Monday Morning Hangover: The Bat-Suit
You just woke up and realized that despite the fact you have work this morning, you ended up having a few too many last night and ended up somewhere other than your bed. To make matters worse, you have work in an hour, are dressed for a night at the bar, and reek of bad decisions (like that whiskey you decided to end the night with…) In other words, you may be screwed and not in the good way.
Well, “Fool me once…” and all that crap; here, today, I will let you in on what I call the “bat-suit.” Essentially, the “bat-suit” (name inspired by an Entourage episode where Ari reveals his ‘bat-phone,’ a secreted phone that he keeps on him for emergencies) is a change of clothing that you keep at the office. My suit started off as simply a tie after an unscheduled business meeting on a day that I had gone tie-free, but from there, it quickly expanded to what it is today:
- Suit: I went with a Navy pinstripe one that looks sharp, was starting to wear (not visible, but if I continued to keep it in the permanent rotation, it might have lasted six months more), and pretty much goes with anything. I would highly recommend a Navy colored suit; it goes well with most standard dress shirts (yes, it’s nice to be unique, but I bet dollars to doughnuts you have more white and blue shirts than pink/green/purple/red ones) and can be worn with brown or black shoes. Other things to consider:
- Do not use your best suit, which you might, unexpectedly, want to wear outside of work.
- It should go without saying, but you will need to hang this up, so be prepared to answer questions about why it is there (a simple: “You never know when casual Friday may turn into ‘meeting with the boss/client/the inquisitor’s mom’ Friday”)
- Dress shirt: This is somewhat optional depending on what you typically wear when you go out, but why chance it. I have a nicely ironed shirt hanging right behind my suit. Again, don’t be a fool and think that (1) you don’t need to hang it and (2) it can be a unique random color. Go with a solid blue or white shirt and, for God’s sake, it better not have french cuffs! You may want to research inexpensive “traveler” style dress shirts that are designed to be thrown into a suitcase and have the wrinkles easily fall out; this isn’t essential since you will be hanging the shirt, but it could come in handy.
- Socks: I have two pairs of socks, a black pair and a brown pair, in my drawer – and you should, too.
- Shoes: This is one aspect of the bat-suit that I don’t keep at my desk. I may be playing with fire, but usually, I wear shoes out that can double as business attire in a pinch (yes, this includes cowboy boots…)
- Tie: Due to the previously discussed “unscheduled meeting” incident, I have a tie in my desk that goes with just about every shirt that I own. The politicians have the right idea by sticking with either red or blue ties – you would be wise to follow their example.
- Belt: Over the past couple of years, either the reversible black/brown belts have really improved or my desire for efficiency overruled style. I have a nice reversible belt that I’ve pretty much worn daily for the past year and a half – it was around $40; I also have a reversible belt in my desk drawer that was around $15.
I admit, you’re probably looking that list over and have a few questions.
- “Sounds great, but also sounds expensive…” There are several ways to keep down costs. For instance, you can probably find a complete bat-suit at your local thrift shop. I’ve bought great, slightly-used suits at Goodwill and Salvation Army for around $20, just be sure to get them cleaned. Keep in mind that at $20 you can afford to get it tailored a bit. If you’re not comfortable wearing clothes that probably belonged to a dead man, try Target, TJ Maxx, Marshalls, and Steinmart or the Outlet Mall. Your final option is to use items that you really don’t wear any more, which was largely my route.
- “That takes care of the clothes, but I still smell of whiskey, tequila, the alley I passed out in, etc” This is an understandable question. I see three options: (1) you sneak a shower wherever it is you woke up (2) you shower at your office (Thankfully, more and more office buildings have showers either on each floor or in their crappy gyms) or (3) you join the gym that is nearest to your office and shower there. The latter two options are your best bets since you will be able to take a shower and then put on your bat-suit. Also, it’ll guilt you into exercising, which may help alleviate your hangover. If you’re lucky, the gym near your office is owned by the same company as the gym next to your house.
- “But I don’t wear a suit to work” Good for you! Have a damn organic cookie, hippie!/Here’s an awesome pension, govie! In all seriousness, my advice can be tailored to your office. For the hippie/NGOs, call it your “bat cargo-pants, polo shirt, and birkenstocks.” For federal employees: “bat khakis/jeans and agency polo” – that is if you decide not to telecommute that day… (If that came off bitter, it’s because I am.)
- “Is there any way to avoid having to do all this?/I can’t leave a suit hanging in the office.” I spent about a year in office limbo, where I either wasn’t at the same office everyday or couldn’t leave a suit hanging up. Your option then is to dress strategically when going out. For instance, wear non-flashy suits that are hard to distinguish as being worn the day before (solid suits, no pin-stripes), only white and blue shirts, and carry a bat tie with you. Again, if you are lucky with your gym, you may be able to rent a locker there where you can stash your bat suit. The down side to this is that you are going out in a suit — not a bad thing if you go out straight from work, but when I get home, the first thing I want to do is take off my suit and put on jeans, so it takes a great deal of will power to go home and then out again in a suit…
- “Is this all really worth it?” I firmly believe so. Not only does it afford you the security of having a good, late night and morning, but it can also come in handy during regular conditions. For instance, on warm days I often eschew the suit for chinos/dress pants, shirt and tie and would have been screwed last week when a meeting came up – not only was I prepared with my bat tie, I also had my bat-suit.