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Nine Moons » Blog Archive : You’re going to like the way you look. I guarantee it. » You’re going to like the way you look. I guarantee it.

You’re going to like the way you look. I guarantee it.

Seth - September 17, 2006

When the issue of the church dress code comes up, it seems that there is invariably someone out there who feels that quality dress and grooming is somewhat elitist. What about those of us who simply lack the fiscal resources to partake in that transformative male experience of the custom tailored suit?

Well fear not, my brethren. There is hope. And once again, the mammon of unrighteousness is lighting the way for us all.

The September issue of Esquire magazine just announced the winners of its “Best Dressed Real Man” contest. Among them is a 26 year old clothing salesman from Philadelphia, Clifton Wilson. Sharp looking lad, no question.

But the kicker is in the fabulous tidbit of advice he imparts to all we would-be travelers on the road to sartorial splendor:

“I used to go to thrift stores and buy a suit for eight dollars. I’d take it to the tailor and get it recut for fifty dollars, and I’d have a custom suit for fifty-eight dollars. I did that for years.”

Glory be! Buy that man a drink! Err…. Well anyway, I hope there’s an honorary place in Heaven for this guy just for that comment alone!

So no excuses guys. We’re all Americans here (well, except for Ronan…) and there’s nothing more American than self-reinvention. I challenge each and every one of you to find a fashionable young lady (ask your Relief Society President if you have to) and set forth on your own road to fashion greatness. The three-piece suit and tie is our modern equivalent of a knight’s suit of armor. The change in attitude you will experience in “suiting up” alone is worth the price of admission.

Now my son, you are a man!

P.S. A shout-out to Ronan over at BCC for providing the inspiration for this post. Take a cue from the Brits. Those folk know how to dress!


  1. Mr. Wilson is one dapper dude.

    Comment by Ronan — September 17, 2006 @ 1:45 pm

  2. A couple of weeks before I left for a mission in 1990, I found two very nice suits, brown and gray, at a yard sale for twenty dollars each. They fit perfectly. I found another perfect fit, a darker gray, abandoned in a missionary apartment. Then I found two even nicer suits in an Ottawa thrift shop: $35 for the black one and $15 for the green. These had to be tailored, but for little over one hundred dollars I had five great suits, not a navy blue among them, and without paying any tribute to Mr. Mac, Men’s Wearhouse, or even US sales tax. And because they wore out less quickly, I had those suits for many years after, though they are all retired now.

    Comment by Bill — September 17, 2006 @ 5:49 pm

  3. I made use of suits from the Salvation Army in Australia because I was bored of the two suits I had brought with me, navy blue and dark gray of course. I found a great dark green suit and a jet black suit that cost less than $50 total.

    Comment by jjohnsen — September 17, 2006 @ 7:30 pm

  4. Great idea, but I’ve chosen (for the time being) to just go suitless until I either find a girlfriend who’s worth dressing up for (maybe that’s my problem, eh?) or they call me to a calling that it’s required. (heaven forbid)

    It’s funny that I own a tux but not a suit, too.

    Comment by Bret — September 17, 2006 @ 8:56 pm

  5. I haven’t worn a suit to church for 6 years. The last time I did, my (then infant) son puked all over it. I’m waiting ’til the youngest no longer slobbers.

    Comment by Ronan — September 17, 2006 @ 11:35 pm

  6. My husband buys all his dress shirts from Salvation Army. He’s gotten amazing shirts — brand new with the tags left on them even — from there and Goodwill. Once he came home with some designer shirt – almost new. (I can’t remember the brand — starts with a Z? Italian?). He found a store of that label and found a shirt of similar cut and fabric. Price? $200! Smart shopping always starts at Sal’s.

    Comment by meems — September 17, 2006 @ 11:37 pm

  7. Do the Limeys’ still own BrooksBrothers? There should be a place in hell for the American that sold that brand to them. I used to only buy BrooksBrothers suits and their 100% cotton no-iron shirts, until Landsend came out with their own version and saved me from enriching those awful people. I moved on from BrooksBrothers suits before that.

    When did missionaries stop wearing those awful nylon suits that were common when I served?

    Comment by Steve EM — September 18, 2006 @ 11:39 am

  8. Nylon, or polyester? I had one nice worsted wool suit and one horrid polyester suit. Two years of kneeling or sitting cross-legged on the floor in Japan left the knees of the polyester suit looking like balloons. It was horrid–and I left it in Japan with my last companion, who wore it for the last three months of his mission and then burned it.

    Comment by Mark B. — September 18, 2006 @ 1:04 pm

  9. I always wondered where that insipid poem about “The Marks of a Man” came from.

    Comment by Seth R. — September 18, 2006 @ 5:36 pm

  10. Nice tie.

    I just wish more suits fit me at the thrift stores.

    Comment by Kim Siever — September 18, 2006 @ 7:40 pm

  11. With khaki pants, white shirt, tie, dress shoes, you can go almost anywhere in the church. If it’s a casual event, take the tie off.

    Comment by Bookslinger — September 18, 2006 @ 10:53 pm

  12. Seth,

    Is that the one about the missionary going home being spotted on the plane by some mom who paints this ridiculously idealistic picture of what he looks like becuase he was the most amazing missionary ever?

    Yeah, I hate that one too. Even if it were true, it wouldn’t work in L.A. It’s hard to wear your clothes out when you drive a car most of the time and walk in 80 degree weather all year long.

