by Steve Gottschling

This autumn has been the season of the Mega Hearing. First with the grilling of Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards and then with the marathon Benghazi session that finished last Thursday, we’ve seen two instances of Congress summoning powerful women to a chair and keeping them there for almost unthinkable stretches of time.

It’s hard to imagine the nightmare of finding yourself in that same chair, surrounded by politicians hoping to drive momentum in their careers by driving a stake through yours. What if the bagel you hurried down your throat that morning meets violent resistance from your stomach, and the microphone picks up the gurgly results? What if it starts raining in the second hour, and by the tenth you realize your car's sunroof has been open the whole time? Most importantly, what would you wear?

Somehow, with a little help from No Man Walks Alone, you will stay comfortable through it all. This is your official Emergency Hearing Survival Kit, a collection of garments that scrape the bare minimum of formality while helping you endure as much questioning as the committee demands. We advise that you store these garments beside your bed or inside a desk drawer at all times, because although the media announced the Richards and Clinton hearings well in advance, you never know when your turn will come.

Camoshita Navy jacket: The medium-width lapels and dark navy color will look conservative enough that reporters will pay more attention to your words than to the fact that you’re wearing a glorified cardigan. As the hours drag on, you can close your eyes and pretend the cozy wool is a blanket and you’re relaxing by the fireplace.

Portuguese Flannel Dobby Shirt: Before his label Band of Outsiders collapsed, Scott Sternberg was known for wearing short sleeve shirts under suits. Did he ever attend a committee hearing? Who knows. But he was onto something-- what you lose in visible cuffage, you gain in airflow. Plus the raised cotton texture keeps you even cooler. Just don’t push up your jacket sleeves or you’ll create the Naked Forearm Scandal of 2015 (Armghazi?).

Sage de Cret patch pocket trousers: With the drawstring hidden safely beneath your jacket, these trousers will become your secret comfort weapon. As hour five turns into hour six, loosening the waist will save you from your creeping wedgie and leave you well-prepared for the rest of the day.

Heschung Moccasins: I won’t go as far as to suggest sneakers, so here’s the next best thing. If your press team spins it right, these moccs and their wonky sole could impart a rustic everyman charm that will have everyone rooting for you. At worst, the media will pay so much attention to your soles that they’ll miss the more incriminating parts of your hearing.

Talarico Umbrella: You’ve donned the Hearing Survival Outfit, but nothing is working. The congressmen have tapped into all your weaknesses. Your responses have varied between incoherent spurts and indignant outbursts. Time to take out your umbrella, raise the canopy over your head, and bring it close to your face so it shields you away from the politicians and the cameras. If you can’t see them, you think, surely they’ll believe you’ve disappeared entirely.