You probably know how it works; you have this important event and something goes terribly wrong, your shirt gets stained, your bag gets lost, or maybe your pants don’t fit you anymore.
Not long ago, I flew to Europe with my family and Delta and KLM lost three out of five checked in pieces of luggage. Now, that was particularly bad because we were on our way to the wedding of my best friend and of course, I was the best man. With my suitcase gone, KLM told us that they found it and that it was with a delivery courier and we should get it any day. Turned out it was a lie and something was wrong in their system. They never located our suitcases even three months afterward. Unfortunately, we had just a day left, we were in a small town, and I’m a pretty difficult person to fit off the rack so it was a real challenge to find a suit or an entire ensemble that I could wear as the best man to the wedding.
Fortunately, I always put on nice clothes when I travel and that turned out to be a lifesaver. I had a safari jacket with many pockets because it’s practical but a white dress shirt, a pair of seersucker pants, and a nice pair of dress shoes. That way, I was able to find a jacket and because it was really hard to find something, I ended up with a jacket from CNA that originally costs a hundred euros, it was marked down to 29, it was like a navy simple hopsack blazer and I found a tie with it that was blue and that was my outfit for the wedding. If you know me, you know clothing is a big deal for me, at the same time, I got over it, enjoyed myself, and had a good time.
Of course, that was only until I talked to Delta and KLM again, let me tell you, what a *******. They really didn’t know where our luggage was but they kept telling us “oh it’s in Amsterdam, it’s in Frankfurt, we’ll deliver it” but at the end of the day, that was all wrong. Now we have to go through the claims process which was even worse, they only want to reimburse us 1500 bucks even though our stuff was worth 10 times that much. They want you to create detailed lists of all the things that went missing then they want you to submit receipts, what about gifts? Nope, they don’t accept that. what about photo and video proof from our videos that I own it? No, that’s not enough. What about the things that you don’t have the receipts anymore, they don’t care.
So overall, they lose your stuff, they make you work for it, and then they pay you a very small amount. So even if I had my receipts from five years ago, they’d probably be faded by now and illegible. So at least, if you do online shopping, you can still find your receipt in your inbox very easily. If you work for Delta or KLM, let me tell you, the way you treat customers whose luggage you lose is really really atrocious. On top of that, I’m a SkyTeam elite member with gold standards. I wonder what it would be like if I wasn’t that, probably even worse!
After this whole experience which ruined our experience for a few days, I reflected a little bit and came up with a number of tips that can help you to survive such sartorial emergencies.
How To Prevent A Sartorial Emergency
1.Evaluate The Risk
In my case, we went to a wedding, it was on Friday. We came in on a Wednesday, that didn’t leave me much time. I should probably put up my suit in a carry-on just to be safe. So for you, that means weigh out the importance of the event that you’re going to attend
2. Always Be Prepared For Common Sartorial Issues
- For example, a tie can always get stained, that means you should have backup ties maybe in your car, maybe at your office, or in your carry-on. It doesn’t take much space and if you roll it up, it’ll come out and won’t be destroyed but it will save your life in case you need it for an important business meeting or for a wedding.
- It’s also great to have some stain removal wipes in your wallet because they are flat, you can carry them with you and chances are you have your wallet with you at all times.
- If you travel and you have a limited amount of clothes, maybe avoid the barbecue ribs because chances that you stain your outfits are a lot higher that way.
- I suggest dressing a bit more formally because you can always take your tie off but if you don’t have one but you need one, you can not just make one up. For example, I dress more formally than 99% of the people on that plane, if I would have worn a hoodie and sweatpants, it would have been a terrible disaster at the wedding.
- It’s really important to wear a versatile well-fitting pair of shoes. Having shoes that don’t fit well is painful and will cause blisters so instead of traveling with sneakers, I opted for a burgundy pair of derbies because I knew I could wear it with a suit, I could wear it with a more casual pair of pants and it would always look good and it would minimize the number of shoes I had to bring.
- When you travel, make some extra considerations for clothes and toiletries that you put into your carry-on. If you truly can’t live without a particular outfit or a tuxedo, travel with it and carry it, it may suck at the moment but it’s a lot better than being there without it when you really need it.
- If you have an important thing coming up, try to fly in a few days early, that gives you an extra buffer to deal with issues.
- I suggest picking out your outfit three weeks in advance. That way, if something doesn’t fit anymore or something is stained or a button is missing, it gives you enough time to get it all fixed before you need it. That also means you pick out the entire outfit so you can see if there are any shortcomings or anything that needs to be changed.
- When you travel, bring a little bit of laundry detergent powder, it gets you through the TSA and you can always handwash something in a sink and it can be a lifesaver if you’re just at a hotel for example, and the turnaround time for dry cleaning is too long.
- Invest in luggage insurance. It is quite inexpensive and chances are some of the credit cards you use especially the travel-focused ones, they already have a luggage insurance built-in.
How To Deal With Sartorial Emergencies
1. Lower Your Standards
You’re ruining any chance of enjoying yourself if you can’t just give yourself a break and just accept the situation for what it is. Personally, I was pissed every time I got off the phone with them and they were telling me a different story but after three days, I just decided to move on and it was possibly the best thing I could have done.
I was there to be the best man and to support my best friend and I had a wonderful time with the people there. I also tried to laugh about it or make jokes about it and most people didn’t even notice but it will certainly be a good story to tell in a few years time.
2. Move On
I mean it’s easy to feel sorry for yourself, you didn’t do anything wrong and someone else is taking zero responsibility for it, come on! Of course, it feels unfair to just let it go but at the end of the day, you’re not in control so rather focus your energy in something positive that you can control.
3. Be Creative
If your stuff is stained and you cannot clean it, well, maybe you can take it off or hide it or get a scarf or find a way around it so it looks presentable.
4. Head To The Nearest Store
The problem is, in other countries, sometimes they have different opening hours and that may not be an option.
5. You Judge Yourself Harsher Than Other People Do
Some people don’t even notice that this was an emergency outfit I was wearing because they didn’t know I really cared about clothes. In the grand scheme of things, maybe my seersucker pants were a little loud for a wedding in Germany but I accepted it for what it was.
6. Be Confident!
Obviously, it was not an ideal outfit for me but I still wore it confidently and people didn’t really notice. If I would have been sorry for myself, they probably could have seen that and sensed that and I would have looked off or weird to them.
7. If All Else Fails, Explain Your Situation
People will understand, they know your situation, they will feel sorry for you, and they will accept you and not look at your clothes in that instance.
Never let a sartorial emergency ruin your trip, your event, or the thing you worked so hard for because it’s simply not worth it. You’re there to enjoy and make memories. Clothes are a way to express yourselves but sometimes, it’s just not meant to be. Just accept that and be happy.
What sartorial emergencies have you experienced? What were the steps you took to resolve them? Share with us in the comments below!
Update: Delta delivered the luggage after more than 100 days, which I am grateful for. Now I can make a video about how to remove really serious wrinkles from a suit ;).