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I knew a young just out of jail and he wore suits. He ordered ten from eBay at a good price. While wearing the first one he realized the pockets were all sewn shut. When he cut the thread there were no pockets. He contacted the seller who said “ These are suits for a corpse. They don’t need pockets.”

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LOL

Wow, okay, that is a story I did not expect, from the start to the finish. Thank you Wendy!

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I wonder if the seller wasn't having a bit of fun with him; I've never heard of anyone specializing in suits for corpses, but I suppose anything is possible. A man should never ever ever use the pockets on his suit jacket regardless. On the modern business suit, they are more or less regarded as a cosmetic detail. If the basting stitches are hidden, as they usually are, one should just as well keep them sewn shut to avoid the temptation of shoving something in there and completely ruining the silhouette of your well-fitted suit.

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He bought them first, because he got ten for bargain. Second, he liked to carry a pocket watch on a chain, the chain in his pocket. He needed the pants’ pockets.

He was just out jail and not too worried about his silhouette I was his mentor and showed him how to remove the thread. Makes a good story. 😆🦕

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Apr 30Liked by Anne Kadet

Oh, the PANTS pockets! Missed that! Hah!

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Apr 29Liked by Anne Kadet

Love this issue, Anne! I love every issue, so I'm becoming redundant in my compliments, but your newsletter is like a bright spring flower. As a recovering lawyer, I do not miss wearing a suit to work every day. Women were required to wear hosiery in my day, which would invariably get a run in them and were so uncomfortable, especially in the summer. Pumps (do they still call them that?) with a heel were also standard, which eventually lead to my chronic back issues (compounded by carrying heavy boxes of files and prolonged sitting at my desk while under intense stress). However, working from home for the past several years has turned me into a bit of a fashion slob, and this has definitely affected my self-confidence. Wearing a suit did help me take myself more seriously and others also seemed to treat me with more respect. I am hoping to find some middle ground but don't have much luck at the few remaining department stores these days. Very odd mix of styles, and nothing I like myself in. Suggestions would be welcome!

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Hi Jill! I am old enough that I remember wearing drugstore pantyhose. And of course I was the type they did not last more than a minute on me before getting a run. They were truly an idiotic garment.

I know what you mean about the tie between fashion and self-confidence. I work at home and once tried literally working in my pajamas, to see what all the fuss was about. It felt horrible! Even though I am freelance and no one sees me most days I always get dressed in a skirt and full makeup before I start my work day.

I wish I could direct you to some stores that could inspire a style that would work for you. Nothing comes to mind but I'm on the clueless side. Maybe someone else will see your comment and jump in!

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I worked from home for several years. I'm like you, Anne, I dressed for work. I hated the pantyhose years. But I loved dresses, suits and heels 👠.

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"The pantyhose years" haha!

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May 1Liked by Anne Kadet

I don't work in my pajamas and I do put makeup on, but the outfit is what I would call "excessively casual." Probably borderline pajamas. This is one major downside of working from home, since many times no one sees me and it seems silly to get dressed up. If I had the type of work that required me to get out more the way you do, I think this would compel me to change the toggery and improve my life considerably. Must work on this...

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That should be a branded clothing line, Jill: "Borderline Pajamas" and then the tagline could be "excessively casual!"

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May 1Liked by Anne Kadet

Ha! Love that.

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Apr 29Liked by Anne Kadet

Wife of s suit-wearer here! He's a funeral director in Queens. Suits for wakes and funerals, shirt and tie if nothing is going on (people still walk in). I love seeing him dressed for work! I agree...nothing like a man in a suit.

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Funeral director! Lisa, that is one occupation my little brother mentioned when we were chatting about this before I wrote the story, and I forgot to add it to my list! Glad to hear your husband is holding up the standards. A funeral is definitely ALWAYS an occasion for a suit.

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This tracks. I wouldn't not use a funeral director who was dressed business casual.

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Oof. The word “not” is a typo.

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Apr 29Liked by Anne Kadet

Oh well, then your husband could probably shed some light on Wendy's comment above! Has he ever heard of suit manufacturers specializing in suits for corpses? It seemed unlikely to me, as I would assume most men would be buried and/or waked in clothing they already own.

