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Posts Tagged ‘suits’

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Photo: Ann Hermes/Christian Science Monitor
Men in need of a suit for a funeral, say, or a job interview can get one fitted to perfection at the nonprofit Sharp Dressed Man in Baltimore and Los Angeles.

When my daughter-in-law’s parents were doing spring cleaning one year, they donated boxes of clothes in excellent condition to one of the Providence agencies where I’m an ESL volunteer. Dorcas International has many services besides English classes, and one of them is a secondhand shop that provides household goods and clothes for refugees (if you are used to Africa, you definitely need a warm coat for Rhode Island winters) and for needy residents referred by other agencies.

I was glad to learn that there are similar services in other cities.

David Karas writes at the Christian Science Monitor, “On a frigid December afternoon, Tyler Freburger is standing in front of a set of mirrors wearing a suit picked out for him by a tailor. He sorely needs the attire for a funeral later in the week.

“A homeless veteran living in Baltimore, Mr. Freburger would usually have difficulty securing such an outfit, especially one selected for him personally. But in this instance, he was referred to the nonprofit Sharp Dressed Man.

“Since 2011, the organization has been helping men improve their lives by equipping them for job interviews and other occasions with well-fitting suits and accessories. …

“ ‘It’s a blessing that they are here,’ says Freburger, who notes that the organization has treated him well and has been working to supply what he needs – something he is not accustomed to in his daily life. …

The nonprofit was founded by clothing designer Christopher Schafer, who sought to give those in need an experience more like a visit to his custom clothing shop than stopping at a warehouse. …

“[Some years ago,] When Schafer was delivering some custom suits to a client, he was handed two bags of gently worn suits in return.

“ ‘He said I spoiled him with how I made his custom suits fit, and he couldn’t wear his old suits anymore,’ Schafer says. ‘They were still very nice, and he didn’t know where to take them.’

“Schafer found a nonprofit that would accept the suits and put them to good use, but as time went on, more of his clients did the same thing. At the suggestion of a friend, he decided to launch his own nonprofit, Sharp Dressed Man. …

” ‘Since those two bags of clothes, I believe we have dressed about 7,000 people,’ Schafer says. .. ‘If you treat a guy with dignity, he has a better chance of treating himself with dignity. … It is really powerful when you see guys when they are suited up and they are kind of glowing,’ he says. …

” ‘I had a battle with drugs and alcohol for 20 years, and if I wouldn’t have changed my life, I either would have been dead or I would have been in line asking for free soup,’ he says. … ‘That’s why I do it.’ ”

More at the Christian Science Monitor, here.

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I’ve heard of nonprofits like Dress for Success that provide women with business clothes for their job search. At work, we’ve had donation drives for Dress for Success.

Recently, I read that there are similar organizations for men. NY Times reporter Rachel Swarns interviewed several men who have benefited from such organizations.

Joseph Campbell, writes Swarns, “didn’t have a suit hanging in the homeless shelter where he lives. So he arrived at a job placement agency last week in a black T-shirt, green canvas shorts and Nike boots. He had a job interview scheduled for 3:30 p.m. — his first in months — and he was itching to get going.

“But the case managers at the agency told him he had one last appointment before he headed out, for something unexpected: a fitting, and a second chance. …

“When the job counselors directed him to the Suited for Work office last week, he felt as if he had stumbled into a new world. Brand-new suit jackets from designers like Calvin Klein, Perry Ellis and Michael Kors hung from the racks. A kaleidoscope of ties beckoned. Dress shirts sat neatly stacked on the shelves, their pearly buttons calling for nimble fingers.

“Mr. Campbell had landed at one of the few nonprofits that provide jobless men with free suits and business attire. …

“With his job interview less than two hours away, the Suited for Work helpers scrambled to hem his trousers with safety pins and to replace his Nikes with a pair of wingtips.

“And then he was out the door, on the subway and arriving at his job interview right on time. The company manager, who interviewed him, offered him a part-time position on the spot, for $8 an hour.

“The two men shook hands on it and Mr. Campbell said goodbye.

“ ‘Nice suit,’ the manager said.”

More here.

Photo: Andrew Renneisen/The New York Times
Joseph Campbell, 32, deciding on a tie as he prepared for a job interview.

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