on the altered man

Some years back, I found a Jeff Banks Super 100s charcoal – with a sky blue and grey window pane on the clearance rack at my local outlet store. $100. Fit remarkably well off the rack. It became a high value, go to piece in the pre-reductionist wardrobe.

Now, due to some rapid and ongoing weight loss and accompanying loss of muscle mass, the suit has suddenly and alarmingly become 2 sizes too large.  So sudden is this development that on Tuesday last week, when I last wore it, I made a note that it was a little roomy and I needed to take it in for a little tuck. Today, when I took the jacket to wear with some navy chinos and a white in white patterned short sleeve shirt, the difference in size was alarming.  The sleeves were over my knuckles, the shoulder a quarter inch beyond the point of my now bony nub and the whole jacket seemed to be trying to fall off by slipping back over my head.  I was shocked and, I must say, a little frightened. I should have known it as coming – at the start of the year I was a 46 classic in shirts, now I’m a 44 slim.

Anyway, enough of this piffle. I took the suit in for alteration:


Total cost of alteration: $259.00. Now, I have no doubt the people will do excellent work – they come highly recommended and bombarded me with questions about what I wanted and was comfortable with – which is always a good sign. My confidence in them is such that I can mitigate the cost somewhat by thinking I will virtually be getting a new suit, which fits like a nail polish factory and will remain as a go-to piece in the much more competitive reduced wardrobe.

But how often do you go to the well to save a suit?  Realistically, having come in two sizes, this suit can’t be altered again.  But what about the other suits that are now oversized due to me becoming undersized?


So this is a pinstripe navy suit which as gone much the same way as the Jeff Banks above. In its heyday, it as quite a compliment getter and the first choice for making presentations, but now we have to choose – does it get a second life, at a cost, or does it go quietly off to goodwill and be replaced by a new suit?

In this case, some more magisterially-sized gentleman in my local opportunity shop is about to get quite the bargain as he finds himself a stylish jacket in a difficult to source larger size. He’ll be disappointed not to find the trousers, as I will keep them, but it’s farewell for me and the jacket.

Bottom line is that its a 60/40 wool/poly jacket, it’s not especially well structured and I’m not sure I need a navy Pinstripe in the wardrobe as much as I need a less formal suit to balance out the generally severe tone of the collection – a sensible check pattern, perhaps. It simply isn’t worth the investment of 25 – 33% of the buy price of a good new suit.

As I said above, the wardrobe, these days, is competitive.  The navy pinstripe simply doesn’t produce enough utility to warrant the cost of keeping it up, or the space on the rail on which I keep it, whereas the Jeff Banks hangs in there.  It’s survival of the fit-test.

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