We have a wedding in California in two weeks and I’m not sure what to wear. Goodwill and The Salvation Army love my diet. To date, it’s cost me (at least) 20 pairs of pants, 20 pairs of shorts and a garbage bagful of shirts from which they have benefited. Among the things that no longer fit are all four of my suits. My newest suit would still fall off with a pillow stuffed in front. My oldest one fits best, but the pants are too big, have cuffs, and aren’t worth adjusting since it’s more than 20 years out of style.
We’ve been putting off buying a new suit because it would be expensive and we would be buying it while still in the middle of a diet. I’ve lost 36 pounds, but have another 14 to go to meet my goal. Being as close as possible to that goal was important from an economic perspective. After all, who wants to buy something that expensive and not be able to wear it three months later?
June 15 was shopping day. We went to ALL the local stores, then the mall before visiting Men’s Warehouse, where I expected to get the best deal. You know: “Buy one, get the second free,” and “You’re going to like the way you look.”
I’ll come back to that part of the story, but first, a little side-tracking.
I am my wife’s fashion consultant. That will surprise those who know I wore a peach-colored pimp suit to my high school prom, I shop with her and for her. We both believe in frugal and practical, but the truth is, everyone who shops for clothing sees it on them filtered through catalog model lenses. I help my wife see what works best for her body shape, not the person in the catalog. This seems to work well.
I was an original mall rat as a teenager. I avoid malls now because the current crop of mall rats make me laugh. I see too many things that make me ask, “Really, did you look in the mirror before you left home?” Such was the case at South Park Mall on June 15. As a result of my experience, I offer some free fashion advice to lady friends everywhere in the blogosphere.
First, spandex is great for yoga and exercising, but if a woman isn’t a fitness guru, she should pair them with a skirt or long t-shirt covering her behind. After a few years, spandex loses ALL shape and density and tends to grip best to cellulite.
This also applies to men whose primary workout is lifting beers while watching their favorite sporting event and believe Under Armour fits them as well as their favorite pro athlete.
Second, if you have to shave to prevent a skirt or shorts from revealing natural hair color, your underwear, or a quarter slot, it might be hanging a bit too low.
Third, wearing sheer bottoms or tops with contrasting undergarments is not sexy, it’s trashy. Speaking strictly from a male perspective: Trashy works best for spontaneous, one-time events, but seldom racks up frequent flyer miles.
Finally, for the young lady seen carrying a pair of Daisy Dukes to check out as we left: If they’re shorter than they are wide when held in front of you on a hanger—by a wide margin—they may not be designed for your body type.
On to Men’s Warehouse. George has a good gig here. You hear, buy one, get one free, that prices are better than department stores, but the mark up is so high ($100 for jeans), it ends up being comparable after cost-averaging with a free second suit; you just buy twice as much.
What Mr. Zimmerman doesn’t tell you in his ads is that there is a charge for everything in regard to alterations. It’s $20 for coat length, $30 for pant tapering. By the time we were done with alterations on two suits, we spent almost as much on alterations as we did for one suit.
But this piece is about fashion consulting. For the first time, I let someone pick out matching shirts and ties—since none of those fit me anymore, either. I did it because the young lady who waited on me was Asheville funky and I wanted to see what she thought was me and it was interesting. One suit was solid earth-tone, the other gray with a quiet blue stripe.
What were her choices?
I really like periwinkle and orange together, but I’m not sure they fit the occasion or the subtlety of my personality. A paisley silver/gray/black tie on white—yeah, man, that’s me. Dark brown and blue pattern tie with a solid blue shirt—right again. Ecru shirt with a black, gray, brown plaid tie… yep. A checked shirt in white and blue-gray paired with a tie in shades of purple stripes and polka dots of silver/gray garnered the most attention.
I don’t yet know which I’ll wear. Purple has never been a color of choice, but it’s tugging at my sleeve (so to speak). I guess we’ll see come July 6.
As for you, readers… I’ll catch you on the runway.