Bloomington, IL,
08:53 AM

Focus on the Finishing Touch

Taking a time out to send happiness through kind words and creativity.

Confidence can make all the difference when interviewing for a job. And the right clothes can help you feel like you have the world at your fingertips.

That’s exactly what Christopher Schafer provides to men every Wednesday.

Christopher makes custom suits for a living in Baltimore. His passion for clothing, and the need to find an organization to donate unwanted suits, pushed him to create Sharp Dressed Man.

“I was bringing new suits to a client who had a couple bags of old clothes he didn’t want to wear because he told me I spoiled him with new custom suits. It was quite a compliment, but it came with trying to find a home for these clothes,” Christopher says.

Christopher discovered many organizations provided everything for men who were in need of a job – resume building, practice interviews and setting interview appointments – but they didn’t have the clothing to make the right first impression, so he created his own nonprofit.

“At Sharp Dressed Man, we focus on the finishing touch. Other organizations are bringing us guys going through a transformation, and we’re there to send them out the door to their interviews,” he says.

Sharp Dressed Man has suited more than 8,000 men, and is on track to dress 2,000 men this year. The men come to Sharp Dressed Man with a referral from a partnering organization. Every Wednesday at noon, Christopher sees a line of men stretching down the street. And all of them are waiting for a suit.

“We bring the guys back one at a time, working one-on-one with a stylist who measures them, sizes them and finds options. I want them to try the suits on for fit.

“If the clothes fit, we’ll give them all kinds of stuff, but they have to have clothes they want to wear and feel confident in.”

Sharp Dressed Man received a $25,000 State Farm Neighborhood Assist® Grant in 2018 to help impact more lives in their community. Part of the State Farm Neighborhood of Good® initiative, State Farm Neighborhood Assist is back for its eighth year in 2019. The program awards $25,000 grants to 40 nonprofit organizations to help fund neighborhood education, safety and community development projects.

The grant helped keep Sharp Dressed Man open.

“The grant covered our overhead costs – paying the rent and electric bill – and we got a new spot. It’s really hard to focus on trying to help people when you’re worried about paying the bills,” Christopher says. “Now, we can work on planning for the future.”

The State Farm Neighborhood Assist® voting phase runs from Aug. 14-23. During this phase, the public can vote up to 10 times a day for their favorite causes from the list of 200 finalists. The 40 causes that receive the most votes will each win a $25,000 grant. Winners will be announced Sept. 25. For a complete list of the top 200 causes or to vote for a cause, visit the Neighborhood Assist website starting August 14.