On Saturday, March 28, in Detroit, Michigan, 137 high school age young men were encouraged and outfitted for success at the day long, and 10th annual, Project Pinstripe event. Everybody won that day. And the odds that the winning will continue were greatly increased for all who participated because of what they came away with.
Each young man was given a suit, tailored to fit, and a coordinating shirt and tie. “Project Pinstripe outfits young men who want to look good but don’t always have the means to do so with quality career clothing — gently used suits, dress shirts, and ties – donated by Tom James Co., clients, and other area professionals,” says Sue Voyles, spokeswoman for Project Pinstripe. Professionals from the Southfield office of Tom James, including the local coordinator of Project Pinstripe, Rob Wachler, did all of the measuring and fitting. “Looking good is only one part of it”, said Mr. Wachler. “We want to impact these young men and their confidence levels,”
Tom James clothiers were joined by members of the Detroit A.M. Rotary Club and Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity (Gamma Lambda Chapter) as they volunteered their time to sort and display the clothing to create an atmosphere similar to a fine men’s store. Once the clothing was selected for each young man they were professionally tailored and prepared for the new owner by Huntington Cleaners.
In addition to the clothing, the day included mentoring and coaching for interviewing and networking, and a catered lunch. More sage coaching and advice on ways to make a positive first impression was offered by the annual emcee, and local Tom James haberdasher, Damon W. Perry.
My favorite comment from the day (As quoted in the Detroit Free Press), DaRon Burgess, 18, of Harper Woods and a senior at Cousino High School in Warren, said, “I learned it’s not all about grades on paper,” he said. “It’s about how you present yourself to other people.”
As recounted by Karen Dybis, writing for Corp Magazine, “We try to do it every year in the spring, so the kids get their clothing before graduations. We’ve added new elements every year to keep it fresh and relevant,” said Mr. Wachler. (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Oh, and if you need some tips on how to shine your shoes, just ask Damon!