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Long before cell phones existed, in an age where men called women on a landline to ask them out, what we consider in 2018 to be “dressing up” was back then just normal attire. I’m talking about the ’50s for the most part, where women wore dresses, skirts, and blouses to any all social occasions.
The modern, cosmopolitan men of this period almost always wore suits, and unless you were doing yard work or hanging around in the comfort of your own home, jeans were seldom seen.
If you walked into a bar for a cocktail in a large city, one would see a lot of men in suits, maybe a few of them “letting their hair down” by leaving the tie at their office for the night.
It’s obviously quite different now, and I guess I just wasn’t thinking when I decided I would suit up last Saturday night. Let me be clear, I had an excuse.
I was seeing a comedy show at The Chicago Theatre, and I thought a suit was warranted for the occasion given that it’s a prestigious theatre and also that it just felt like that kind of occasion. It wasn’t, of course – there were nerds all over the place in bootcut jeans and graphic t-shirts that were en vogue around 2008.
I felt like a million dollars in my navy suit, white oxford, and green tie, and even inside of the theatre there were enough people dressed similarly that I didn’t feel overdressed. The problem came after the show, where I spent four or five hours drinking my face off still in suit and tie, surrounded by male peers dressed in everything from sweatpants to women’s jeans (seriously).
On a Friday night, one is able to get away with wearing a suit out to the bar. You can go under the guise that you’re fresh from the office and most of the time people won’t give you shit for that. But in 2018, in this day and age where fashion is just so much more than a nice suit or a blazer with slacks, a suit and tie is just not something you should be wearing on a Saturday night out at the bar.
If you’re just a regular twenty-something schmuck like myself, wearing a suit out last Saturday night felt like the biggest try-hard move of all-time. I wasn’t closing a million dollar deal with some clients from Tokyo and I wasn’t even seeing the orchestra or Phantom of the Opera. I was at a comedy show for a guy that has a few Netflix specials, and then I went out with a bunch of people dressed like they had just been at a college football tailgate.
There’s just no good way to spin a suit at the bar in this day and age, even if you were in one as immaculate as the one that I was sporting last weekend. This isn’t an off-the-rack Jos A. Banks special.
I bought this from a boutique and had it tailored by a guy that came recommended by a former boss of mine in Washington, D.C. Suffice it to say I looked good, and I knew that I looked good. But every time I looked around I couldn’t help but feel like I stood out in a way that drew negative attention to me. I could just envision what people were saying about it me and it didn’t feel as good as it does when I’m rocking Birks, woolies, and some shorts with a 5-inch inseam.
“Who is the asshole in the suit? It’s fucking Saturday.”
“C’mon, bro, do less.”
“What a dickhead.”
Those are just a few of the phrases that I’m sure people said when I passed them leaving the bathroom or brushing shoulders whilst ordering a drink and you know what? I don’t blame ‘em. I learned the hard way last weekend that wearing a suit out to the bar is just not something you do in 2018.
The only way this outfit would have worked was if I was at a scotch and cigar bar in a swanky neighborhood or drinking martinis in a hotel lounge with a jazz pianist seducing the crowd.
I’m simply not at that stage in my life yet, and while I hope to have Saturday nights where I can wear a suit and enjoy the stylings of a jazz artist while sipping martinis, I don’t think that is in the cards for me just yet.
This isn’t an episode of Mad Men, and unless I’m headed to see Les Mis on Broadway or Yo-Yo Ma, I don’t think you’ll find me in a suit on the weekend inside of a dive bar again. Sorry if I let you down last weekend with such an absurd outfit. This won’t happen again. .
Image via YouTube