sartorial absurdity

You all know I love suits right? On me, on other people. Pretty much on everyone if they’re good suits. Yum suits. So, while my all-deadlines-all-the-time life continues (but don’t worry, some real content is coming here soon; I’m just waiting for something to go live so I can link you to it and talk about it), I need to pause for a second to share with you this sartorial absurdity highlighted on Rachel Maddow’s show tonight:

Personalized pinstripes.

While I have to go do some statistical analysis at the moment, I ask you to please, please, weigh in below. Awesome? Horrifying? Both? What would your pinstripes say? More importantly, my fannish friends, what would fictional characters’ pinstripes say? Because I really, really need to know.

68 thoughts on “sartorial absurdity”

      1. You know it. He would have them for different moods. God, I’m tempted to write fic just so I can have an excuse to make a wizarding pinstripe as an element.

        I need to obtain some formal clothes. But being short and fat is not helping.

  1. I triple-dog-dare you to get something made up with “If you meet Ianto Jones along the road, kill him.”


    (Other than that, I have no constructive advice. I am equally torn between horror and OMG I NEED SOME NOW.)

  2. No sillier than a lot of things I’ve seen. I’m reminded of the current Marine Corps camouflage uniform, which has little Eagle, Globe, and Anchor emblems made into the pixelated pattern. I’d be much more likely to buy the uniform though, as it costs orders of magnitude less.

    If I were to get a bespoke suit with custom pinstriping on it, I’d probably go with my name and Rocket Scientist. Or maybe my name, US Marine, Astrophysicist, Aerospace Engineer, Operations Analyst, and whatever other job title I’ve had that would blend in. It would for sure be the only one in the world.

    But tomorrow I’m just going to wear a pearl grey suit, teal shirt, and silver/black rep-striped tie. Along with my black cashmere topcoat, because it’s going to be cold.

    1. Fancy seeing you here. 😉 I didn’t even have to check the user name; just skimmed the description and I thought “hey wait…”

  3. I think I’d ponder this as seriously as planning a tattoo.

    (One of those suits would certainly be more expensive than most tattoos.)

    1. Ditto. Otherwise it would be more like t-shirt mottos (my favorite of which is “I bought this shirt on the Internet”) that you change for the occasion. All my thoughts for words on suits are so generically profound as to be annoying and impersonal. “This too shall pass,” “To thine own self be true,” “Carpe diem,” that sort of thing.

      “Be grand” only works when the wearer is the originator, which is a pity. It’s short, and it says a lot about what I mean to be and say when I wear a good suit. Something about constructing the self, but pithy and deep.

      Or maybe I just want the word “Monkey” over and over.

  4. How would you make pin stripes out of logos? Although I guess at a distance the look more like actual stripes. The concept is interesting but I think I’m going to be a bit cranky and stick to just simple lines.

    1. The Nike Swoosh is a nice linear desgin that would lend itself well to pinstriping. You’ll note they say “certain” logos, which probably takes into account that not everything will work.

  5. Horrifying AND Awesome. I am picturing significant pieces of Eliot’s The Wasteland, or John Keats…

    But that’s probably just me.

  6. I also love suits. While I am uncertain of this so far, I do have to say that the person who decided on his DNA on the suit is completely awesome.

  7. I’m picturing Arthur from Inception finding a travel suit bag tagged “ARTHUR” in his hotel room, and unzipping it to find a three-piece suit with pinstripes that say “DREAM A LITTLE BIGGER, DARLING.” Or possibly “PINSTRIPE”, depending on how much Eames had been drinking before he went online.

    1. I actually really like the idea of a suit that says “PINSTRIPE*PINSTRIPE*PINSTRIPE*PINSTRIPE” all the way down.

      “Dream a little bigger darling” sounds like something Roxy Wasserman would say (from Middleman. She’s a fashion designer, she would be ALL ABOUT this)

      1. I love your idea of “PINSTRIPEPINSTRIPEPINSTRIPEPINSTRIPEPINSTRIPE”. That would change it into some form of wearable art/commentary.

