JCPenney and UNC Career Services hosted their first Suit Up! Event at The Streets at Southpoint on Sunday from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Tom Brenneis, store manager at JCPenney, said the event not only allows students to buy the professional attire they need at an incredible price, but also to get properly fitted for these clothes by adequately trained JCPenney employees.
This professional workshop for students consisted of multiple free professional services as well as a large discount of 40 percent on selects mens' and womens' career dress apparel. Some of the services included free professional headshots, mini makeovers, hair consultations and free food from local food trucks.
North Carolina State University and Duke University have already hosted their own Suit Up! Events with JCPenney. Brenneis said the last N.C. State Suit Up! Event attracted between 500 and 600 students, so he and his team were prepared for around 400 UNC students to come out on Sunday.
Brenneis and the JCPenney team prepared for the event by watching multiple training videos on how to properly fit mens' and womens' suits. He said he was shocked at the N.C. State Suit Up! Event to see “how many guys didn’t know how to be fitted for a suit properly.”
JCPenney is now in its second year of having these Suit Up! Events. They have successfully collaborated with colleges all around the country. According to Assistant Director of UNC Career Services Kaitlyn Bayley, it was JCPenney who first reached out to UNC Career Services about setting up a joint event.
"What we are trying to get out of this event is access to professional attire," Bayley said. "We know access to professional attire can be a hurdle to many students.”
Not only were UNC students given a 40 percent discount, but any previously existing discounts were included, meaning some merchandise was up to 80 percent off.
Bayley explained how part of her job at Career Services is helping students put their best foot forward when entering the professional world.
“When students are going out for interviews for internships and full time positions they are looking to make the best impression that they can and attire is a part of that,” Bayley said.
Senior Thomas Elliott was one of the students found shopping in the suit section on Sunday. Elliott agreed with Bayley's opinion on the importance of dressing professionally for interviews.
“I want to be able to show I care about the position," Elliott said.
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