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Gayle's Closet helps students dress for success in memory of local woman

Gayle's Closet collects professional clothing for Bryant & Stratton students, to help make the best first impression as they interview to take on the real world.

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — Every year, there are a number of students at Bryant & Stratton College who could use a sharp-looking blazer or a nice dress to wear to a job interview, to make them feel confident and be able to focus on other parts of the job process.

Gayle's Closet helps with just that. 

It was named after a local woman, Gayle Harrell. Her son, Eric, donated her clothes after her passing in 2018 to Bryant & Stratton College's Career Center. 

"She had an affinity for fashion," said Eric. "She loved dressing...and if they also knew my mom, they'd know she liked to help others." 

Known as a person who always loved giving back to her community by working in several programs to help those in need, Eric said his mother would've loved this gesture.

"I know my mom would've loved it - to know that her apparel was going to help others feel good about themselves, and get the jobs to start careers that they wanted," said Eric.

Bryant & Stratton College's Virginia Beach Career Center manager, Alex Pircer, runs the closet donation collection. 

She said she's seen students feel relieved when they find a nice piece of clothing to help them look sharp for their interview.

"It's a lot more difficult to find clothes for that special moment, that special day. We want to make sure that it's right, so the donations that have come in have really helpful to make sure that we have interview-ready clothing for our students when that special moment comes," Pircer explained.

Pircer says they look for new clothes, or gently-used items, to collect for the closet. 

They collect year-round, but she said this time of year is important, with students getting ready to graduate and enter the real world.

If you'd like to donate, you can drop off your clothing items at the college's Virginia Beach location.