Tan France Wants Everyone to Dress for the Job (and Life) They Want

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C. Wilson Photography (Utah)

Doing a solid wardrobe purge is a great idea any time of the year, but this July retailer Men’s Wearhouse gives us some further motivation, teaming up with fashion expert and television personality Tan France for its 12th annual Suit Drive. The event offers a special opportunity to do good while doing something good for yourself — or at least your closet — at the same time. 

France is best known for his role on Queer Eye, the Netflix makeover show reboot (now entering its fourth season); as well as his “micro series” Dressing Funny (where he dresses “some of the funniest people on the planet”) on Netflix’s YouTube channel. As a designer, stylist, and fashion writer, France knows a thing or two about what works — and what doesn’t — for personal style, so he’s a perfect choice for the suit drive’s spokesperson, his second year in the part. 

“The best part of doing this is that it connects so strongly to what I do on the show,” says France. “I’m a firm believer that the way you dress can affect your life. It affects what you do, and your confidence. It can benefit something as important as your job, or just socializing … so many areas of your life that you may not expect. Now some people may think that’s shallow or selfish, but we’ve shown on Queer Eye that these changes really can affect your entire life.” 

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Style Expert Tan France was spotted donating a suit at the Highland Drive Men’s Wearhouse store in Salt Lake City, as part of their 12th Annual Suit Drive benefiting Americans transitioning back into the workforce. C. Wilson Photography (Utah)

The Men’s Wearhouse Suit Drive collects gently used professional clothing for Americans that are transitioning back into the workforce, helping them in this critical time of life transformation. Donations collected are distributed to more than 150 non-profit organizations that help these individuals regain employment through job readiness programs and workforce assistance. If you make a donation, you’ll get 50% off a purchase of regularly priced items at the store (excluding shoes, clearance, custom, and “Exceptional Value” items). 

To help drive awareness of the Men’s Wearhouse Suit Drive, the company is encouraging followers to spread the word by using the hashtag #ThrowbackAndDonate on social channels (@menswearhouse on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook). Find a shot of you wearing the clothes you’re donating — or take a whole new one — and tag your post so your friends will see that you’re helping out … and (finally) getting rid of those dated clothes. 

And what to buy with your half-off credit? We asked France about modern dress codes and what kind of advice he’d give to those who are re-entering the workforce … as well as the rest of us: “What I like to do on the show is point out to people that you’re not really getting what you want in life. It’s a negotiation. Up until this point you’ve gotten away with just these clothes on your body,” says France. “If you don’t have the job that you want, it’s time to demonstrate that you’re serious. You don’t have to wear a three-piece suit: do a little research to see what the ‘uniform’ is for the workplace you’re targeting. It may be more business casual, but that doesn’t mean that you show up for an interview wearing athleisure. You still need to make an effort. Think classic. Go with a classic pair of trousers and a tucked-in shirt. Don’t just pop clothes on, but think about where you are going and what you might actually put on your body.” 

France emphasizes that it’s not always about what he suggests that people wear, either. It has to be about clothes that are based on who they are and what they like best. (See the episode of But First with Hasan Minhaj for a classic example of France working with somebody who knows he needs some help … but also has a pretty clear vision of his own boundaries.) 

Finally, for a little more “eyes-on” guidance for style that goes way beyond the closet, grab a copy of France’s recently released memoir, Naturally Tan. In it France, a South Asian by descent (he’s English, but was born to Pakistani immigrant parents) gets into his upbringing in the U.K.’s South Yorkshire, trying to please parents who wanted him to pursue a professional career when all he wanted to do was work in fashion; dealing with bigotry because of both sexuality and race; right up to his personal advice on dealing with modern work and personal issues. 

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