Designer donations

Editor's note: This corrects Joanna Clay's e-mail address.

COSTA MESA — Jimmy Au, a Beverly Hills tailor specializing in suits for men shorter than 5-foot-8 — including some unnamed Hollywood stars — on Friday donated $50,000 worth of designer suits to a Costa Mesa-based nonprofit.

The people at the Working Wardrobes headquarters on Pullman Street eagerly welcomed racks of labels donated by Au, which featured works of sartorial splendor designed by the likes of Calvin Klein, Michael Kors, DKNY and Ralph Lauren.

"This is just absolutely miraculous," said Jeri Rosen, the founder of Working Wardrobes. "We have a number of clients that are men are under 5-foot-8. This will be critically important to us."

She added that the quality of the suits was the best she's ever seen.

Working Wardrobes operates thrift stores around Orange County and works to empower jobless or unemployed men and women in reentering the workforce. Based on referrals, the nonprofit provides job hunters with a complimentary set of business clothes to dress up for job interviews as well as free advice for their job search.

Danny Winkle, a 21-year-old student, was happy to be the first to try on a Jimmy Au suit. He's studying computer science and is on the verge of graduating. But he knows what will follow: the job search.

Winkle was excited about the suit, going through different vibrantly-colored ties to pair with it and getting the ladies' opinions. He said it's just his style.

For the occasion, Alan Au, Jimmy Au's son, drove down from Beverly Hills to see how the suits fit. He hopes the donation will become part of an ongoing partnership with Working Wardrobes.

"They were telling me exactly what they were missing and it was the perfect match … the perfect fit," Alan Au said with a smile.

His father started out as a tailor who made suits for jockeys. Jimmy Au learned that smaller men weren't getting the attention of retailers that they needed. He consults with design teams, such as DKNY, on manufacturing and designing short and extra short sizes.

His store in Beverly Hills, Jimmy Au's for Men 5'8" and Under, is frequented by Hollywood stylists. His styles currently appear on at least 20 primetime shows such as "Modern Family," "The Office" and "Grey's Anatomy."

With an A-list clientele, whose names he preferred to keep confidential, Alan Au said that many of the clients wear the suits — which cost more than $500 — only once or twice. He's going to encourage them to come down to the nonprofit in Costa Mesa to donate their hardly-worn suits.

For more information about Working Wardrobes, visit

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