Thursday, January 22, 2009

Dressing Men

I never had a Ken doll. If I had, I might have given some childhood thought to what men wear. Coming of age in the era of polyester and the Leisure Suit did not help.

All I was concerned about was what looked good on me--how I could save enough money to get it and how I could keep my sisters from borrowing it once I had it. My future role as wife, mother, and men's suit fashion adviser never once blipped on my it's-all-about-me radar screen.

Then I married. I don't think Herb owned a suit, and it was not a problem for him or me. My first inkling that I had a supporting role in my husband's fashion play, a role for which I did not even have a script, was when he began working as an engineering intern for a firm in Atlanta. He asked me to help him pick out a tie to go with a new tweed sportcoat.

I was completely baffled. My instinct told me to get a solid color. Didn't my mama always say, "Better safe than sorry!"? Thankfully, we got some help from a salesman, and a much more interesting choice was made.

Since then, I've gradually gotten more confident in making tie choices simply by paying attention to shirt/tie combinations in catalogs and in the stores. In the last few years, I've been called upon more for advice on the actual cut and fit of the suit. My competence at this level of play is minimal. My main contribution here rests on the simple fact that I can see the suit from the back and tell whether there is a pucker across the shoulders or a gap in the jacket vent. There is so much more to learn.

Recently, the ante has been upped again. My son asked if I thought a high-contrast pinstripe suit would look good on him. How do you choose between pinstripes, plaids, and herringbones? I'm endeavoring to learn. This article helped.

1 comment:

Emily G. said...

I did help my brothers and dad dress sometimes before I was married, but the little I did still didn't prepare me to be a men's clothing advisor. Good idea for a blog post of my own! I've had so many adventures in this area since getting married...the fact that Anthony gained weight and doesn't fit in half of his dress clothes any more hasn't helped anything. And undershirts for guys cost an arm and a leg! I about choked. When I want an undershirt, I go to Goodwill on dollar day and grab some sleeveless tops. Would that it could be so easy for men.
There should be a section in home ec courses for girls about how to procure clothes for and dress their man.