          1. Yes!

            In case anyone doesn’t get that reference… There is a painting of a pipe by René Magritte with the words “This is not a pipe” underneath.

          2. As someone who works in an art gallery, I

            1) give you a thumbs up


            2) would totally get that on my suit.

  8. I think I’d only put up with this if one could put long passages of epic or nonsense verse in place of the stripe. Monograms have always made me twitch.
    But it’s still bloody neat.

  9. Awesome if it’s witty! Horrifying (or worse; tacky) if it’s a company name/tagline/etc.

    I love the commenter who suggested that theirs might say, “You’re in my personal space.”

    Also, wizarding pinstripes = fiction element gold. If they can contain spells, it’s a game-changer.

    1. Oh lor’, yes. My mind is skittering around trying to remember this one particular fantasy world whose magic system placed huge emphasis on the written word — I know, there’s probably way more than one, but I’m thinking of just one — augh! Anyway, it would be pretty awesome. Although I guess the wealthy would mostly put spells of protection and prosperity into their pinstripes, which is practical but boring.

      1. Was it an anime? My sister and I used to watch “Demon Hunter Yohko” and I remember the kick-ass Grandma with her “Buddhist spells” on pieces of paper that she would toss around.

  10. Personally? Either a teapot or “It’s always time for tea.”

    Awesome, a trifle horrifying, utterly hilarious. Possibly depending upon the contents of the pinstripes. Maddow’s “Don’t Eat the Garnish” definitely comes under “awesome”.

    Endorsing laughingacademy’s suggestions for Arthur’s birthday present…

    Zaphod Beeblebrox would probably just get his name on his. Or “GALACTIC PRESIDENT, BABY”.

    1. No one in the galaxy could pull of a purple suit with blindingly sublime green pinstripes. Fortunately, most people didn’t try. Unfortunately, Arthur was currently sharing a spaceship with one of the fools who would –he had been reading the guide when Zaphod made a triumphant entrance, posing to emphasize the canary-yellow cravat that finished the outfit.

      “What on Earth are you wearing?” Arthur asked, wishing rather fervently that Zaphod hadn’t lost or broken every pair of Joo-Janta Peril Sensitive Sunglasses on the ship.

      “Oh, Earth-man, cool, yeah! You wouldn’t believe how mind-bogglingly expensive these threads were, but look at the colours, man! Hoopy yeah?”

      Arthur stared bleakly. “Yeah?” he offered tentatively, wincing as Zaphod launched over the couch to sit next to him.

      “Well just check out the best part!” Zaphod chuckled, thrust an arm under Arthur’s nose, and smiled broadly. He seemed oblivious to the fact that the colours were not so much ‘clashing’ as ‘having declared war to last for generations’. Arthur felt his eyes start to water as he stared in horror at the little green letters crawling along the purple wool.

      “Zaphod, your suit has words on it.” he managed to explain, wondering if he could get a headache by staring too long, or maybe if this was another one of those moments where he already had a headache, and just hadn’t noticed yet.

      “GALACTIC PRESIDENT, BABY!” Zaphod exclaimed, waving his arms in a grandoise fashion. He thrust the other arm under Arthur’s nose, and continued “And the pants say “BEST BANG SINCE THE BIG ONE” -did you hear about that, Centri’s such a nice girl. I’m still trying to decide on the vest, I can’t choose between “COOL ENOUGH TO KEEP A SIDE OF MEAT FRESH FOR A WEEK” and “SO HIP I HAVE TROUBLE SEEING OVER MY OWN PELVIS”. What do you think, Earth-man?”

      Arthur stood, suddenly very badly craving tea, or really, any excuse to extricate himself from the conversation. “How about “seven-time winner, worst-dressed sentient being in the universe””. As he stalked from the room towards the kitchens, he could hear Zaphod call out behind him:

      “That’s no good –I’m going for win number eight!”

