Ill Suited

Men’s SuitsSometimes I write about politics or design or technology, but today I am going to write about clothes. I like suits. I like the way they serve as a kind of social uniform and armor, and the way they allude to a world “at a sort of moral attention for ever,” to borrow a phrase from one of my favorite writers. And yet, I have never owned a suit that I can say I’ve been one hundred percent happy with, and it’s that frustration that I’m afraid will be with me forever.

Good Suit

The Search for the Perfect Suit

I’ve bought suits off the rack and I’ve had them custom made by tailors, but they’ve all been imperfect in some way. And by imperfect I’m talking about the fine points of tailoring that don’t make a whit of difference in the final tally of sins and virtues, but upon which I am inexplicably focused: the angle of the lapel notch, the quality or absence of hand-stitching, the button stance and button count, whether there are one, two or no vents, the angle of the pants pockets, the fullness of the break on the lower leg. I’m a picky bastard.

This makes shopping for a suit notoriously difficult. First, there is the issue of money. In my early twenties I hardly had any of it, so I was barred from a certain level of gentleman’s tailoring. That’s less of a barrier today, but I’ve found that even if I walk into a store ready to fork over even one or two weeks’ salary on a good suit — on the right suit — I still meet with frustration. Inevitably, some of the crucial details I’m looking for always seem to be missing, or if they’re all there, then they don’t cut the suit in my size. I’m officially a 40 long, but even if you can find a 40 long these days, how it will hang off my body is unpredictable.

The last suit I bought, just two weeks ago, was a 44 regular. How the hell does a 40 long fit into a 44 regular? I have no idea, but I do know that, for whatever reason, the suit looked great on me and I liked it a lot. It was a nice black, two-button model of worsted wool with a very light pinstripe pattern and it very nearly came close to satisfying all of my criteria.

The Disappearing Suit

Every girl’s crazy ’bout a sharp dressed Web designer-geek.

The only problem with this almost perfect suit is that it’s gone. Not gone as in no longer available, but gone as in disappeared. When I bought it, the shop sent it off to the tailor for some minor alterations, and that was the last anyone’s seen of it. It’s been apparently stolen or perhaps mislaid in some dark, dusty corner of Barneys New York. You would expect Barneys to be a bit more conscientious.

Here’s what I was thinking in my head when the manager explained this predicament to me over the phone yesterday: “Aaarrrggggh!”

This means that I have to embark on yet another suit hunt. The manager was nice enough to offer me a refund, of course, and a generous discount if I select another suit to purchase. That’s all great and everything, but when I bought this suit, I was very nearly at the end of my rope, having tried on nearly everything that looked halfway decent — it was only out of desperation that I tried on that 44 regular in the first place.

When I was a kid, I could never understand why some adults always wore jeans and sneakers. Now I know.


One Comment

  1. That’s a tragic story! As a woman, I’m always in search for that perfect article of clothing. And when I find it, it’s a special occasion. I completely empathize and thoroghly enjoyed your story. By the way, every girl IS crazy ’bout a sharp dressed designer geek!

Thank you! Your remarks have been sent to Khoi.