Men who can’t afford to buy the clothes they need to land a job now have a way to get suited up. A new organization, Suits his Style, connects male employment seekers with new and used professional attire.
West Wellington area resident, Emily Brown, saw the need for a service that would outfit men who are in employment and related programs at Ottawa agencies and are heading to job interviews. Brown manages Dress for Success Ottawa, the Wellington West-based affiliate of an international organization that provides professional clothing to women on low incomes.
“I get calls and emails weekly and daily saying ‘what about men?’” says Brown. “I kept thinking to myself, someone needs to start a program for men.”
Suits his Style is a perfect fit for Brown, a registered social worker who works with women’s organizations, a fashion blogger who shares tips on “affordable elegance” at Tinfoil Tiaras (tinfoilstiaras.blogspot.ca) and a part-time employee at Wellington West clothing store, Twiss & Weber.
Brown talked the concept over with Scott McNaughton, a policy analyst with the federal government; Malorie Bertrand, a communications officer who writes on sustainable fashion at EF Magazine; and Lindsay Forcellini, a marketing and communications manager who also lives in the neighbourhood. Another area resident, Nadir Patel, and Jennifer Graham, both public servants, and menswear shop l’HEXAGONE co-owner Yannick Beauvalet also jumped in to help.
“We’re all coming together as a group, and we’re really excited about the momentum so far,” says Brown.
The co-founders met last October, set up a Suits his Style Facebook page and Twitter account (@SuitshisStyle), and will launch a website. They’re collecting clothing donations for the soon-to-be-non-profit, and hope to be serving clients by the end of April.
What Suits his Style doesn’t have yet is a place to meet clients and store the clothing. “We’re hoping to obtain some donated community space,” explains Brown.
Brown describes Suits his Style as a warm and welcoming environment where volunteer “personal shoppers” will help clients find attire that will help them look and feel their best.
“The right fit and the right clothes can make all the difference in confidence,” says Brown, noting that affordable and fun clothes have helped her through rough spots in her own life.
“A great outfit to wear to the interview—maybe that means that they made a great first impression, they’re getting the job. That trickles down into the community—they’re working, they’re supporting their family—so that trickle-down effect is what we’re really hoping to see.”
Suits his Style accepts newer and classic two-piece suits, jackets, dress pants, dress shirts, shoes, ties, accessories and unused toiletries. Donations can be dropped off at 125 Spencer St. on the first Friday of every month from 1:00 p.m.-3:00 p.m., the second Wednesday of each month from 6:00 p.m.-8:00 p.m. and the third and fourth Sundays of the month from 6:00 p.m.-8:00 p.m. Suits his Style is also looking for male and female volunteers to take on the role of personal shoppers.
Before making a donation…
Ask yourself: Would I wear these clothes to a professional job interview? Would I hire someone wearing these clothes to a professional job interview?
Donations of clean, new or gently used, ready-to-wear, modern, professional menswear are needed, including:
- Two-piece suits
- Suit jackets
- Dress pants
- Dress shirts
- Professional cardigans and sweaters
- Outerwear (including trench coats, winter jackets)
- Dress shoes
- Trouser socks
- New and unopened toiletries and grooming products
All donations should be dry cleaned or laundered and donated on hangers, or neatly folded in large shopping bags or reusable bags.
Suits his Style cannot accept:
- Any item in need of repair
- Clothing with stains
- Scuffed shoes
- Casual clothing and footwear including sweatshirts, sweatpants, running shoes, bathrobes and sleepwear
- Household goods and bedding
- Used undergarments
- Opened/used hygiene and grooming products
February drop-off dates are:
- Friday, February 7: 1:00 p.m.-3:00 p.m.
- Wednesday, February 12: 6:00 p.m.-8:00 p.m.
- Sunday, February 16: 6:00 p.m.-8:00 p.m.
- Sunday, February 23: 6:00 p.m.-8:00 p.m.
Clothing can be dropped off at 125 Spencer Street (at Caroline, just west of Holland Avenue).
Suits his Style is also accepting applications from prospective volunteers, male or female, to assist clients as personal shoppers. To volunteer or to arrange other drop-off times, email SuitshisStyle@gmail.com.