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Things I Learned While Driving Through Utah
July 15, 2011 9:45 AM   Subscribe

Attention well-dressed gentlemen: Looking for affordable business attire, suitable for tropical climates, extended bike rides, and living out of a suitcase? Want to buy a high-quality suit for under $200? Looking for wash-and-wear polyester ties? Dress shirts for twenty bucks? Shop at one of the online boutiques that outfit Mormon missionaries and all this can be yours. (Mormon ladies' wear also available.)
posted by AngerBoy (107 comments total) 30 users marked this as a favorite

 
I was under the impression missionaries never had high-quality suits...
posted by hoyland at 9:48 AM on July 15, 2011 [3 favorites]


this is like a fetish wear superstore for me--thank you!
posted by PinkMoose at 9:49 AM on July 15, 2011 [13 favorites]


I know you are being sarcastic, but this is exactly what I need to be a funeral director in Louisiana: disposable dark suits. Thank you.
posted by ColdChef at 9:49 AM on July 15, 2011 [74 favorites]


Missionary Mall is an upstart compared the the veritable Utah institution of Mr. Mac.
posted by weston at 9:50 AM on July 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


Coldchef, I wasn't being sarcastic at all.
posted by PinkMoose at 9:51 AM on July 15, 2011 [3 favorites]


The dress pants, bike helmet, backpack, and mountain bike combination are legendary on campus. Ride on elders, ride on!
posted by Think_Long at 9:52 AM on July 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


There were just a bunch of missionaries in my neighborhood wearing these slim wool/poly (my guess) shorts that looked pretty nice and I was wondering idly where they got them. Too bad none of these stores seem to sell them.

Maybe the shorts-wearing missionaries are from a schismatic sect that finds riding bikes in long pants against the will of God or something.
posted by klangklangston at 9:53 AM on July 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


Seeing this reminds me of theatrical costuming. But I am in the market for a suit...
posted by CarlRossi at 9:53 AM on July 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


Wow. Missionary Mall has a huge selection of women's attire. Four shirts! Amazing. I guess female missionaries don't wear anything on bottom, though. That's a little weird, if you ask me.
posted by brina at 9:53 AM on July 15, 2011 [15 favorites]


Well, why do you think they call it the missionary position?
posted by box at 9:54 AM on July 15, 2011 [5 favorites]


Actually, assuming they're of decent quality, some of those coats could be brilliant. They even come in XS. Some missionaries are bound to be me-sized I suppose.
posted by hoyland at 9:54 AM on July 15, 2011


What are the oil vials used for?
posted by orrnyereg at 10:00 AM on July 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


Since missionaries pay for their missions themselves, this is actually sort of nice. Young men preparing to go to the MTC can put together a wishlist and supportive family members can outfit them with what they need.

orrnyereg: Priesthood blessings.
posted by elsietheeel at 10:03 AM on July 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


The laying on of hands for healing, ordaining to the priesthood, confirming after baptism, and the like. It's not an uncommon Christian practice.
posted by PinkMoose at 10:03 AM on July 15, 2011


Consecrated oil.
posted by Nomyte at 10:03 AM on July 15, 2011


Is "two-pant suits" one jacket and two pairs of pants, or two jackets and two pairs of pants? Or something else entirely?

Holy mackerel, wait, are those quantities above those icons? Two "two-pant" suits, two pairs of shoes, six ties and eight white shirts for $698.00?

Who cares how many pants in a two-pant suit! Even one pair of pants (two pant legs, right?) per suit, that sounds like a pretty good damn deal.
posted by Xoebe at 10:05 AM on July 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


Is "two-pant suits" one jacket and two pairs of pants,

Yes. This is a fairly common thing in mid-range mens clothing.
posted by ThisIsNotMe at 10:06 AM on July 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


Wow! Jacket and pants for under $200!
posted by Xoebe at 10:07 AM on July 15, 2011


They aren't great quaility, if my expereinces with missioanries are any indication, and being poly/wool they are stifling in the summer.
posted by PinkMoose at 10:08 AM on July 15, 2011


Does this include the underwear?
posted by Splunge at 10:09 AM on July 15, 2011


...they are stifling in the summer.
Good for building character.
posted by k5.user at 10:10 AM on July 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


Shop at one of the online boutiques that outfit Mormon missionaries and all this can be yours.

