8.1 Sartorial Advice

by Matt P.

There were, Walter reflected, really only so many different kinds of dark suits that a man could own before they started to blend together. His wardrobe could very much have been appropriate for the FBI, or for a sartorially conservative view of a politician. He had some black, dark gray, and dark navy suits; sure some had stripes and some didn’t, but that wasn’t much differentiation. He reached out to pull a black suit out of the wardrobe with a shrug. At least he had a really nice collection of colorful ties.

“You should buy like…two or three more light colored suits. Why do you only own dark suits?” Antigone asked from where she sat on his bed.

“A lifetime of conservative dress codes. Even when we weren’t in uniform we were expected to look professional,” Walter explained, shrugging. “And then I got to a point where I wasn’t wearing formal uniforms, but the places I was hanging out either called for fatigues and body armor or dark suits.”

“So…” Siobhan trailed off as she walked in. “Hitmen?” She ventured, and he wasn’t sure if her voice was hopeful or frightened of the answer. When he shrugged, she snorted. “You actually were in the military weren’t just a contract killer, right?” He reached for one of the hangers that his ties were on, and pulled them out along with a couple of shirt options. As he exited his closet, he pointed to his dresser.

“First, if I wasn’t, I couldn’t tell you. Second, pretty sure I didn’t fake all of that—or Army security is really dropping the ball.” The picture he pointed to was one of his favorites. It was him returning from one of his more recent deployments, wearing the camouflage Army Combat Uniform, embracing all three of his children at once. Rhiannon had snapped the picture before joining them in the group hug.

Antigone and Siobhan both smiled at the picture, in one of those moments where despite very different bearings and haircuts they were completely identical. “Fair enough,” Antigone allowed. “Still, a tan suit wouldn’t kill you.”

Walter laid out the suit, actually the suit he had worn for his interview with the Border PD and that had come from a very good and very inexpensive tailor in Prague, and considered it next to the ties and shirts. “You’d think that, but then people go crazy when politicians do it.” He hmm’d a little bit. “Do I wear a tie to talk to vampires, or do I go for the trendy open collar look?” He asked them.

“Do you now what Morgan is going to wear?” Antigone answered, focusing on the fashion aspect of it as she kicked her legs. Siobhan focused on more practical aspects, eying the tie.

“Does wearing a tie get in the way of pulling a gun?” She asked curiously. Walter raised an eyebrow, and gave a little bit of a smile to both of them at their suggestions.

“I don’t know what Morgan is wearing, although if she’s going in an official capacity I’m going to take a stab at blue or black,” Walter answered, shrugging. “Or both. And wearing a tie doesn’t normally get in the way of my draw, even with a shoulder holster; but I’ll probably go with a belt holster for speed.”

All three of them considered the clothing, before Siobhan pointed to an electric blue button up shirt that had actually been a gift from Morgan. “That one, no tie; it’s a club, not an assassin convention. And no one can choke you with it.”

Antigone was more considering as Walter peeled out of his shirt and reached for the button up. “Is this what it was always like for you, before you’d go out on a…mission? Operation? Heist?” She asked, struggling for the word. “I mean…not just picking shirts, but this kind of…I don’t know. Absurd little decisions in front of ridiculously terrifying ones?” She gestured at the clothing as Walter buttoned up his shirt.

He smiled, chuckling a little bit. “For the purposes of this conversation we can use mission and operation as synonyms. But…yeah, basically. A little less fashion—most of the time—and a little more ordnance choice, but it isn’t far off.” He paused, as he moved in to his bathroom to change his pants. “I remember we were going to be out in the field, back when we were still looking for people on playing cards, and the night before the biggest argument we had was over who should get what shitty MREs. When you’re terrified of what’s going to come, you focus on the little choices.” He shrugged. “And there is nothing quite so little as ‘should I wear a tie or not’,” he finished, coming it in the pants and shirt. “And for the record, veggie burger is the worst MRE.”

“Noted,” Siobhan commented. He went to get his personal pistol and holster, which he brought up before the fashion session had begun. The belt was the next to last piece, and then he flipped the jacket on to his body. Siobhan considered him for a moment as he settled it on his shoulders and buttoned it. “I don’t know, there’s something almost…harder about you in a black suit then even in your old uniform.”

“Yeah,” Antigone agreed, considering him critically. “I don’t know why. Maybe…its his shoulders? He stands differently.”

“That’s because,” a voice came from the hallway, which resolved itself in to Ryan Aquino. He was dressed very similarly to Walter save that his suit was a very dark gray and his shirt was a very dark red, “When he was in his uniform he was standing with the righteousness of the United States Army behind him. When you’re just a guy in a suit, you have to look that much more intimidating.”

Walter raised an eyebrow, and pulled back his jacket back to attach the clip on badge holder to his belt. “Still a uniform for me, and still not just working for myself,” he pointed out wryly.

“But it’s different, and you know it. Don’t tell me you don’t feel it. They don’t necessarily do you boys favors when they make you plainclothes,” Ryan pointed out. “Uniforms give you the feeling of an organization behind you, which gives you confidence; that’s why rental cops where them.”

Walter shrugged. “Sure,” he allowed. “But the badge does that too. And not wearing a uniform makes it easier to, you know, solve crimes.”

Another voice joined from the hallway. “Ryan also acts like he isn’t representing an organization,” Morgan explained. She stepped in the bedroom, and had gotten dressed as well. She was wearing a blue gown that almost perfectly matched Walter’s shirt, and looked like it was made of silk. It was done in a flapper style and ended at mid thigh with a fringe going down to her knees, where she wore blue heels with what Walter recognized as a short kitten heels only because he had teenage daughters.

“You look gorgeous,” Walter complimented, earning a smile from the Faerie queen. She had her long red hair done back in a braid held in place with a matching blue hair clip. “I expected something more…fight worthy.”

Morgan shrugged a little at the question. “I can go from zero to fighting in a hurry, I promise. Besides, as always there is more to the dress than there appears,” she offers with a mysterious smile. “And since this is allegedly a social visit, we’re matching the theme. And if it gets ugly,” she offered, her smile turning from the mysterious to the somewhat wicked, “Then we get to have fun.”