North Texas clothier offering free suits, and a fresh start, for veterans

By Kevin Reece

On July 21, 2023

“We’re not in the clothing business. We change people’s lives. And that’s what makes it fun,” said Bob Baumann, of Edward Baumann Clothiers.

ADDISON, Texas — When Bob Baumann held a 4th of July fireworks-watching party from the upper floors of the under-construction future home of Edward Baumann Clothiers, he admits he was filled with a rush of American pride as big as the massive American flag he’d placed on the side of the building.

“I’m a patriotic guy,” he said. 

And the custom clothier, serving everyone from high-end to blue-collar clients in Addison for three decades now, decided he’d like to show that patriotism even a bit more.

“I love this business, yes,” he said. 

Part of that business is a program he started several years ago. He calls it Suits of Honor and offers at least 26 veterans a year a new custom suit, shirt and tie for free. He said as many as 80 veterans have taken part in the program.

“We’re not in the clothing business. We change people’s lives. And that’s what makes it fun,” said Baumann. 

Chad Fleming is one of those changed lives. The Army captain from Alabama who now calls Texas home, became a battle-scarred lower leg amputee during his service but, fitted with a prosthetic leg, chose to re-deploy as an active duty soldier five more times.

“Not every day is a good day, but there’s good in every day,” Fleming said of the mantra that sometimes fuels his positive outlook.

“You can sit around and feel sorry for yourself, but you’re wasting time that you’ll never get back,” he said.

He admits, however, that the mental recovery from his injury was lengthy and difficult. And the transition to civilian life also difficult in unexpected ways: including putting away his military dress uniform.

“When you went and put that dress uniform on, dude, you were like Superman,” he said. 

“The sense of pride that you get, especially when other people notice, there’s not a feeling like it. It’s the same in one of these suits,” he said of the custom suits Baumann has made for him.

“The first time since military service I was like, I got that feeling back, I got the emotions back of putting on that dress uniform. And I said this is now my new dress uniform,” he said of his latest Edward Baumann Clothiers suit.

“It changes the way people see them,” said Baumann. 

And, he wants to change a few more. So, for at least the month of July, when a Edward Baumann Clothiers customer spends $2,500 or more, Baumann will offer a complete suit for a veteran — for free. 

At the time of WFAA’s interview, 30 veterans had taken part in the program.  He’s hoping to gift at least 100.

“You stand in front of the mirror you look like a million bucks,” Baumann said of the change he believes his suits can bring to a veteran seeking a civilian job or seeking a promotion. “Well then you start thinking like a million bucks, you start acting like a million bucks.”

“If you look your best, you perform at your best,” added Fleming.

And Fleming’s best performances include work as a public speaker, always in one of Baumann’s customer tailor-made suits. He wants other veterans to feel that power and pride too.

“It’s my turn to pay it back, to pay it forward. To help those who will be coming up next,” said Baumann. 

This piece was republished from WFAA Dallas News.

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