BALTIMORE (WMAR) — Sharp Dressed Man is open every Wednesday, suiting up men who have referrals from partners like Our Daily Bread, United Way and local colleges and technical schools. But next Wednesday, December 19, it’s first come first served, no referral needed. You just show up and get what you need, and for many, it ends up being a lot more than just a suit.
“It just brings joy, brings joy to my heart. It brings joy to my heart for real, you see me smiling,” Howard Green said.
Today was Green’s first time at Sharp Dressed Man, located in Old Town Mall. He says he will use his new suit for church and job interviews.
“It’s really amazing. They take the time to fit it and make sure it’s right,” Green said.
Christopher Schafer started it years ago to help people get ready for job interviews. It’s grown every year. So far this year, they’ve given out 1,700 suits and the city’s Mobile Workforce Center often stops by.
“Within the course of two hours of his life, showing up, getting suited up, walking out with a suit and going out and applying for a job could really turn his whole life around,” Schafer said.
He says it’s a lot of work keeping it going, on top of running his own business, but he says it’s worth it.
“It’s takes a fair bit of my energy to do this but I’m a guy who turned my own life around so the more people I help, it just perpetuates this new life for me,” Schafer said. “It’s pretty powerful. It keeps it all in perspective for me.”
Usually it’s referral only, but next Wednesday is the annual Holiday Suit Giveaway. From 9-5, they will suit up as many as they can. No questions asked. No referral needed.
“We just ask when people get here that they have some patience and they work with us because we work with everyone one at a time,” Schafer said.
Last year, they gave out over 400 suits during the event and he says they’re prepared for those numbers again this year, with a fully stocked first floor and racks of overflow on the second floor.
“They take away the discomfort of not having financials,” Henry Taliaferro said.
Taliaferro has been to the shop before and today, he came to get a suit for his wedding in a few weeks.
“I think she’ll say yes,” he said, admiring his suit in the mirror. ”It’s way more than a suit. It brings in confidence.”