Looking Dapper in Damascus...


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Middle East » Syria » South » Damascus
July 31st 2009
Published: August 2nd 2009
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What did I do to deserve this?What did I do to deserve this?What did I do to deserve this?

Kyle needed cash to pay for his suit and all of his dough was back at the hotel, so what is a son-in-law to do? You guessed it..."Roy, can I borrow some money?" Oh the fun, Dad has had with this one!
When we were preparing for our Middle East adventure, we read, researched and studied the history, politics and basics of each country. We had meetings to develop our itinerary and discussions to finalize our list of things to do while we were in each region. During those heated moments we also discussed what we might shop for or bring home as gifts. One of the most exciting things we discussed was Kyle's plan to get a tailor-made suit in Damascus, Syria. Apparently, the Damascus silk and the Syrian tailors are known world-wide. (News to dad and me!) A fitted suit was at the top of Kyle's list. Dad even thought he might get one because of the novelty. I thought this was a good opportunity to keep them busy while I wandered the old market!

A few weeks before the trip, Kyle's tune changed. He told us that he was no longer interested in the suit from Damascus. No reason why, he was just off of it. Kyle turning away fancy clothes? Could he be ill? Running a high fever? We encouraged him to revisit the idea as we got closer to the trip, but he turned his nose up at the idea. The idea was dropped.

Once we got to Damascus and were just hanging out, I planned to go shop the market while Dad planned to drink coffee at his favorite coffee shop. Kyle casually informed us that he was going to wander around and look for the "tailors" quarters of the old city. He said he had no intention of buying, he just wanted to look. Yeah right!

After about an hour, dad and I were sitting at his coffee shop wondering what was taking Kyle so long...lost or shopping? Our assumption was that he was sucked in by the fabrics and the dreams of high fasion. I still have to laugh when I think of what happened next.

Kyle approached our table looking happy and out of breath and he began to answer our questions about how his exploration fared.

Kyle began, "So, here's the deal..." (the infamous phrase that makes me gasp internally and wonder what kind of mess we have on our hands) He proceeded to explain that he shopped all of the tailor shops and could not find any who spoke English, but he found one who spoke French.
They say it is the suit that makes the man...They say it is the suit that makes the man...They say it is the suit that makes the man...

It seemed that everyone in the souk agreed...that is one dapper French-speaking attorney (minus the shorts!)
He met with the tailor, did a bit of measuring, looked at fabrics and developed a plan to complete a suit.

Continuing with excitement and animation, Kyle informed us, "You should have seen his fabrics. He even had beautiful Dormeuil fabric...it is fantastic suit fabric..." (He quickly realized that the conversation had gone over dad and my head and that he had trailed off track)

The next thing we knew, he ran off to get a dress shirt for another fitting. I looked at dad and said, "Did we really just have that conversation?" With a flat look, dad said, "If I looked interested, I am a damn good actor!"

We followed Kyle to get his suit and enjoyed the show. Kyle and the tailors were all speaking French, bolts of fabric were flying, a guy was measuring every inch of Kyle's body, and Kyle was gesturing the nuansances of how a proper suit should fit. They had to go to another tailor's shop and left us in the first shop. When they left, the main tailor barked some orders to his grandson. As they left the shop, the grandson from Toronto looked at us and said his grandpa told him to talk to us in English. The Toronto kid then spent the rest of the time taking care of Dad and me. He brought us Orange Soda, explained to us what was happening in the market (a woman had lost a child), and kept touts from bugging us. He was a hard-working little kid and we enjoyed watching.

We returned to Damascus three or four days later to get the suit and shirts. Prior to pick up, we had a great deal of fun making jokes about how the suit would turn out and how it might be a reflection of Kyle's rusty French! Unfortunately, there was nothing to laugh about. Kyle's new "bad ass" suit was as he ordered and he was quite pleased when he tried it on!


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2nd August 2009

Thank you, Valeri
These are fascinating and very entertaining. I can "hear" these conversations.
2nd August 2009

Mr GQ no matter where he goes
So glad to hear about Kyle and his suit antics. All is still well with the world. Valeri made friends with some camels, Kyle bought a suit and Roy watched over the kibbutz. Hopefully this time the suit will actually make it back to the US with you, unlike the SriLanka trip! I am sure everyone at Jack Henry will be just a bit sad today or they will be rushing out to get a fresh supply of Dormeuil. Valeri I am surprised that you would trust a kid from Toronto to give you advice on what was happening. The last time you met up with a kid from Toronto........ well you have been able to last 10 years with him - congratulations to both of you for that!
3rd August 2009

He always did love clothes!
As long as I can remember, Kyle has cared about his clothes! Can't wait to see the new duds.
3rd August 2009

French tailor
Oh,oh, oh, this was a wonderful blog. My BS is in clothing and textiles and, Kyle, I had no idea you were fascinated by fabrics. I learned about France in my history of costume course which tells you how important France was to western fashion. I am happily envious of your experience. If you find some wonderful pieces of fabric that you think I will like, please purchase them and add a finders fee to the bill.
4th August 2009

love the suit jacket with the tennis shoes and shorts look. Kyle may start a new fashion trend. I'll have to send the picture into Rachel Zoe. Chimi
12th November 2010

I want to make a suit in Damascus
Hi, I was searching for a tailor in Damascus on the net and came across your blog. I'm very much interested in the subject and I visit Syria frequently. I would very much appreciate it if you can give me some information about where to go to find a really good tailor with good material as well. I know you mentioned it was in the old city but I'm not that acquainted with the city yet. Can you please provide more details about the exact location, name, address. Is there any particular tailor that you would recommend. How can I reach his shop. Many thanks and appreciate your help. Ahmed

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