      1. Best fic I’ve read all week, thanks!

        If the Patrician could be persuaded to wear anything but dead black, I think he could do well in his family motto, which Wikipedia reminds me is Si non confectus, non reficiat (“If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”)

        I tried asking my internal representation of Vimes, but he flipped me the bird. Carrot got very excited about it, though, and started putting together a discount plan to outfit the entire Watch so they can read the laws off their sleeves.

        Dibbler’s just says INNA BUN! ONNA STICK!


    Perhaps maybe because I have this thing about words, and about being read, and I also have this thing about secrets and subtleties and that which is not immediately noticed, and I *definitely* have this thing about well-cut suits.

    I will get back to you on what mine will say. Probably not just “MOOP!” over and over. Possibly the text to something, if we’re gonna go ahead and dream big. Ohman! I would totally be all about a suit with the text to the story “Torn Apart and Devoured by Lions” (from the anthology Machine of Death, which everyone should read, but you especially might find interesting, what with your whole death-mourning-fiction thing.)

    But that’s partially because I’m currently kinda obsessed with that story. It may be my favourite from the collection.

    Anyways, I am really tired and rambling like a ramble-beast. Further comment to-morrow!

  12. I have a tie like this! I am a fashion forerunner! (Okay, it was dad’s tie from the seventies and it says DO NOT FEED, in French, in small red letters on navy.)

    Now I want a charcoal fabric with green woven kanji, a la The Matrix, but the kanji is in fact a Basho haiku. (Not sure which haiku yet.)

    Snarky Latin mottoes?

  13. All I can think about is that I had this vest-shorts set with numbers all over it when I was younger and people kept asking me if it was the digits of pi. (It wasn’t; the pattern repeated.)

    Having a pinstriped suit with pi making up the pinstripes would be pretty awesome.

  14. Mine, of course, would be black, with stripes as close to neon green as they had. The design would look like random strings pouring down, and would include a variety of characters — not sure whether extended characters as well as letters and numbers — or maybe just 0-9 and A-F — but in the characters, I’d have encoded a poem of mine. (Which one, I’m not sure; I’d probably write one specifically, probably a sonnet.)

    Black sunglasses would complete the look.

    The second suit would be a deep cobalt blue with lighter stripes, and I would ask someone dear to me, ideally my best friend, to write or find some words of encouragement or inspiration. (I would have final editorial say, though.)

    In a moment of whimsy, Spock (Prime) got a suit for Jim, with the Prime Directive in the stripes. Jim laughed until he cried. (In a moment of avuncular sentiment, Spock-Prime got the same suit, in a more fashionable cut for this universe, with this universe’s Starfleet’s Prime Directive, for this universe’s Jim. Jim is bemused but appreciative: a fine suit is a fine suit, and that’s an appropriate motto for a captain. This universe’s Spock is appreciative of the fine figure that Jim cuts in the suit.)

    Gaila’s suit is cut to accommodate her athletic stride; Uhura’s is long and elegant. Both of them bear the names of their dead classmates.

    Scotty got his with the check from his first paper published in the Interstellar Journal of Engineering, and has the formula he published there.

    Cupcake carries his mother’s name into space with him. McCoy, his daughter’s.

  15. The obvious thing to have sewn or woven into clothes is “baruch attah Adonai, eloheinu melech ha’olam, asher kiddshanu b’mitzvotav v’tzivanu al mitzvat tzitzit”, but that doesn’t work if there aren’t, well, tzitzit. 😉 So I would probably go for the Shma, because there are very few things the Shma isn’t appropriate for. Ooh, or maybe the Song of the Sea!

  16. Love the idea, am too much of a Gemini to decide on one phrase (possibly ‘Pressure makes diamonds’)

    You could have detailed instructions on what you would like to do with people and wear the suit for dates/rendevous/sexyfuntimes!

  17. My initial reaction was, ewww, because I love classic pinstripes and this just seemed wrong. But then I saw the comment about making the text be kanji and that sounds very cool to me. I think I would not want something that people would want to come up close to me to read.

