Exclusive Suit-Up event goes virtual for students, UH community - University of Houston
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July 21, 2022

It’s time again for Coogs to Suit Up!

The biannual JCPenney Suit-Up event will be held virtually this year, but students, faculty, staff and alumni can still save 30 percent off regular and sales items on professional attire, including clothing, accessories, and shoes.

Held exclusively for the UH community since the 2017 spring semester, the Suit-Up event began when University Career Services partnered with JCPenney to provide this deep discount as a larger campaign by the company to encourage students to dress for success.

Monica Thompson, director of University Career Services, said this virtual event will help students find professional attire as they interview for jobs, particularly as the department’s Career Closet — which offers low-cost professional attire rentals to students — remains closed due to the pandemic.

This year’s JCPenney Suit-Up event will be held from noon to midnight on Sunday, January 31. To attend, students, alumni, faculty and staff must RSVP online by 11:30 a.m. on January 31, and the website link to shop and digital discount code will be emailed to those who signed up at noon that same day.

Even when interviewing for a job virtually, students need to look the part, Thompson said.

“While virtual events are held on Zoom, TEAMS, and Cougar Pathway, employers still expect students and alumni to dress professionally for interviews, career mixers, and career fairs,” she said. “We want students to look their best, make a good first impression online and engage with employers with confidence. I believe continuing to partner with JCPenney and adapting the exclusive program during the pandemic is beneficial to our students and the Cougar community.”

Since it began, the Suit Up sale has been very popular with the UH community, with 500-950 people taking advantage of the discounts at each event. Typically, 85 percent of those are students.

“JCPenney is committed to helping students look and feel their best as they embark on their career journeys,” said Nicole McNiel, senior specialist of store events for JCPenney. “We know it can be difficult to find appropriate and affordable career clothing that is also stylish, so we are delighted to assist UH students at our annual Suit-Up event.”

Held both in the spring and fall semesters, the Suit-Up event is also held at several other institutions across the country. University Career Services has been exploring how to expand the program to other retailers, but for now, UH happily continues to partner with JCPenney.

“I get so excited every semester when we start preparing for this event,” said Caitlin Deis, assistant director of employer development and relations at UCS. “Over the past couple of years, I have directly seen students, alumni, faculty and staff save hundreds of dollars! It’s rewarding to be able to provide this event to our community and help them start or continue their professional wardrobe. I believe wearing professional attire, like a suit, can make someone feel more confident in themselves and spark excitement for their next step.”

The event has been well received by participants. Yonelly Gutierrez, who is a program manager in UH’s department of educational leadership and policy studies, said she took advantage of the discount her last semester at the University of Houston when earning her M.Ed. in 2019. The discount event was a blessing, she said.

“I had little-to-no business casual attire for my new role as a staff member at the University of Houston,” she said. “I was able to get several outfits and professional blazers at a discounted rate. This thrifty gal loves saving money! There would have been no way that I could afford several business attires at the normal markup.”

Because of the pandemic, there will be no in-store option this year, and the digital discount code will only work for online purchases.

For additional information, please contact Caitlin Deis at 713-743-5100 or visit uh.edu/ucs.

About University Career Services: University Career Services is a full-service career center offering students and UH alumni resources and assistance in the formulation and implementation of their career plans. Housed in the Division of Student Affairs and Enrollment Services, University Career Services provides opportunities for potential employers to find the best and brightest across all disciplines for their respective organizations.