I've looked, but I can't find the magic underwear.
posted by The Bellman at 10:10 AM on July 15, 2011


Garments can only be bought with a valid temple recommend, in Edmonton one got them at the LDS bookstore.
posted by PinkMoose at 10:12 AM on July 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


I was looking into dehydrated foods for an earthquake kit a while back and came across these guys out of Provo, Utah. They sell a 1 year supply of food items for $1300 dollars. Their information page links to several LDS sites so there must be something to discount Mormon living going on here which I suppose you would need for a large family. Very practical.
posted by dibblda at 10:16 AM on July 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


Glenn Beck advertises (and may invest) in those guys
posted by PinkMoose at 10:17 AM on July 15, 2011


I'm always curious about which locations the Mormons out proselytizing prefer. My city isn't be too bad, I don't think. It doesn't get crazy hot and not very large. The downsides are that it can get pretty cold and is generally expensive. We've also got a fair amount of first nations residents. I always imagine that must lead to some pretty interesting conversations, but I'm probably over thinking it.
posted by ODiV at 10:19 AM on July 15, 2011


I wish I'd discovered Mormon business wear back when I was doing office work. It was almost impossible for me to find women's dress shirts that didn't expose my chest piece tattoo--but since Mormon clothes need to cover temple garments, they would have done in a pinch.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 10:20 AM on July 15, 2011


"can't be too bad", rather.

isn't be too bad!?
posted by ODiV at 10:20 AM on July 15, 2011


. . . if my expereinces with missioanries are any indication, and being poly/wool they are stifling in the summer.

I don't know what kink you are referring to, but I want to hear more . . .
posted by Think_Long at 10:22 AM on July 15, 2011


oh wait, I forgot that earlier you actually were referring to a fetish. My joke doesn't play so well now.
posted by Think_Long at 10:23 AM on July 15, 2011


I'm kind of digging how the reaction in here has been going. Something similar happened in another discussion I saw elsewhere about a really wackadoo modest apparel site, and other people linked to other similar sites; and then someone linked to Funky Frum. A lot of the people who'd been snickering over the other sites checked out Funky Frum and started saying, "Actually....I kind of like that dress on the third page...."

Modest and bargain clothing can still be way stylin'.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:28 AM on July 15, 2011 [5 favorites]


I'm always curious about which locations the Mormons out proselytizing prefer.

Missionaries are called to wherever the church decides to send them. They don't get to choose where they go. When I was putting in my papers, it was right around the fall of the Soviet Union and all the real zealots wanted to go there. I just wanted to go somewhere with good food where it didn't snow.
posted by The World Famous at 10:28 AM on July 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


Some of the ties appear surprisingly... unsubdued in tone and pattern. But for all other items of clothing, you can have any colour you want, so long as it's black, white, gray or navy.
posted by orange swan at 10:30 AM on July 15, 2011


Conservative business dress these days usually requires an unsubdued tie. A tie that compliments the suit well presents a more coherent outfit which represents a bit too much thought and effort, marking you as vain.
posted by ODiV at 10:35 AM on July 15, 2011 [3 favorites]


This is interesting, but if you've seen one gray or black suit you've seen 'em all. Much more awesome is the internet world of religiously-inspired clothing for women. I am not modest, fashionable or religious, but I am still fascinated.

There's Molly's and Shabby Apple, favorites of the hipster Mormon mommy blogger set. There's Funky Frum, for the stylish Jewish Orthodox lady, and for the fashionable Muslima, there's (my favorite) Hijabs High, a sadly no-longer-updated site that's a Hijabi version of The Sartorialist. Sometimes I can get lost for a long time just trawling google for Hijab and/or modest fashion blogs.

Seriously, I love this stuff.
posted by cilantro at 10:36 AM on July 15, 2011 [24 favorites]


I like the white Temple suits. You can go Tom Wolfe for cheap.
posted by adipocere at 10:37 AM on July 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


if you've seen one gray or black suit you've seen 'em all

"Out of limitations comes creativity."
posted by ODiV at 10:40 AM on July 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


.....Actually, I'm more intrigued by the "health and safety" section (only 3 bucks for some bug repellent? That's....better than EMS charges. Hmm.)
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:42 AM on July 15, 2011


Mitt Romney shops at the Missionary Mall.

Jon Huntsman shops at Brooks Brothers.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 10:43 AM on July 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


By Common Consent, one of the big mormon blogs, actually had a really smart discussion of modesty this week: the cult of what is acceptable is actually rather a limited thing, and has become much more limited in my years
posted by PinkMoose at 10:45 AM on July 15, 2011 [5 favorites]


Wow. Hijabshigh is neat! Thanks, cilantro!
posted by small_ruminant at 10:45 AM on July 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm curious about The World Famous' thoughts before I buy
posted by Blasdelb at 10:58 AM on July 15, 2011


There is a definite sphere of influence. The farther away from Zion you are, the more likely it is you can get away with shorts (and sex with your fellow Elder).
posted by Brocktoon at 11:00 AM on July 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


We didn't have a missionary mall type place in Edmonton when I left on my mission, so I bought most of my stuff at your standard department stores. But I gotta tell you as soon as I got into the mission field (in France) I traded quite a bit of it for the stuff the Utah missionaries had brought. Their stuff seemed better built and harder wearing than anything I could purchase back home.

