'Save A Suit,' a nonprofit, led by executive director Alex Carerra, provides veterans with proper work attire.
The transition from veteran to civilian is not an easy change, and it is even harder to look and act like one. When it comes to regular workforces and corporate suave, veterans are often left behind in areas such as building confidence, and more so, these soon-to-be civilians need to look the part to get hired for that job. The U.S. military extensively teaches its members about professional attire— how to tie a necktie and a jacket and to get rid of those shabby strings hanging down the sleeves from the manufacturing process. However, what the military does not teach is about civilian business wear, such as which buttons to keep buttoned and which not to and when to leave the camo jacket at home.
That is where Save A Suit comes to the rescue. Led by executive director Alex Carerra, Save a Suit is a nonprofit that provides veterans with proper work attire. “I saw so much need in the veteran community that I knew I needed to get more involved,” Carerra said in an email to Good Good Good. “My cousin is currently serving, so this is near and dear to my heart.” Carerra volunteered with Save A Suit in 2010 and took over as the organization’s president in 2021. It has a store on eBay and holds free distribution events across the country. Save A Suit collects clothing donations from community members, ensures vets get the best from the donations and items not in the desired condition are placed on the organization’s eBay store.
Anyone can shop these preloved items on the website, which raises funds for the veteran’s program. People can also thrift their formalwear, and any eBay purchase goes right back into shipping clothing to veterans in need. “We have shipped as far as Hawaii and even the North Pole, Alaska,” Carerra said. “No veteran is too far for us.” According to Carerra, these “suiting events,” are something of a “pop-up shop where everything is free for veterans.” They can try pieces, pick a full fit, get professional headshots, and utilize additional resources from Save A Suit and other partner organizations. “At a high level, the suit symbolizes their potential and it also symbolizes our promise that we are there for veterans when they return; we care for them,” adds Carerra.
According to Military.com, the nonprofit organization started in 2009 when founder and chairman Scott Sokolowski was interviewing a veteran candidate who showed up without proper attire. When the veteran said he could not afford a suit, something clicked in Sokolowski and ended up with him creating an organization to help veterans in need. "We work with the community to clean out their closets," Sokolowski told WTNH, the New Haven, Connecticut ABC affiliate. "We give business suits, professional attire, and other resources to our veterans and service members who transition from the military back to a civilian job."
In this uncertain time when businesses are closing and 200,000 veterans are returning from the military to their civilian communities, our veterans are going to need us more than ever !— Scott A. Sokolowski (@ScottSokolowsk7) March 25, 2020
Clean out your closet and support our vets and transitioning service members.🇺🇸 @SaveASuit pic.twitter.com/V6ZSwVFHSZ
Sokolowski is not only an Air Force veteran, but he is also the son of a U.S. Navy sailor and the grandson of a Coast Guardsman, so helping veterans launch into their professional civilian life is close to his heart. With its "Ship A Suit" program, veterans do not have to be local to get a suit from Save A Suit. They can request it online from the nonprofit by giving some basic information, proof of honorable service, and measurements; a suit will be fitted and shipped to an eligible veteran. "Not only do we want them looking good, but we also want them feeling good," Sokolowski said. "When you put a nice suit on them, they give us a nice smile and a thumbs up."