Joe Tradly

Advanced Member
I dipped my toe for the first time in the waters of the thrift shop today. Went to the local goodwills and salvation armies in southeastern CT.

After four places, my report is that you really do have to sift through some absolute trash, but there is good stuff there. I found at least two Southwick sacks and a press suit jacket (which fit! but no pants! and not wearable as an odd jacket). Most of the stuff, however wasn't my size. I just kept thinking to myslef, "boy, an Ask Andy trad would go nuts over this Harris Tweed sack for $5.99."

Wouldn't it be something if Andy hosted some sort of trad thrift find exchange? Like I'd buy up all the sacks at the local joint, and post what I found? Probably too much effort, and I probably should just buy them and sell them on ebay. Too much work though...

Onward and upward.

JB
 

AlanC

Sartorial Sultan<br> Moderator, Trad Forum
You'll get more efficient with some practice. Be careful. It's addicting.

You can offer things for sale in the Sales Forum here on AA. There are some family and friends, on and off forum, that I keep an eye out for when I'm thrifting, too.

Finding orphaned suit coats can be heartbreaking. I ran across a great Chester Barrie suit coat on Friday, but the trousers were nowhere in sight. I consoled myself with a cashmere Zegna sportcoat, though. :biggrin2:
 

mpcsb

Inactive User
Zegna is trad?

You're a better man than me - just can't do the thrift shop thing. For some reason family hand-me-downs are different. I do however, admire your resolution and thrift.

Cheers
 

vwguy

Honors Member
Joe Bondi said:
I just kept thinking to myslef, "boy, an Ask Andy trad would go nuts over this Harris Tweed sack for $5.99."
Was it a 44L perhaps ;)

I'll hit up the local thrift stores every now again again, but NE WI just isn't as Trad as other parts of the country so the good finds are few & far between.

Brian
 

mfdugan

Active Member with Corp. Privileges
Joe Bondi said:
I dipped my toe for the first time in the waters of the thrift shop today. Went to the local goodwills and salvation armies in southeastern CT.

After four places, my report is that you really do have to sift through some absolute trash, but there is good stuff there. I found at least two Southwick sacks and a press suit jacket (which fit! but no pants! and not wearable as an odd jacket). Most of the stuff, however wasn't my size. I just kept thinking to myslef, "boy, an Ask Andy trad would go nuts over this Harris Tweed sack for $5.99."

Wouldn't it be something if Andy hosted some sort of trad thrift find exchange? Like I'd buy up all the sacks at the local joint, and post what I found? Probably too much effort, and I probably should just buy them and sell them on ebay. Too much work though...

Onward and upward.

JB

It would be great to do some sort of exchange thing. We would have to trust each other on quality requirements but we could make a rule that you have to buy whatever a guy gets for you. Of course you could lay out your tastes, needs, wants etc. Most thrift stores are very cheap so you are only out 5 bucks if you hate it.

I have a local consignment shop/thrift store that gets some amazing stuff. Not a lot that would interest those in the trad forum i suppose but there were a few soutwick suits there awhile back. Just too small for me. Right now there are 3 Zegnas sitting there in a 42 or 44. They are not thrift prices but much better than ebay.

I scored yesterday with 13 Stefano Ricci self lined ties and 6 zegna ties at 4 bucks each. I know those arent of interest on this board but it was quite a deal. A couple nice Brooks ties for 2 bucks each as well.
 

abc123

Super Member
EDIT - Nevermind, I just saw that you were in CT. Oh well, if anyone knows of any good shops in the DC metro area (especially the Maryland side), le me know!
 

AlanC

Sartorial Sultan<br> Moderator, Trad Forum
mpcsb said:
Zegna is trad?
No, but I'm a mod of the Trad forum, I never said I dressed that way all the time. :biggrin2: It is of fairly conservative cut and style, however, three-button, check pattern. My sources inform me it's about a $2000 coat; I paid $6.88:




Sounds like some nice finds, mfdugan.

My closet runneth over from thrift finds.
 

tripreed

Advanced Member
I think it's important to note that not all thrift stores are created equal. Some are charity-based, some are private companies; some get clothes from central-processing areas meaning that clothes could come from locations far away from the store itself, while others simply put out whatever donations are collected at the site; some sort by size and some (most annoyingly) sort by color. I suppose that each of these factors can have their own advantages and disadvantages resulting in better or worse odds of scoring what you're interested in. I guess the best advice I can offer is to visit all of the thrift stores in your area and figure out which ones are best to visit on a regular basis. Perseverance is the name of the game (as AlanC, Well-Heeled King of Thrift Stores, has taught me numerous times).
 

AlanC

Sartorial Sultan<br> Moderator, Trad Forum
tripreed said:
Perseverance is the name of the game (as AlanC, Well-Heeled King of Thrift Stores, has taught me numerous times).
I'll be out tomorrow and have two thrift stores in my sites. As it will be Wednesday and thus half-off day at the Salvation Army I may have to swing by there as well.
 

crs

Super Member
There is a thrift store near me that has a lot of tweed. I have not partaken thus far because I wanted to sniff some new ones first and haven't had a chance. The thrift tweeds have some kind of odor, not an unpleasant one, but since it has been many years since I owned one (and I smoked then), I am not sure whether all tweeds smell this way or whether these thrifties have some mild form of BO and thus ought to be avoided. So, do Harris Tweeds have a distinctive smell even when new?
 

