Being Ugly Was Not Enough For This Suit

The Suit Was Ugly EnoughAt my elementary school, the girls were not allowed to wear pants.  I didn’t mind.  I loved to wear mini-skirts and fishnet stockings, even though I was a chubby kid and couldn’t really pull it off.  In high school, I needed a good gay guy friend who could give me fashion advice for my new and slightly improved body, but those were the days when gay guys were still in their own closets, and could not help me with mine.    By default, my mother, who was also fashion-challenged (though with the confidence of Dior) remained my main fashion consultant.

When I graduated law school in 1983, my mother took me on a “last hurrah” shopping trip.  She wanted to buy me a power suit for my new job as an attorney.   Together we selected a pale yellow suit skirt and jacket, which presumably I was to use to crash right through the glass ceiling of my big downtown Boston law firm.

The suit was well made (it was lined, of course).  The jacket had small shoulder pads and was cut full.  The bottom was a pencil skirt that fell just below my knee, and was a little awkward from the start on my A-line body. While everyone else was wearing navy blue with pin stripes, I was wearing yellow. It was hard to hide in that suit.

I didn’t have much occasion to go to court as a first year real estate attorney.  But on my first such occasion, I dressed for success.  I carefully donned my pale yellow suit, panty hose, black pumps and briefcase. I was nervous of course, and made several trips to the bathroom just before court started. I checked my make-up, put on a little lipstick, brushed my hair, and had my final pee. I was ready.

As court began, I walked confidently in front of the bar, and took my seat. When my case was called, I was focused and serious. I walked confidently up to the judge and pleaded my motion. When I was done, the judge nodded to the clerk. And as I walked back, the clerk took me aside.

“Your skirt is stuck up in your pantyhose in the back,” he informed me, pointing to my rear end.

As if the suit were not ugly enough on its own. Perhaps I should have listened to the fashion gods. It took me another 28 years to quit practicing law.

Ronna Benjamin

Ronna Benjamin

When BA50’s Managing Editor and Partner, Ronna Benjamin, turned 50, she had an epiphany. After 28 years of practicing real estate law at both a large downtown law firm and then solo at her own firm, Ronna realized how much she loved writing and how much she hated lawyering. She jumped into the world of writing at betterafter50.com and never looked back. Ronna writes humorously about the things BA50s are concerned about – personal experiences with adult children, the illnesses and quirks of aging parents and in-laws, and their own mental, emotional or physical health issues (READ: insomnia, anxiety, and bulging waste line). She is an active BA50 with her pulse on what BA50s care and are talking about from politics to the most recent episode of Downton Abby. A native Bostonian who loves to spend time with her husband and three adult children, Ronna also enjoys sailing, cooking, running, and biking, and she tolerates skiing so she is not left home during family vacations. 

  45 comments for “Being Ugly Was Not Enough For This Suit

  1. January 7, 2013 at 10:11 am

    LOL! Welcome to my world.

    • Ronna Benjamin
      January 7, 2013 at 10:34 am

      So glad I have company!

      • Dana Devereux
        January 7, 2013 at 7:51 pm

        That had to be in the top ten of your most embarrassing moments. Hope you ditched that yellow suit after that experience! Dana

  2. January 7, 2013 at 11:28 am

    Oh, that is a sad story! Funny, but sad.

    • Ronna Benjamin
      January 7, 2013 at 11:33 am

      Thanks Ginger! Now it seems more funny than sad, but at the time I was mortified!

  3. Lois Alter Mark
    January 7, 2013 at 12:35 pm

    I can’t stop laughing but talk about adding insult to injury! Thanks for sharing — we all have these kind of horror stories that are hilarious only in hindsight!

  4. Karen Austin
    January 7, 2013 at 12:37 pm

    I have nightmares about doing this. As George Takei would say, “Oh, myyyy.”

  5. January 7, 2013 at 1:27 pm

    I’m still laughing and sending caring thoughts. I’ve only had to present with panty hose slowly slipping down my hips and a bra strap that wouldn’t stay on my shoulders. You’re experience is everyone’s nightmare. However, I think yellow is a bold choice!

  6. January 7, 2013 at 1:39 pm

    I did almost the same thing in a wraparound dress. I was unwrapped from behind and walked across the entire college campus before I figured out why people were laughing!

  7. AftertheKidsLeave
    January 7, 2013 at 3:11 pm

    Aieee! That suit had some seriously bad mojo. I’m sorry it humiliated you so… but glad you can tell the story with grace and humour now.
    Karen

  8. Helene Bludman
    January 7, 2013 at 3:33 pm

    Oh Ronna, how mortifying! It reminds me of the classic toilet-paper-trailing-on-the-shoe scenario. I’m sure you weren’t laughing at the time, but I hope you can now.

    • Ronna Benjamin
      January 7, 2013 at 3:46 pm

      absolutely can laugh about it now….after all its about 30 years now!

