Critiquing the giants, praising the overlooked


Honors Member
As I'm thrifting, I often think about some items that get overlooked unfairly given their label or maker's reputation and others that are assumed to be of excellent quality--also because of label or maker.

I'm wearing two things today that bring this to mind. On the one hand, my JPress pinpoint oxford is for all intents and purposes a great shirt. Good collar roll, made in USA, etc. However, all of my JPress shirts are a bit too short--compared to similar offerings from BB and others. They don't stay tucked in that well and seem to shrink a lot during washing. Not that I won't continue to grab these when thrifting, but it is something that irks me.

On the other hand, I've got this great paisley repp tie from the Tie Rack. Normally I pass right by these on the racks but this is a fantastic piece. Made in England and ties a outstanding knot. Thinking more about ties, I've consistently found that the best ones in terms of knotting are my Polo RL and Lands End. They've got the right thickness and hold their knots really well. The few Drake's I have a superior but its not like I'm going to have a closet full of them any time soon. For me, the width of the blade at the knot is also really important. Almost all of my JPress ties are too narrow there, leaving a smaller knot than I prefer.


So, what I'm interested in--and this may help all of us in our thrifting and buying--are what you all think are really great items that are too often overlooked (in the past I know some have praised Dockers khakis for example) as well as some shortcomings of items that we assume are exemplary.


Active Member with Corp. Privileges
Great observation...although I have not been a fan of RL in quite a while, my tie that holds the best knot for me is a Polo RL that I've had for about 15 years.


Honors Member
Not from a thrift store, but two of my best-tying bow ties are from They're just lightweight and thin enough to tie easily, rumple well, and crease perfectly, but are thick enough to keep their shape over the day. One in particular, navy with multi-colored polkadots, is the favorite of both my girlfriend and my mother. Caveat emptor, though: That's two out of an order of 8-10. Some of the others are serviceable, some of them started falling apart soon after wearing, and some I ended up giving away because I just didn't like them in person.
On the other hand, I haven't met a Carrot & Gibbs bow tie I liked. I can never get a good bow out of them, the button-adjustable sizing in the back isn't flexible enough, and I had one develop a hole after a single wearing. My Ben Silver bow tie is finicky, but I can get it to tie well eventually. Their ties, though, either knot and recover extremely well, or don't. Very hit-or-miss.


Honors Member
As has been noted in another thread, there are a number of people who value the quality of many older Jos. A Bank suits and jackets. In general, this is from the period indicated by the presence of the red Jos. A Bank label and a "made in the USA" tag.
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Active Member with Corp. Privileges
I'm starting to pass up all Lacoste polo shirts in thrift stores. They are usually already ruined by the previous owners who stretched them out and shrank them up. I suppose it is easy to forget to read the care label when everything else can be easily thrown into the dryer.


I've found (the hard way) that it's a good idea to check all shirts, especially the must-iron variety, to see if their collars and sleeves match the tag. Press shirts especially seem likely to shrink.

I'm usually in too much of a hurry to try them on, so this means carrying a tape measure around, which may be too clothes-geeky for some. But it's better than a shirt with a tight collar.

If you decide to go for a non-iron Brooks or Lands End shirt, take it into the strongest available light and look carefully. I've found that ring around the collar really gets embedded in those two brand's non-iron offerings.


Active Member with Corp. Privileges
Great observation...although I have not been a fan of RL in quite a while, my tie that holds the best knot for me is a Polo RL that I've had for about 15 years.

I've picked up three or four of the Made in Italy ones at the outlets on deep discount. I love the feel...just wish they were a tad longer.
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