self portrait“It’s so much easier for guys,” Lily complained as we discussed finding a dress for the Old Palace Ball, “they just have to get a black suit and that’s it!”

It seems this misconception is actually a widely held belief amongst girls which I feel compelled to address. You see, far from making things easier, the narrow variation makes the selection far more difficult. With dresses it’s all too easy to dismiss a large section by colour or gaudiness or length or all the various obvious differences. Distinguishing between the finer points of two black suits, on the other hand, takes a far more trained eye.

Price-wise I can’t account for exactly how much a girl spends on average but I’ve been reliably informed it usually lies somewhere around the £100 mark. To be generous we’ll even throw in an extra £50 for accessorising (although generally accessories are comparable between the sexes, comprising of dress watches, rings, chains and necklaces where applicable, and so on). Lovely. Now let’s look at buying the guy’s outfit, involving a little trip up to Oxford Street (close your eyes and you can almost feel the bustling crowds of Europeans who for some reason think it’d be fun to come to London and pay more than they would back home). The basic dress suit came to £160 (Burton), plus a winged-collar dress shirt at £25 (Moss Bros.), a £15 silk bow tie (Suits You), and finally cufflinks for a further £15 (Tie Rack – although I may go more upmarket). Which comes to a grand total of £215. Makes you wonder who should be paying for the drinks really, huh?

dunhill pour hommeOn the plus side, Arena have thoughtfully provided my aftershave for the evening. I’m still not quite able to figure out how the maths works, but my £17 6-month subscription resulted in a free bottle of the new Dunhill fragrance being dropped through my letterbox last Saturday. The retail price? £25. So yes, the magazines themselves are cost me precisely minus eight pounts sterling. Not that I’m complaining, naturally, and it does look pretty, adding a little colour next to those stylish but rather grey Armani Mania bottles.