Wednesday, March 10, 2010

suits you well

Last night I went suit shopping. Yes, suit shopping, not dress shopping. I thought us ladies had a lot of options in the formalwear department but let me tell you I learned a thing or two in my brief shopping excursion.

The suits chosen were from the executive collection, not to be confused with the signature, traveler or signature-gold suits. Is this sort of like a man differentiating between tank, spaghetti & halter straps? That’s how I felt when I picked up a signature but meant to grab the executive (no pun intended).

We settled on two suits…one is charcoal (not to be confused with gray) with a fine stripe. The choice was between a white stripe or light blue stripe. We went with blue. This reminded me of a time that I was asked to help decide between a white or ivory sash for a bridesmaid dress. We pined over it and weighed the pros and cons for days. As for the stripe, it took 2 minutes to decide based on eye color. Why don’t us ladies ever use the eye color technique?

We gazed over more patterns such as glen check, houndstooth, glen plaid, tweed, glen tilt tweed…who the hell is Glen anyway? They all looked grayish or tan to me.

The second suit, let’s call it brown, looks like a “faint plaid” pattern. I was quickly corrected by the salesman. This pattern is actually called windowpane. Ahh. This does make much more sense. Clever gentlemen.

Now that the suits were selected, it was onto alterations…
For women, this is where it usually gets ugly. We stand up on a pedestal with pins sticking out of us at every angle. We’re trying to lift and tuck like there’s no tomorrow. Not for men. They’re posed with 3 questions which have nothing to do with overexposing or underexposing skin or hiding wobbly bits.

1. Half break or full break? What the heck! I wouldn’t pay for anything that comes broken. Oh let’s review the photos of how the pant falls over the shoe. Wow, these guys are more detail oriented than I give them credit for. Full break, thanks. And with that, the salesman made one mark on the pant and no one's grandma was crawling on the flooring pinning up the hem.
2. Cuff or no cuff? This was a tough decision. Maybe more difficult than the actual suit decision. No cuff. Final.
3. Permanent resin crease? Well aren’t these guys fancy!

Onto accessories…ties, pocket squares, shirts, cufflinks, belts, loafers. I never pick my jewelry, hairstyle or shoes when I decide on the dress. We’ll save this for another day.

I will say that it took me longer to write this post than it did for him to actually pick out his two suits. Men are so much simpler than women when it comes to formalwear. I wish I could walk into a dress shop, select 2 dresses in 15 minutes and alternate wearing them to 10 formal occasions over the next year. Without ever looking the same.

-The perennial bridesmaid


  1. Agreed. My husband has one suit for dress, and one for work, and with that alone he looks great in every picture, not fair!

  2. this is a very good (and hilarious) primer on suit shopping. and yes, i am jealous of the simplicity and clarify of this process. however, think about wearing a suit in the summer when we get to have a sleeveless dress on. at that point, we win!