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I am become Best Man, Best of All the Men

This is another in the series of very occasional posts about clothes and shopping because I do this stuff so rarely as to be a novelty worth writing about.

My good friend KitB got married in February, and asked me to be his Best Man. Which was a really good way to make me come to a wedding in winter in the UK when I would rather be in Turkey. KitB also decided we should wear matching suits. The thing about that is, KitB has a well-fed, average-height, broad-shouldered sort of figure, and I am petite, short, with hips and boobs. It turns out your average - or even high end - highstreet suit maker does not account for this scenario.

We took advantage of me being in Edinburgh last October to go suit shopping together to get this sorted out... and we couldn't find anywhere that makes their suits in a range of sizes and shapes. The whole affair is gendered bullshit, that can't conceptualise of a world where people with different body shapes might want to wear the same clothes, because of some arbitrary divide based on genitals. We quickly had to face the reality that we wouldn't find exactly matching suits from the same place. Particularly not in-person, at short notice. But what we did manage to do was get Kit to try on a bunch of things so he could narrow down what he actually wanted to wear at his wedding, which until previously had been pretty much completely up in the air.

At some places, the assistant in the shop put a "men's" small on me and pinned it in a few places to show how it could be adjusted to fit. But in all cases it still looked like I was wearing poorly fitting clothes. There was nothing to be done.

A selfie of two different sized humans in a mirror, wearing navy blue jackets in a suit shop

But Kit decided on navy blue and a waistcoat, and I committed the details to memory as best I could. We figured, somewhat dejectedly, that if I could get a navy suit that was close enough and we wore matching ties, that would have to do.

The next day, alone, I hit the charity shops. Secretly I was a bit pleased we didn't figure this out from a proper suit shop, because I hate buying things new, and I also hated all the prices. In one morning I wrapped up the bulk of the outfit from charity shops on the Edinburgh bridges:

  • I bought a totally rad shirt with lightning bolds on for £3.50 from Cat's Protection, although this was subsequently been overruled by my mother in favour of a normal better-fitting white shirt from Matalan (£7).
  • I tried on a few navy blazers, and splashed out a whole £15 in Cancer Research for one branded "Hobb's London", after double checking I could return it if the colour wasn't right.
  • I picked up almost matching and well-fitting (unusual cos I have traditionally had an awkward shaped butt) navy trousers from Save The Children for £3.99. They are M&S trousers, and even have pockets! Real ones!

A selfie of a torso wearing a navy suit jacket and pink trousers in a shop changing room Mirror selfie of a person wearing a navy suit jacket and trousers, a button up shirt with tiny lightning bolts on, in front of a messy bedroom

While I was out, I couldn't help but notice just how many Kit-sized navy suite jackets, trousers, and even waistcoats were around in the charity shops..

A rack of suit jackets in a shop A rack of suit jackets in a shop A rack of suit jackets in a shop A navy suit jacket on a tailor's dummy with a pink shirt A rack of suit jackets in a shop A white shirt and blue waistcoat on a tailors dummy

That felt like a success, and now all I needed was a waistcoat. I checked out some non-second-hand highstreet stores, but nobody has navy waistcoats apparently.

I was also determined to have totally awesome shoes, since I wasn't allowed to express myself through any other aspect of the attire. I suddenly wanted smart shoes with brogueing (I learnt this word after I knew what kind of shoe I wanted) - I've never had a reason to wear them, and can't justify them for fun due to the limits of my backpack lifestyle. I have tiny feet and incredible luck at secondhand awesome shoes. I've seen the kind I want everywhere, so I had zero concerns about finding some. On the first day of trying I found some I loved in the British Heart Foundation in Boston, but they were a light brown and kind of scruffy and my mother said they wouldn't work. I found some absolutely gorgeous shiny dark burgundy ones somewhere else, but they were a full size too big.

The following week, I visited family in Brighton and dropped into every charity shop and vintage shop I passed. My Mum dug out a navy waistcoat in a vintage store. It wasn't perfect but was as close as I could imagine getting. It has a round neckline, and we wanted a V, but my mother is a miracle worker with clothes so that didn't deter us. It was £12.

A torso wearing a navy blazer and wasitcoat, and flowery blue trousers, in front of a rack of shoes

Mere days later while teh fam were flying kites on the beach, I ran off for 10 minutes to look in charity shops on Skegness high street. The first place I looked - British Heart Foundation again - were shiny grey size 3 Oxford brogues (I don't know anything about shoes, this is what I have been told they are). They were on the large side - I reckon they're really a 3.5 or 4 - but they fit well enough. They were £4.99.

Shiny grey brogue shoes A small grey brogue shoe beside a large black brogue shoe Feet of a person sitting on a white chair, crossed over, with grey brogue shoes and mustard socks

Kit was in charge of buying matching ties, which thankfully only come in one size and shape for all genders, with the only caveat that they can't be silk (because they are made by BOILING little BABY worms ALIVE). In the end, he got them from Etsy, but handmade in Cornwall.

I was really glad to get that wrapped up before leaving the country, and left all this stuff at my Mum's house. She turned up the trousers and jacket sleeves, and adjusted the waistcoat so the necklines matched, and added darts so it fit around my boobs properly. And she covered the buttons in the waistcoat so they matched the jacket. When the tie and pocketsquare arrived, she turned part of the pocketsquare into a matching hair scrunchie too! Thanks Mum <3

View from above of someone's legs with navy trousers, being adjusted A person in a navy suit and tie standing on a table, looking to the left A person in a navy suit and tie standing on a table with arms slightly lifted

Total cost (including extraneous lightning bolt shirt): £46.48 (and some of my Mum's time, which is priceless).

When the day itself came, nobody noticed that Kit and I weren't wearing exactly the same shades of blue. I was in charge of making sure Kit got dressed on time, and successfully ironed both of our pocketsquares.

Two navy suit sets hanging on the back of a door A selfie of two people in navy suits and blue and white ties with flower buttonholes and smiles

I did my important wedding duties, which involved not losing the rings, and putting on a good social face whilst holding a champagne glass of fizzy elderflower juice.

A bride and groom stand under a leafy wooding wedding arch, with the Best Man offering rings from a box, in front of a large window with a view of the sea A person with green hair and a blue suit talks to an older blond lady with red glasses, in a comfortable living room A comfortable living room is crowded witih people holding champagne glasses and chatting

We had a good time photoshooting on the beach under an appropriately dreary sky.

On a sandy beach by the sea, two people in suits watch a bride in a white dress being photographed in the distance Two people in suits stand back to back with the sea behind Four people in suits stand in a line; one is very small; outside of a white house

A person in a navy suit stands on sand in front of the sea, looking over to the left Two people in navy suits stand back to back on the beach, laughing

All of the good, high resolution photos are by the official photographers, Sea & Salt Photography Co., though I've scaled them down and cropped them a bit.

Three people slouch on a floral couch; one in a navy suit, one in a navy dress, and one in a white shirt and navy waistcoat

🏷 uk kitb life wedding