By Michelle Price
UCBJ Managing Editor
COOKEVILLE – Cigi’s is hosting a clothing drive to benefit the TTU College of Business Clothes Closet through Nov. 16. The COB Clothes Closet is accepting current professional and semi-casual business attire in all sizes but there is a special need for smaller and larger size clothing for both men and women.
The Clothes Closet was started years ago with an endowment from an alumnus who understood that most college students don’t have access to the variety of business attire required by the multitude of events offered each year at TTU.
“We have a busy fall coming up,” explained Dr. Susan Wells. “The Career Fair is Oct. 30, Fall Celebration is Nov. 15 and the Women’s Conference is Nov. 16. A lot of the students, especially the girls, need three outfits within a little over two weeks. It’s going to be a challenge to make sure that we have enough clothes and to make sure that everybody knows what is up there.”
The Clothes Closet works like a library for clothing. You check it out, you wear it, dry clean it and return it. Students either drop in or schedule an appointment online.
One of the Clothes Closet “stylists” will meet the student and assist them in finding just the right clothes for their event, body type and personality. Everything is available there from the clothes to shoes and accessories.
“It’s really fun,” said Kylie Scruggs, a student who works as a stylist with the Clothes Closet. “Students will show up and say, ‘I have no idea what I need but I have an interview and just give me clothes.’ I haven’t had a background sizing people but I can just tell what they need for their particular event, interview or a dinner and just pick depending on their personality. It’s really cool having an extensive selection of clothes that we can pick from. You don’t just have to give someone a black blazer, a white top and black pants. You can tailor it to what they need but also tailor it to their personality. I really enjoy that a lot.”
Josh Poplar, MBA student and football player added, “It’s a great resource especially for the younger students, the freshmen and sophomores. They have never had an interview and don’t have a coat and tie, so to speak.
“It’s a great advantage even now. There’s some things I might need that I don’t have, such as a certain color tie that I want to match, like a navy tie or a grey coat. I can come in, check it out and then get it dry cleaned. It’s a good asset not only to borrow clothes for an interview but to switch your style up.”
As a student athlete, Poplar is required to wear a suit before each game and, as he explained, you’ve got to stand out from time to time.
“This is a good resource for all students,” Poplar emphasized. “A lot of these clothes are really expensive. I know as a college student that I don’t have $300 to go buy a suit. I also know that, in the past, students would be deterred from going to events because they couldn’t go get a suit, so they wouldn’t attend an event because it was business professional. Having the business closet as an asset has really helped allow more people of all backgrounds to be able to go and participate and get that proper education in the business professional world.”
Students clothing options have changed considerably over the past decade.
“One thing we’ve noticed is that kids don’t have church clothes anymore,” said Wells. “With church now, almost anything goes anymore so they don’t have that suit or that dress-up professional dress.”
“We don’t ever want to have to turn a student away,” stated Cheryl Montgomery, COB director of development. “Our goal is to serve every student who knocks on the door or goes online to schedule an appointment.”
Cigi England, owner of Cigi’s, was so impressed with the Clothes Closet that she offered to spearhead this clothing drive. Clothing can be dropped off at her boutique located at 410 E. Spring St., Cookeville. As an added incentive, she is offering one voucher worth 30 percent off any one item to each donor.
England has even reached out to her friends attending the Atlanta Market asking them to bring any donations to her during the fall show.
A video with more information and a peek into the Clothes Closet can be found here: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1af2O1cCbYzI2bbiEIU1uOk5Px3h0Ftfa/view?fbclid=IwAR0K-7ff8WFapych4Q8mGymbYTH-zpvodUEUFaRdQHx2kZXnXbgHzoR7wXU.