Connie Golds, Executive Director, Desert Best Friend's Closet (Palm Desert, CA) and ACDN Board Member
This June, let’s not forget the dads! Every third Sunday in June, Americans set aside the day to honor Fathers. Alliance of Career Development Nonprofit (ACDN) members also honor fathers and all men who are seeking employment. In fact, the ACDN’s original name was “The Women’s Alliance,” but after realizing that many Alliance members serve men as well as women, the Board of Directors changed the name to better reflect the membership.
Nearly half of the clients served at ACDN member Desert Best Friend’s Closet, located in Palm Desert, California, are men. Men under thirty face a unique challenge when donning professional attire for the first time as most of them grew up wearing baggy, low-riding jeans. Professional clothing, however, is worn at a man’s true waist, which is usually measured two fingers below the belly button. For many young men, this is a new experience and initially requires time to become comfortable with the look. They have found that many men love to wear a little “bling,” so the agency is especially grateful when donors donate cufflinks and tie pins.
Another challenge for many men is learning to tie a necktie (and to feel comfortable wearing it, too). The necktie is the focal point of a man’s look and polishes off a man’s outfit, instantly making him look classy and professional. But mistakes with the tie will take the look from sophisticated to sloppy quickly.
Some Necktie Basics:
1. The tie shouldn’t be too long or too short - it should end near the middle of the belt buckle. Tip: tall men should find an XL tie.
2. Stained or wrinkled ties are unacceptable. As the focal point of an outfit, this can show that he doesn’t care about his appearance.
3. Selecting the right colors and patterns can be tricky. Color should draw from the shirt and suit color in a complimentary way. A tie may also reflect a man’s personality—louder more colorful ties for someone with a big personality and more conservative colors and patterns for someone quieter. Cartoon images on a tie are never appropriate for an interview.
For many male clients, coming to Desert Best Friend’s closet is the first time they have ever worn a suit and tie. They are often overwhelmed the first time they see themselves in the mirror, because the suit is a symbol of adulthood and manhood. As one of their clients simply stated upon seeing his reflection, “I have never worn a suit before let alone knew how to tie a tie. Thank you for helping me. I feel like a man today.”
This month (and every month, really) we celebrate and encourage all men, fathers and those who will be fathers. Enjoy!