Speaking of old work suits

I wrote the other day about sorting through my remaining work suits and sports coats and slacks donating the lion’s share and saving a couple for funerals and weddings. It reminded me of some funny work clothing stories that occurred to me and others. Some I may have written about before.

There was the time I put a Mickey D’s coffee in the car coffee holder without the lid to let it cool, only to see it slosh over on half of my dress shirt when I had to veer in traffic. I was beyond the halfway point, so I had to go on to my meeting with this large brown stain. Note this was before Mickey D’s was sued for serving scalding hot coffee.

There was the time I was headed to a board meeting with a colleague and I had a flat tire. I left him in the car, since he was the lead speaker, and changed the tire during a hot summer day. We arrived right on time, but I had to run to the restroom to wash up and felt sweaty the whole meeting. By the way, the meeting went well, building off the goodwill of tire changing.

There was the time I made a speech in the winter-time dressed in a wool suit. Very bad idea. A heated room plus nervousness leads to sweating. And, more sweating. I think I sweated more that day than at my wedding altar in August.

There was the time a colleague had an ink pen explode in his pocket leaving a large black circle on his white dress shirt. He spent half the meeting trying to cover the stain with his suit coat. We thought he was going to rip his coat lapel off.

There was a time a female colleague was walking in her dress pump shoes and her heel caught one of those steel grates on the sidewalk that cover basement areas. She left her shoe behind and had to go retrieve it. This happened to my wife’s shoe as well.

Dress shoes are slippery on the bottom, especially on ice. I once slipped twice on the icy sidewalks when my dress shoe hit one of those iron grates that cover tree roots. I just had to laugh, as it must have been funny. I was just glad I did not rip open my pants on the sidewalk.

There was the time I had a zipper malfunction on my suit pants. The short-term solution was a safety pin, but it left me with concern, shall we say. The funniest part is I was the source of endless joking for the next several days.

Finally, women have had to deal with the former common problem of stockings or panty hose running at work, as they would catch a corner of a desk drawer or just simply tear. Unless it is cold, most women no longer wear stockings, or at least as much as they used to.

I have had other issues with buttons breaking and shirt cuffs fraying, as dry cleaners will wreak havoc on buttons and shirt cuffs. A tie can hide the top button, but collar buttons are the ones that stand out. Plus, it is amazing what you notice about a frayed shirt cuff in the light of day, that you overlooked in the closet that morning.

Having extra safety pins in your car and desk is a good idea. Women used to have extra panty hose in their desk drawers. Having one of those Tide pens to cover small stains helps too. I never carried a spare shirt in the trunk or desk, but that is not a bad idea. Clothes deteriorate, so stand ready.

Tell me some of your clothing stories. I am sure we all have had a few of them.

12 thoughts on “Speaking of old work suits

  1. I had the “not realizing an infernal zipper malfunction”, while giving a presentation, in front of other very well-dressed business people. Only later in the ladies’ room, did I notice it was so bad, my shirt was actually sticking out of the zipper. At first, I felt so embarrassed I thought I might die. And then I started chuckling, realizing why all those stuffed suits looked so uncomfortable. Oofta.

    • Rose, good story. At some point, all you can do is chuckle, especially when you cannot remedy the past, just the future. It reminds me of the big scene from Hugh Grant’s “Four Weddings and a Funeral,” where his mute brother is speaking to him in the church via sign language and tells him his zipper is down after he signs his advice. Keith

  2. Note to Readers: I was remembering a couple of occasions where ties starting coming apart on the inside seam. Here is where that inner loop plays a role to tuck the tie in to hide the safety pin holding it together. Putting a tie on over time causes a lot of wear and tear as you wrap, push, insert and pull.

  3. Gosh, I can relate to most of the stories. When I was a teenager, I drove a moped and of course, I was able to change or clean a spark plug. I always had one with me, just in case. One day in summer I was driving to an event, O word a nice summer dress and beautiful pumps (not the right clothing to drive a moped, seriously). It happened that right on that ride, I had to exchange the spark plug… and only then, I did not have it with me. I had to push my heavy moped up the hill in my summer dress and the pumps… of course, it was a hot summer day too…
    Another story happened to my business partner during a lunch meeting. He splashed salad dressing on his white shirt. To avoid the worst, he briefly dipped his napkin in the mineral water and then washed off the stains. What was he thinking… the napkin was dark red…

    • Great stories, Erika. The moped one seems anguishing, especially in heels. As for the clean-up, I have also made a mess of things. Rule of thumb – do not eat French Onion soup in a business meeting. Thanks for sharing, Keith

      • PS – A rather common problem for men is when your tie dips into the plate as you stand up or sit down. While it is usually empty when you sit down, some of these fund raising events have the salad already on the plate when you sit down.

  4. Some funny stories, Keith. I used to think the joke about new mothers going out for an evening in their best dress without realizing they had a baby’s spit-up on their shoulder was just that. A joke. Then I had my first baby and realized, no, this is actually what happens when you have a baby. It happened to me numerous times!

    • Yvette, thanks. It is so true. And, it impact fathers as well. I went to work with peanut butter hand-print on my shoulder that I noticed in the afternoon, after it had dried. I really felt for the nursing mothers before lactation rooms were more the norm. Finding an empty office with a sign saying doing not enter used to be the norm. Keith

    • Roger, unfortunately we only had casual Fridays for many years until ours started to abate some. Those in client facing roles still needed the suits, though. Keith

      • Yes, I could understand that Keith.
        In my working environment, dealing with the public, it paid not to appear too smart.
        ‘Dress Down Day’ was cringeable with folk in their 40s and 50s bringing out their old T-shirts from 25 years back, knees whose exposure to the public should have constituted an offense and a parade of navels past my desk which put me off of my sandwiches (working lunch was a literal sometimes)

      • Roger, depends on the relative attractiveness of the navel revealer’s abdomen. With that said, we men have no room to talk with our beer guts where our navels should be hidden away. Keith

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