July 12, 2005


One of the things I forgot to mention yesterday (having obviously had my memory fogged by seeing one too many old, mullet-wigged, hot-pantsed, exposed-chested men at the mall) was my stop by the suit store on Saturday.

I've been wearing the same suit for a while, and although it's served me well, it really is time for something newer so I can move Ol' Gray onto the injured reserve list. So, I stopped in at the Big'n'Tall place with two kids in tow, which, believe it or not, is not the best way to buy a suit. Nor, it seems, is it a good idea to show up in a pair of jeans and boat shoes.

I was latched onto by a salesman (who himself was neither big, nor tall, which should have been a warning right there) who directed me to the selection of suits in my huskiness quotient.

Tried one on, it fit okay, although a little too far off the shoulders--but they have free alterations, so that's not a big concern--then I looked at a couple of others. I noticed one garish gangster-pinstriped number on another rack and said something offhand about it looking like a garish gangster suit. "Oh, sir--those are VERY popular!"

"Well, I guess it takes all sorts, eh?"

"Oh, no--you see a lot of sportscasters on television and athletes wearing that suit!"

"Good. That means I know who to laugh at." He seemed hurt that I wasn't impressed by the quality of people who wear clown suits.

Went back to looking through the somewhat meager selection and found another nice navy blue with a narrow chalkstripe. Next to it was another one with a slightly different looking stripe. "Those are the same suit--one's cut with an athletic cut, and the other's a regular cut."

"Oh, well, I guess that's why the stripes are different."

"No, they're the same suit, just cut different."

I looked again--nope, junior--one's wider and fainter.

"Hmm. They sure LOOK like different pinstriping..."

"Well, it could have come from two different bolts of cloth."

Yes, indeed. THUS EXPLAINING THE DIFFERENCE. Anyway. Picked out the regular one and tried it on--same sort of upper arm/shoulder bagginess, with a bit of a roll along the top of my back. It sorta fit, but not quite, right off the rack. I stood there in the mirror and mentioned the roll, upon which he grabbed the back and shucked it down a bit to force the roll down, and then smoothed the shoulders out so they drooped more dramatically. "There!"

Okay--look--I KNOW how suits are supposed to fit, even if I happened to have come in looking rather low class in my Wal-Mart denims. I have a nice suit I bought at the same store that fits. It's NOT SUPPOSED TO SAG OFF THE SHOULDER! ::sigh::

Looked at the pants--"Are these plain front?"

"No--we'd have to order those."

"Well, we'll have to do that, then, because that's one thing I can't stand--pleats make fat guys look even fatter."

"Oh, no sir--it's really just the opposite. They make you look slimmer."

He went on and on, but aside from the fact that he is DEAD WRONG, I had to ask myself whatever happened to the idea that "the customer is always right," especially when it comes to a matter of personal opinion about what he thinks looks best on his own body!?

Let's clear something up--I have TRIED ON pants with pleats, and they made me look like Fred Mertz. I have not just stumbled by accident upon the idea that plain front, uncuffed pants look better on me--I KNOW IT FOR A FACT BECAUSE I CAN LOOK IN A MIRROR.

So, the best thing a salesman could do would be to say, "Be glad to order them for you--I have some men who love them, and some who don't--but we want you to be happy with how you look." Is that so hard? Why give a man grief because you have to take a bit of extra effort to pick up the phone and get a pair of plain pants? Why stand there and continue to try to tug the folds out of a coat instead of letting it hang naturally and see where it needs to be altered? It's not like YOU are the one having to do the sewing, is it?

Obviously, I'm still somewhat miffed by the whole exercise. I gathered up the kids and told the guy I'd have to come back later when I could spare the time to get it fitted, and I will go back--I do need a suit, after all, and I did get some cash from the in-laws for my birthday--but I can guarantee you who won't be my salesman.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at July 12, 2005 10:45 AM

I don't actually what the show, but I hear that pleated pants are a huge no-no on "What Not To Wear." So, your fashion sense is impeccable as always, Terry.

I was just reading another blog not to long ago talking about the pain of suit shopping. It must be a fairly universal problem.

Posted by: Jordana at July 12, 2005 11:36 AM

Thank you, Jordana--I developed my keen sense of fashion by watching reruns of Perry Mason. Now that guy could dress!

I also failed to mention that only very thin men should ever attempt to wear a double-breasted suit. And if you do wear one, please keep it properly buttoned. David Letterman is about to drive me insane with his habit of letting his suit coats hang open. That, and wearing light colored socks and loafers. It all looks very Cliff Claven-ish.

Posted by: Terry Oglesby at July 12, 2005 11:52 AM