The saying goes that the clothes make the man, and seeing before and afters of men wearing street clothes versus suits definitely proves the adage correct. Even if you think that what you wear (or see others wearing) doesn’t affect perception, these pictures can leave no doubt that we’re influenced by what people are wearing.
For men who have come out the other side of imprisonment or addiction, what they’re wearing out on job interviews is important to two reasons – for the image they present and because of its effect on their own confidence. That’s why non-profit Sharp Dressed Man, an alliance between the Baltimore Fashion Alliance and the Living Classrooms Foundation founded in 2011, custom designs suits for men re-entering the workforce. Normally, they cost upwards of $3,000.
Christopher Schafer, the tailor and founder of the group, collections donated high-end suits from clients and locals and then, on Wednesdays, men come in for a fitting, haircut, and a hot meal. He’s battled addiction himself and knows the meaning of a second chance – and the importance of getting it right.
“I really think that the biggest thing, though, is a guy gets treated with respect. And some of these guys have not been. They have not treated themselves with respect, nor have they been treated with respect,” he told PBS.
Since 2011, Sharp Dressed Man has also established connections with dozens of job agencies, instituted a referral process, and is always looking for ways to expand and better help their clients. A fire in 2016 set them back but they’re still in business and rebuilding thanks to the generosity of the community.
Below, check out 15 of their fabulous, heartfelt, and spiffy transitions!