Throwing stuff at the internet to see what sticks
Wednesday, June 22, 2011 Suit Up
Trash and I don't generally invest a lot of money in our wardrobes. Not too many years ago, she was contemplating the possibility of a new job with a significant pay raise. "I'm going to go to the store and spend, like, a hundred dollars on clothes," she said dreamily.
I laughed, but I'm not much better. What clothes I don't get for Christmas or on the Internet I buy off a big table at Costco. After all, I've been a telecommuter for three years. Before that it was almost two decades of "business casual," punctuated by one year in an office where buttons seemed to be optional, not just on shirts but on pants as well. It all adds up to the fact that the last time I bought a proper suit for myself was when George Bush was president. No, the other one.
But because I've been invited to some fancy-schmancy conference over the Fourth of July weekend (more on that later), that had to change, big time. Or at least that's what Trash said when she fully contemplated the condition of my formal wardrobe:
A double-breasted charcoal pinstripe suit whose pants are held together only by the inside button and my belt;
A medium-gray suit whose pants crawl up my ass and are still spattered with Missouri mud;
A black blazer that was really nice when my mother-in-law gave it to me for Christmas 1991 but which is now as shiny as Darth Vader's helmet;
Another black blazer with big, brass buttons, from the Andy Bernard line of men's fashions;
A windowpane plaid suit, somewhere, I don't know, I can't find it anywhere;
A black David Byrne-sized suit jacket I bought in high school for ten dollars in lawn-watering money at the Salvation Army thrift store;
The one "suit" I ever bought on my own, a hundred-dollar number made of brown linen that looked pretty sharp in the store but on me appears to be made out of used grocery bags and makes me look like nothing so much as a polygamist. But -- a hundred dollars!
In other words, just enough to get me through job interviews and funerals, and Halloween while I tried to figure out which of those first two I hated worse.
Still, I didn't want to spend a bunch of money on new suits, so I suggested starting at Marshall's, which I hate more than funerals or job interviews. Trash, knowing this, nixed that and dragged me into Macy's instead. I know, right?
Since there wasn't time to have alterations done, Trash and a very helpful and patient salesman named John took me in hand (not like that, this wasn't Joey Tribbiani's tailor) and helped me find a couple of great suits off the rack. Black and gray, naturally. One of them is an Alfani, which I think is like Armani for people who can't type. They almost talked me into getting a tan-plaid sport coat as well, but it was so not me that it was rejected by my very immune system. Even adding on a pair of nice pants and several nice new dress shirts, we still got out of there in the mid-three figures. More than a hundred dollars, to be sure, but not as bad as it could have been.
There were a few hiccups. For one thing, I've apparently gone up a pants size, as I learned when the salesman looked at a pair of pants that I thought fit pretty good and he said were too small. I guess I've gotten used to a little constriction around the waist. But at least that explains why the dressing rooms didn't have room to lie down while I zipped up.
Also, it's not always ideal to shop for big-boy clothes with a six-year-old, who was alternately clingy and wandering off, or loudly warning me that someone would steal my (smelly, ratty) shoes. But he made up for it by making charming comments like one about a violet shirt Trash was holding, "That would be a jazzy look for Dad." That was before any of us saw the label that said "Slim Fit," though.
I'm happy with what I got, and more importantly, so is Trash. It wouldn't have turned out that way if I'd done my suit-shopping on my own. I would have come home saying, "But I've always wanted a purple suit! It was only sixty bucks, and look, it's reversible!" This way I have the confidence to walk into what I expect will be roomfuls of guys in ten-thousand-dollar suits and be mistaken for someone who belongs there, at least until I open my mouth.
Even better, now I have enough suits to get me into my sixties, and maybe I won't even have to be buried in my brown-paper-bag polygamist suit.
As for that and the other items that you may have read about above and thought that lots of less fortunate people would be grateful to have them? Well, we shall see, my friends. We shall see. posted by M. Giant 3:45 PM 3 comments
"...from the Andy Bernard line of men's fashions."
I still love that picture!
I invest money in fashion because I'm a designer of mens suit. Needto have mindset of beauty about designs.