I still use my MTC backpack daily, and I've been home for six years now.
posted by blue_beetle at 11:02 AM on July 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


Those are very cheap suits and they look cheap which is probably what you want if you are a missionary who wants to look like he is wearing a suit but not an expensive suit because an expensive suit would be vain. But for anyone else, these suits are just very cheap suits that look like maybe you spent a couple hundred bucks on a suit because you just don't know what a suit is supposed to look like. Or! Maybe you want to sell cars. BUT THEY DONT COME IN PLAID. So there's that.

However, I have just envisioned an art project where a house painter will wear a Mormon Suit for a year instead of whites, and at the end of the year will have a Noteworthy Art Project. The only challenge will be writing the artist's statement.
posted by seanmpuckett at 11:02 AM on July 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


orange swan: "Some of the ties appear surprisingly... unsubdued in tone and pattern. But for all other items of clothing, you can have any colour you want, so long as it's black, white, gray or navy."

A few mormon (and ex-mormon) friends have repeatedly extolled the virtues of wearing identical suits/ties every day, because they really let you express your individuality.

When I raised my eyebrow at this seemingly ridiculous assertion, they elaborate: "Oh. You can change your tie. Blue tie. Red tie. Striped tie. It's really the best way to let someone know who you are."

Sigh.

Also, dibblda: LDS families are required by the church to maintain a year's supply of food for every member of their household at all times. Hence, the pre-made kits. (Which make things especially easy if you are a recent convert!)

I noticed that LDS missionaries in my area mostly focused on easy targets. Mainly children born to then-recently-immigrated parents. There was lots of salsa music at the LDS dances in my town. This could just have been anecdotal...
posted by schmod at 11:03 AM on July 15, 2011


schmod, we're not required by the church to maintain a year's supply of food. it's just a smart idea. it's part of the culture of economic self reliance that our church emphasizes. if hard times hit, such as job loss, not having to worry about feeding yourself and your family is a relief.
posted by thistle at 11:07 AM on July 15, 2011 [3 favorites]


Also, dibblda: LDS families are required by the church to maintain a year's supply of food for every member of their household at all times.

Umm, no it's not required. It's just a good idea. Unfortunately I think my wife and I only have about 3 or 4 days stocked up. After that we'll be canablizing the neighbours.
posted by blue_beetle at 11:09 AM on July 15, 2011 [10 favorites]


I've just spent the last 15 minutes going YAY MORMANS!

Then I watched this video, sigh...
posted by Blasdelb at 11:09 AM on July 15, 2011 [8 favorites]


A few mormon (and ex-mormon) friends have repeatedly extolled the virtues of wearing identical suits/ties every day, because they really let you express your individuality.

My husband is exMormon, and altho he has repudiated almost everything Mormon connected in his life he STILL persists in wearing white dress shirts with black pants almost exclusively for work.
They look nice with his Looney Tunes tie, though.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 11:10 AM on July 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


A lot of the people who'd been snickering over the other sites checked out Funky Frum and started saying, "Actually....I kind of like that dress on the third page...."

Oh, I love some of this stuff! Black three-quarter length dresses/skirts are my natural habitat. Unfortunately, their XL sizes only go up to 14, which I can manage but it's still a squeeze so, sadly, no Funky Frum for me. Boo.
posted by jokeefe at 11:11 AM on July 15, 2011


I bet those built-tough suits would hold up well at punk shows.
Needs more skinny ties.
posted by Seamus at 11:19 AM on July 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


seamus: http://www.myspace.com/mormons
posted by thistle at 11:25 AM on July 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


There was lots of salsa music at the LDS dances in my town.

My theory is that apart from the church-based society and out on a mission they, the missionaries, become influenced by the local customs and subsequently feel comfortable enough to re-engage in those customs when back stateside, because it would be harder to pass judgement on bootay dancing when you just think it's colorful Spanish music.

Or they were being extremely stereotypical towards the kids they were trying to recruit, which is also possible when dealing with the personality devoid.
posted by jsavimbi at 11:32 AM on July 15, 2011


I'm curious about The World Famous' thoughts before I buy

As long as you can look this good, I don't care where you get your suit. And no, you cannot be Mr. Black.
posted by The World Famous at 11:44 AM on July 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


Much more awesome is the internet world of religiously-inspired clothing for women. I am not modest, fashionable or religious, but I am still fascinated.

