"Suit Drive" to Benefit Mid-Fairfield County's Dress for Success & Career Gear

Fairfield County Young Emerging Professionals donate dozens of work attire items to two not-for-profts focused on Helping People Get Back on their Feet and Back to Work.

Hotel Zero Degrees and McGladrey collected dozens of suits, blazers, ties, shirts, shoes and accessories for women and men Tuesday night at a community suit drive held at the hotel to support Dress for Success and Career Gear, two not-for-profit organizations, both of which assist in workforce development, helping women and men get back on their feet and back to work.

“The work apparel will help underprivileged men and women look professional and feel confident on job interviews,” said Brian Roccapriore, Director of Operations for Career Gear, an organization that facilitates job readiness, professional development and  mentoring programs.

“Being out of work or underemployed can break a man’s connection with the world around him and result in poverty, poor health, prison, lack of family cohesion and more,” said Roccapriore.  “For men who seek to better themselves against great odds, Career Gear is a lifeline of ongoing support as they make a change for the better. Surviving that crucial job interview is an important first step so we provide the supportive environment, the connections and help our clients build the confidence they need to continue down a path of personal and professional development.”

“Without donations like this, Career Resources wouldn’t be able to fulfill our mission and assist all the job seekers of Fairfield County. The clothing we received from this event is going to go directly onto the backs of those who need it most,” said Roccapriore.

Dress for Success’s mission is to promote the economic independence of disadvantaged women by providing professional attire, a network of support and the career development tools women need to also thrive in work and in life.  Dress for Success was founded in New York City in 1997 and is an international not-for-profit organization offering services designed to help women find jobs and remain employed. Each Dress for
Success client receives one suit when she has a job interview and can return for a second suit or separates when she finds work.

Matt Riccio, Real Estate Audit Manager at McGladrey in Stamford co-heads the firm’s emerging professionals group in Connecticut. “It was great to see such a terrific turnout in light of the challenging weather this week.  Our Emerging Professionals group has been focused on educating the next generation of executives on all aspects of personal branding.  It was very helpful to have access to Frank Schipani to get our questions answered plus benefit these great charities at the same time.”

Other strategic partners for this First Annual Young Professionals community “suit drive” included: Columbus Park Trattoria, WestFair Communications and Lord & Taylor of Stamford.

Frank Schipani, the guest speaker, also donated his time to speak to Fairfield County emerging professionals about the “Art of Dressing.” Frank’s talk focused on “Branding Yourself” and how the “Art of Dressing” is largely about establishing a personal and individual style of your own. “A style of your own should be tailored to what looks best on you in terms of fit and color, along with looking current and updated,” said Frank. He highlighted how “Personal Shoppers” are complimentary services at most specialty and department stores, like Lord & Taylor, and can be of great assistance to those who may feel overwhelmed about shopping and who are questioning what “Dressing for Success” looks like.

The group of 50+ young professionals were armed with questions about “Dressing for Success.” Questions included:

Q: What are the correct shoes for a man to wear with a suit or jacket and tie?

A: Brown shoes have always been acceptable for ALL clothing dress or sport as they vary so much in shade and model i.e.; wingtip lace up is the go to shoe for a suit and a slip–on can be comparable for the blazer and pant look…..brown calf or suede will always bring incremental richness to all clothing. ** Black shoes are and always for ‘dress occasions’ with either a dark suit and or a tuxedo.

Q: Can I wear my button up shirt ‘out’ of my pants or ‘tuck’ it? And, when do I wear a ‘button down collar’ shirt?

A: The current economic, political and social climate indicates we tuck it in as you look more serious.  The button down collar, although a major classic standard created by Brooks Brothers over a century ago, is not for a business and dress suit in my view. It is great with a summer cotton suit (seersucker, poplin, linen) and a summer tie. In winter, one might wear it with grey flannel pants, navy blazer and bold stripe tie. However, I recommend a wide spread collar. It looks best, opened at the collar, with a sweater over it in a sporty outfit.

Q: What’s the rule with socks?

A: When dressed up, always match the color or tone of the sock to your pant/suit color. (Many years ago, men often matched socks to their ties.) And, novelty socks are great when wearing sportswear (stripes and bold colors are all ok in the name of fun.)

Q: Is it okay to wear an undershirt or T-shirt under my dress shirt?

A: Only when used as underpinning for a sweater or alone as a t-shirt in warm weather. A T-shirt should never be worn under a dress shirt and tie as it prevents the shirt from ‘draping’ properly. Additionally it RETAINS perspiration on hot days. Without the T- shirt, one can remove their jacket, walk around a few moments and their underarm can dry easily without the already wet undershirt; because there is space between the armhole and shirt and consequently, air can pass through and dry the underarm.

Frank is the Principal of The Schipani Group, a luxury brand and sales training company. He is a well-known expert in the fashion and menswear industry and the author of Frank’s Rules.

Door Prizes for the event included: 1 Trial Membership to the Fairfield County Business Journal, $100 Gift Card to Lord & Taylor, a basket of Luxurious Fragrances from Lord & Taylor, 1 Weekend Night  Stay at Hotel Zero Degrees, a Gift Bag from Kennedy’s and $100 Gift Card to Capital Grille.

McGladrey LLP is the fifth largest U.S. provider of assurance, tax and consulting services, with more than 6,500 professionals and associates in 75 offices nationwide. McGladrey is a licensed CPA firm, and is a member of RSM International, the sixth largest global network of independent accounting, tax and consulting firms. For more information, visit www.mcgladrey.com, join our Facebook fan page at McGladrey News, follow us on Twitter @McGladrey and/or connect with us on LinkedIn.

Hotel Zero Degrees, the #1 voted hotel in Stamford on Trip Advisor is located in the heart of downtown Stamford, CT and remains the only 97-room boutique hotel offering luxurious hospitality and service at affordable prices. Fans who join us on Facebook are eligible for many luxurious giveaways. For more information: www.hotelzeodegrees.com

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