Saturday 24 August 2013

I am in Marks & Spencers, shopping for some clothes to wear for a wedding. My plan is that if I look around the offering here and find nothing then I am fine to get something overly expensive from the Fred Perry shop that is both inappropriate for a wedding and sufficiently expensive so that I feel it is too special to wear much.

The only real option I will consider in Marks and Spencers is a suit. Only the suits aren’t playing. Of the suits that I like there is only 50% of the ensemble in my size. I look quite sharp in a light grey blazer, but the trousers are bordering on indecent around the crotch. I like the look but maybe not for the wedding of my partner’s younger sister. I do, though, make a mental note to wear more trousers that clearly outline the shape of my penis.

Minutes later the same changing room cubicle sees me in a darker grey suit in a pair of trousers that have a more relaxed attitude to penis containment. But the jacket is too big: I have picked up the wrong size jacket – and there are none in my size on the rack.

Just as Fred Perry is measuring up my wallet I think it might be sensible to buy a herringbone check jacket. I’ve been fancying dressing like I own a racehorse for a while now. £99 for a jacket I almost certainly will wear three times seems like a move to make here. They’re only blazers though, no matching trousers. I’m not sure I don’t want to look a complete twat, rather than the partial twat I would look in just the jacket.

This is where my disability really hits home. I don’t really know what colour the jacket is. I think it is brown. But it could be green. I don’t think it matters too much which it is as long as the trousers are green or brown then there shouldn’t be a clash. I leave the jacket and go to look if I can find some of these magical trousers. Only all the greys and greens and browns look the same to me. The only ones that look brown are some tan trousers and even I can tell they look ridiculous.

I now find myself looking through the labels of the trousers trying to see if the labels describe the colours. Fortunately I am in Marks & Spencers and that kind of thing is very much the kind of thing they have on their labels. The trousers I choose are a green mix apparently. They look brown.

I ask the man in the shoe section which shoes match the trousers. He points me to some potential footcoats and this step is relatively simple. The next step is a shirt. This is also a relatively simple step. I know the kind of thing I want, a checked twill number. I am pretty sure the colours are either green or brown and I’m doing OK. A tie however is a tougher proposition.

Aside from being colour blind I can also be a fucking idiot when it comes to certain sartorial co-ordinations, specifically what ties go with shirts if either have a pattern. I just know what I like and am good at not caring what others think. But in this case I would quite like to match. I approach a man looking at shirts and ask him what kind of tie he would wear with the shirt I am holding. He’s American, which is always a bonus, and he tells me he doesn’t work here. I tell him I know he doesn’t (to be fair he might not have picked up on the uniforms) but that I am just looking for a little help. He suggests two or three ties and tells me which of those he likes. I like it too but it’s not what I want to be wearing with this shirt on this day. I thank him and go the changing rooms with three potential ties.

The woman on the desk at the changing rooms helps me narrow down the three ties to the one tie. I try on the trousers and I am good to go. This has been a surprisingly successful and efficient trip for me. Also a sensible one: I have eschewed returning for the jacket and resisted temptation to spend several hundred pound on some vintage Fred Perry polo shirts (and probably a bag).

I have an outfit for the wedding tomorrow. And also should I buy a racehorse something to wear when it runs. Bonus. And I only had to ask three grown-ups for help.

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