MSSU seeking professional attire, accessories for annual Dress to Impress | Local News

The business clothes in your closet that you don’t wear or have outgrown could help Missouri Southern State University students and alumni build the wardrobe they need to prepare for their careers.

MSSU’s ninth annual Dress to Impress event, which offers free professional clothing to students and alumni, is seeking donations of lightly used professional attire including clothes, accessories and shoes for men and women.

Donations can be dropped off from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on campus at Hearnes Hall in Room 308 through Friday. Alex Gandy, director of MSSU’s career services, said all kinds of clothing are needed.

“Whether that’s suits, pants, blouses, dresses, button-up shirts, shoes — we’ll take the whole nine yards,” he said. “We do tend to run out of men’s suits.”

The Dress to Impress program was established by MSSU’s career services office and Alumni Association in conjunction with the Joplin Area Chamber of Commerce’s Young Professionals Network.

More than 2,600 MSSU students and alumni have benefited from the event, which is expected to have another large turnout this year.

“We will give away somewhere between 2,500 to 3,000 articles of clothing in one single day,” Gandy said. “We’ll see students attending our spring career fair and they’re wearing the professional clothes that they picked up from Dress to Impress. They’re feeling more confident and are able to be themselves.”

MSSU’s career services office began sponsoring the annual Dress to Impress program nine years ago to give students access to the tools that they’ll need to succeed in the workforce.

Gandy said the program typically serves an estimated 400 students annually during the one-day event, and organizers hope to attract as many this year.

“It will help prepare them for a job interview, an internship or they’re graduating in May and preparing for their first career job,” he said. “We want to help students feel confident about their wardrobe. We all know that phrase, ‘When you look good, you feel good.’ We want students to look good and feel good about themselves without having to worry about spending $300 to $500 in professional clothes.”

The event is slated from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday, March 8, in the Billingsly Student Center’s Connor Ballroom, which is on the third floor. Gandy said volunteers are needed to help work the event or set up.

For more information or to sign up to volunteer, visit

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