Friday, September 24, 2010

Too Well-Suited to be Uncool?

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.

herb tarlek 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:

uncool man washing dishes in a suit

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.

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  1. Very sharp. The coordinating swirly straw really makes the ensemble.

  2. Did Bokul also tell you that a Costco jug of Bombay Sapphire is very slimming? Or is that just common knowledge?

  3. Best Promo ever. I totally need a new suit,too. And my old one is definitely gently used. And what is that thing in the alcove over your left shoulder?

    And C_K Lunchbox is gonna plotz with glee

  4. Doing the dishes in a suit? Please leave the role playing pictures off your blog. Email them to your loyal readers instead. :-)

  5. The Scooby Do thingy on the swirly straw is a very nice well-coordinated touch to the ensemble. That you matched your drink to your suit is so touching.

    That first picture is frightening and wrong on so many levels. You should NOT try to look sexy while washing dishes. No please do not ever do that again and post pictures.

  6. First, love how Eric was also able to pick shirts and ties to visually coordinate with you natural surroundings.

    Second, "Match your belt to your shoes. Unless either is white." Which means you play golf. Which means large clashing plaids work too. And head-to-toe orange....

  7. cool beans! i have 9 suits. i wonder if it's time to turn one or two in and get a new one...

  8. Silver: It's a Scooby Doo swirly straw to boot.

    Beta - That's just Dad 101.

    Homemaker - It's some weird African puppet thing one of my wife's friends got us years ago. Yeah. Freaks me out, too.

  9. Cheryl - I'm a well-coordinated drinker. Until I've drunk too much, of course.

  10. I love the Sapphire sippy cup.

    Suit up!

  11. Lookin' good, you handsome devil.

    But if I see you suited up and walking Murph and the Things to school, I'm calling you out.

  12. You look fabulous!
    Though I feel like a traitor admitting it, since my dad is the very recently retired Executive HR Director of Jos. A Bank.

    I took Himself for a new suit years ago and I sure did appreciate all the help they gave us getting him situated. The sheer volume of tie choices alone was paralyzing. And since he was accustomed to buying them two for $3 at Goodwill, we needed help.

  13. Niiiice. Will you wear the yellow to match the dog at the park? You'll be the handsomest dude there.

  14. Love the candid shots, nice color scheme between shirt, tie, and suit. Diggin on the socks too.

  15. *Wolf whistle*
    You look great!! Men just look good in suits. Minus Herb. And Larry from Threes Company.

  16. J Jill just hopped on the bandwagon of love with an ad. You have definitely reached the pinnacle of uncoolness.

    I bow to your genius.

  17. WooHoo.......looking good, Uncool! Of course, I always think a man looks incredibly sexy if he's doing the dishes!

  18. Don Draper could learn a few things from you

  19. If I get my husband a suit, you think I could get him to do the dishes, too? I thought a man cleaning up was hot enough already, but you add a suit to the mix? That's playing dirty, mister!

  20. Thanks for the comments about Herb (which I laughed so hard at! Oh man, I loved that show) and the comment about the country club Dude - made me laugh so hard the kids came to find out why I was laughing. They didn't get it but they like how Herb dresses - they think he's retro. Yes, I make them watch the show... they like it... I swear...

    Thanks for the laugh!


  21. What a great idea from Men's. And, personally, I think everyone should dress up to wash the dishes. -J

  22. That is cool. Suits are expensive so you have to mix and match. The garanimals comment was right on. When I last bought suits I found it absolutely necessary to have that consultant guy help out. I have enough problems getting jeans and a t-shirt. Trying to match several shirts and ties and jackets combos with socks and belts and shoes is just to much. I havent' bought a new suit in about 7 years but apparently I have a lot to say about suits anywyay.

  23. I thought today was casual Friday. When did the SAHD biz get so formal? to say you look fetching.

    (Thanks for the product placement)

  24. I love the Men's Warehouse. The sales assistants are amazingly helpful and know how to help you stretch a dollar. I bought my son's high school grad suit there and also bought a couple suit jackets, shirts and ties for hubby while he was out of town. And they all fit! (Yay me!)

    And you are stylin! Love the yellow tie.

    Now I'll remember to keep them in mind for Christmas gifts, so good promo!

  25. I might just have to get a suit, too. Then I might just look professional. Damn, son, that second photo really killed. Good stuff!

  26. Doing the dishes in a suit? You've totally upped the ante. Now I'll have to break out my tiara to vacuum.

    (Just kidding. I don't vacuum.)

    (Seriously, you look very snazzy.)

  27. You do look very professional, you do. Maybe you should also wear a crown. One of those thing with the poofy velvet thing on top. Just to show that you're king of your domain, you know.

  28. I can't believe you painted the walls to match your tie!

  29. Is it bad that it's been even longer since I've had a new suit? Can you say early in George H.W.Bush administration? That's like 4 or 5 pant sizes ago! Congrats on the new suits, I should get my own!

  30. Ha! The last suit I bought was in 1999. The last time I wore it was in 2000 :-) I'd like another one though because -- hell, I don't know. Just because.

  31. I never get rid of my suits because they never really go out of style. Just ask Herb.


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My Uncool Past