Cilantro, thanks so much for those links. They featured a tonne of cute, wearable clothes and I will be revisiting. I got so frustrated on a recent trip to the mall when so many of the clothes there were just too trendoid and young and skimpy for me. When you are well-endowed you need a certain amount of coverage so you can get a heavy-duty bra underneath. When you are over 35 you can't wear your skirts six or more inches over your knees anymore without looking like you're trying too hard to look young. And yet you don't want to look matronly or frumpy. It's nice that there are clothes out there for those of us who like a reasonably modest cut and cute styles.
posted by orange swan at 11:45 AM on July 15, 2011 [5 favorites]


There was lots of salsa music at the LDS dances in my town

Interesting. There's one salsa club in my town, and it's run as an LDS social club. Wonder what the connection is between LDS youth and latin music?
posted by arcticwoman at 11:53 AM on July 15, 2011


The missionaries that came to my door last year all had pretty interesting ties. Bright colors, interesting patterns, etc. But I'm also in California, and everyone knows that California Mormons are weird.
posted by elsietheeel at 11:58 AM on July 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


There was lots of salsa music at the LDS dances in my town

When I was in high school, there was a lot of 80s new wave at the LDS dances in my town, until they asked me to DJ a dance in an attempt to get me to feel more like I was part of the group or something. Then, for one dance, there was a lot of industrial, goth, punk rock, and a little metal. Then, I can only assume, it was back to new wave again.
posted by The World Famous at 11:59 AM on July 15, 2011


Then I watched this video, sigh...

Holy crap.
posted by mudpuppie at 12:00 PM on July 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


I'm always curious about which locations the Mormons out proselytizing prefer.

I live in a 60/40 immigrant (South Asia/Central America)/white close suburb of DC and I and my neighbors always get an annual visit from Mormon missionaries. This year I've had two. First time was by a pair of white guys. After I said no through the closed door, I was visited again by a pair of two white girls. Maybe they thought I was intimidated/afraid of the white guys (who looked like two frat boys trying to sell me something). In any case, no means no, people.
posted by longdaysjourney at 12:08 PM on July 15, 2011


I'm always curious about which locations the Mormons out proselytizing prefer.

In San Francisco, they definitely like MUNI buses. Somehow they actually manage to make MUNI even worse, if you can believe it.

Want to buy a high-quality suit for under $200?

Vietnam. A friend of my lives in HCMC. Custom tailored suits are like $50-100. Another friend of mine (lawyer) visits him occasionally and gets 4-5 at a time.
posted by mrgrimm at 12:09 PM on July 15, 2011


Wool-poly-blend suits make baby Jebus cry. This is not "HIGH QUALITY", although you are getting approximately what you pay for, in fairness. You can get a better-quality suit for the same price as Jos. A. Bank if you wait for a buy one, get two or 70% off sale.

Better yet, seersucker! Or is Virginia-gentleman nubby ostentation sort of beyond the Mormon missionary ethic? I'd wear white and blue seersucker the whole time. People are just more friendly to you if you're wearing springtime colors.
posted by radicalawyer at 12:12 PM on July 15, 2011 [6 favorites]


You can get a better-quality suit for the same price as Jos. A. Bank if you wait for a buy one, get two or 70% off sale.

I don't buy nor wear suits, but I was gonna say I got a pretty decent black Pierre Cardin suit for my wedding at Men's Wearhouse for not much more than $200, certainly well less than $300, even with alterations.

Go to an outlet store like Value City or whatever, and you should be able to get one of these jobs for $50.
posted by mrgrimm at 12:15 PM on July 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'd wear white and blue seersucker the whole time. People are just more friendly to you if you're wearing springtime colors.

Even better if you add a corn-cob pipe.
posted by mrgrimm at 12:16 PM on July 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


A few mormon (and ex-mormon) friends have repeatedly extolled the virtues of wearing identical suits/ties every day, because they really let you express your individuality.

I am not Mormon and do not come from a Mormon background, but this is fairly close to what I do. Just about every day you'll find me wearing black slacks, black shoes and socks, a long-sleeve button-up black shirt and one of my twenty-some ties. I'll often, but not always, wear some beaded bracelets that match my tie color (a look that my roommate has affectionately dubbed "business rave").

There's a lot to be said for it; it's incredibly simple, it bypasses my total inability to stylishly pair colors, and it looks fucking sharp. I regularly receive compliments from women who say that it's nice to finally meet a guy who puts some thought and effort into his clothing, even though there's probably less thought and effort expended on my part than there is for most other guys.
posted by Parasite Unseen at 12:24 PM on July 15, 2011 [3 favorites]


I'm always curious about which locations the Mormons out proselytizing prefer.

