Campus & Community

Business students learn to look dapper at annual ‘Dress Code’ fashion show

A business student models at the "Dress Code" event.

A business student models at the “Dress Code” event.

On a cool fall evening in October, more than 30 undergraduate DU business students received coaching in one of the least-taught but most-important business skills: how to dress appropriately for interviewing and for holding down the all-important first job.

The fifth annual “Dress Code” fashion show, hosted by the Daniels College of Business, featured faculty, staff and student models who were willing to be critiqued in public. The Daniels Office of Undergraduate Programs designs the annual Dress Code event as a fun way for business students to interact with their professors outside of the classroom.

“We want students to come out of DU knowing how to run a business and how to look business savvy too,” says Karen Hodel, coordinator of co-curricular programs at Daniels. “We have some well-dressed faculty and staff at DU who take pride in their appearance, so it’s nice to show them off a bit.”

For the occasion, Hodel brought in David Casados and Amy Kauffman from a local Nordstrom department store to serve as “dress coaches” for business-casual, interview and cocktail-hour settings. The coaches pointed out nuanced approaches for selecting clothing combinations that can be tailored for a variety of professional situations.

“Building your professional brand is happening all the time,” Casados says. “From the moment you get to work until the time you get home, you are presenting yourself. Looking ‘put together’ helps your professional growth in so many ways.”

Students in the audience asked questions throughout, such as: What fashion rules are inviolable? What kinds of jeans are appropriate in business settings? And how does one build a professional-looking wardrobe on a budget?

“Find what professional attire fits you and your job, and never stop taking pride in how you’re presenting yourself. Your first job can become your career,” Casados said.

At the end of the evening, students enjoyed a networking reception and the opportunity to mingle with the Nordstrom representatives and DU professors.

“I loved seeing the fabulous fashion looks on all of the models,” says Cheri Young, associate professor of hospitality management. “I participated this year because I wanted to show students how to look good without spending a ton of money. My outfit was purchased from Goodwill for $10.99.”


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