Thursday, 4:30 PM
Man finds fashion for special clientele
By Maria Cramer, Globe Staff
Steven Gilboard lifted a pair of white dress pants off the rack of the Goodwill store in Roxbury and showed them to Diane Anderson, who was looking for an outfit to wear on job interviews.
"Look at this, isn't it gorgeous?" Gilboard asked. "Ralph Lauren. It's gorgeous."
Anderson took the slacks and exclaimed, "I really like these pants, Steve."
As she walked to the dressing room, Gilboard murmured, "I'm the best."
Whatís far more certain is that for his roster of clients, he's not merely picking out couture, heís making them feel worthy again. Gilboardís clients are convicted felons, welfare recipients, and recovering drug addicts, not unlike Gilboard himself, a 62-year-old ex-pharmacist and drug addict who was convicted in 2002 of illegally selling prescription medicine.
Now, a self-described fashion maven who dresses in Brooks Brothers and Burberry, he sees his work as a way to atone.
"I deal with guilt and shame. I have to give back," he said. "I want to dress people. I want to make them look good."
With a budget of about $30 per client, supplied by the Jewish Vocational Service, Gilboard takes his clients to thrift shops around Boston to hunt for bargains on big designer names like Hermes and Fendi. And he treats them to the kind of personal service shoppers might expect on Rodeo Drive.
He goes to every shop with a tiny flashlight to find flaws and a stain-removal stick to erase the stains on the second-hand goods.
"If Iím going to spend $4 for Prada, it better be perfect," said Gilboard.
Maria Cramer can be reached at email@example.com.