ORLANDO
posted by Dormant Gorilla at 12:26 PM on July 15, 2011 [4 favorites]


Oh FFS. My dress shoes cost more than $200. I have neckties that cost more than some of those jackets. And I'm broke. If you think you look great in a ~$200 suit, don't ever stand near someone who is wearing a proper suit because you'll look totally shabby.
posted by charlie don't surf at 12:53 PM on July 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm always curious about which locations the Mormons out proselytizing prefer.

Most cities are divided into zones (zone size is generally aligned with the number of church members living in the area), then subdivided into districts which will have (usually) 1 or more companionships (2 missionaries) that live in them. The missionaries will almost never leave their zone, and will generally attempt to visit every home in their district every few months (via door knocking, or street contacting, etc). Missionaries stay in the area between 6 weeks and 6 months (on average), and usually don't keep records of which houses were visited, or whether people don't want to talk to them. They also don't usually communicate extensive details about their proselytizing to other missionaries, it's just summarized into general areas they visited, number of people talked to, etc.
posted by blue_beetle at 12:58 PM on July 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


Oh FFS. My dress shoes cost more than $200. I have neckties that cost more than some of those jackets. And I'm broke.

Well, if you're spending a couple Benjamins on a tie, I'm not surprised!
posted by misha at 1:04 PM on July 15, 2011 [10 favorites]


Wonder what the connection is between LDS youth and latin music?

I thought the LDS were proudly making big gains in latino converts.

I think most religions are at least a little crazy, and maybe LDS more than most, but the LDS missionaries I've dealt with have never failed to be polite (and have always gone away when politely asked to do so), the Mormons I've done business with have always played square, and it's one of the few religious sects that actually seems to give a crap about civil liberties (most of the time).

plus, I have to say I respect the mission concept as a tool for building group cohesiveness.
posted by lodurr at 1:17 PM on July 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


Well, if you're spending a couple Benjamins on a tie, I'm not surprised!

I bought that stuff when I had a good job (i.e. before the Bush era). I don't need a suit very often these days, but when I do, I still dress very well. A good wardrobe is durable as well as fashionable. Quality goods never go out of style. Cheap crap is never in style.
posted by charlie don't surf at 1:24 PM on July 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


Yeah . . . that really depends on your milieu.
posted by Seamus at 1:31 PM on July 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


expensive stuff goes out of style quicker, ive noted, at least in the high fashion work.
posted by PinkMoose at 1:32 PM on July 15, 2011


In San Francisco, they definitely like MUNI buses. Somehow they actually manage to make MUNI even worse, if you can believe it.

I love how they always have this combined look of fear and smile when they ride MUNI. I have a bad habit of arguing back if they start talking to me. Ask them about Kolob, the star/planet where God lives with his unmentioned wife and has sex to make our souls.
posted by njohnson23 at 1:39 PM on July 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


In men's clothing, you can get reasonable quality stuff if you do any two of:

1) Spend a lot of money;
2) Devote a reasonable amount of time shopping around, particularly used / vintage, and/or;
3) Settle for owning less.

Short version: One $300 suit looks better than two $150 suits, and if you have some time and some taste, you can probably find the former for $150 eventually.

Oh, and for heaven's sake, don't buy polyester ties if you can help it. The knots look like shit.
posted by Apropos of Something at 1:42 PM on July 15, 2011 [3 favorites]


Good quality stuff is usually fairly expensive, but it's rarely "high fashion"-expensive. $200 dress shoes are pretty common, but they'll last a long time if you take care of them and can be resoled. $200 high-fashion shoes -- good luck.

If I had to wear suits, I'd have to think pretty hard about the quality breakdown, but I think the principle of buying moderately expensive high-quality stuff is sound, as is the principle of buying fashions that fall between the extremes. I read an interview with Cary Grant some years back that inevitably came around to his sense of style. He poo-poohed it, saying he actually ignored style: he bought suits and shirts with medium-width collars, medium-width ties, single-breasted 4 button suits and flat front or unpleated pants, with unadorned, good quality shoes. He'd never be cutting edge -- but he'd also never have to replace his suits, and would always be comfortable in whatever he was wearing.
posted by lodurr at 1:47 PM on July 15, 2011


$200 is probably a bit low for shoes that can be resoled multiple times, now that I think of it. I own such shoes, but have never bought them new (the ones I own are almost 40 years old), so I only know pricing by window shopping.
posted by lodurr at 1:50 PM on July 15, 2011


Okay, Johnny, I know it's your birthday, but I can only shop at one story. You can either get a Plan for Salvation puzzle, or a space pen!
posted by Apropos of Something at 1:52 PM on July 15, 2011


Thanks blue_beetle,

I've seriously considered buying something like that for everyday food. That's something slightly over a buck a meal. Imagine the money you could save!
posted by dibblda at 1:57 PM on July 15, 2011


expensive stuff goes out of style quicker, ive noted, at least in the high fashion work.

