Zoot Suit Saves Loot

Ah, April. It brings to mind beautiful dresses for Easter and Prom. I remember shopping for the perfect dress with my daughter when she was in high school. She chose a gorgeous confection in purple, her favorite color.

She did not get to buy it because I had given her a limit of what I would contribute. She saw the dress in a magazine and decided she could earn the money by working three part-time jobs. But the actual price would have purchased a good, used car, and all of her work did not raise enough funds.

So we went back through the store and she purchased her second choice. It was a lovely black and white strapless number with embroidery all along the gores of the dress. It was beautiful…so beautiful that my sister-in-law asked her to wear it to her wedding a few months later while she manned the guest book. Ah, memories.

Shopping for prom back then was all about staying in budget. Fast forward to 2011…yikes…no income for me!!!

Luckily, I was not buying a dress but looking for a suit. I always thought I was the most frugal in this household, but last year at prom I was proven wrong.

My son didn’t want to rent a tuxedo, or buy a suit; he wanted me to cut the down his father’s pinstripe suit! In fact, he insisted on it! Halfway through the alterations, I tried to talk him out of it, but he had his heart set. So, I folded over the sides of the vest and sewed them down. I took some tucks in the pants in the front and the back.

That three piece suit has history. I bought it for Christmas the first year we were married at a good men’s clothing store. David had a couple elderly relatives pass away and was asked to serve as a pall bearer. He had a blue suit and I thought he needed a black one. He started working overtime and I used that money to make payments on this black pinstripe suit.

He wore it to funerals and weddings and when he wore it on Easter Sunday, people always thought he was going to preach! This is a picture of him wearing it as he emceed a Valentine’s Banquet in 1997.

My husband wearing the suit at a Valentine Banquet, 1997.


It is now enjoying a second life in Derek’s closet. It has been to its share of weddings with him, and a couple of times, parts of it have gone along to play with the band he is in.

The moral of my story is:

  1. Buy the best quality you can, so it will last. (Who knew…30 years?)
  2. Don’t give up because you can’t afford to buy or rent a suit; see if there is one in a closet that can be altered. Even if you pay to have someone alter it, it will be well worth the money.


This is me and Derek before he left for prom.


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