    When you asked for fictional characters and what would they have. Wash from Firefly would, of course have, “I am a leaf on the wind”. And Zathrus from Babylon 5 would probably have “Cannot run out of time. There is infinite time. You are finite, Zathrus is finite.” or “If Zathras stay, Zathras die. If Zathras leave, Zathras die. Either way, is bad for Zathras.”

  18. If you really want to take it up a notch, I could imagine picking a personal phrase, transcribing it into either Morse Code or binary and then applying it to the suit.

    I’ll go with really obvious fictional character choice; Ianto would have the Coffee Mentat Mantra to match his “JAVA” and “DCAF” knuckle tattoos.

    BBC Sherlock would have various cutting remarks rendered in that really nice typeface he uses to transcribe his thoughts.

    I have started reading Jasper Fforde’s “Thursday Next” series, which is set in a universe where literature has reality warping abilities. In that world, my mind starts to boggle at what effect a suit rendered with Shakespeare’s sonnets would do if worn in a crowd full of militant Baconians.

      1. I *know* right? I am making my way through “The Eyre Affair” and shudder to think how Acheron Hades would have some kind of weaponized text woven into his suit.

          1. It’s really fantastic! My general review to people is that the plot is good but nothing to write home about, but the world-building is amazing. I would be willing to buy Fforde’s books even if they were nothing but interesting descriptions of the worlds he’s woven without any plot or characterization whatsoever.


  19. I’m a black trousers and blouse kinda girl… only wear a suit for interviews… but I’d love one of those just for the novelty side of things – and I’m torn between ‘I am what I am’ or ‘Yet I will praise…’ from my moniker

    and being a Torchwood fan, I couldn’t help thinking about Ianto Jones’ suits – and so far nothing too clever has come up but as he’s known for his dry wit, maybe something along the lines of: I’m Ianto Jones and this is how I roll or This suit has been provided by Torchwood – cause they are that ‘secret’ 😀
    Rhys’s would say something like: Special Ops Widow and Owens: Doctor Owen Harper
    I’ve tried to imagine Jack in one but him out of uniform kinda blows the mind

  20. I would get “Futue te ipsum.” (Latin for ‘Go f–k yourself.’) Because for anyone to get the joke they would first have to read the very small print, then know Latin. Having such an expensive suit say something so crass in a ‘high brow’ language is hilarious to me.

  21. I like to think that if one could do long passages, Ianto would daydream about a suit made out of his favorite Bond novel, though I also think he’d have cognitive dissonance about it because, wow, what a fucking bizarre idea.

    Ten’s pinstripes already say something, but it’s microprint, and in Gallifreyan.

    Jack isn’t allowed to have personalized pinstripes.

    Yvonne’s say “Torchwood” on them.

  22. I love the idea of this suit, but I’m not sure what I would want it to say. (I also probably wouldn’t want wool; Texas is too hot for wool most of the year.) The only thing that comes to mind is “Oh, ho ho! You sly dog! You got me monologuing!”

    Hmmm… Charlie Epps would definitely have a suit with Pi on the pinstripes. And now I just hear what Alan would say when 1) he sees the suit, 2) when he hears what Charlie spent on it. (Sorry, Numb3rs fandom.)

    1. Yes! It is! Would they have the Evil Overlord list in the pinstripes?

      What would different Evil Overlords have as their pinstripe? (I have to go re-watch some B movies.)

      Would Mr. Tinkles have “Cats Rule” as his pinstripe? (Sorry I’m being influenced by my little cousins.)

      I’m picturing Ba’al having “I’m so great I cloned myself” on his. (Stargate.) Once in a Stargate fandom group, we were discussing Stargate character pick-up lines. For a Gou’ald someone came up with “My body is a temple; Fall down and worship me.”

  23. My pinstripes would say 00111010101110101… because I am just that geeky, I would take some poem I love, convert it into binary, and use that.

    I think it’s kind of awesome, though I cannot imagine spending anywhere near that kind of money on it, no matter how much I had.

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