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The short answer is Yes! Apparently, funeral supply and casket companies used to sell suits and dresses (undergarments and shoes too!) to funeral homes. Since those were husband's sources, he doesn't know who the manufacturers were. You are correct that most people provide clothing belonging to the deceased. However, sometimes people needed these items (e.g., deceased had significant weight change or no longer had "good" clothing due to residence in a nursing home) and the family was not able to shop. The suits came in a few basic colors and sizes. The dresses were assorted pastels, long, and backless so they could be manipulated to fit a variety of sizes.

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Interesting; makes sense! Thanks!

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Absolutely the funeral director! From a family of 4 generations of funeral directors, the suit is a staple.

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I love a man in a suit. My girlfriends and I would say while heading into the bar “ let’s go find some ‘suits’.

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I have to say, some of the guys in Bryant Park just looked so damn sharp in their suits! It was a real pleasure to have an excuse to approach them and chat!

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The 1993 Vanity Fair cover of k.d. lang in a pin-striped suit getting a close shave from a scantily clad Cindy Crawford is a permanent one in my mind! https://collections.vam.ac.uk/item/O233533/vanity-fair-kd-langs-edge-poster-unknown/

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OH wow I remember that cover. But how could one forget it? A classic!

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How excited am I to see my name in Café Anne...? VERY EXCITED!

As for the suits: I know it's not a contest, but Reginald Ferguson wins. Alex Bushman and Rocco close seconds.

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Oh BA, I should have done a poll for best dressed man in the story. My vote goes for Rocco for wearing his dad's 1970s tie!

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Young Matthew won it for me. I suspect he was the bank’s future president in disguise. I haven’t worn a suit since 1975. I am a hat and scarf man when I go out, plus my wicker shopping trolley. My ancient ‘trekker’ hat got me to ‘pulls’ today. Both men. Thanks to the trolley, never a week passes without ladies wanting to talk with me or share my table in a cafe I visit regularly.

Finally Anne, another brilliant brilliant piece. Another must for the ‘Cafe Anne Bedside Companion/Annual’ when it happens. 🐰

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Matthew did strike me as the ambitious type for sure, O L O aka Kevin. I'd love to check in with him a decade from now and see where he's at.

Not surprised to hear that while you are not suit wearer, you put some thought into your appearance and have some standout accessories.

Glad you enjoyed the story! Thank you for your kind words!

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Yes, Rocco definitely deserves a special mention!

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Apr 29Liked by Anne Kadet

Ivan, Alex and Matthew for me. Classy (and a little bit sexy). But temperature would make such a difference. Hard to look classy when you’re all hot and sweaty.

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It was a perfect spring day, Beth. Everyone was looking cool and happy.

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I Googled "Brunello Cucinelli hoodie." Holy cow. Even if I could afford that hoodie, I wouldn't buy it. My hoodie budget tops out at the high two figures, and honestly, I try to keep it in the mid-twos.

As for suits, that's one of the things that broke my spirit and caused me to leave NYC. I wore a suit for work. Not all the time. But a lot of the legal internships I had were formal, either because the firm was still doing suits or because I worked at a courthouse. Hands down the worst feeling on earth is wearing a suit in the subway on a hot, humid summer day. Yuck.

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I also looked up Brunello Cucinelli. Yes, the zip-up hoodie costs $2695. In fact the prices for these very ordinary-looking items are so high I almost think they are the entire point of the collection. It's not about what you bought, it's about how much you paid. And I'm sure the folks who are paying for this all recognize each other and feel a little something-something when they gather.

I live near the Brooklyn courthouses and see the men in suits sweating their way through the swamp of August. They always take off their jackets when they head out to Montague Street for lunch. But there is one fellow I see almost every lunch hour on the Brooklyn promenade, in full suit and tie, red as a lobster and he won't EVER take off his jacket. I sort of admire that, even though it is INSANE.

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The overpriced hoodie club is real. Admission price is steep, but common sense is optional.