    Comment by Bret — September 18, 2006 @ 11:20 pm

  13. I have always resented Dockers (and other khaki pants of dubious make) and their ilk since I had a few crappy pairs during my teenage years. I will never wear them again. Dockers never look good. They never fit right and they always look sloppy. To me, Dockers are just part of the emsemble that goes as follows: rooster tail of unkept hair, shirt that is only partially tucked in, a tie that is hanging out from underneath the collar, badly knotted, ill-fitting dockers that sag in all the wrong places, a pair of loafers that complete the look of the loaf they’re on. The whole outfit is the male analogue of those awful denim tent dresses women sometimes wear.

    Comment by Chad — September 19, 2006 @ 7:49 am

  14. Yeah Bret, that one.

    There was a Japanese elder in my own mission who heard that story once at a Zone Conference. His companion told me that every apartment morning prayer after that, you could hear this guy surreptitiously rubbing his knees against the carpet.

    Comment by Seth R. — September 19, 2006 @ 12:28 pm

  15. Chad,
    Straight men are just brain dead about this stuff. You forgot about the neck tie that doesn’t cover the belt too.

    The suits I’m thinking of were circa late 70′s, a rather coarse weave, somewhat shiney, machine washable and virtually indestructable. I’m pretty sure they were nylon, but certainly 100% synthetic and of a fiber that had no business being used in a suit. But bear in mind that back then nice wool suits cost the same in late 70′s dollars as they do in today’s dollars, so they were several times more expensive. Moreover, nice wool suits will only hold up a year in a typical mission, so I think people were just doing the best they could to meet the church’s missionary dress code. Anyway, the typical Elder today is much better dressed than in my time, and I was wondering when those awful suits died out.

    Comment by Steve EM — September 19, 2006 @ 1:57 pm

  16. Polyester ties however made a lot of sense on my mission. After all, you get rained on wearing a silk tie, all the color bleeds out onto your shirt.

    They were easier to clean too.

    Comment by Seth R. — September 19, 2006 @ 5:10 pm

  17. Steve – not all straight men are brain dead about this. Most shouldn’t be – if they don’t have a girlfriend, significant other, or sister, then certainly their mom can tell them how to dress. Bret made the comment that he didn’t have anyone to dress up for – a sentiment that is heard frequently. But as usual, the answer lies in the problem. If people put a little thought into what their ‘presentation’ they’d have a much easier time with the opposite sex. And yes, make sure the tie doesn’t go down to your knees.

    Comment by Chad — September 19, 2006 @ 5:54 pm

  18. Steve EM,

    I think you are talking about the abomination they called Swedish Knit. I hated that suit, and couldn’t even burn it. When I tried, it melted.

    Comment by CS Eric — September 20, 2006 @ 7:25 am

  19. #18, Yes, that’s it. I’d forgotten the trademark. So when did that awful Swedish Knit die? Ironically, in Europe today, you can buy machine washable wool blend suits that don’t look bad, but I haven’t seen them over here.

    A few years back the WSJ had an article about many professional men having wives from blue collar background that weren’t very helpful in this regard. The writer even mentioned on his first real job, his boss complimented him on his new Brooks Brothers suit, and he replied, “yeah looks great, but you’d think it would come with real pockets.” The boss laughed, took out some scissors and opened the pockets for him.

    My fashion sense comes from the coaching of gay friends (yes, even BYU had them, even back then) and having lived in France, The Netherlands, UK and working in Manhattan. Regarding ties, I meant it should touch or cover the belt. Short ties look awful.

    But regarding the ladies, I’m afraid being too nice and cleaned up can hurt, as I posted here: http://mormonopenforum.blogsome.com/2006/08/01/advice-for-the-marriage-minded-single-heterosexual-lds-male/

    Comment by Steve EM — September 20, 2006 @ 9:05 am

  20. Steve – lol, that’s funny about the suit. Also, ties that are not in the ‘belt end zone’ look bad – when they’re either too short of too long. I sort of agree with the article, but I don’t think most people can pull it off. Good guys acting bad end up more like George Michael than Colin Farrell.

    Comment by Chad — September 20, 2006 @ 9:50 am

  21. “A maid to a man, is a vision ethereal.
    A man to a maid, is a piece of material.”

    I guess your typical Mormon gal likes a “fixer-upper” Steve.

    Comment by Seth R. — September 20, 2006 @ 11:57 am

  22. Of course, if you leave the tie long it can cover your fly if you forget to zip it.

    Comment by Mark B. — September 20, 2006 @ 2:15 pm

  23. Re: #11,

    I couldn’t wear a solid white shirt without a tie.

    Re: #17

    Not all women know how a man should dress. And for what its worth, there are too many resources out there today on how to dress properly that there is no excuse for someone to be ignorant about proper fashion.

    In addition, regarding the comment about not having anyone to dress up for, how about dressing up for yourself?

    Comment by Kim Siever — September 22, 2006 @ 8:08 am

  24. My wedding suit cost me $5 at a thrift store. It was a beautiful tailor made 3 piece pin stripe suit and it fit like it was made for me. Unfortunately I out grew it (in the waist) so I passed it on to a friend who used it in his wedding. Well worth every penny.

    Comment by Stewart Foss — September 22, 2006 @ 3:35 pm

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