Good advice for college students

Courtney Glorioso is an Assistant Store Leader at Dressbarn in Staten Island, NY. She received her B.B.A. at LIM College in 2008 for Fashion Merchandising and was a Dean’s List graduate. In her 10 + years experience in the fashion retail world Courtney has achieved a variety of accomplishment s. She took on a temporary roll as Store Leader increasing the customer experience according to the company CSAT scores by over 10%. Her strong leadership role and inspiration aided in the promotion of multiple colleagues. She is currently being considered to run Dressbarn’s first ever test store for the company’s future and new branding tactics in downtown Broadway, Manhattan. Her long term goals include migrating to corporate careers such as product development and styling. Today she is honored to be a part of Admitopia. She can be contacted at [email protected]

The fashion industry is by far the most interesting and continuously changing industry with constant opportunity for education. My story began with initially thinking I would establish a career in music. I grew up singing and developed dreams for stardom in early adulthood. For me music was the ultimate form of therapy and self expression. My first year of college at Shenendoah University was one of the most devastating years of my life when I was diagnosed with vocal nodules. For a singer this was a worse diagnosis than cancer. The same year I came out and my first 2 college years were filled with depression and constant soul searching. While working at a local boutique in my hometown my boss had a conversation with me about my talents for styling and my business savvy mind. My boss served as an internship source for LIM College in New York City where she recommended I continue my education and blossom in the fashion industry. Considering I had been kicked out of 2 colleges with a G.P.A. of under 1, I wasn’t sure if I stood a chance. Thankfully, I had the support of my boss and my family who encouraged me to put my best efforts forward. I submitted my application which required an essay expressing my passion and my story. I had to explain my embarrassing G.P.A. and why I will make a difference this time around. In my interview I had to explain this situation even further. To my surprise and most sincere gratitude I was accepted on probation. This was truly my second chance at life, my career and at making the difference in this world I knew I was destined to make. I was determined to let this opportunity change my life and soar.
Upon my arrival into LIM I couldn’t help but notice my fellow students’ styles. Everyone was so unique and artsy and took so many fashion risks from hair color choices to shoes to color and print mixes that I would have never thought could possibly work. Although inspired by these looks, I couldn’t really experiment with any of them for I was horizontally challenged. At 5’1 and 190lbs there were only so many fashion risks I could take. It was then that I knew that while changing my life in terms of pulling my career together, I knew I had to change my body to allow fashion to fully be a source of self expression. I was determined to utilize my first fashion challenge and take a good hard look at how I was presenting myself in my current shell. I soaked up knowledge from Marie Claire magazine, styling classes, fashion history and fellow students. I learned how fabric rouching can hide unwanted bulge and create desired curves, showing too much cleavage doesn’t draw the eye away from the belly but rather can look trashy, layering in various ways accentuates shape while hiding “sins” and that patterns camouflage and create an illusion of thinness more so than solids. But my most delightful and useful discovery was to learn that the two most important things are fit and fabric. Years later after graduating (with a 3.8 G.P.A. this time) I’ve realized after losing 65lbs that any weight can wear almost any color and any pattern but fabric choice is important and fit is absolutely crucial to portraying fashion excellence and class.
For me fashion was my second chance. The day I fell in love with this industry I hadn’t realized how similar it is to my first love, music. It’s therapeutic in so many ways. I’ve built my career in retail management and although I long to bring my career behind the scenes into corporate, the most enjoyable aspect of my everyday job is inspiring others. I make a difference everyday when women come in feeling ugly because they’ve gained weight as they’ve aged or had children. I challenge them to try on the things they never would try on. I tell them with all compassion in my heart to trust me, and I will not let them walk out the door without feeling fabulous. One woman said to me, “I haven’t felt fabulous since my honeymoon.” At the end of her session with me, she was dolled up in the dress, the shoes, the accessories and my make-up advice and she was in tears. She said she never knew she can embrace this body and truly feel pretty. It was that moment I knew fashion has the power to change our entire outlook on ourselves and life. To me this is one of the purest forms of therapy. She came back the following week with pictures of herself at the event all done up (even in the make-up I had advised) and she was truly breath taking. This was not the same woman that came into my store a week ago. She walked in, in one of her casual everyday outfits I also sold her, confident and courageous. She learned through me not only can she be fabulous at a fancy party, but in everyday life too.
We all deserve second chances in how we see ourselves. And just remember in the words of the infamous and most revolutionary woman in fashion history Coco Chanel, “Every day is a fashion show, and the world is the runway.”

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