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Dull and vibrant, alike, surface at career fair

Students should learn to use fashion to grab employers' attention

The Battalion

Published: Thursday, February 9, 2012

Updated: Wednesday, July 25, 2012 21:07


Jason Syptak — THE BATTALION

Savannah Smith, marketing master's candidate, turned heads in Wehner building on Tuesday with an eye-catching outfit.

Students flocked to Mays Business School on Tuesday and Wednesday, clutching their portfolios and resumes for the Business Student Council Career Fair. Sleek, sharp and shiny business suits were worn as if Texas A&M University's west side of campus was throwing together its own fashion week, similar to the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week that commenced yesterday.

The building was jam-packed with Aggies promoting themselves to company representatives, hoping to land a job as graduation swiftly approaches. Finding it difficult to walk through the crowd, I enjoyed setting up camp — with my Kenneth Cole messenger bag and camera — to inquisitively watch passers-by. "Presentation is key for success," I thought, and there was — ultimately — a good mixture of outfits both good and bad.

The Texas A&M Career Center website states, "Different companies and industries have different norms in regard to business dress."

I completely agree.

With that said, most companies at the career fair were in industries primarily recruiting accounting, finance, supply chain management or information systems majors. Naturally, these companies fancy dark- and warm-colored tones.

It's too bad there weren't any fashion designers or magazines recruiting at Texas A&M. Savannah Smith, Class of 2009 and a marketing master's candidate, would have landed a position within the fashion industry in a heartbeat.

Spicing up the halls of Texas A&M's Wehner building with color, Smith impressively wore a magenta jacket from Forever21 with a multi-colored shirt underneath. Her royal blue skirt from J. Crew was a solid investment that matched elegantly with her black Gianni Bini boots. She wasn't in search for a job, though; she is the creative manager at the George Bush Presidential Library and Museum. Her job title fluidly matched with her style.

"Dressing up, with my own flair, gives me the confidence and energy to tackle each day full force," Smith said. "I like to bring a little color and funk to the business world that is so dominated by classic black and white."

The career fair also showcased Aggies who dressed sophisticatedly in perfectly-fitted suit jackets — with slacks (for guys) or skirts (for girls). It put a smile on my face to know they were confident in their appearance as they filled the area with strong vibes. The number fitting this description, however, was quite small.

Most guys wore extra-baggy slacks combined with suit jackets that made them look like they were adolescents wearing a six-foot-something football player's jacket. Maybe that is they look they were going for, but it definitely failed to be form-fitting.

Guys: Perhaps you're wishing to not be suffocated in a suit (I mean, who wants that anyway?), but aim to find a suit that doesn't ruffle and fly in the wind as you walk. It's okay for one's form to be noticed through clothing. Invest in a suit that maintains structure and is form-fitting … agrees.

Because we are in college, we can be realistic in terms of value, suit cost and quality. Of course we (as in me, too) aren't going to be able to afford a three-piece luxury suit. I don't have $2,000 cash at a moment's disposal. Do you? (If so, perhaps we can split the cost.) But a trip to the local tailor can help a ton and save a wad of cash or a swipe on our plastic cards. Don't know of a tailor? Google it.

Fashion is subjective. Plain and simple. Every perspective from which we come will influence what we deem as "fashionable" or "stylish," and that's OK. Don't be afraid to flair-up your outfit by wearing a fitted, dark-colored suit matched with a popping-colored tie (for guys) or a blouse (for girls). As a good rule of thumb, wear a color that compliments your eyes. That is, if you're a guy or girl with blue eyes, wear a light-blue clothing article that sets you apart from the blacks, whites and grays.

Wear form-fitting attire with a splash of color-contrasting accessories (i.e., tie or blouse) that amplifies your resume and speech skills. It will make for an even more effective impression. 

To those who made an extra effort in adding your own style and flare to your business get-up, I commend you. We don't have to dress as colorful as Smith, but be different. She did. She made her outfit work and owned it.

"Fashion is a more mainstream version of art," Smith said. "It's one way to express my creativity every day."

Jason Syptak is a senior marketing major and The Battalion's style spectator.

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