Talk of bras and parachute jumpsuits replaced the usual Wall Street chatter in Huntsman Hall Tuesday night.
Wharton Women held one of their most popular annual events, Dressing for Success, to raise money for the charity Career Wardrobe and to educate Penn students on appropriate business attire.
The crowd of 150 received the chance to participate in three panels, including one hosted by J. Crew, where personal stylist Jerrel Hurst gave fashion advice for dressing professionally while staying stylish.
“There’s more you can do than just wear all black. Color shows personality,” Hurst said, draping trendy necklaces and scarves on models.
Wharton sophomore Jasmine Kriston, one of the event’s organizers, estimated the event raised about $800 for Career Wardrobe, in addition to the donations from J. Crew, Glamour, and Bean’s Beauty.
All funds went to “empower women in transition to the workplace,” according to Career Wardrobe representative Molly McAndrew. “We teach them what they need to know to get a job and keep a job.”
Hurst also gave advice on how to follow appropriate dress codes for different work environments. For example, open-toed shoes are frowned upon on Wall Street and some workplaces might ban perfume.
Nearby, makeup artists and hairdressers demonstrated their techniques live for the audience. They emphasized the importance of simplicity. “Less is more when it comes to makeup,” one of the two makeup artists said. They also showed how to transition a look from day to night.
The keynote speaker, 1986 College graduate and Glamour Magazine Beauty Editor Andrea Pomerantz Lustig followed the panel speakers. She spoke about her recently published book “How to Look Expensive,” which was named one of the best books for personal finance by The Washington Post.
“If you invest in yourself, it’s bound to pay off,” she said. “If you look good, you’ll feel good. And if you feel good, you make good things happen for yourself.”
Lustig also gave advice about how clothes affect perception in the workplace. “Dress for the job you want, not the job you have.” She reminded the audience to remember “you’re not dressing for the club. You want your words to matter, not what you’re wearing.”
Many students were introduced to important aspects of professional life not usually covered in class. “I realize I need a totally different wardrobe for work,” Wharton freshman Christabel Lorenzo said.
The evening concluded with a raffle of prizes donated by local businesses, such as a $100 Anthropologie gift card. Local boutique Aoki put on a fashion show with Penn students as models, presenting attractive styles for different body types.
Attendees left the eventwith gift bags from Glamour and a final thought from Lustig.
“Your wardrobe and your hair and makeup and your beauty routine are powerful tools to make you feel confident,” she said. “[It gives] you the power to help you go after whatever it is you want in life.”