Career Outfitters service
Free professional attire for Virginia Tech undergraduate and graduate students
Career Outfitters Closet
Career Outfitters provides currently-enrolled Virginia Tech students with the opportunity to view and select free clothing that has been donated. The clothing available is appropriate for professional use, such as for career fairs, networking events, or interviews. Career Outfitters is an appointment-based service for one student at a time, during which you are given one-on-one assistance with viewing the inventory, and with fit, size, and style. Your appointment is with the student intern who coordinates the program, and is located in the Smith Career Center. Appointment times are limited, and should only be scheduled if you are fully committed to attending the appointment.
Appointment scheduling and length:
- Appointments are available at various times based on the schedule of our student intern who serves as coordinator of the program.
- Currently enrolled students can view open times and sign up in Handshake; select "Career Outfitters from the menu.
- Future appointment openings are added periodically, so check back if you do not see openings for future dates.
- Appointments are for 15-minute time blocks, but plan to spend 30 minutes for your process. This allows you time to look at the inventory, make selections, and try on items in a private space.
- Arrive on time because another student might have an appointment immediately following yours.
- Do not schedule an appointment if you are not fully committed to attending. We have limited appointment times available. The appointment time you schedule is not available to another student.
- Smith Career Center.
- Arrive at the first floor lobby. Near the reception desk is a kiosk for check-in using your Hokie Passport.
- The career closet is not a retail clothing establishment. We have converted a storage room into a clothing closet containing hundreds of donated clothing items. This is part of the reason that you will have an appointment with a staff member to guide you in looking at the inventory and making selections to try on.
What to wear, what to bring, and being prepared for your appointment to try on clothing:
- Please arrive clean; if you have exercised, please shower before your appointment.
- Wear undergarments that you would wear with the type of clothing you wish to try. You will be able to try on clothing in a private space.
- If you are looking for clothing or accessories to go with something you already have, BRING the item(s) you already have to see how it looks with the items you try.
- Bring a bag or something to carry away your new clothes and/or accessories. We do not have a supply of shopping bags. ;-)
- It is helpful if you know your clothing size. If you don't, we can take your measurements to help determine clothing sizes to try.
- Think ahead about what you might be seeking: you might find it helpful to read professional attire guidelines we provide.
- Be aware of public health information provided by Virginia Tech.
- Due to space limitations, you may not bring a friend with you to your appointment.
How a staff member will assist you:
- You'll meet with the student intern who serves as the Career Outfitters coordinator (or another CPD staff member) who will assist you in selecting items from our clothing closet that you may then try on in a private space. The staff member can give you guidance on selections, and can advise you on possibilities for alterations.
Number of clothing items you can take / inventory based on donations:
- The purpose of Career Outfitters is to give students the opportunity to have one outfit, free of charge, once per academic year.
An outfit would be:
- A skirt or pants
- A jacket
- A shirt or blouse
- One accessory.
- A matched suit means matching pants and jacket, or matching skirt and jacket.
- The clothing is yours to keep.
- As stated, our inventory is donated, and the career closet is not a retail store. Whether you are able to find a full outfit that works for you will depend on what is within our inventory at the time of your appointment.
We are grateful to the community for the many donations we have received for Career Outfitters. We could not offer this service without donations!
Types of donations accepted:
- We will accept donations of unused and gently used clothing that is suitable for professional and business casual attire for college students to wear for professional occasions such as job interviews, career fairs, networking events, graduate school interviews, and graduate school fairs.
- Specifically, we accept suits, pants, skirts, dresses, blazers, jackets, shirts, blouses, and accessories such as shoes, belts, ties, purses, and bags that are appropriate for professional occasions.
- We accept all sizes of clothing.
- We are in particular need of:
- Feminine sizes: 00, 0, 2, 4, XXS, XS, S
- Masculine sizes: 30-34 pants, especially long lengths; jackets and suits 34-40; shirts 14, 14.5, 15, 15.5
- Please do not bring casual or social attire, and please do not bring stained or damaged items.
How to schedule a donation:
- Call our office in advance to schedule a drop-off time. We have a convenient location where you can bring your vehicle IF we know your arrival time. After your speak with us to schedule your delivery, we will email you with precise instructions on where you can bring your vehicle.
- More about how to donate at Career Outfitters on Facebook.
- This program launched in 2013, beginning with several months of collecting donated items for students.
- Starting in 2013-2014, we held Career Outfitters as a shopping event once each academic year. We had one exception in 2018-2019 when we held shopping dates in both August 2018 and February 2019.
- 2019-2020 was our seventh academic year of holding an event to offer free professional attire to students through Career Outfitters; it was held in early spring semester, on January 31, 2020.
- For the 2020-2021 year, safety requirements made large in-person events impossible, and our advising contacts were held by Zoom or phone.
- In planning for 2021-2022, we redesigned Career Outfitters as a clothing closet, open throughout the year, for students to try on clothing by appointment (and not be limited to a one-time event with a long waiting line). We believe this expands access and opportunity for our Virginia Tech students, and is responsive to ongoing needs.
- For all the years we have offered this service, we are grateful to all who have donated clothing, and we thank the many volunteers, both students and university employees, who have helped make it possible for us to have given away thousands of clothing items to Virginia Tech students.