Suited and Booted
Over the weekend, I went down the street so papi - or as some people call him, the tailor - could make some alterations to my suit. The jacket sat on my upper-body like a blanket, the shoulder padding was spilling over my shoulders, the sides were parachuting away from my body, and the cuffs, drowning my dress shirt. I made it perfectly clear to him how I wanted the suit to fit me just so, how I wanted the sides of the suit to outline my mid-section, how the cuffs on the jacket needed to be taken in so a half-inch of shirt cuff could show, and how the lapels needed to sit higher up on my chest.
A couple nights later, I went to pick up my suit, but, I didn't try it on at the tailors, because as I said, papi was just down the street. Besides, I didn't have the right shirt on to really see if the fit was right, so I just took it back home with me and tried it on there. Lo and behold, papi ain't do a damn thing I asked him to do, and now I have to take it back to him and argue with him over getting everything I asked for, without forking over another penny. But that would have to wait, because while I was trying on my ill-fitted suit, I flipped to BET right when the season premier of College Hill: Interns was getting started.
This season's show revolves around 10 college students working a summer internship, so I was slightly more curious than the season's prior (I went to an HBCU, so I could never stand to watch the show's previous seasons). And apparently, they didn't have to adhere to a dress code.
Only two of the male contestants - I didn't bother remembering their names - came in a decent looking suit. Another one came in a suit so blue, he looked like a walking wrestling mat, and the rest of the brothers didn't even bother coming in a suit. If I were Dr. Ian Smith, who serves as the advisor to the cast, I'd of smacked the one in the blue suit and the ones who didn't come in any suit.
Back when Jay-Z had everyone rocking "button-ups", I fell right in line. Everyone was doing it, and I didn't want to be any different, because I'm prone to imitate a fly style when I see one. The best thing about Jay-Z embracing a more mature fashion sense was the idea that the younger generation would not only follow suit, they would get a suit. But unfortunately, like most trends in hip-hop, button-up shirts died a quick death. The dress shirts never made it past a pair of jeans.
But after College Hill: Interns, I'm wondering how can we make black men see the vital importance of owning a suit? Every month, in KING Magazine, there's a special style section called TAG, where we take a male celebrity and dress him to the nines. Personally, TAG is one of my favorite sections, but I wonder how many of the readers pay attention to the section. I'm guessing all of the males on this season's College Hill read KING (tell me I'm lying), but it's clear they're not reading TAG.
The problem is, a lot of our young men are prone to trends rather than tradition. I understand style is an individual thing and how some of our tastes were born out of a system that forced us to make due, and I can respect certain traditions like the style of suits I've seen from people in the South and the Midwest, but one thing that should be understood by every man is the importance of tradition. I'm not talking white tradition or black tradition, I'm talking about classic tradition.
Every man should own a black suit, especially black men, because Lord knows we stay going to funerals (I kid). He should also own a navy blue suit, a dark gray suit, and a navy blue suit with pinstripes. These should be as much of a staple as wife-beaters, and every man should find an occasion that doesn't involve a courtroom appearance, to wear their suits. You see, even though I'm lucky enough to have a job where a suit is not required, every once in a while I throw one on anyway. Just act like you got somewhere more important to go afterwards. There is no harm in throwing on your Sunday best on Wednesday. When you wear a suit, everything about you changes. You don't necessarily get more attention, but you do get a kind of attention that's unique. It's attention with respect. Those who see you wearing jeans and a t-shirt one day, pay you no mind. But when they see you on suit day, they're slightly curious. If you can get a suit altered to fit your body the way it should, trust me when I say, there will be no outfit stronger, longer. Tell me I'm lying.
MOTIVATION TO WRITE THIS PIECE
- The season premier of College Hill: Interns