As for those men sweating in Brooklyn every August, I literally was that guy. Walking from my apartment on Jarolemon to the federal courthouse wasn't so bad in a suit on a crisp fall day, and I could even handle it during a winter snow storm, but doing that walk in August in a suit I began to question EVERYTHING.

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Apr 29·edited Apr 29Liked by Anne Kadet

I too googled the hoodie and I am now waiting to see how long it will take before my instagram feed is 100% ads for Italian cashmere menswear brands.

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Not long. I'm currently being chased around the internet by ads for dozens of over-priced items.

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In that case you may need a new pair of Brunello Cucinelli calfskin sneakers (luxurious grained leather with smooth, semi-polished trim) to out run them.

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Good call! I'll check with my financial advisor.

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Apr 29Liked by Anne Kadet

As always, this is delightful.

Thanks for the Monday morning lift.

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Glad you enjoyed Drew! Regards!

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Contrary to his assertion, I definitely noticed more than Rocco's suit. He may not be Brad Pitt but he has rizz (hope that makes it to the slang issue).

Just looked up Brunello Cucinelli hoodies. I could maybe afford the replacement drawstring.

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You're right, Mr. Stephenson. I had to Google "rizz," and yep, Rocco's got it!

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You only have one chance to make a good first impression. Dress well.

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It's true Toni! Having written this story, I'm thinking of investing in a new (and upgraded) uniform for spring!

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I was thinking of you and your uniform while reading this post, Anne. Am curious to see what your upgraded version will look like! 💖

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Me too Jessica! I've set aside Saturday afternoon for a little shopping excursion. If I actually find something to wear it will be a May Miracle.

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Can't wait to see the results! I almost said "I believe in miracles" 🤣🤣🤣

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Very fun issue. I recognized Reggie’s logic, after having “dress with intention” drilled into me growing up. I just made strange choices, so I’m always in full counterculture regalia. Be the mosh pit you want to see in the world. The uniforms of rebellion are very precise.

But really, I relate to his approach. All fashion victims are one tribe.

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DD, the one time we met up I think I was mainly in a daze pondering and admiring your attire, and wondering about the significance of each item.

Which I never verbalized, of course. That would have spoiled the fun.

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Thank you! My self-esteem's grown three sizes.

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This was wonderful. You find the most compelling subjects. I love the way a man looks in a suit. Hubby hates suits and was very happy to have a career making video games where suits were only worn if he had to travel to China for meetings. I considered writing an essay about all his goofy tshirts, swag from hundreds of conventions over the years.

I do wonder how this fashion trend changed. I have a theory. Hollywood. Once Brad Pitt made torn jeans look sexy the designers took note. I could be wrong.

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CK you are making a good point. While most guys look great in a suit, only the Brad Pitt types look amazing in a teeshirt. I wonder what the equivalent is for ladies? I would not say that most ladies look great in a suit. I think they are actually difficult for us ladies pull off.

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Agree but for gals it depends on the suit. The designer suits are gorgeous but unaffordable. I once saw Nicole Kidman on a talk show wearing a gold shimmery Zimmerman suit. Stunning. But that suit was probably 2k.

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This one was weirdly close to my heart, Anne! My grandpa Ralph was also a men's tailor/suit maker from Italy who had a little shop in Bensonhurst until the early 80s. There's an amazing documentary about Neopolitan suit makers called "O'Mast" on AppleTV, and it's so touching to hear these old men talk about the near-spiritual quality of a well-made suit.

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Ms. Assenza, clearly you are my suit-shop cousin. I believe my great grandfather was a tailors first and the suit shop came out of that. Your family held out a decade longer than mine. Do you remember going? I have very slender memories of visiting the store, but I am not sure whether they are real or fabricated from looking at old photos.

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YES. I would draw on fabric scraps with the chalky soap stick they used to make markings on clothes to be altered and I delighted in giving customers their paper tickets. At closing time I would help pick up all the metal pins that fell on the floor throughout the day, which required a big horseshoe-shaped magnet like in a Tom & Jerry cartoon.

If you can find a musty old fabric store or a tailor shop/back room that still does a lot of suit alterations, the scent of that place might trigger a vivid memory for you!

