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University of Missouri


Missouri Students Association opens Truman’s closet, a free business attire lending program.


When Sean Joy was a freshman, he had one suit, one shirt and two ties.

And my ties were already tied for me because I didn’t know how to tie a tie,” Joy admits.

The occupational therapy graduate student from Oswego, Ill., is now founder of Truman’s Closet, a program run by the Missouri Students Association (MSA) that lends business attire to students, faculty and staff free of charge.

There are students who might be able to afford a suit and just don’t know what to get, maybe they only need it one time, or maybe they just need a tie, but there are also students on campus who need Truman’s Closet because of financial reasons,” says Joy, former director of student services for MSA. “We want to be able to offer those things to all students.”

Truman’s Closet has served 30 students since it opened its doors in the Rock Quarry Center Oct. 1, 2013. The inventory, which comes from donations, features a lot of business casual black and gold, or BCBG as Kathleen Kowalsky likes to call it.

The sophomore textile and apparel management major from Castle Rock, Colo., has a fashion passion that makes her well‐suited for the role of Truman’s Closet’s executive coordinator.

I want anyone to be able to walk outside and be proud and comfortable in what they’re wearing,” Kowalsky says. “That’s the very first impression anyone gets of you regardless of what they know about you.”

To help ensure that first impression is a good one, Truman’s Closet also partners with other campus organizations, including the MU Career Center and the Professional Development Program in the Trulaske College of Business, to work with clients on professional etiquette and interview skills.

Kowalsky hopes eventually to expand the closet’s offerings to include everyday wear.

Staffed by 12 student volunteers, Truman’s Closet is open Sundays from 2:30 to 5 p.m., Tuesdays from 9 a.m. to noon and Thursdays from 3 to 6 p.m.