Monday, June 1, 2009

A stitch in time

Several years back my wife convinced me to buy a new suit. My job didn’t require that I wear one at the time, but the thinking went something like: well, you never know when you might need to wear a nice looking suit (like maybe for your funeral). So my step-son and I hit the local mens boutique and outfitted ourselves (under the wife’s oversight, of course) with nice new charcoal double-breasted wool suits. My set of dress ties date back to the 70’s; some of them I inherited from my father. I opted for a “tie-less” white shirt that buttoned at the collar – no tie required. We looked rather dapper.

I have always been a bit puzzled why mens (dressy) fashions never seemed to change over the decades. You can look back to the turn of the century (the earlier one) -- mens suits still look pretty much the same. I am not sure why that style held for so long; the suit jacket really doesn’t provide any significant practical protection against the elements, and the standard business tie has no function whatsoever that I can determine. What’s with that!??

For a short period of my career working in a bank I had a "leisure" suit, it was blue - that is "sky" blue!. It was the Disco era -- What can I say; I was only following orders!!

Further back in the 70’s they tried to get Nehru jackets into the public consciousness. How stupid was that?! The hard fact is that the standard business suit is the uniform of the American Male; we don’t take kindly to influences, either political or fashionable, from Europeans or anywhere else. Adopt or die. I just saw the Chinese ambassador discussing the world tensions mounting with Korea in a press conference on TV -- he was wearing a snappy looking western business suit. China probably knocks-off millions of copies of the latest Yves Saint Laurent design daily. Still, one international man of mystery is indeed trying to break the business suit mold -- Hamid Karzai, president of Afghanistan. Check out his suit here - this is a guy who clearly likes to chart his own course.

Forbes Magazine came out with an article about the most expensive business suits. Turns out you can pay upwards of $10,000 for one. I’m not all that sure it would look all that much better than one off the rack at Sears…but probably a woman could tell the difference.

I hadn’t worn my double-breasted suit in a while so I pulled it out of the closet and looked it over… discovered a moth had eaten a hole in the lapel. [sigh] I guess I can just pin a carnation over the hole. God knows I sure don’t need another new suit right now.

Men stopped wearing hats, it is so claimed, when John Kennedy went without one on his inauguration. Too bad, I wish President Obama would have reversed the trend and worn one to his inauguration. Hats are cool.


kara said...

the fedora is coming back, i just know it. and please tell me that somewhere in this world is a picture of you in the blue leisure suit. and of all the fashion trends in your lifetime, why in the WORLD, would you have chosen to follow that one?!

Robert the Skeptic said...

There actually exists a picture of your Mom and me where I am wearing plaid pants, a yellow shirt and a paisley tie. If I find the photo I may be compelled to burn itn.

Rachel Noy said...

Hats are cool, but suits are better. Any man looks good in a well-fitted suit.

Robert the Skeptic said...

You confirm what I have always suspected... women always KNOW better what looks good on a man!

Mary Witzl said...

My father had a sky blue leisure suit. I believe he also owned a pair of white shoes and a white belt. It was all my stepmother's fault. My mother bought things on sale at Sears & Roebuck's and would have fainted dead away at the mention of a $10,000-plus suit.