Fashion advice. No kidding.

We have again been dealing with spotty internet service, and by spotty, I mean non-existent.  I would pack up and take my business elsewhere, but the provider is a local business that we like to support and he is the only high-speed service we have available when last I checked.  I don’t want to mention the business name, but if you are having problems with your internet, too, you can always email me at my true802.ca account.  Here is a post I have been wanting to put up for two weeks.

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Recently, the need for me to buy a suit arose. This, for me, was a bigger deal than one might expect; reason one being that this would be my third suit. Ever. My first suit was a stylish brown number, complete with shoulder-width lapels (as the ’70s dictated) and a white background, brown-and-orange floral print foreground polyester shirt. “That’s a lot of brown,” I hear you say, “what would you use to break it up a bit?” Well, light-brown piping that outlines the lapels is a start. My second suit was bought for a funeral and since it was short notice, I rushed in to the store, looked at the sale rack and bought the first thing I saw marked “large.” That it didn’t fit shouldn’t come a surprise, but since the material was a reptilian green with a certain sheen to it, the fit was moot at the end of the funeral. And now here I am, in need of another suit. And this time, I ought to make sure it fits properly and is somewhat fashionable since I want to convey the image that I’m not a complete gong-show of Carhartt’s and workboots – there will be plenty of time to ease my prospective new employer into Evan’s fashion sensibilities later.

I am not a socks-with-sandals guy and I avoid wearing red with green most days, but don’t let that fool you: I’m not a trendsetter (nor a trend follower, either). I try to make sure my pants are not too short but white after Labour day is fine with me. My fashion sense more or less centers around my shirt and pants being right side out – but I’ve broken that rule lots of times, too – and stains and matching socks are of little concern to me. So, with that image in mind, picture me walking into the suit store: “Hiya! What’ch’all got fer a feller like me?”

I am lucky that there was someone working at the store with enough patience to not only fit me, but to also let me in on some of the arcane secrets held by those who know how to properly wear a suit. Things like: jacket cuffs are supposed to be shorter than shirt cuffs and how short depends not so much on preference but on whether or not you intend to wear cuff links. Jacket bottoms should be long enough that they fall into the trough created by one’s hand when their fingers curl loosely towards the palm as the arms are held naturally at one’s sides. And, for the love of god, don’t ever do up the bottom button on the suit jacket. A world of ridicule and ostracism await, should anyone see this fashion faux pas.

All of these rules, subtle though they are, aroused my curiosity. What other things govern the proper wearing of a suit? And why is a suit so important, anyway? Here is what I have found:

  • Backpacks and suits are not cool together. Sandals and suits are not cool together, either.
  • Despite the pockets available, nothing should be put in either the jacket pockets or the pants’ pockets that would serve to break the ‘line’ of the suit. Hands in a suit jacket’s pockets is a definite no-no.
  • Wool and cotton are the only acceptable materials to make a suit with. Any other material is just tacky.
  • When Don Johnson rolled up his jacket sleeves in Miami Vice, he was wrong. Simply and utterly wrong.
  • Novelty ties – the ones with cartoons on them or things that light up – are out.
  • Ties should touch the belt buckle if they are worn properly. Hiking up your pants over your waist does not solve this problem.

According to the various websites I visited, suits are a sign of success.  They say “Hey.  Look at me.  I am succeeding.” in ways other clothing can’t.  Suits are, as an outfit, a strange thing to wear: they are hot, uncomfortable and pretty much not appropriate in  most types of weather.  However, tradition dictates that a suit means something, so we all follow tradition.

And there you have it. That is what I know about suits.

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6 Responses

  1. what? no photo??

    • Nope. No photo. I have a hard enough time posting a photo of me in regular clothing. If you think I’m going to post one of me in a suit you’re nuts!

  2. Since when are Carhartt’s and workboots a gong show? They’re positively spiffy compared to my usual track pants and rubber boots.

    • Since I was trying to show a prospective employer that I can look like the people they want to do business with and therefore be a good person to hire.

  3. Sounds a little like James` recent suit-buying escapade! It was a crash course in fashion 101; first unit of study…The Do`s and Don`ts of Suit Wearing. Here are some of the helpful tips suggested by the saleswoman: Do stand up straight with your shoulders back, do relax and look natural, do button the top button of your dress shirt. Don`t panic as the tie tightens and restricts your access to air, don`t wear those fuzzy blue wool socks with your black suit, and (my fav.) oh-you-have-a-dog-don`t-you …well you better get a lint roller then. Thanks.

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