Threads for Success help young men get all dressed up - with everywhere to go

In the fall, Ralph Bland will be attending Winston Salem State in North Carolina - and will be going in style.

"I decided on the purple to give it a little pop of purple to contrast with the black," he said.

The Detroit Edison Public School Academy graduate is one of the dozens of young men getting a custom-tailored suit, shirt, and two ties for free, from threads for success.

"It was definitely a great experience being able to get a suit - helps me prepare for the real world," he said.

"It's your first impression on everybody - you want to come in, you want to feel good and look good said, Justin Bryant.

Bryant just graduated from North Farmington High School and is headed to the University of Alabama to major in Biology - he's pre-med.

"Suits are really expensive you know - and I'd love to go to college with a suit and be able to interview for different jobs, positions, or whatever the case may be," he said.

And that's the whole point of the Threads for Success program, now in its 15th year. It is the first post-pandemic and held at the PAL facility on Michigan Avenue in Detroit.

The young men - about 50 of them - are also getting some guidance on making a good first impression. But picking out that suit, shirt, and tie - with the help of professional haberdashers from Tom James Clothier is pretty special.

The suits have all been donated back to Tom James by their clients, so the suits get a second life while giving these guys a chance to dress - for success.

"They come back to us and they tell us how they felt different in a suit, how people treated them differently when they were in a suit - and how good they felt wearing that suit," said Tavares Oliver, Threads for Success.

"The key element of what we're doing is - because it's clothing - building self-esteem, confidence and it seems to bear out," said Rob Wachler, board chair of Threads for Success.

The students come from various schools and community groups and mentorship programs. Threads for Success gets help from sponsors like TCF and they're always looking for more sponsors and donations to build their scholarship program and help more young men move forward - in style - in a new suit.

"Their success is our reward," said Oliver.