Free dress shirts offered for job interviews

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An online company that lets men design their own dress shirts is doing its part to fight unemployment by giving away a dress shirt to be worn at a job interview each week through the end of May.

ShirtMyWay.com started the giveaway March 30 and will randomly pick a winner each week among people who sign up for its mailing list.

The site makes it easy to design a shirt, although in my limited fashion knowledge, I doubt if I could design an appropriate shirt for a day at the beach, let alone a job interview. You can pick the fabric, pattern and the shirt will be tailored to fit after you give the site a few measurements.

While some customers have designed crazy looking shirts, a dress shirt for a job interview should be tame, said ShirtMyWay co-founder Peter Crawfurd, 25, of Denmark.

"If they want the standard job interview shirt, they should go with the same fabric," Crawfurd told me during a phone call from his office in Hong Kong, China, where the shirts are made.He said he sent an e-mail to the Obama administration, asking to be part of the federal stimulus plan to get people back to work, but his e-mail wasn't answered. So as part of a way to get publicity, as well as set an example for businesses trying to help get people back to work, the weekly shirt giveaway was born.

"Giving one shirt away a week is not going to make a big difference in the unemployment rate," but is a good way to spread the idea, Crawfurd said.

The shirts are styled for men only, and while the company won't try to check if a shirt winner is unemployed, Crawfurd and his business partner, Michael Yang, also 25, of Denmark, hope that employed people won't take advantage of the offer.

The site launched in February and ships shirts from $65 to $75 to a dozen countries, although the United States market is about 90% of its business.

To help the fashion illiterate design a dress shirt, ShirtMyWay will soon have a style book online, Crawfurd said. Most men, I suspect, will want to wait for that to go live before stepping in to the world of fashion. With the U.S. unemployment rate at 8.1% in February, they don't want to wait long.

Aaron Crowe is an unemployed journalist in the San Francisco Bay Area. Read about his job search at www.AaronCrowe.net
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