argh (or, this is also why people wear pleated pants)

I suppose I’m kind of known to be a bit more up on fashion than most of my geeky friends, because I have this conversation about once a month, and it just happened again:

some guy: I need to buy a suit for $EVENT, but I want to buy something that I can wear next time I need a suit, too. I don’t know anything about suits. Help!
Rich: Ok. If you’re just going to own one suit, you probably want something single-breasted and simple, two or three button, wool, in plain gray or navy…
some guy: No, I think it should be black.
Rich: A black suit isn’t flattering on most people, and you usually wouldn’t wear a black suit to anything before evening other than a funeral. Charcoal gray looks good on most people, and just by being a bit lighter you can wear it any time.
some guy: But black goes with everything, so it’ll be more versatile. [goes off and buys a black suit, and ends up looking like the Guy Who Owns One Suit, Black].

Why do they ask for advice in the first place?

30 responses to “argh (or, this is also why people wear pleated pants)”

  1. I used to be a guy that owns only one suit (black), but I never had a reason to wear a non-black suit (job interviews were arguably a good reason, but not good enough for me to bother).

    But then SOMEONE had to get married in LATE AFTERNOON in the SUMMER, necessitating a non-black suit. But we won’t mention any names.

    –Guy who has two suits (black, and beige).

  2. My first modern (read: actually still fits) suit was daringly navy blue, but my second was black, because I had a pretty bad run of funerals to attend for a while. I recently went nuts and got some very light brown summer type deal, which was quite out of character. It’s by far my favorite one now, I fear some floodgate may have opened.

  3. Muahaha!

    And I can’t remember the exact shade of beige (and it’s hard to tell in the pictures). Was that a not-after-labour-day beige? Because that’d be great if it was.

  4. A black suit is a good second or third suit! But yeah, that’s it, funerals and eveningwear, and I bet you fell back to the blue one for other stuff.

    (Although I should note that charcoal gray is fine for funerals too.)

    Next thing you know you’ll be trying on seersucker.

  5. The usual point at which you put away summer clothes is labour day. No white shoes after labour day, for instance. No seersucker. No linen pants. that sort of thing. A beige suit, say, anything lighter than camel, is probably a summer color. (Winter tends to bring with it darker clothes.) And doubly so if it’s a summer weight.

    Looking at our wedding pictures (yay, flickr), yours is darker than I remember it. You wouldn’t wear something like this after Labour Day, though.

  6. I guess you can tell by my avatar/username that I’m a total fashion queen. :-)

    I’ve held on to my tux only because if I ever do my final trombone exam, I might need it, but plan on either giving it away or destroying it in a ceremony that involves fire and/or explosives.

    I actually did have a suit for a while and never wore it. When I first started working for McGill, we worked across the hall from MIS types, suits, ties the whole thing. My boss mentioned something about their dress code (we were all in jeans and t-shirts), so I said to him: “If you want to establish a tie/jacket/etc. dress code here, please let me know two weeks in advance”. The answer to his “Why?” was “So that I can give you my two weeks notice”. He thought I was joking for about a minute. The topic was never brought up again. :-)

  7. Aha, I wouldn’t call that (which you linked) “beige”. I’m not sure what I’d call it, possibly even “light beige”, but yeah.

    I’ve just learned that rule as “anything that is white or almost-white”, where that suit definitely is almost-white. :)

  8. And yes, oh my god those message-boards. Especially the “Groom Room”, which was originally intended to be for grooms, but turned into a place where brides could complain about their grooms, except that there were still a few men present so it was always kind of awkward.

    I tried to hang out in there to answer sartorial questions, and some people had actual questions that were easy to answer, but after one brazillion people asking whether or not they could dress their grooms (and it’s always in that voice) with black shirts and pink accessories I decided it was time to move along. Folks, your new wife is dressing you. There’s a problem here.

    (Alas, they purge threads there very often, so I can’t point to the one where the whole wedding party wore black Nehru jackets with wing-collar shirts and pink neckties. Maybe it’s for the best.)

  9. The one I linked is “khaki”, but that’s because a “khaki suit” is a cotton twill suit in that color.

    But yeah, mostly I’d thought yours was lighter, and it would be a double victory if I got you out not only to buy another suit, but to buy one that was only in season six months of the year. :-)

  10. There’s an important difference between knowing the rules and choosing to disregard them, and disregarding them out of ignorance, though. :-)

  11. Dude, I so had to physically restrain Schmidty from ordering a black blazer. Eventually I laid down the law and got him a navy wool blazer, grey charcoal flannels, and he STILL owns a black suit. Ick.

  12. white and light is good all year round here in california. :D

    i didn’t know people still obeyed the no white after labor day rule. my mom used to live by it.

  13. Agreed. I’m probably somewhere in-between. I choose to not know the rules and disregard the ones I do know. :-)

    I guess the most annoying thing in this scenario is the whole “I’ve asked you for your advice, but I didn’t like it so I’ll ignore it” thing, which drives me bonkers. It’s like they’re just asking you to justify some decision that they’ve already made, and if you don’t you must have been wrong. Arrrg. >:-P

  14. That’s it, basically. And doubly so because when someone comes to me and says “I don’t know anything about suits except that I need one” I know it’s going to end up going exactly this way!

  15. I suspect it’s just defensiveness.

    I present the following hypothesis as a corollary to ‘guys don’t ask directoins’: Any guy who does ask is required to pretend that he knew the location all along, and to argue with the direction-giver about the validity of said directions.

  16. I had to buy a black suit for my wedding (it was cheaper than renting tuxes, and all my groomsmen needed suits too). Now we look like the Guys Who Own Black Suits.

    The nice thing is that now I own a suit I can wear to a funeral (for certain values of “nice thing”).