  9. January 7, 2013 at 5:17 pm

    Too funny! If the image of the yellow suit among all those somber navy’s isn’t enough. I knew there was a payoff coming, but I didn’t think it would be that good. Well, good for those of us reading; bad, I suppose, for you at the time.

  10. January 7, 2013 at 6:12 pm

    Oh my! You are brave to share! At least the clerk told you!

  11. Kim Spencer
    January 7, 2013 at 6:13 pm

    My guess is that you made more people smile that day than they had in a long time!

    • Ronna Benjamin
      January 7, 2013 at 6:23 pm

      And if that is true- and it probably is- then it was ALMOST worth it!

  12. January 7, 2013 at 6:40 pm

    What a great (and sad!) story! I used to work at a banquet facility and I can not tell you how many brides and bridesmaids have done this!

    However, in a somber courtroom…it must be entirely something else!

    The good thing? You look absolutely FABULOUS now!

  13. January 7, 2013 at 7:07 pm

    Oh my heavens, NO!! That’s a terrible story. Hilarious, but still I’m so sorry. I’m sure that left a bit of a mark.

    But Bonnie is right. You are lovely today, and only made lovelier by the fact that you are real. And real women get their skirt stuck up the back of their pantyhose. If only it didn’t happen on a wedding day, or your first day at court.

    • Ronna Benjamin
      January 7, 2013 at 7:14 pm

      Thanks Chloe! So true. This happens to real women all the time!

  14. January 7, 2013 at 7:20 pm

    What a great story! I interviewed for a job with IBM wearing a bright red wool sweater. I can’t imagine why I thought the blue suit thing didn’t apply to me. I didn’t get the job.

    • Ronna Benjamin
      January 7, 2013 at 7:24 pm

      They should send a memo beforehand, don’t ya think?

  15. Alli
    January 7, 2013 at 7:41 pm

    Ronna, it’s that last pee that does it to us all the time! As we are always in a rush , motto is take that last look in the mirror. Very funny story…how do you keep the material coming?

  16. Lisa Cohen
    January 7, 2013 at 7:47 pm

    Nice ass!

    • Ronna Benjamin
      January 7, 2013 at 7:50 pm

      i wonder who it belongs to!

      • Lisa Cohen
        January 7, 2013 at 7:54 pm

        I recognize the staircase…

  17. marlene Clayton
    January 7, 2013 at 7:54 pm

    You were never ugly and a damn good lawyer. It must be fun to sit in your sweats and write, edit etc a great second career not counting your life guarding and hostess, waitress and short order cook things of your teen years. Enjoy!

  18. January 7, 2013 at 10:41 pm

    I came across the blog hop on Bonnie Dingus’ site. I have really enjoyed reading these posts. Your’s is the best one so far though. Lol!!! I can just picture the whole scene and I can’t stop laughing!

    • Ronna Benjamin
      January 8, 2013 at 6:23 am

      Thanks so much for writing in Natasha! Glad to have put a smile on your face!

  19. January 7, 2013 at 11:15 pm

    I am snorting, I am laughing so hard. Probably because when it was me it was a kotex hanging out as a tail. Thanks for the memory and the laugh. I too had that business suit.

    • Ronna Benjamin
      January 8, 2013 at 6:22 am

      Oh my! That may be worse! Thanks for writing in!

  20. January 8, 2013 at 1:03 pm

    Priceless! Such a good visual. Don’t feel bad, we’ve all been there :)

  21. January 11, 2013 at 11:28 am

    Ronna, you certainly put a smile on my lips this morning when I read that. I’ve not done something like that, but I made the faux pas on a dark and dreary, rainy morning while in college in the 70’s, to mistakenly enter the men’s restroom in my building instead of the women’s where I would have been more at ease. I couldn’t figure out what the “urinals” were doing in the women’s and by the time I figured it out after being in a stall (fortunately), men had come and done their business and I sat mortified in that same stall. My boots didn’t give me away, as they were what are now called hiking boots, but had I been wearing anything else, I surely would have been “called out”! I laugh about that boo-boo myself now, but at the time, I was mortified. After everyone left, I snuck out the door and with no one around, was unseen by all but God and myself.

    • Ronna Benjamin
      January 11, 2013 at 12:21 pm

      OMG…that could have been me! Fabulous story!

  22. Cathy Chester
    January 11, 2013 at 11:39 am

    Ronna,

    What a brave soul you are for sharing that photo with the world! Funny, funny story. Coming from a family of attorneys I know full well the tension that occurs in the courtroom. But I also have a similar story. I walked across the floor of the large publishing house I was working for to my small office when I was alerted by someone that my stockings were tucked into my skirt. To this day I check a zillion times after leaving the backroom whether I am ready to face the world with my skirt intact.

  23. January 11, 2013 at 12:12 pm

    I wondered who had that picture!! Thank you so much for sharing your very vulnerable moment. I know we all laugh at these now, but they’re rarely as funny when they happen. You relive that moment a million times over. Loved it.

    • Ronna Benjamin
      January 11, 2013 at 12:20 pm

      Thanks Donna—yes, traumatic! But after 30 years, Im almost over it…almost.

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