Tuesday morning , scantily clad men have been walking around Union Station as a way to bring attention to a local charity’s month long campaign drive. These almost naked men are trying to help unemployed men and women dress for success.
These men are part of the “Give The Suit Off Your Back” a suit drive sponsored by Men’s Warehouse. Throughout the month of August, all the chain’s nine hundred (900) locations will collect gently used men’s and women’s suits, shirts, jackets, ties, belts, and shoes and distribute these items to approximately five local charities around the District, including Center for Urban Families and Goodwill Industries.
We all know that when you’re going out looking for a job, you have to make a good first impression. Your resume is your spokesperson for you, and when you come in for that interview, you make that great resume out to be a liar. Given the high number of applicants who are presently competing for every available job, you have to be able to stand out.
For many returning citizens, they face not having adequate business attire needed to make that first impression count. A suit could make the difference between employment and homelessness. A suit could aid in reconnecting with family, and establishing a way of letting go of things from the past. Ultimately, a suit has the power to reduce a person’s chance to returning to prison.
“It takes more than a suit to keep a returning citizen focused on positive behavior,” Casey Williams, a D.C. resident said, “but it sure helps.”
“I am giving suits, and all the accessories that go with it,” said Louis Sawyer, Peer Advocate at University Legal Services, “pretty much and anything else I can’t fit.”
John Bower, who is a returning citizen and received navy blue, three button Calvin Klein suit two years ago from the Goodwill Industries, said, “I received a suit and that suit helped me get a job as an office clerk downtown, so I’m paying it forward by donating that suit among a couple others.”
He also said that guys who are cleaning out their closet should consider donating everything that’s business worthy. “If they are in good condition, you can donate them; and trust me, they are heavily needed,” he added.
There are a couple of national companies that you could donate your gently used suits to:
Dress for Success distributes women’s business suits and other professional clothing to women around the country. Women receive a business suit, shoes and accessories. Those who are hired receive complete work outfits.
Career Gear distributes interview and work-appropriate clothing to men. They are based in New York City but have affiliates in Houston, Texas and Washington, D.C. The Houston and D.C. locations receive donated materials.
“The National Suit Drive is a good program. The non-profit that I got my suit from said they get much of their stuff through the suit drive. The drive gave me a suit, which gives me hope,” said Wallace Johnson, a returning citizen who lives in southeast D.C.
More information is available at More information is available at www.nationalsuitdrive.com.