I last bought a suit when The Sopranos debuted.
It last fit me around the time Tony and family were chomping on onion rings to the wailings of Steve Perry.
Glorious golden onion rings! How you’ve wronged my waistline, my little fried O’s of palatable pleasure.
Luckily, Men’s Warehouse came a-callin’.
To promote its annual National Suit Drive, in which outlets of the national clothing chain aim to collect 100,000 items of “gently used professional attire” this month for redistribution to local men and women struggling to find work, Men’s Warehouse offered me a shopping spree at its local store.
(DEAL FOR YOU: If you donate your old men’s or women’s suits, shirts, jackets, ties, belts and shoes to your local Men’s Warehouse before Oct. 1, the store will give you a 25 percent discount on your next purchase there as well as a receipt for your tax-deductible donation.)
When I mentioned this opportunity to My Love, she basically offered to drive me there.
Right that instant.
Go, go, GO!
I told her to let me first find my keys. And my underwear.
I haven’t bought much professional attire since going full-time at-home dad, but when I used to, I did shop at Men’s Warehouse from time to time. Chances are I probably would have gone to them when it came time for a new suit. Now that’s a well-researched PR pitch. (That’s your hint, Mr. Jim Koch, founder of The Boston Beer Company. My e-mail’s in the right sidebar.)
I arrived at my local Men’s Warehouse in Stamford and Bokul, the assistant manager, looked at my wrinkled Lands’ End jeans and faded freebie corporate golf shirt and said, “You’re the blogger, right?”
Yes – yes, I am.
Bokul showed me around, explained everything from the store’s new line of tuxedo rentals down to their Pronto Uomo jeans (I think he was hinting at something there).
Then I suited up. While I tried on Kenneth Coles, Jones New Yorks and Calvin Kleins, Bokul passed on these tips (which I’ll embellish) that I should have known from Thing 1’s past obsession with What Not to Wear but I always got hypnotized by Stacy London’s skunk hair:
- If only need to wear a suit a few times a year (like me), go for simple, classic and timeless. Bold plaids and wide lapels didn’t work even when they were in. Except for Herb on WKRP in Cincinnati.
- Unless you need stains or odors removed, avoid dry cleaning a suit. Often a simple professional steaming and pressing will do and cause less wear and tear to the material.
- Match your belt to your shoes. Unless either is white. In that case, you ARE Herb from WKRP in Cincinnati. Or in a retirement home. Abandon all hope.
- Your socks are an extension of your pants – match them. So, you – country club dude – if you got no socks, you need to lose the pants. NO, NO! I’M KIDDING!
- When you stand, button the top button of your sports jacket, sport. Unless you’re coaching in the NBA or putting Don Draperesque moves on a skirt outside the Barbizon Hotel.
- Your shirt cuffs should extend a bit past your jacket arms when standing, arms at your sides. More than inch and you look like Pee-Wee Herman.
- If you gain or lose 30 pounds or more, forget about it. Don’t try to alter your suit, just get a new one. Yeah, I KNOOOOOOW. I got the hint already!
After I choose two suits I liked, style consultant Eric matched some shirts and ties for me to chose from. Being practical (or cheap, you decide), I picked ones that matched both suits and got be mixed with each other.
“It’s like Garanimals for grown ups,” commented My Love when she saw the interchangeable combos I brought home. She’s always killing my buzz.
Since I work from home, I thought I show off my new clothes to you while in my natural environment:
And here I am hard at work, researching my next blog post:
Disclosure: Men’s Warehouse treated me to the two new suits and shirts. Their clothes and deals were so good (I saved at least an additional $500 with all the store’s various sales), I bought the shoes, ties and belt myself. In return, I donated my old suit, a pair of shoes, a dress shirt and a pair of dress pants to their National Suit Drive.