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Apr 29Liked by Anne Kadet

I miss suits. I started my professional life in the corporate offices of a fairly traditional ready-to-wear retailer, so I wore a suit and tie every day for 11 years until I moved out of the industry into freelance work; and then I kept wearing them only until the last of them wore out. I'm still a suit-wearer at heart - I would continue wear them, but it's hard to find good quality men's suits now at a price I'm willing to pay. There used to be so many places in the city a man could go to find a tasteful solid or patterned 100% worsted wool suit in a stylish but not trendy cut for a reasonable price. No more. It's a real shame - a well-fitted solid navy or charcoal grey suit and a crisp white shirt can make even a man with zero fashion sense make a positive impression.

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This is so interesting JEBNYC. Are you saying that a decent suit used to be not just available, but affordable and now it is not? Has the price of a suit gone up relative to inflation or even other styles of dress? It would make sense if this was the case as they are not produced in anything like the quantities produced, say, 30 years ago.

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Apr 29Liked by Anne Kadet

Despite my earlier career, I've always pretty much hated shopping in department stores, but back in the 90's there seemed to be a variety of small and mid-size men's clothing stores around the city where I could depend on being able find well-tailored European wool suits at what was a reasonably afforable price, even for a young professional making not a lot of money. And aside from the specialty stores, there were discount clothing stores like Daffy's (RIP), which was always very hit or miss in terms of style, but if you went at the right time, you could snag a great suit at a great price. Though I haven't looked in a while, it just seems much harder to even find a nice tasteful wool suit, except, I suppose at stalwarts like Brooks Brothers or Ralph Lauren and the like, and you obviously pay a premium there, and are pretty much confined to a very traditional American cut suit. So higher-end stuff aside (which has never been my bracket), men's clothing in general seems to have taken a nosedive in quality over the last decade - it's just so, so hard to find 100% natural fiber clothing at a moderate price. Partly, I suppose, because everyone's gone so casual with their clothing, and people love "easy care" fabrics. But of course, there are much higher profit margins for the manufacturers and retailers too.

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Its interesting, JEBNYC: the suit shop owner I spoke with said one reason NYC men are better dressed is that the city still has lots of places to buy a nice suit relative to other cities which have nothing. So it sounds like it could be worse!

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Apr 30Liked by Anne Kadet

Wow, well maybe I'm just completely out of the loop as to where to shop. Though as much as I miss suiting up, age has sharply heightened my appreciation for frugality and strict pragmatism as far as clothing goes. That 401k isn't going to build itself! Every suit purchase declined brings me a few minutes closer to my retirement date! Ha!

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Apr 29Liked by Anne Kadet

This is great.

I think one reason that people don’t wear suits is that the majority of the more affordable and easily available ones are made of synthetic fabrics, and so you feel like a sausage encased in all of that plastic. It’s just not a nice feeling.

Plus, taking care of good clothing requires an ecosystem of support, most of which no longer exists in an accessible way. My dad was a self-employed craftsman who only wore suits to sacramental occasions (weddings, funerals, IRS audits) but he taught us all of the arcane lore of suit wearers of yore, like which fabrics work best for different seasons, what to get tailored, and how to clean and store these things so they’d last for years. I last wore a suit 11 years ago :)

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Marina, that is a great point. One reason I don't dress better (and I imagine I'm not alone in this) is that spending the $$$ on nice apparel is just the start. The upkeep and care also require a lot of time and money.

And yes, the low-care versions look and feel like crap.

I have never worn an actual suit, btw. Now I'm very curious what it'd feel like to head out in full corporate battle attire!

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Apr 29Liked by Anne Kadet

If you do it, please let us know what happens!

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Apr 29Liked by Anne Kadet

Let’s not forget his billions began in the very noble pursuit of ranking young women based on looks.

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If anyone in the comments has suggestions on where to buy cool lady suits, I'm all ears! It's kind of a bummer that the suit market mostly caters to men. Ladies want to look fly in suits too!

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Eden I'm with you! I kept trying to think of what is the lady version of a really sharp men's suit and could not even really envision it. But if it's out there I for sure want to be wearing it!

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