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Tuesday, May 18, 2021

Nothing Like a Sharp Dressed Man

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Anderson's journey to wellness continues

My first boss out of college gave me lots of great advice. One nugget I filed away was “Dress for the job you want.”

I never really believed the notion that “clothes make the man.” I prefer to flip it around — the man makes the clothes. Clothes can be an extension of your personality, be it a fancy pair of socks, a bow tie or a pair of blue suede shoes.

My problem is buying clothes off the rack. I always look like a kid who raided Dad’s closet. The pants gather at my ankles, and long-sleeved shirts and jackets make me look like I have no hands. So instead of looking polished and professional, I always look frumpy and sloppy.

Sure, I could have things altered. But to adjust every pair of pants, every shirt and every sports coat I ever bought always seemed like buying it twice. And who wants to do that?

I did have a few pieces altered through the years. Important pieces, like the suit for a cousin’s wedding. But another issue presented itself that took regular alterations out of the equation.

My weight.

When those XL shirts wouldn’t button anymore, I begrudgingly stepped up to 2XLs. Truthfully, a 3XL or two even found their way into my closet. And I had a lifetime pass on the weight roller coaster. I’d lose little, and then gain it back. And gain a little more. And a little more. My biggest fear was that the next two sizes for me were two-person and four-person. And who would want to alter those?

So no, I didn’t dress for the job I wanted. I didn’t feel like my clothes accurately reflected any part of my personality, either. I wore stuff big and baggy, hoping that I could hide inside.

Back in December, my body told me it was time for a change. It shut me down for a week and forced me to focus on eating and exercise. In four months, I have lost about 80 pounds, and kept it off. My body is leaner and stronger, and my mind is dedicated to keeping it that way. It’s opened my mind to an alternative to alterations.

Made-to-measure.

After all, if I was going to have to buy a suit and then have it cut up and put back together, then why not just make it to fit me from the beginning? It seemed worth doing to me.

I was familiar with the concept of custom-made clothes. So I went to the man I considered a local expert in the matter — John Pickens.

We talked about how the big clothes I was wearing made me look bigger, not smaller. He convinced me that, regardless of my shape, closer-fitting and properly measured pieces actually would make me look smaller.

The next thing I knew I was looking at fabric swatches. I picked a beautiful navy blue herringbone. Then I tried on the model suit. With tape measure and pins in hand, Steve went to work. Pretty soon, I could begin to see how this was going to work. And I liked what I saw.

A few weeks later, Steve called to say my suit was in for final adjustments. I felt like Cinderella with the glass slipper as I slipped into those trousers and that coat. It fit like it was made for me. Because, well, it was.

I still have weight to lose. but I made sure this suit could adjust with me. And as I reach my goal, I will look at some more made-to-measure. options. I’ll still buy things off the rack. But now I know what’s possible for a few signature pieces in my wardrobe.

So, if you see me at the grocery store, the gas station or one of my son’s baseball games and you think I am a little overdressed, indulge me. Understand that I am dressing for the job I want to have, and the person I want to be.

Scott “Scooter” Anderson is a regular contributor to 318 Forum magazine. This is part of a series of articles about his recovery from a health scare. Read his previous installments in the Health and Family section at theforumnews.com.

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