You read a lot about what great clothing is. Construction. Draping. Fabric. Particularly for men. I think the test of a great garment is not what it is but rather what it does. For your attitude. Your carriage. Even your memories.
In the back of my closet there are several garments I cannot do without. Not that I wear them any more. Or even could if I wanted to. The first suit my dad bought me. My dad's old tuxedo. I never saw him wear it. I do not know if he did ever wear it. Things like that. That have lost their utility (at least to me) but which have gained in emotional value with each day that passes.
One of the first suits I ever purchased that I considered "expensive" was a Joseph Abboud three button. A bird's eye weave in charcoal gray. Made before Mr. Abboud reportedly left his eponymous company. A lovely suit. Fits me to a tee. Even now. One day I arrived home from work wearing my new and prized JA only to spy my then six year old son running around in the front yard lawn sprinklers. Almost naked. The Future Rock Star has always been a nature boy.
Afternoon sunlight of the Deep South was slanting through the trees in my West facing yard. It was broiling hot. I had an old Atlanta Rhythm Section favorite of mine playing...
In sweaty hands
Shoo the flies away
Reflections on the porch
A shelter from the scorch
When dog days came around...
I ran down the driver's side window, allowing a vapor of auto air conditioning to escape.
"Hey buddy....having fun?"
"Dad! This is the greatest thing EVER! C'mon, try it!!"
Oh. Well, I uh, um.... Oh. Return readers will know what happened next. Off with the shoes. Damn the sprinklers--full speed ahead. The FRS does not allow himself to show surprise that often. Only under the most extreme circumstances. But that day he looked surprised. As my Abboud bravely deflected the first few waves of sprinkler fire. Then slowly succumbed to one sluicing after another, hanging soggily about my not so slender frame. As the FRS ran circles around me chortling with glee. Finally I ran out of steam and had to retire, dripping, from the field. Due in no small part to the hundred pounds of soaking wool in which I was draped.
The suit survived, no doubt because of superior fabric and construction. I'm wearing it as I type this. But whether or not it had weathered that self-inflicted storm, it had earned a place in the back of my closet. As a Great Suit. Adorned with memories I'll carry the rest of the way.