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Get Interview-Ready with Smokey’s Closet

We are in the middle of the semester, but you may already be planning for when the semester is over. For some, that means graduation and starting your career. For others, that means finding the perfect internship or summer job. Either way, being prepared for job interviews includes the perfect interview outfit. And that’s where Smokey’s Closet is here to help!

Smokey’s Closet allows students to shop, pick out, and take home gently used business professional clothes for free. Newly opened on the third floor of the Student Union, Smokey’s Closet is here to help you look your best for your next big interview or class presentation!

“First impressions matter especially in interviews,” said Mary Mahoney, senior assistant director-Center for Career Development & Academic Exploration. “Often it is your first opportunity to present yourself as a candidate for a job and you want to make a good impression – whether in person or online. Even though attire, once you get the job, may not be as professional on a day-to-day basis the interview/first impression shows you are taking it seriously and understand being professional.”

When Courtney Gibson realized she didn’t have what she needed in her own closet for an upcoming career fair, she headed over to Smokey’s Closet. “Sophomore year I attended my first career fair. In preparation, I realized I did not have many options in my closet. The goal was to look professional and stand out from other attendees, yet not spend my money on clothing I did not wear often.” Since then the junior public relations major has been able to find other pieces to add to her wardrobe, such as suits, blouses, and shoes, often leaving with more items than originally planned!

When students first arrive at Smokey’s Closet, they’ll be greeted by a great team, like closet volunteer Patricia Perry. Patricia first got involved in the closet after volunteering with a retail organization on campus called National Retail Federation Student Association and loves to help her fellow students find items for their next job interview, class presentation, or job fair.

“My favorite part of working in Smokey’s Closet is seeing the joy on students’ faces when they find what works for them,” said Patricia, junior. “As a Retail and Consumer Sciences Major, my main objective is to provide a solution to the consumer’s problem. As a student, I personally know the difficulty in finding professional outfits that are affordable. Having a place like Smokey’s Closet is a relief and I am confident in all it represents to be a means of help to each student it serves.”

Interview Outfit Tips
Students should look for clothing that compliments their body, fits well but not too tight or loose. In most cases more subdued colors for suits or dresses but it’s ok to have a pop of color with shirts, ties or subtle accessories. Shoes should be polished, and heels/pumps should be about 1 inch in height max. Jewelry/accessories can help complete an outfit but shouldn’t be the focus, meaning not too large or flashy.

-Mary Mahoney, senior assistant director-Center for Career Development & Academic Exploration

“I would definitely recommend Smokey’s Closet to other University of Tennessee students,” said Courtney. “Here, students are able to find a variety of professional attire, and if needed great advice. I would also recommend that even if you don’t have a specific event to prepare for to still take a visit.”

Get Involved in Smokey’s Closet and Donating

Smokeys’ Closet is always looking for support from the UT community, whether that be volunteering or donating your own gently used professional clothing! If you’re looking to get involved in Smokey’s Closet and helping out your fellow Vols, send an email to!

If you want to donate clothing, it can be dropped off on Tuesdays between 3–5 p.m. or Fridays from 11 a.m.–2 p.m. Please email in advance if you wish to donate. We will give you directions to our building and meet you at your car to get the items.