My First Suit: A Journey Into Adulthood...Kinda

By Serena Doescher on February 20, 2015

Yesterday, after five hours and a mild panic attack, I bought a suit.

I think this makes me an adult. I always dreamed of making my way downtown (walking fast, faces pass…) with an Chanel suit, Louboutin pumps, and D&G tote bag. To me, that was adulthood. Guess what? I was wrong.

In addition to a suit, I got a cold hard dose of reality. And now, I will pass this reality onto you in the form of suit buying tips.

via Google Images

The Shoes

I decided to work my way up. After all, didn’t someone great say a good pair of shoes can change your life? If not, I’m saying it.

Since I am the cliche broke college student, I had to forgo the coveted red soles, but I wasn’t prepared to give up style. I marched myself (okay, I actually drove) to the nearest DSW and headed straight to the sale aisle. And there they were: black, pointed toe, leather stilettos. 80 percent off.

I put those bad boys on and strutted straight out the door to take over the world. Well, thats what I like to imagine happened anyway. Actually, I sent a picture to my business professional expert sister. Her exact response was, “Serena. NO.” Apparently, they were too tall, too skinny and too pointed.

Dose of reality #1: Aim for a low sensible heel that can work with pants or skirts.

The Suit

I wanted pants, my mom pushed for a skirt. Since she was wielding the credit card, I was inclined to agree. As I walked into the first department store, I was confident that I would try on two, maybe three suits and they would all look fantastic.

Boy, was I wrong.

They all may look the same on the rack, but in the harshly lit dressing room with unforgiving mirrors, each suit highlighted a different flaw. In one, my legs looked stumpy, in another I had man shoulders. And to add insult to injury, I came to find out, suits run small.

Dose #2: Size up. I ended up going two sizes above my usual, just so I could sit comfortably.

Finally, at the sixth store, just as I was about to give up hope and go to my interview in leggings, I saw two promising options. One was a stylish blue with subtle polkadots; the other a grey tweed with a high waisted skirt. To the fitting room I went, mom and sister in tow. I chose the grey. It was maybe a little more conservative than I would like, but it would do.

Dose #3: Nothing is perfect. At least not on my budget. The Chanel I dreamed of was nowhere in sight and I’m sure if I was three inches taller and ten pounds lighter, everything would have fit much better. But we all need to manage our expectations.

The Shirt

All that was left was the shirt. I thought this would be the fun part. I would find a shirt to perfectly convey my personality and bring everything together. It was fun, for the most part. At store number seven, I found three options (all on sale!). Once again, I headed to the fitting room. The first option’s buttons pulled at my chest; it was vetoed. But with the second one came dose of reality #4.

Dose #4: Just because you are buying grown up clothes, doesn’t mean you don’t need your mom.

The shirt was a little too tight, so it was also vetoed. When I went to take it off, I got stuck. I couldn’t move my arms enough to lift it over my head. Hello, panic. Nice to see you, again.

Luckily, my mom was right outside the door. I beckoned her in and with one look at my helpless face and, God bless her, she did everything she could to hold in her laughter. I am almost 21 years old, the proud owner of a suit, and I still need my mom to help me get dressed. Thankfully, shirt number three was a winner. I didn’t think I could stand being confined to another dressing room.

Today, I put on my suit and shoes and stood looking in the mirror. Looking back at me was an adult. Not the designer wearing, espresso drinking adult I imagined, but she would do…for now.

The Final Product

My name is Serena Doescher. I am from the suburbs of Chicago, but have been transplanted to Iowa City for school. I am a Junior Journalism major at the University of Iowa and plan to pursue a career in public relations upon graduating. I can be easily persuaded by the promise of puppies and food.

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