This is a Test: Wearing the Pants
WALKING INTO A NEWBURY STREET store to meet with men’s image consultant Emmi Sorokin, I expect to rehash the same old arguments about my retail anxiety.
Like many Boston guys, I’m urbane, self-assured, a little stubborn, and clueless when it comes to fashion. Plus, my gender prevents me from ever admitting that I’m less than absolutely, positively sure about whatever it is I’m doing, ever. Shopping amplifies these traits, leaving me feeling paralyzed and cranky by the time I’ve tried on two shirts. My closet, consequently, is full of safe khakis and button-downs. Can Sorokin change my sartorially challenged ways?
She recognizes me immediately (as part of her over-the-phone intake, she asked for a recent photo) and escorts me to a dressing room stocked with outfits selected for cocktail parties and the casual workplace. Sorokin doesn’t lecture me or condescend — she knows all too well that men have baggage. “I just help them upgrade their bags to something everybody wants to look at,” she says, giggling.
For the next 90 minutes, I try on a series of ensembles while she briefs me on how to dress for different occasions, peppering her spiel with sarcasm and a few off-color jokes. The slim charcoal pants, white checkered shirt, skinny tie, and body-hugging cardigan she’s picked out for my new “night out” getup resemble nothing I own, but I look and feel like a rock star. This is way outside my comfort zone (hey, no one wants to be labeled a hipster), but I dig it anyway.
Sorokin tells me that her clients have scored both jobs and dates with their spiffed-up appearance and newfound swagger. I buy only a shirt — this newly stylin’ dude is unfortunately on a budget — but after today, I’ll think twice before I leave the house looking sloppy. Who knows when my outfit might net me a promotion?
Services starting at $250, 339-933-0785, amansworldco.com.
Illustration by Kirsten Ulve