Peter Bromhead: Presumably retired in casual attire

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"So, I presume you're retired," said a former business acquaintance, eyeing my casual attire. We were in a downtown building foyer, over-run with lawyers and other professionals attired in black suits, so I stood out in jeans and T-shirt as either a basement cleaner or low-rent courier.

"Well actually ..," I responded. "I only enjoyed retirement when young. Now I prefer slaving seven days a week."

"You were such a sharp dresser in the business world - nothing but Armani suits, Hermes ties and hand-made shoes from Jermyn St ..," my acquaintance recalled, his voice trailing into a bewildering silence as he also noticed I was carrying my business files in a plastic supermarket bag.

I debated explaining that I still possess a smart leather briefcase, but since my young son accidentally emptied a carton of milk into it, it's developed a rather powerful odour reminiscent of a mature French cheese, which might be off-putting for fellow directors I planned to meet that day.

If I'd had more time, I would also have explained that the reason for wearing relaxed clothing is because my girth has outgrown my existing suits and I have sartorial difficulties coming to terms with purchasing the latest in gentlemen's business attire.

Today's styling offers nothing but shrunken, bum-freezer jackets combined with equally tight, narrow trousers. It's the sort of apparel previously worn exclusively for comic effect by well-known actors such as the late Sir Norman Wisdom or some of the Carry On movie stars.

I suppose this latest round of fashion was dreamt up by young Italian Lotharios - blessed with extremely narrow waistlines and a burning desire to highlight the curvature of their bottoms and the pulsating contents of their crotches to all and sundry.

Unfortunately, this creative edict does not exactly satisfy the needs or priorities of an elderly gentleman who's eaten too many meat pies over the years.

I can only take comfort in the fact that sooner or later the cut of men's suits will change again and I will re-emerge into style, when something resembling the "baggy look" takes off again.

Alternatively, I could move permanently to Silicon Valley, where I've noticed casual wear is the executive de rigueur - year in, year out. It's only a shame the electronic wizardry created in this enterprising part of the world doesn't have the same shelf life as the faded jeans favoured by the bright stars working there.

- NZ Herald

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