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Tossing and turning. Staring at the ceiling. Sleep eludes me.
Insecurity of the future washes over me.
A stomach in knots and a body that will not get comfortable.
As the cars speed by my window, my mind races alongside them. I rise and walk to the kitchen.
My eyes travel out the window. I sip the tepid tap water; should have ran it longer.
I need to feel secure.
I need to regain my confidence.
I need armor; I need a navy blazer.
Growing up I was always self-conscious of myself. A chubby kid, that pulled the waistband of his pants over his stomach to try and make it look flat. All for naught as once the pants slipped, a gut would peer over them. Sweaters, jackets, blazers always made me walk taller.
I felt that I looked better in them, more a leading man than an eating man.
Navy blazer: the ultimate piece in a man’s wardrobe, or at least that’s what I read. It goes with practically anything and when it’s well fitting, gives your words and actions credence. I had an old Brooks Brother’s one that I thrifted on eBay a while ago, but overtime it had become over sized.
I stopped being an eating man, but still struggled with feeling like a leading man.
As I stared out the window I wondered “why have I waited so long to get another Navy Blazer?”
I am fortunate that my reasons weren't financial. Instead, as with many things in my life, my shortcomings are due to my mastery of procrastination.
I’m across the street from J Press. Hesitating.
As I walked the steps out of Grand Central anxiety grew.
Peering through the windows, past the mannequins, I feel under dressed.
The men inside the store are immaculate. It doesn’t help that everyone is slender and their clothes drape on them while my clothing sag like under filled sacks of grain.
I gathered my courage and pushed my anxieties down deep into my stomach like so many men before me.
“The best barber never has the best haircut, but a clothing salesman should look better than you” I remind myself.
I am greeted warmly and with honest smiles. They welcome me into the store as if I had already spent my money and time with them. Their reception gives me confidence that I am not seen as a pauper but a potential plutocrat.
“How can we help you?”
“I need a navy blazer”
“Well we certainly have a few of those.”
At first the process is uncomfortable. I am the only person in the store and three gentlemen stand over me like a fascinating specimen. They examine every inch of fabric and how it rests on me. 46 Regular is a tad too small in the chest. The 46 Long is the right size. I need slight alternations to the sleeves.
It feels awkward wearing a t-shirt with a blazer. The nicest blazer I’ve ever worn.
“How do I look?” I asked with a bit of hesitation. I feel phenomenal and am enjoying the view in the mirror. Still, a part of me wonders if this item is right for me.
“Looks like we tailored it for you personally.”
Hundreds of dollars later and with a puffed out chest I walk out and slink back down into the grime of the subway. They will call me in a week or two when the alterations are done.
The day before a heatwave the call comes and I tell them I will be in the next day.
Again I feel under dressed, but it’s hot outside I reason to myself. The short distance between the station and the store leaves my skin moist and my clothing clinging to my back.
I enter the store and three gentlemen from before are elegantly standing around wearing more layers than should be possible. The comforts of modernity. My blazer is taken out of its protective garment bag. One of the salesman helps drape it on me.
I feel a surge course through me. I look into the mirror and see the man I can be and not the sweaty mess of before. That excitement and thrill lasts a few moments. I look a bit too wide in this jacket.
I smile and tell the guardians of the sack jacket it’s perfect and walk out humming. Straight to my tailors. From J.Press to my tailor’s in Woodside I take the 7 Train; my mind made up.
I’m going to take a sack jacket; a cut that provides a man forgiveness and egalitarianism and mutilate it.
I walk in, my tailor already with a smile on his face greets me. One of these day’s I’ll ask him his name, but for now enough time has passed that it seems rude to ask.
He goes to work. Pinning here and there. Complementing the fabric and craftsmanship.
I wonder if he knows his role in this massacre.
“In a week, you can look like a real man!” he tells me with a grin.
I promptly return to the slaughtering heat and buy an ice-cream cone.
When I return the jacket looks perfect to my eyes.
It moves with me. It comforts. It inspires. It motivates.
It’s no longer a sack jacket, but something between an Italian and English jacket.
My actions to some are sacrilege.
Every time I return to the store I’m nervous those salesman will ask about my navy blazer;
my vandalized navy blazer.