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Sharp Dressed Man Helps Men Reinvent Themselves

BALTIMORE (WJZ) -- It's been said that if you look good, you feel good.

Now as Mike Schuh reports, a group of men most in need of a boost are getting it from an unlikely source.

We all do it -- judge people by their clothes.

So let's judge John.

Business man? Minister? Manager?

Would it help if I told you John has been judged before?

"Well I did some time in an institution," he said.

Thirty years in prison.

A reorientation program led to a job interview, but first John has to look ready.

"They dressed me for the occasion and I actually nailed the job [interview]," John said.

"They" would be Seth Schaeffer and his father Christopher.

"This is a custom-made suit," Seth Schaeffer said.

"You've spoiled me with the fit of these clothes," John said.

The Schaffers make custom suits for a living. Normally they are priced $1,200 and up.

"We have plenty around here," Schaffer said.

This started after a client gave him $10,000 worth of old custom suits and said, "Do something with my old clothes."

That something turned into this.

High-end suits being given away to men in need of more than just a free suit.

"[It] make you feel like you're somebody right then and there. You feel special, you feel like you're privileged right then and there," said John.

Five hundred suits coming from the privileged and transforming 500 men.

"And that mirror downstairs-- I wish we had a camera on it to see guy light up every time because they look at themselves in a different way. And that triggers something for them and you know it's 'Who could you be?" said Schaffer.

These men are community leaders. They helped open the new storefront because they believe the suit can make the man.

"When someone feels good about themselves chances are they're going to spread that goodwill," said Sadiq Ali.

Most men are referred here, but tomorrow it's open to anyone in need.

"Tomorrow we're going to open the doors and give away suits and we're hoping to have least a hundred guys come through here tomorrow," said Schaffer.

Second chances and live measures by what they will achieve not by what they didn't.

"So maybe that is why this resonates with me. I sort of know how this feels," said Schaffer.

Giving someone a second chance is a good thing.

Sharp Dressed Man is at 235 North Park Avenue downtown. Doors open at noon. If successful, the founder would like to turn this into a national nonprofit.

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