2020.

Through community outreach, Southern and the Young Professionals Network sough out community professionals to assist students in coordinating clothing. Students were checked into the event where they would then wait for a professional to be assigned to them, so they could then go shopping and receive some one on one assistance to specifically tailor their style to their desired career.

Andrew Adams, junior marketing major, was paired with Jeff Lindsey, Director of Finance and Administration at Liberty Utilities. In assisting Adams with professional looks, Lindsey used his experience and logic to guide Adams. 

“I like that shirt, but it might be a little too casual to wear with the jacket,” said Lindsey.

Dress to Impress, seeking to accommodate a wide range of students offered multiple clothing styles and sizes. From X-Small the XXXL, students of all sizes where able to shop the event and find career oriented clothing.

Alex Gandy, Director of Career Services and a member of the Young Professionals Network, believes students individual perspectives on clothing and body type are significant in choosing professional wear.

“Every student has a different perspective on style and fashion and how that fits their body and we want to respect that,” said Gandy.

Alan Hass, business management major, believes that the event was a huge success and very insightful.

“I thought the event was extremely helpful. they assign you a person to go through and they’re professional and know what they’re doing so they help you pick out something that fits you and looks good with your style,” said Hass.

Students were checked out by volunteers, who placed their clothes in garment bags and sent them on their way. With Southern’s efforts to successfully equip students with not only professional wear, but also the resources to gain knowledge, Adams believes the Dress to Impress event is vital for professional preparation. 

“It [Dress to Impress] went far beyond just clothing, but also made me feel confident for my next opportunity,” said Adams.

Along with community interest and student approval, the Dress to Impress event has helped over 1,800 students and has continually grown through its duration. 

Shakira Rhoads, Assistant Director of Career Services, estimates that Dress to Impress catered to 450 students, an increase from last year.

“Our numbers have grown more than 10 percent every single year, and our event just keeps getting bigger and better and we are so excited for next year to hopefully break 500,” said Rhoads.