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Everyone regardless of age wants to make a lasting first impression. But that can be challenging for young men who are faced with economic or personal issues. That is where Project Pinstripe comes in.

For the past decade, Project Pinstripe has worked with Detroit-area youth to give them both a fabulous suit but to prepare them for going out into the workforce with style and sophistication.

This year, the nonprofit organization sponsored by custom clothier Tom James Co. and its Metro Detroit partners will celebrate its 10th anniversary with its largest event so far. What began with about 25 high-school seniors has ballooned into a day-long affair that will have more than 50 volunteers and 137 teen participants, organizers say.

This Saturday, a lineup of fashion advisors, career consultants and professional haberdashers will provide these young men with a free, gently used suit as well as advice on everything from how to tie a Windsor knot to offering a firm handshake to which fork to use in the salad course, all in one jam-packed happening at Don Bosco Hall in Youthville Detroit on Woodward.

“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 Tom James haberdasher and local Project Pinstripe organizer Rob Wachler.

Tom James haberdashers as well as members of the Detroit A.M. Rotary Club and Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity (Gamma Lambda Chapter) volunteer their time to sort and display the clothing to create an atmosphere similar to a fine men’s store. The haberdashers work with each Project Pinstripe participant to select an outfit, measure each young man and provide on-the-spot tailoring.

Project Pinstripe began at Tom James in New York City, where a young female employee from Livonia suggested the program as a way for the custom clothier to give back to the more than 125 communities where it works, Wachler said. That woman grew up with second-hand clothing, so she understood the struggle to find appropriate outfits and the importance of making a lasting first impression when finances are tight or non-existent.

Tom James in Southfield has grown its Project Pinstripe into an all-day event. It starts with presentations from local business people from the Rotary and Alpha Phi Alpha, who share their stories of growing up, finding success and the challenges they faced. They are the inspiration for students to see if they reach high they can follow the same path, Wachler said.

The event continues with one-on-one sessions on interviewing, networking and more. In between, students work with Tom James haberdashers and volunteers to find a suit, tie and dress shirt, which are professionally tailored and prepared for the new owner by Huntington Cleaners. Most of the suits, which were donated by Tom James clients, range in value from $400 to $2,000. The event concludes with a catered luncheon, during which students are partnered with the day’s speakers and volunteers to continue the conversation.

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Lawrence Wade, 17, said it was frustrating to grow up in Detroit with his father missing for much of his life. But he’s not letting it get him down.

“I’m gonna go get mine,” he said today at YouthVille in Detroit’s New Center, where he was fitted for a business suit and given advice on advancing toward his goal of becoming a neurologist.

The daylong, 10th annual Project Pinstripe event offered Wade and dozens of other male high school juniors and seniors from Detroit and nearby areas a boost toward successful careers. They heard from motivational speakers and were coached on interviewing by local attorneys, auto industry professionals and others.

Edmund Lewis, the keynote speaker who founded Minority Males for Higher Education, a mentoring organization in Farmington Hills, said his own story is similar to Wade’s.

“The lack of consistency of a male is critical; it’s sad, too,” Lewis said. “We want to fight, lash out.”

Saturday, he encouraged a room full of young men to believe in themselves and aim for success. Lewis overcame his difficulties growing up in North Carolina and graduated with honors from North Carolina Central University, going on to receive his master’s degree in social work from the University of Michigan.

Each participant stood to have his measurements taken by a haberdasher to be fitted with job-interview-worthy suits. The intent is to outfit “young men who want to look good but don’t always have the means to do so” with quality clothing, according to a news release. Participants were recruited from about 15 area schools.

DaRon Burgess, 18, of Harper Woods and a senior at Cousino High School in Warren, learned how to tie a half-Windsor knot and picked up some tips he intends to use on his way toward a career in engineering or mathematics.

“I learned it’s not all about grades on paper,” he said. “It’s about how you present yourself to other people.”

Rob Wachler with the Tom James Co. of Detroit, a suit-fitting service company, has been involved with the Project Pinstripe program since it was started here 10 years ago. The haberdasher said the aim for these men is to “impress the importance of a positive first impression.”

Tom James, a global company with an office in Southfield, provides its suit-fitting services at metro Detroit businesses. Wachler said they take as donations the suits and ties that clients no longer wear, building racks of clothing to offer Project Pinstripe participants. Each participant receives a suit, custom-tailored and cleaned.

AJ Crayton appreciated the help. In his case, he has had strong support from his parents. He’s headed to Southern University and A&M College in Baton Rouge, La. this fall. A senior at Western International High School in Detroit, he expects to play football in college, but he intends to be well-prepared in case he doesn’t make the NFL.

Crayton said he’ll study political science and business, returning to his home city to remove blight and develop real estate.

Project Pinstripe grows every year, Wachler said, and it’s offered free with the help of sponsors such as the Detroit AM Rotary Club and the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity.

Wade, who now lives in Madison Heights and intends to attend Oakland Community College in the fall, said he realizes the importance of strong role models. Lewis pulled him aside during the event, offering a helping hand.

“It’s always tough,” Wade said. “But you’ve got to persevere.”

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DETROIT — Project Pinstripe, a collaborative project that supplies attire to graduating students, will hold a career workshop March 28, handing out clothing and career advice to 130 high school seniors.

“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.

The event, held at Don Bosco Hall, will include presentations and workshops on goal-setting, proper etiquette, and mock interviews — presented by Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternities Gamma Lambda Chapter of Detroit.

Rotarians and Tom James haberdashers volunteer their time, sorting and displaying the clothing — creating an atmosphere similar to a fine men’s store. The haberdashers will then work with each Project Pinstripe participant to select an outfit, measure each young man, and provide on-the-spot tailoring, according to Voyles.

“Our objective is to work with these young men, in this important stage of life, to build confidence, self-esteem, and how to dress for success,” says Rob Wachler, Project Pinstripe Coordinator.