Buying a suit for a pressing social engagement is a fashion crisis we all face at some stage of life. Usually the last minute.
Generally the experience is graphic, so in an effort to encapsulate, and indeed pixelate, the factors at play, I’ve come up with a graph (see right).
You’ll notice a slight gender bias, and that the criteria are vague and the percentages don’t add up. Welcome to fashion. Invert to to your needs as we dive deep into the data.
To put you in the picture, we’d been invited to a wedding weeks ago and we/I obviously needed some new clothes.
To quote the treasurer, “better days ahead”. The old fallback of recycling what’s in the wardrobe, yet again, had been rejected. We/I needed to regenerate fashionistically. But why rush into it? Cue the last minute.
So we’re fashion in the field, hitting the change rooms like Australia’s Next Top Model, not. Clothes of various ill-fitting fabric, texture, length and style are being flung at pace in the face. The Met ball has nothing on some of the garb being paraded.
Legs aren’t long enough, cuffs aren’t peaking out, shoulders are too puffy and eyes are getting that way too.
One of them’s on the mirror checking the crotch, the other’s on the partner who has a kind of “over it” look on the face.
There’s a lot of intel to take in. The lighting’s poor. The music’s loud. The sales assistant has stopped asking my opinion and is communicating directly to the partner. And we’ve only just got here.
It feels like I am being accessorised, and I have to say, it’s dehumanising. “Now you see what we go through!!!” exclaims the partner.
In that moment I am able to distil the four major ingredients that influence a man when it comes to selecting a suit. And you’ll see that none of them really count until you get to the last one.
Starting in descending order of importance, colour.
Worth 10 per cent of worry after Robbie O gave us mustard yellow. Then there’s undertaker black, accountant grey and poo brown. Say no more. That is until you discover that the new black this year is blue.
Which is how the ego feels as I don a flecked and textured borderline cobalt number, copping in the process an observation from sassy second shop assistant that this style is really “common”.
I think he meant “popular”, but it came across as an insensitive thing to say, particularly to the second shop assistant who thought I was about to pull out of the sale.
It was touch and go, but we are now up to the third most important point on the graph – the suit nearly fits.
Definitely worth another 10 per cent of fretting, particularly after three hours of squeezing into and out of all manner of neck-choking, gut-pinching, derma-braising combos.
Which gets us to the second most important thing, timing. The wedding is basically tomorrow and the shops are nearly shut. This is definitely worth worrying about unless you want to turn up to the ceremony nude.
Which heralds the ultimate factor that undoes all other considerations – does the partner like it?
Hard to tell as they slump in the corner. But with one last effort the thumb comes up. We have a winner – my credit card company. Good debt or bad debt? Let the wedding snaps decide.
In the meantime I’m dressing this up as a graphic relief.