Semper Paratus: Three outfits you need to have


Anika Svancarek |

Semper Paratus: Three outfits you need to have

Semper Paratus is a latin phrase, meaning “always ready”. If you have heard this term before, it is likely because it is the motto of the U.S. Coast Guard. They are prepared for everything apparently, and you should be as well.

I learned this phrase as the form of a song in music class along with other patriotic ballads that were introduced to me at a young age. For some silly reason, as I grew older, I have associated the song with getting ready when it comes to packing my purse and laying out an outfit. It helps me feel more prepared for whatever trying time I am to endure. It comforts the uncomfortable, and calms the anxiety of never knowing what might lie ahead. Perhaps it is my marching song, on my way to battle whatever the world has awaiting me.

The phrase helped me form a styling method that I now swear by. On a cold day in January, with a little bit of dough burning a hole in my Gloria Vanderbilt pockets, and scheming ways to buy more clothes, I came to the realization that I needed to purchase three outfits.


Sometimes looking into your closet head-on is quite daunting, especially when you do not have a single clue about what to wear. Usually these moments arise with one of three occasions: job interviews, weddings, and funerals. None of these are easy to dress for and none of them are easy to sit through. As a person who craves new beginnings; has a tempestuous relationship with love and commitment; and views death as a kind neighbor with an uncomfortable presence, I sit through these functions quite a bit. Much like a mother with an oversized Michael Kors bag, or a father in Disney World sporting a fanny pack, it is perhaps much better to be over prepared than to feel panicked when caught off guard.

First, do I have enough clothing? Of course, but hear me out: The three major events mentioned above often mean spending beaucoup bucks. How can you save money this year? Designate an outfit for each event for the entire year; it saves you time and money, and saves you from unnecessary stress.

Job interviews are hard to dress for, and that is no secret. We get so focused on being presentable and aligning with the company’s image that sometimes we lose ourselves in it. Shopping for clothes for these interviews is tricky because you are trying your very best to give a good first impression to a potential employer.

It’s easy to buy a busy blouse and a pair of slacks and call it a day, but that can’t be it, right? If you are making your first mark in a company, you want them to see what to expect from your personality. That is what clothing is all about. Nothing worse than meeting a guy who wears sweater vests, just to find out he acts like a guy who wears shorts during the winter. If you wear hats, wear one. If you like chunky jewelry, wear it. I always wear heels and carry a purse to job interviews because I want the interviewer to know they are a staple part of my wardrobe. When shopping for your outfit, find a middle ground between classy and comfortable. It should be versatile and can be worn to different events or styled accordingly.

I don’t like to think about weddings. I don’t know why, but they deeply unsettle me. With the copious amount of frill and pomp, you would think, as a homosexual man, I would be all about them. Dress codes for weddings are extremely important and can sometimes freak you out. You don’t want to be underdressed and seem lazy or boring, and you never want to be caught overdressed.

As a notorious over-dresser, my biggest fear while picking out my outfit as a guest is looking better than the bride. I have nightmares about it. If the invitation doesn’t have a specific dress code, ask. You could be very sorry if you don’t. If you have no way of knowing what to wear, think of something you would wear to meet someone’s parents. Respectful and clean. Just don’t wear jeans unless asked to.

The number one rule of all, and I cannot stress this enough. Do not wear white. If you didn’t know that, I am scared of you. That is the cardinal rule of all weddings, whether this wedding be traditional or not, it just isn’t something you should do. Trust me.


Funerals are the easiest of the bunch to dress for. Although weird, they are quite comforting sometimes. We all end up at one. There’s always the smell of Avon perfume and stale air lingering about. Dark colors and modest garments are what are usually associated with funerals. Muted colors are accepted of course, although sometimes they seem wrong. If you don’t know the person well, but are still expected to attend a service of this nature, you feel out of sorts. Best to go with tradition.

A black outfit will always be accepted. I get so frustrated at traditional mourning garb and the expectancy of it, that it is easy to escape who you may be grieving. If you know the person that has passed, wearing something that honors them is what is needed. Think of that someone and what they would have loved from your closet. This will keep you from feeling more uncomfortable than you already are.

I recommend carrying a small purse or clutch, this can hold your tissues or the fabulous little mints you get. A must-have that you should definitely get to go along with this outfit is a black pair of sunglasses. Take it from my grandma Vera, she knew what she was doing. That woman knew how to take a simple outfit and make it magnificent just by adding eyewear.

Minimizing myself down to only these three outfits is also far better than buying something new for every occasion. This means I can save to buy more sustainable pieces as well. Buying well made clothing is sure to make you look better and save your pocketbook, I can guarantee that.

As I spread this information to the world, please take into consideration that fashion is subjective and everyone’s style is different. Some folks could probably buy one outfit and wear it to all three of these occasions, and if you can, I applaud you. A person like that has far more self control while shopping than I do and ever will. I am doing my best here. Keep this method in mind next time you’re itching for your shopping fix.

Staff Reporter Aaron Elliot can be reached at [email protected]. To stay up to date with all your Southern Illinois news follow the Daily Egyptian on Facebook and Twitter.