We all love spending money. For the vast majority of us the ability to spend money is the reason we sit on germ infested tubes to arrive at a workplace we have no interest in being at. When that monthly wage comes, thoughts turn immediately to ‘what am I going to spend it on?’ The prudent among us make the (boring) decision to save, while most of us (me included) will buy random things we don’t need and/or attend expensive meals we spend the next morning expelling from our bodies.
There are times however where we resent the very notion of spending money. This resentment can stem from a variety of reasons including chipping in to buy a present for someone leaving your workplace you don’t even like, or paying extortionate utility bills or travel costs for the appalling tubes. However, what trumps all of this for me is buying a work suit.
I have reached an age and status in my job where buying a suit on Golders Green Road and getting a second for free is unacceptable. In addition, a suit “off the peg” from the High Street doesn’t quite cut it where you are surrounded by people in immaculate made to measure suits. In this context, the decision to buy a work suit is a difficult and painful one. This is why most of us wait until the very last minute before making this reluctant investment – usually when there’s a hole or rip (a faded suit is fine believe me!). What makes buying a work suit so painful is the fact that you’re going to wear it at work, sitting slouched at a desk, with the only people noticing your purchase being work colleagues who will barely notice anyway. Is this what I’m spending upwards of £500 on when I could fly first class to a European destination for the same price?
Essentially, a work suit buying endeavour goes a little like this:
Step One: You get to the shop repeating the words ‘for fucks sake’ because you’re taking time out of your day to buy something for work;
Step Two: You repeat to yourself that ‘I might as well be at work’;
Step Three: The over-eager salesman sniffs at your pitiful desperation and resentment. He approaches you with an insincere smile knowing you’re the reason he’s getting a nice commission at the end of the month. Because I’m not sociopath I smile back and allow the approach;
Step Four: You’re asked your measurements and there’s further resentment because you realise that it has been so long since you bought a suit that you’ve gone up a whole size;
Step Five: The salesman tries to push the most expensive suits on you, even though you’ve made it clear that you’re only after suits from the sale. The salesman only gives up after a stern, yet polite look;
Step Six: You try on the suit deluding yourself into excitement, yet always being aware ‘this is just for work’;
Step Seven: Various alterations are suggested and you have no choice but to accept them;
Step Eight: You pay for the suit and realise the alterations were virtually the cost of the suit itself;
Step Nine: You at least hope that after a substantial purchase like this you can walk away with your suit to never return, but you’re told your suit will be ready for collection in two weeks; and
Step Ten: You realise you’re broke with nothing to show for it.
Another cause for resentment is that the scope for wearing a work suit out of work is annoyingly low. Sure you could wear it to a wedding you didn’t want to go to, but that’s really it. Also, there is only so much you can do to jazz up your purchase with Black, Navy and Grey being the only colour choices at our disposal. To the guy wearing a brown suit at work: it’s not ok….
Obviously I understand and appreciate the importance of a good work suit. First impressions are everything, and wearing a suit that fits can even elevate your confidence somewhat. If I see someone with an ill-fitting suit I (quite reasonably) assume that person can’t dress themselves and has a woefully low IQ which is incapable of redemption. I’ve been the guy with an ill-fitting suit in my time, even in my current job, and the abuse I took from all quarters made me understand the hard way that the reluctant investment of purchasing a work suit is imperative in the professional environment. Notwithstanding the realities, I would rather spend this money on a holiday or a flat screen TV!