man in black suit jacket

What to do with old suits?

man in black suit jacket

Recently, I was accompanied by a friend on a house-hunting trip upstate New York. This expedition catapulted us into the paranormal’s bowel-curdling extremes. We encountered the exact same phenomenon multiple times in a single day. We kept coming across the same uncanny phenomenon on our house tours. Garages and attics were filled with business suits, shirts and Larry King suspenders, lightly scuffed wingstips, and low-rise loafers. Garbage bags full of neckties and more were also common. The slow but steady march towards informality, which began in the late 1980s with Casual Friday, has caused a tsunami of sartorial hoarding.

To be fair to the sartorial hoarders it is not possible to exorcise and deaccession all Gordon Gekko drag. There is no one to take it away. It is possible that you will have to hire someone to haul it away. The Masters of the Universe today, further empowered by their casual lifestyles and work-from-home dressings, wear James Perse hoodies, or smart-casual melanges of Ralph Lauren, Loro Piana, and Uniqlo. In the past, wearing a sweatshirt was an indication that you worked at the loading dock. The situation is now reversed, with entry-level workers at fancy firms dressing up.

How can you get rid of all your office clothes?

Let’s begin with the neckties. I have an inspiring thought. Back in 1986, while working at downtown Barneys New York we created an AIDS fundraiser. We auctioned customized denim embellished and donated by artists like Jean-Michel Basquiat, Andy Warhol and, most importantly, Robert Rauschenberg. He obliged and added a hula skirt made of wide, polyester ’70s ties that he had sewn to a jacket’s waistband. It was Dada and demented. You get the idea. You can do anything with an old necktie.

Dayna Isom, an Etsy trend expert, gave me a shocking statistic. “On Etsy there will be over 10,000 search results to make recycled tie items into pillows, miniskirts or grief quilts.” There are no supply chain issues, clearly the “power ties” glut has created a huge cottage industry. For next year’s holiday gift ideas, message Etsy sellers like Exprimere Te or I Am the Spotted Zebra to request a few items made from your old ties.

Ms. Johnson also has a suggestion to deaccession boxy suits: “The oversize men’s look for women-very ’90s -is everything right now.” Your boyfriend jacket gets a new spin with hand-painting and embellishment. Maybe your creative niece will grab a few of your suit coats and make them into a belt. Some men might too. It’s never too late for a woman to discover her feminine side.

A second tip is to put those boxy jackets to use. Let’s suppose you have a grandson who wants a themed bar mitzvah, or a wild birthday party. What about a David Byrne theme. The cool, never-not-cool Mr. Byrne has been discovered by a new generation. Let the boys have a look through your racks. The boys can trim the pants using pinking shears, and improve the shoulders with football pads. Imagine the social media outrage that will ensue when lads and lasses upload videos of themselves dancing to “Stop Making Sense!” on TikTok.

Imagine your suits being bespoke and made from high-end fabrics in perfect condition. Aaron Sciandra, a custom quilter, is available to cut and dice cashmeres or silk twills into haute-couture bedding. “I love to combine different weights and textures,” Mr. Sciandra said. His bed-size quilts start around $2,000. You’re done! This is a personal, luxurious heirloom.

A final tip: Contact your local drag queen. Drag kings, the female cross-dressing equivalent to drag queens, have a proud history of mocking male archetypes as well as the pomposity and formality of business attire. Drag kings today, such as Mo B. Dick and Murray Hill, may take some of your favorite garments off your hands. There might be some drag queens who will take you in. Willow Pill, winner of “RuPaul’s Drag Race” season 14, wowed in the finale with her pink, oversize-business-suit parody.

RuPaul once said that he wanted to make more money. You like money? Wear a suit. Ru’s advice will be followed if the economy experiences a downturn. You may find people willing to take your sartorial goods. You might even find yourself reaching for those schmattas.

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