high-minded drivel

high-minded (adjective) - refined; cultured; particularly civilized. drivel (noun) - senseless talk; nonsense.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Please, please, no need to dress up just for this

Two blog posts in one week?!  Preposterous!!  And yet it's happening before your very eyes...

A nice suit can only do so much to make you look good,
especially when you have no hands and a knob for a head
This week at work I had occasion to dress up a little bit more than usual, wearing a suit one day and wearing a sport coat the next day.  If you're a working professional, you probably know what that means, and if you're an HR professional, you definitely know what that means.  If you're an HR professional and you don't know what that means, you are merely posing as an HR professional as part of some clever ruse, and I wish you the best of luck in your chosen subterfuge.  Typically a suit is not part of my day-to-day attire, as a jacket seems a bit overboard for my role.  As a result, I have not accumulated many suits over the years.  In fact, I own one suit, which I have had since partway through my undergraduate years.  There have been enough occasions over the years that the suit has gotten plenty of wear, but there really haven't been enough occasions to warrant getting a second suit.  And certainly there is no reason to get a new suit if you aren't going to wear it regularly, as a suit represents a decent investment if you want to avoid the social stigma of wearing a "cheap suit."

The cheap suit is an interesting phenomenon.  It seems to be a fairly distinct class of suit, because you never hear people saying "Well, it's kind of a cheap suit, but not too bad.  It's just semi-cheap."  No, when people talk about a cheap suit, there is no doubt in their proclamation.  However, a cheap suit can actually be either despicable or lovable.  If we're talking about a swarthy used car salesman, then the cheap suit is viewed with disdain.  But if we're talking about a scatter-brained professor, then the cheap suit could be viewed with great fondness.  In other words, if you've got the right personality, there's no need to shy away from the cheap suit.  Instead, fully embrace it and save yourself some money!

Why is this fashionable, but not when it's
a suit?  What if you wear these jeans with
a suit jacket?
I don't think my one suit is a cheap suit, but given my lack of experience with suits, I'm not sure..... You see, when people talk about a cheap suit they aren't talking about the price.  They don't know the price, they are just looking at the appearance.  So what constitutes a cheap suit?  The first thing that comes to my mind is the thickness, or lack thereof, of the fabric.  A cheap suit is a thin suit.  I would also propose to you that a cheap suit does not have a "tight weave."  That is, you can see the criss-cross of the stitching.  It could be described as "threadbare."  I actually have no idea if using these terms together makes sense, but these are the terms that come to my mind.  A cheap suit should be slightly off-color (like a nice milky pale blue), and ideally is ill-fitting.

I must say, this idea of the "lovable" cheap suit has so enchanted me as I've typed these last few minutes that I'm almost hoping my current solo suit is a cheap suit, but I don't think it fits the criteria.  Alas.  If I were to open a garment store some day, there is now no doubt that I would specialize in cheap suits.  The slogan is already formed in my mind: "Cheap Suits. Where you can feel good about you."  At Cheap Suits, the person fitting you for your suit would go through all the usual motions, except the compliment of "Yes, yes, that hangs very nicely" would only be offered when an appropriately ill-fitting suit was found.

While wearing a suit is nice on occasion, I've never been a fan of the "follow up" sport coat.  Even the term "sport coat" is off-putting to me.  What sport are we playing, exactly?  Anyone?  My sport coat is a classic navy sport coat.  Unlike a suit, which is extremely easy to put on because the top and bottom match, a sport coat stands alone.  The coat is one color, but it looks dumb to wear pants of the same color because they aren't part of a set, so it ends up looking like you attempted to wear a suit but failed.  And no, this combination would not classify as a cheap suit.  Please don't insult cheap suits like that.  Getting dressed in the morning can be a bit of a challenge for me at times, because I'm never really sure when things "go together" and when they don't.  I hold up a pair of pants to a shirt, look at it quizzically, add a tie, shake my head and replace the pants, on and on.  Sometimes I don't even get it right when I'm trying to just match shirt and pants.  On one occasion I arrived at work and, to my horror, realized I was wearing a green shirt and green pants.  While getting dressed in the dark of the morning I thought I had grabbed gray pants, but the difference between gray and dark green is really quite subtle at dawn, and I erred in my selection.  I was in a meeting, so obviously I couldn't just get up and say "Excuse me" and then take half an hour to go home and change, so instead I laughed in an exaggerated manner and exclaimed "Boy, I am really green today!"  This got a laugh, face was saved (perhaps), and for the rest of the day I walked about with purposeful swagger to let people know that I meant to wear green and green.

That's a nice coat you've got there, Sport
Getting back to the sport coat, the major dilemma is what color pants to wear.  Gray?  Tan?  Neither looked exactly right to my critical eye, so naturally I consulted Google.  Fellow idiots had asked the same question previously, and my trust in the internet led me to the answer that gray and tan are both acceptable.  Gray got the nod for the day.  After arriving home from work I hung up the sport coat in its place in the closet, where it may very well stay for another couple years until it is called upon again, at which time there is a very high probability that this circus of flailing away at matching clothes will be repeated.

Since we're on the topic of appropriate dress, let me just announce that right now I'm sitting in my boxer shorts, which is my preferred ensemble.  It is totally comfortable, and fits great.  The boxer shorts have a fine polka dot pattern, and go splendidly with any color of skins, including my own pale caucasian.

As I pause here in a moment of reflection, still sitting in my boxer shorts writing this post, I realize that I'm also eating peanuts out of the shell and drinking a Bud Light out of a can...

If you couldn't tell, dressing up has never been my strong suit (!).  As I've revealed to Jen, and thankfully retained her favor, I don't think I even knew what jeans were until sixth grade, at which point I was like "Hey, why isn't everyone wearing sweatpants with holes in them like me?"  T-shirts are more up my alley, and upon recently taking stock of my wardrobe it came to my attention that of my 20-25 t-shirts, only one was actually purchased with money out of my own pocket.  That one was bought while on a Habitat trip to South Carolina, because we all thought it would be fun to get t-shirts from the local high school (go Wando Warriors!).  The rest have been gathered over time from a variety of sources, including road races, gifts from family members, collegiate events, and even CD cases.  Based on appearance, these t-shirts are divided into "nice" and "junk" categories.  Nice t-shirts are for going out, junk t-shirts are for working out.  The age of the t-shirt does not correspond to the category into which it is placed, as one of my "nice" t-shirts is a road race shirt from 1993.

Why don't I spend a little money and get some replacement t-shirts, you ask?  Well, I've got to save up a bit, in case I need to get some new suits in the near future.  Because even a cheap suit costs some money.

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