The past week has been tough. I’ve had sleepless nights; cold sweats have set in; for the first time I can appreciate what the great modern philosopher Tony Soprano meant when he described the feeling of “ginger ale in [his] skull”.
Something bad has happened. Or at least I fear it might. I’m worried that I may have committed a cardinal sin. In actual fact, I’m worried that I may have broken the golden rule of this very blog: have I committed a faux pas that, financially, I cannot afford?
Just over a week ago I dotted the i’s and crossed the t’s on a new made-to-measure, three-piece suit from Suitsupply. I was headstrong, I’ll admit: I opted for grey flannel, despite the run of summer to come; I was insistent on more leg tapering; I even ignored the tailor’s favourite lining in favour of a very simple fabric.
And I’m happy with all of that: London rarely does summer; I have very skinny ankles; and bright, garish, Paul Smith-esque flowers aren’t my cup of chai.
But had I been too cute? Had I slipped up? Had I made tinder of the style guide when I requested…patch pockets?
Believe me, after the week of deliberation I’ve experienced, even writing that is difficult. I am wincing. If you listen carefully, you will hear the sound of sartorialists in-taking breath in sharp unison. Patch pockets? On a suit? How unkempt.
But there was method to my madness, I assure you.
The look-book I had compiled was inspired by suits of an altogether more demure character. I already have suits that one might describe as “sharp”, with slanted, flapped pockets, and a ticket pocket to boot. What I wanted was something a little more relaxed, dare I say sporty – something that I might be more inclined to wear with a ‘sports’ shoe, suede loafers perhaps.
And at the time it made perfect sense. The problem is, I rapidly lost my bottle. By the time I arrived home, panic had set in. I decided to sleep on it. And yet I couldn’t sleep, so I took to browsing on-line for more images of patch-pocketed suit jackets instead.
Paranoia set in as my search engine endeavours harvested images of clumpy tweed sports jackets time and again. This was not what I had in mind! The lines of the suit will be ruined! Addicts don’t know pain, I thought. This is pain.
And that’s when I hit bottom.
Dramatic? Maybe. So let’s cut this story short: I decided to call Suitsupply a week later and request a change to straight, flapped pockets instead. Simple. It was the coward’s way out, but then at least I knew the suit would retain a degree of formality.
But here’s the rub: it was too late. What was done, was done. The fabric had been cut. Patch pockets it was then. Two oversized, shabby pockets, looking me in the eye, toying with me; laughing at me.
I felt like I’d just read Act 5, scene 3 of Romeo and Juliet for the first time. Total. Fucking. Melancholy.
But then I had a divine moment, a wave of relief washing over me. I had wanted patch pockets for a reason. I had made a stylistic, creative decision. Patch pockets may not be run-of-the-mill, but then if I had wanted run-of-the-mill, would I have opted for a semi-bespoke solution in the first place?
No, this was a good thing. Suitsupply’s strict rules had wedded me to what was a perfectly reasonable choice after all. Compromise was no longer an option and the temptation to conform was snuffed out there and then. I’m being my own man, and I like it.
So now I play a waiting game. And the ginger ale has all but gone. Whether it’s due to return upon my first fitting, only the pockets can know.