The fundamentals of dressing oneself properly isn’t a topic that should require much attention. We all know the rules. Sure, we can discuss fashion, but the basics of covering up your birthday suit doesn’t usually require much thought. And that’s sometimes the problem.
It’s when you’re rushing off to work on autopilot and not paying attention that little mistakes can crop up.
- Mismatched socks
- A forgotten tie (when jacket and tie were standard wear)
- Shirt sleeve cuff buttons misaligned into the wrong holes
These little errors can happen to anyone. (I’m certainly guilty of the occasional ‘I dressed myself too quickly’ faux pas.) None of this is catastrophic. But what do you do if you forget a more structurally important item… such as your belt?
I’ve got a friend who recently experienced this problem. Here’s his story.
(Okay… it was me.)
Help! I Forgot my Belt!
No, it wasn’t such a big deal, and yes, I could have gotten through the day with slightly looser pants on my waist without risking a wardrobe malfunction. But I didn’t feel right, and it was bothering me while I sat on my Metro North commuter train.
I figured as I headed to Grand Central Terminal that there must be thousands of ways to solve the problem and still be at my desk by 9am.
Hey, this is New York City!
I thought back to pre-pandemic days when men’s clothing stores in Midtown Manhattan were open early to handle commuter traffic. (My go-to store is usually Charles Tyrwhitt. Their shirts with ‘proper’ collars can’t be beat.)
But on the train ride, as I held my iPhone and Googled the hours of men’s clothing stores near Grand Central Terminal, I was awakened to another painful example of our new normal.
At 8:30am, stores are still closed.
All except for one.
A Lone Outpost in the Center of Everything
It’s the Men’s Wearhouse at 360 Madison Avenue (45th and Madison).
That store opens at 8:30am. (All of their other branches in New York City open at 10am.)
As I walked by at 8:40am, this Men’s Wearhouse actually looked closed. The darkened windows obscured any activity. But as I peered in, I spotted blurry movement. I walked up to the door and pulled.
And the portal opened!
As I entered, I still wasn’t entirely certain the store was actually ready for business. It was empty, save for one salesman at the register.
I walked up and cautiously asked… “belts?”
He pointed to the back without looking up. I continued on.
I’ve Joined the Club
So I quickly found a black belt and brought it back to the salesman.
As he started to ring it up, I suddenly felt this intense need to confess. So I told him my story.
He finally looked directly at me and gently explained that belts are actually their hottest-selling item in the early morning. My story was not so unique after all.
He handed me the receipt and asked if I wanted him to cut off the tags so I could wear the belt out of the store.
Tame your Inner Vecna
I walked out of the Men’s Wearhouse with my new belt around my waist and a feeling of great accomplishment.
Sure, you’ve got to roll with the punches, and if you forget your belt, it’s not the end of the world. Stranger things can happen.
But with the past two and a half years feeling a bit like the upside down, it’s especially sweet when you have the opportunity to take back a little control.