On Thursday, I actually did something that I'd been planning for a while: to go to work in a suit. It turned out to be a worthwhile experience and I was completely pleased with the result. The motivations were many fold but we shall not go into them for now. I have two suits: one about 6 years old and another about two and a half years old. No points will be awarded to those who guessed that I can no longer fit into the older one. I was initially happy that I fitted comfortably in the newer one only to remember later that it was woefully oversized when I'd actually bought it.
My first discovery was that when it seated position, a man is supposed to unbutton his coat but that does not work very well when you are driving a car. It then raised the question of if a man in a suit is even supposed to be driving a car. The other thing that was becoming painfully obvious very soon was that temperature changes seem to be amplified when inside a suit. The switch from home to just getting into the car to the AC actually taking effect to stepping out in a basement and then into office was a lot of change in temperature for one hour which otherwise did not feel so.
As I stepped into office, I got very strange stares. For those of you who don't know about my past, I've been the a top contender for the most shaggy look at work. Within 10 seconds, someone yelled something to the effect of "Did you get engaged in the morning or is it happening later today"? The conference rooms are largely transparent and my boss came running from some meeting to ask if I've been hunting for a new job. Very soon, people started playing a game of who can come up with the most plausible and also the most outrageous explanation of my behaviour. The fact of the matter was that I was able to wear it for just 2 minutes and found it be a literally stifling experience. I then had conversations with a few folks who actually do wear suits or have worn them regularly in the past. The opinion that seem to come across consistently was that wearing a suit is an accquired habit.
In the afternoon, I did manage to wear it for almost 2 hours but that was after I'd got perfectly accustomed to the ambient temperature. My old belief of "When not in Rome, don't do as Romans do" was reinforced with this experience. As I was heading home, three people decided to hitch a ride on that day (for completely unrelated reasons). I was pointing out to all three of them that on this day they are far more successful in life than they had ever imagined for who'd have dreamt of being chauffeured around by driver who is in a suit!
As for my motivations for indulging in this unwarranted activity, I had at least three good reasons to start off with. Firstly, I wanted to see that if the need ever arose to wear a suit, would I fit in the ones I have. Secondly, I was wildly curious to figure out if I can actually manage to wear it for a day at work (in terms of physical comfort). Thirdly, I knew that I'd be ridiculed for doing something like this and wondered if I could actually take it. There were a few other smaller reasons but I think that this list in itself is good enough. The only saving grace is that no one has the presence of mind to visually immortalize this act on the internet.