Finally, I've been reunited with my long lost velvet suit. The story of this suit has more twist and turns than the toilet saga involving the Democratic Alliance and the African National Congress. And a storyline that spans...five years. I feel like using the word 'commissioned', however that's a misnomer as this suit was hastily put together in November 2006, thus negating any positivity the word 'commisioned' is supposed to invoke. When I first had it made, in 2006, the final product was a three-piece velvet suit. Look, if I knew then what I know know about sartorialism then I would've had the jacket constructed in the mould of a dinner jacket. The pants and waistcoat would've come out a lot sleeker and fitted. All three pieces would've been interchangeable, and functional as separates. However, that's not the case. I digress.
When I first realised that I wasn't too happy with the final product, I decided to take it to a seamstress, who had done extensive work for my mother. I went to her with a list of all the things I wanted altered. The pants hemmed and tapered. The jacket buttons reduced from 3 to 2. The jacket was not constructed therefore it wasn't lined and, although padded on the shoulders it was not in proportion. In hind sight I was wrong to think I was the man the first time I wore it. And compliments from people, saying I looked like P-Diddy, didn't help in paring my big head which was gradually expanding.
On October 27, 2007, I took this suit to the aforementioned seamstress for all the alterations I mentioned above. Initially it was meant to be done in two weeks because I needed it for a function I was due to attend. I ended up not getting it back in time, however. I wore something different and, I largely forgot about it. Throughout 2008 anytime I would call the seamstress I would get a response that she was still busy with it. A few months passed. Then one day, on a visit to my parents, I decided to take a turn at the seamtresses shop to enquire about the suit. When I enquired from the sales lady where the suit was and if it was ready, she retorted that the seamstresses business had moved out of the building and that she was now working from home. She proffered her new number and a couple of days later I called to enquire as to the progress of the suit. I was incredulous at what my ears heard.
The seamstress claimed that since she had moved shop from the mall to another area, a block of flats instead, all her work implements and sewing jobs were put away into storage. The problem was that she had misplaced the key to the storage and therefore wouldn't be able to retrieve the suit for me. Unless I came by and helped her to break the door down, and then get my suit. I politely declined this suggestion because it seemed odd and, where do I start in breaking down a door? I remember, I was at work when I made that call. From 2009 through 2010 I never called to enquire about the suit. Nor did I make any trips to the old shop to enquire about the whereabouts of the seamstress. I also misplaced her number, so that put a stop to any attempts at making contact. I somewhat resigned myself to never getting it back, especially because after my sartorial awakening, I knew it had been a bad investment.
So much of this suit evinces my sartorial inexperience and immaturity. This is moreso evident the second time around when I assessed that the suit needed major changes. I mean, for reasons that are beyond me, I cannot fathom why the button holes on the jacket are sown shut. All three of them. Or why I even requested such an alteration, or if I really did request it.
I've been visiting with my parents this week and on a recent jog I went through a section of area that I suspected might be where the seamstress resides. A few months ago I was on the phone with her and she stated that my sister knows where she stays. So, I asked my sister to take me there. When I got there, it was as if she knew I was coming because the suit was out. Dogs hair and all. When I told the shop assistant that I was there to pick up the suit, she couldn't believe it. The suit was checked in before she was employed there.
The only piece to make it out safe before all this business is the waist coat. I've had it since the beginning and apart from a minor alteration, it's gotten some play from time to time. It's going to get some play tomorrow, and I will be sure to showcase it. At this point the jacket cannot be redeemed, except for, maybe, the buttons on the cuff. The pants need a little more work. Taking in the waist, the hem and tapering. And with the right kind of shoes, such as velvet slippers, I'm sure that'll be their saving grace.
PG: Man to man, generation to generation.