Dress to impress
Craig Elliott of Charlottetown received a suit through the Moores Canadian Suit Drive, a program that provides gently worn suits and professional clothing to those in need
Craig Elliott of Charlottetown feels the stigma barriers of mental illness break down when he puts on his fancy suit.
When wearing his suit that he received for free through the Moores Canadian Suit Drive, he feels confident and in return people look at him differently.
“I feel like a normal person and over time the barriers break down, not only with other people but yourself,” said Elliott, “I think a lot of people are misjudged when they don’t wear a suit and they end up marginalized from society.”
Elliot has been a member of the Fitzroy Centre Clubhouse in Charlottetown for almost 11 years, which is the P.E.I. division for the Canadian Mental Health Association.
The Fitzroy Centre is the P.E.I. recipient of the Moores Canadian Suit Drive and has been a part of the program for the past three years. To receive this professional clothing, one has to be a member of the centre.
This suit drive runs between June 22 and July 31 and provides gently worn suits and professional clothing for men and women. All the suits are donated by the general public to Moores, which then gives them to the clubhouse.
Jill MacFarlane, who is a mental health worker with the Fitzroy Centre Clubhouse, said after their members have gone through the items, they let the other clubhouses in Summerside and Alberton along with other non-profit organizations go through the donated professional clothing.
“We give priority at first to our members, but what is left over we want to kind of spread the wealth, so to speak.” said MacFarlane.
So far this year about five members have selected clothing from the drive and they expect to see more come through near the end of the month, said MacFarlane.
In the past two years, approximately 100 members have picked out items from the drive.
MacFarlane said sometimes people will stay away from things they normally would attend but don’t because they are being held back by their wardrobe.
“A nice suit can set you back quite a lot of money,” said MacFarlane. “When you have on a nice dress-shirt, dress pants...it kind of changes your attitude towards yourself.”
Elliot notices he doesn’t fidget or put his foot in his mouth when he has his suit on, he said.
“Owning a suit and dressing well is only a part of the big picture, but it is a part when it comes to person with a mental illness having a recovery.”
Though Elliot received this suit a couple of years ago through the program, he has received other dress clothes through the drive.
Elliot said a suit like the one he has would cost upwards of $200 and since owning this suit, he feels he becomes the person he dresses up as.
“You become how you dress,” said Elliott.
“And then later on, if you are confident enough to work, that is even better because then you can find a nice job and afford to buy your own suits.”
Craig Elliott of Charlottetown wears a suit he received through the Moores Canadian Suit Drive a couple of years ago. When Elliott puts the suit on, he feels confident in himself.