I have to start wearing suits more often. I have been complimented on my choice of clothes for the first time in . . . well . . . ever.
Pictures: Luke Hopewell
Alright, that's a slight exaggeration. I can remember an occasion in the early 80s when my friends were both astonished and impressed by my newly-acquired hot pink jumper and contrasting grey suede-look pants. But that was an outlier; even my then-on-trend choice of a stylish white tuxedo combo for my Year 10 formal did not win any praise.
One of the few times I bother pouring myself into a suit these days is when I'm testing one out for a Road Worrier challenge. For my 2012 No Luggage challenge, for instance, I grabbed a Van Heusen Performa suit as my sole day-to-day outfit. (If you're on the road for a business travel challenge, then clearly a suit is the best choice.)
The Performa lived up to its promise of wrinkle-free travel, and proved to have pockets capacious enough for spare underwear and socks. So when Van Heusen offered me the chance to test out a newer suit, the Move, I was happy to step away from my normal dress-like-a-tramp approach and give it a whirl.
One of the key selling points for the Move is that it uses a wool/elastane blend, which means it offers more flexibility and ease of movement, especially around the shoulders. There's also a matching range of shirts which use spandex to the same effect. Now, I don't plan to go jogging wearing a suit (I don't plan to go jogging ever), but I have been conscious in the past of suits and shirts feeling a little awkward if I've had to stash my hand luggage in the overhead bins.
To give the suit a thorough test, I decided to wear it throughout Data Center World Asia-Pacific, which I was covering for Lifehacker last week. And it proved hugely comfortable as I roamed the streets of Melbourne, lounged around airports, wrote stories while sitting on trains, and otherwise went about my daily business. There was also a really noticeable difference between wearing the Move shirt and wearing one of my regular business shirts.
However, the best aspect of the Move was the fact that people started saying nice things about what I was wearing. "Like your suit," the Qantas flight attendant commented as I boarded my flight to Melbourne. "You're looking very fancy," my friends commented.
The shower of compliments also continued when I wore the Move to the office so I could be photographed for this article. (It's tricky taking a selfie that shows off a suit.) My CEO even seemed slightly nervous: "You haven't got a job interview, have you?"
Maybe there's a lesson here. Maybe it's time to abandon my inner slob.
Lifehacker Australia editor Angus Kidman was going to add some shots of his 80s fashion choices to this post, but figures everyone has already suffered enough. His Road Worrier column, looking at technology and organising tips for travellers, appears each week on Lifehacker.