Not really, not for men's fashion. My 1995 couture suit still looks better than anything I see other people wearing. Of course they like to change the width of ties dramatically, but my mid 90s Armani ties look like the exact cut they're still wearing today. If you bought a suit that you can notice the lapel width or the shoulders, or the general cut is out of fashion after a decade, you were buying an extreme outlier in the fashion range at that time.
posted by charlie don't surf at 2:00 PM on July 15, 2011


I don't buy nor wear suits, but I was gonna say I got a pretty decent black Pierre Cardin suit for my wedding at Men's Wearhouse for not much more than $200, certainly well less than $300, even with alterations.

Well sure, but did you wear it every day, from 7:30am to 9:30 pm in rain, snow, sunshine, on a bike for two years? I don't think they last that long for most missionaries, but they last a good long time compared to some of the higher quality suits that I have had that haven't stood up to frequent office wear over the course of 6 months. These suits are durable.
posted by Barry B. Palindromer at 3:11 PM on July 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


Then I watched this video, sigh...

Glasgow is one of the most dangerous cities in Western Europe?
posted by ennui.bz at 3:28 PM on July 15, 2011


Weirdly enough, I am always in the market for durable white pants that you can move around in. (No, not housepainting. Morris dancing.) I don't care if it's a fashion nightmare, I'm glad you shared the link.
posted by nebulawindphone at 4:36 PM on July 15, 2011


ODiV: "I'm always curious about which locations the Mormons out proselytizing prefer."

I volunteered to visit the flesh pots of Northern Europe; thoroughly investigate Amsterdam, London, Paris, Berlin...had my passport ready and everything. They threw me out. Said something about needing a penis, and believing in miraculous golden tablets.

I kid the Mormons. Actually, I kinda feel sorry for them if I see em around these parts. This is a severely unfriendly area for bikes; two lane country roads with no shoulder, no street lights, and speed limits around 55. Traffic is mostly farm trucks, tractors, and an increasing amount of suburban traffic. It's dangerous enough that nobody in this neighborhood lets their kids ride bikes too school, even though the school is only a mile or so away.

Also, it's hotter than the face of the sun in July in Texas. It's far too hot to be wearing that many clothes. Last, but not least, this area is so very, very, very fundamentalist christian. Most everyone belongs to the big ol Baptist church, which is the biggest building in town. There's a tiny Methodist congregation, and a much smaller Catholic parish. (And a teeny enclave of FSM devotees...) But mostly...Southern Baptists. The pray "at" you kind. They don't take kindly to people praying back at them.

So generally, if I see the missionaries around here, I offer to let them hang out in the AC for a while, offer them a bottle of cold water, and point them at the shelves and shelves of philosophy and theology books and kindly tell them that while I would be happy to debate with them, as I enjoy a good debate, there was more chance of me converting them than the other way around.

(That'll teach em not to send me to Europe...I'll convert their missionaries into pirates of the Flying Spaghetti Monster. No special undies or cheap poly-blend suits required.)
posted by dejah420 at 5:25 PM on July 15, 2011 [6 favorites]


Interesting. There's one salsa club in my town, and it's run as an LDS social club. Wonder what the connection is between LDS youth and latin music?

I've heard that a lot of Samoans are Mormons and in many cities, Samoans tend to run with Latinos. Just a theory.
posted by jonmc at 5:41 PM on July 15, 2011


Criminal defense attorney here. I wear my suits out pretty thoroughly, and my holy grail has been a cheap, durable, decent looking suit for court. I may just buy one of the "Edwards" suits just to see how it looks and holds up.
posted by jayder at 5:48 PM on July 15, 2011


A lot of the people who'd been snickering over the other sites checked out Funky Frum and started saying, "Actually....I kind of like that dress on the third page...."

I myself am now smitten with that mousy brown pintucked jumper thingy.

However... I'm confused about the half-length shirts, which I've only seen worn with a sari. Wut?
posted by wowbobwow at 5:54 PM on July 15, 2011


The half-length shirts are for wearing under long sleeveless or strappy dresses without adding too much bulk or making things too warm in Summer. They also make access a little easier for nursing mothers.
posted by TooFewShoes at 6:26 PM on July 15, 2011


I think the half length shirts are designed to be used to layer under an unmodest short sleeved shirt, rendering the shocking arms hidden, but not making the wearer sweat more than necessary.
posted by sciencegeek at 6:27 PM on July 15, 2011


Of all the brands of hand sanitizer in the world, I love that they chose Hog Wash. Could it be that someone there has a sense of humor?
posted by Corvid at 6:32 PM on July 15, 2011


A suit with a 2 year guarantee? I'll buy two if they throw in the Ziebart and mudflaps for free.
posted by gjc at 7:57 PM on July 15, 2011


No Samoans needed, though maybe they're part of the connection. But there's Mormons all up and down Central America too — a lot of Americans on mission, but also a lot of local converts.

