Suit up or be declared unsuitable

Cause nothing suits the,

Undisputed,
Oft-saluted
Suitor of repute
Like a suit!

Nothing suits me like a suit!

Barney Stinson

If I were a power station, the amount of energy I have conserved over the last month would earn me a massive reward from WESSA and its lentil-knitting associates. I have done little more than read, eat, sleep and yawn without wavering or feeling too guilty about it.

Thanks to this high level of energy conservation I have managed to finish watching the series Mad Men and subsequently become completely addicted to Suits. Now, halfway through Season two, I feel obliged to talk about the very subject the series is named after.

The stereotype is that if you are a straight female or a stylish gay man, the sight of a gent in a smart suit will illuminate the prefrontal cortex of your brain like a set of Christmas lights. Well I want to know, what makes a man in a suit more desirable than his jean and slipslop clad brothers?

Maybe it’s got something to do with the fact that they make any man look good. Also, a decent suit ain’t cheap.  To most people, a good suit says that the wearer is wealthy, powerful and stylish. Take me, who’s always liked men in veldskoene and lumberjack shirts, men in corduroy and tweed, men who roll up their sleeves to replace the gas while I sit sipping a gin in a blue caftan.  Even I can admit my boyfriend (who will exist once I figure out how you grow your own boyfriend) were to don a well-fitting suit in order to watch me pick up an Oscar, I’d like him even more.

In a way, well-tailored suits are to men what little black dresses are to women: a wardrobe staple designed to cater for both your physical weaknesses and strengths. The same way petite Eva Longoria’s feet are encased in towering heels to mask her lack of leg, so the jacket of debonair Don Draper (lead in Mad Men) is carefully lengthened to elongate his short torso and show off his manly shoulders.

And according to Suits actor Patrick J. Adams, apart from portraying masculinity, the smart getup also has a psychological effect on its wearers: “…suits are like suits of armour. It’s crazy. I get to work in my shorts and flip flops. But when you put that suit on, your posture changes. You stand straighter. You present something different.”

So suits speak power, success, seriousness. But what about street-cred? Do they possess any at all? Well, according to the extremely popular comedy actor Barney Stinson, (played by

Neil Patrick Harris) who coined the phrase “Suit up!” they suit (pun intended) every occasion and distinguish men from the “millions of T-shirt and jean lemmings out there” when attempting to pick up girls.

My feeling is, we need to pick the lumberjack who turns into the smart suit when necessary. Because if the

characters in Mad Men and Suits are anything to go by, we can gauge that beautiful people in beautiful clothes are attractive, yet not always the Prince Charming you’ve been praying for.

Suits are also a mark of maturity and coming of age, a sign that the man in question has ‘arrived’ somewhere. If you see the same guy in a different, yet cheap suit every day, chances are he’s more of a Mr. Bean than Mr. Bond type.

Owning a suit is like having another you hanging in your wardrobe, someone who knows about the world beyond striped cotton and soccer t-shirts. So when the owner adjusts his lapels and cufflinks, he feels the same way I do when I pull on a dress instead of a comfy jersey: like a boss. (And in my case, a chuffed boss as I’m reminded I have breasts. Yipeee.)

All this talk has made me desperately want one. Why should we women be left out of all the fun? I can just see myself looking extremely fly in a pinstripe Fred Astaire number, accompanied by a cane, top hat, greased-back hair and a pair of braces. And of course, tap-dancing shoes: “Nothing suits me like a suit!”

Insert heel-click here.

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