Suited and booted: those days are so over!

Suited and booted: those days are so over! LAST Saturday I posted a wedding picture on Facebook to celebrate the third anniversary of my marriage to Marcus, my companion of 23 years.

One friend commented ‘My, oh my, you do scrub up well! ’That got me thinking about the days when my entire career in PR and publishing was spent being suited and booted.

So much money was sloshing about in Thatcher’s ‘greed is good’ Britain at the time that soon I discovered I could afford a suit tailored in Saville Row. But all the good feelings I had when I strolled into Gieves & Hawkes gave way to embarrassment and fury when a supercilious assistant gave me the once over and said ‘I’m sure we can create something suitable for a portly young gentleman such as yourself. ’Portly? I’d never been called portly in my life, and I was mortified.

Truth was that the good life had endowed me with a sizable gut, but I’d been in denial over my weight gain. So I slunk out, and vowed never to return until I’d slimmed down. After regaining the shape I had in my teens through diet and strenuous exercise, 18 months later I got my first bespoke suit, a seductive black silk number, just in time for a company dinner at posh restaurant in Soho.

The event was intended as a bonding session for two groups working for separate companies that had merged. My team comprised mainly down-to-earth East-Enders. The other was made up of insufferable toffs and toffettes, and as soon as the two sides met, you could cut the air of hostility with a chainsaw.

Somehow, despite their side and our trading dirty looks and insults, we actually managed to end the meal without violence. But then a creep–an 80s version of Jacob Rees-Mogg–decided to ‘kill’ a profiterole served as dessert by placing it on the table and banging it with a fist.

The result: the whole of the front of my new suit got spattered with cream. I grabbed his tie, dragged him over the table and onto the floor and began exchanging blows. Within seconds a full-scale brawl–you know the kind, there’s one in every western movie ever made–ensued.Staff managed to break up the fight involving around 30 and we were all tossed out and warned never, EVER to return.

When I became self-employed about 30 years ago, I donated my entire wardrobe to a charity shop, and never wore a suit again until the day i married. Nowadays I am far happier looking like an old biker dude than an 80s yuppie.

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Barry Duke