....Especially in Guatemala. My understanding is that some Mormons consider the Maya to be one of the lost tribes of Israel. So doing mission work in the Mayan world, southern Mexico and western Guatemala, is Kind Of A Big Deal, since it means you're helping to restore God's chosen people to grace. Bringing lost sheep back to the fold and all that.

Many of the linguists who worked on Mayan languages back in the mid-20th Century were Mormons, and there have also been a lot of plain ol' non-linguist missionaries from the Mormon church here since way back in the day. (And for what it's worth, at least a few non-religious activist and aid workers here started out as Mormons, got interested in the region because of the church, and then stuck around once they lost their faith).

Anyway, it's a fascinating bit of history. Guatemala is now the least Catholic country in Latin America, and a lot of that is due — at least indirectly — to the unintended effects of a few choice passages in Joseph Smith's writing. The world is a weirdly convoluted place.


So, yeah, lots of Mormons here — and, I suspect, lots of kids from Utah who come down, go to one of the bigger cities on a day off, and discover that social dancing is pretty fun.

I wonder, though, if it's less the Forbidden Bootay Music aspect of it and more just that Latin America is one of the few places where there's still lots of youngish hip-ish people who are into partner dancing. If there was, I dunno, a big awesome fun-loving teenage polka scene in the Philippines for some reason, I bet we'd be seeing just as many kids coming back from mission and telling all their friends "Dude, we've got to get a polka night together."
posted by nebulawindphone at 10:14 PM on July 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


I used to look upon all Mormons and all things Mormon with a sharp degree of suspicion.

Then a pair of well-scrubbed Elders came round while I was 7 months pregnant with a car full of groceries, when it was 101 degrees outside. (In Seattle. We are constitutionally unsuited to such temperatures.) The guys offered to take my groceries into the house, and when I said "Dear sweet mercy yes please," they not only took them in, but then one of them put them away for me while the other brought me ice water. Seriously.

I'm still not super fond of the Mormon church (Prop 8 stuff, I'm lookin at you) but my opinion towards the missionaries has softened considerably.
posted by KathrynT at 11:57 PM on July 15, 2011 [3 favorites]


blue_beetle's remarks on preferred locations/mission organization sound familiar but ... first-worldy. Here's a sketch of the same from Ukraine, where I served ten years ago.

Same basic zone/district/companionship breakdown, but geographically bigger. Kyiv was two or three zones, all the Russian-speaking cities south of Kyiv were a zone, and all the Ukrainian-speaking cities west of Kyiv were a zone. (Eastern Ukraine was a different mission.) Within Kyiv and Odessa, regions of the city were districts; elsewhere, the whole city was a district because it only had 2-4 companionships, assuming it had missionaries at all. Excluding a near suburb of Kyiv, the smallest city we had open was Lutsk, population 200,000, which had two companionships. (100,000 residents each! Believe it or not, that was my smallest proselyting area by population.)

Obviously, trying to visit everyone every few months was right out of the question. Wherever you went, you were probably the first ever. So the preferred location for door knocking was anywhere where the elevator's working. (Soviet standard: nine-story stairwells, four flats to the floor. Or sixteen stories. Either way, you want to ride to the top and knock your way down.) And where the JWs haven't been very recently—you can tell if you're too close behind them because people get tetchy. (Doubtless they said the same about us).

There are also better and worse places for street contacting. You want moderate to high foot traffic, but foot traffic of casual intent. People on a narrow errand don't stop. People on a broader errand (market, department store) might. Old men playing chess mean you're in the right spot. Public transport is lousy because conversations there tend to end unexpectedly, swiftly, and non-negotiably.

Honestly, though, a missionary's favorite place to work is the home of a church member whose religion has interested a friend. If you don't really like being buttonholed at random, take comfort in knowing that the missionaries would rather not be there either.

Back on suits: I went out with a Mr. Mac suit and a ZCMI suit (since absorbed by Meier and Frank, since absorbed by Macy's). After two years, the jacket of the Mr. Mac was trash. The liner tore out quickly from the shear forces of wedging myself onto public transport, and eventually seams started popping in the armpits and such. The pants, however, are still in occasional rotation among my slacks, having held up great. On the other hand, Z suits were legendary for wearing like iron, and justly so; six years later the liner of that one shredded too, but it took two years after that for the fabric to wear noticeably (on the cuffs, of course). Freaking incredible.
posted by eritain at 1:00 AM on July 16, 2011 [3 favorites]


If you don't really like being buttonholed at random, take comfort in knowing that the missionaries would rather not be there either.

I'd take more comfort in the missionaries' respect for the fact that they are out of line to be buttonholing people and making such a public nuisance of themselves.
posted by orange swan at 4:02 AM on July 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


And where the JWs haven't been very recently—you can tell if you're too close behind them because people get tetchy. (Doubtless they said the same about us).

I don't know about Ukraine, but here in the US, I would actually doubt that.
posted by lodurr at 4:33 AM on July 16, 2011


Glasgow is one of the most dangerous cities in Western Europe?

Well, it has the highest concentration of aggressive junkies that I've ever seen.
posted by 3.2.3 at 5:20 AM on July 16, 2011


So, I ordered one of the 3-button Robbins and Brooks solid charcoal Teflon-coated suits. Looking forward to trying it out.
posted by jayder at 6:56 AM on July 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


I don't buy nor wear suits, but I was gonna say I got a pretty decent black Pierre Cardin suit for my wedding at Men's Wearhouse for not much more than $200, certainly well less than $300, even with alterations.

Well sure, but did you wear it every day, from 7:30am to 9:30 pm in rain, snow, sunshine, on a bike for two years? I don't think they last that long for most missionaries, but they last a good long time compared to some of the higher quality suits that I have had that haven't stood up to frequent office wear over the course of 6 months. These suits are durable.


And then again, my money went to George Zimmer, marijuana legalization advocate and contributor.

As opposed to funding contributing however indirectly to Prop 8 or worse.

The guys offered to take my groceries into the house, and when I said "Dear sweet mercy yes please," they not only took them in, but then one of them put them away for me while the other brought me ice water. Seriously.

I'm still not super fond of the Mormon church (Prop 8 stuff, I'm lookin at you) but my opinion towards the missionaries has softened considerably.


That's how they get you. Don't buy it.
posted by mrgrimm at 2:04 PM on July 16, 2011


lots of the missionaries are genuninely interested in service.

ase
posted by PinkMoose at 2:07 PM on July 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'd take more comfort in the missionaries' respect for the fact that they are out of line to be buttonholing people and making such a public nuisance of themselves.

There's huge variation from Mormon to Mormon, but some of the proselytizing tactics I've seen I found shameful.

Oh FFS. My dress shoes cost more than $200. I have neckties that cost more than some of those jackets. And I'm broke. If you think you look great in a ~$200 suit, don't ever stand near someone who is wearing a proper suit because you'll look totally shabby.

I think you're doing it wrong. There are lots of ways to improve your image aside from the foundation of the clothing. I got my wedding shoes at the Salvation Army (also Pierre Cardin, black loafers, in great shape (someone must have died)) for $8. I still wear them for most formal occasions.

It's very easy to spend all your money on excellent clothes and still look like a twat.
posted by mrgrimm at 2:10 PM on July 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


lots of the missionaries are genuninely interested in service.

I'd say almost all of them are. It's the other stuff that sucks.
posted by mrgrimm at 2:11 PM on July 16, 2011


Something about these tough-as-nails suits intrigues me. The standard fare of low-end mens dress wear (Mens Wearhouse, Jos A Bank) is such crap, and the higher-end stuff is overpriced and not really suited to the daily grind of people like me who wear our suits kind of "hard," that I've definitely been in the market for a suit that is the grown-up, dressy equivalent of Toughskins jeans I used to see when I was a kid (do those still exist?).

And I just like the idea of a suit that is affordable, durable as hell, and designed to withstand the elements and fairly vigorous use. It had never occurred to me that Mormon missionaries would have their own suit suppliers. Like Mr Grimm, I don't think a suit needs to be expensive to look good; I think far more important is getting it altered to fit you well.

And in my grimy work world you'd look like kind of an idiot wearing a thousand dollar suit.
posted by jayder at 3:49 PM on July 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


And in my grimy work world you'd look like kind of an idiot wearing a thousand dollar suit.

Who said anything about any grime anywhere even NEAR this forty-eight hundred dollar suit? C'MON!
posted by carsonb at 8:41 PM on July 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


And in my grimy work world you'd look like kind of an idiot wearing a thousand dollar suit.

Oh don't be such a wuss. Longeshoreman and stevedores traditionally wear woolen suits and ties, even hats. Some still do, I've seen modern films of London stevedores wearing tweed suits and a necktie, loading boats.
posted by charlie don't surf at 10:56 PM on July 16, 2011


I'm always curious about which locations the Mormons out proselytizing prefer.

Probably Zion itself. They get a home-cooked meal every night of the week.
posted by Brocktoon at 6:03 PM on July 18, 2011


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