DougNZ

Advanced Member
Ah, the bittersweet experience of thrifting! How often have I found the perfect tweed jacket only to find it is a 40 when I'm a 42? I vainly try the jacket on, almost popping a shoulder in the process, and try to stretch the front accross my belly.

Still, the gems are worth it. Like the TM Lewin shirts for $3, the tattersall shirts for $4 and ... wait for it ... some perfectly fogey Church brogues for $3 (on sale with a $897 discount!!!).

In taking a change in career a couple of years ago, I was in need of a wardrobe makeover, and today I'm getting close to where I'm happy with 90% of it from thrift shops or inherited. In this day and age where most of the stuff in menswear stores is rubbish, one can still find superb specimens of the craftmanship of yesteryear in thriftshops. Stunning quality for rediculous prices.
 

crs

Super Member
KentW said:
Don't you have them cleaned after you buy them? :confused:
Of course. However, I had an unpleasant experience about 10 years ago when no amount of drycleaning seemed to help, so I purchase only odor-free. What I am asking is, is there a certain smell that is common to all Harris Tweeds, even new ones? Or have these Harris Tweeds likely acquired this mild odor via contact with humans and will only worsen via contact with me?
 

dpihl

Super Member
Of Napoleon Dynamite and Deseret Industries

Two things my local thrift stores can be counted on for: Lots of leather tab braces, and Lots of brand new ties in unmanly colours.

The brace fad hit hard in the wake of the movie Wall Street. Alas, very few manufacturers offer trousers with buttons already sewn in.

The ties are presumably gifts from a loved one.

Some men just can't bring themselves to wear pink ties. Tsk. tsk. What a shame, as many of these are expensive ties, and very well made. Oh well, their loss is my gain I suppose.

Because Utah is predominantly Mormon, and because so many Mormons wear suits every Sunday, very rarely do the local thrift store suits and blazers reak of tobacco. True sacks are a bit more rare, but you do find them occasionally.

One interesting quirck of this part of the world, is that you can often find really nice blazers in smallish sizes. From the age of twelve, Mormon boys are encouraged to start wearing suits or blazers to church (although hot summer weather calls for a simple shirt and tie). By age sixteen, most boys in Utah own a blazer, and it only gets worn for four hours on Sunday. It comes off (in favor of jeans and a t-shirt within moments of church letting out).

For whatever reason, one rarely finds the twelve year old variety of suits or blazers in thrift stores. Must be that mothers pass them around to relatives and friends or something. Nevertheless, you can always find a good selection of conservative looking blazers in size 40 and even smaller.

The only problem with the exchange idea, is that the sizing on the tag is usually wrong. Unless there is a tag inside the breast pocket indicating a size 44L (etc.), you really have to try the jacket on.

If I were a size 40 or thereabouts, I would probably consider taking a thrift store safari through the Salt Lake City Area some time. Provo-ites are generally too cheap to buy good quality suits, and Ogden is a whole different animal. Salt Lake would probably suffice.

It might seem logical to stick to the East side of town, but I would actually suggest otherwise. I've found some really great stuff in even the most poverty struck parts of town.

No reason to worry about getting mugged or anything, just so you know. Utah may be famous for bankruptcy and white collar crime, but violent crimes are not very common. What violence you do hear about is mostly between domestic partners, or members of rival gangs.

I'm rambling here, so let me summarize. Lots of ties in pink and other unmanly colours. Often a good selection of braces. Lots of blazers in smallish sizes with no smell of smoke. Suits are more rare, but sometimes a good deal can be found. True sacks are rare nowadays. I suspect that's true everywhere you go.
 

AlanC

Sartorial Sultan<br> Moderator, Trad Forum
dpihl said:
I've found some really great stuff in even the most poverty struck parts of town.
As tripreed points out, very often thrift stores are supplied from a central distribution center, which negates neighborhood location as a consideration. A lot of times the less savory parts of town will yield good results as there isn't as much competition for the good stuff.
 

mfdugan

Active Member with Corp. Privileges
dpihl said:
Two things my local thrift stores can be counted on for: Lots of leather tab braces, and Lots of brand new ties in unmanly colours.

The brace fad hit hard in the wake of the movie Wall Street. Alas, very few manufacturers offer trousers with buttons already sewn in.

The ties are presumably gifts from a loved one.

Some men just can't bring themselves to wear pink ties. Tsk. tsk. What a shame, as many of these are expensive ties, and very well made. Oh well, their loss is my gain I suppose.

Because Utah is predominantly Mormon, and because so many Mormons wear suits every Sunday, very rarely do the local thrift store suits and blazers reak of tobacco. True sacks are a bit more rare, but you do find them occasionally.

One interesting quirck of this part of the world, is that you can often find really nice blazers in smallish sizes. From the age of twelve, Mormon boys are encouraged to start wearing suits or blazers to church (although hot summer weather calls for a simple shirt and tie). By age sixteen, most boys in Utah own a blazer, and it only gets worn for four hours on Sunday. It comes off (in favor of jeans and a t-shirt within moments of church letting out).

For whatever reason, one rarely finds the twelve year old variety of suits or blazers in thrift stores. Must be that mothers pass them around to relatives and friends or something. Nevertheless, you can always find a good selection of conservative looking blazers in size 40 and even smaller.

The only problem with the exchange idea, is that the sizing on the tag is usually wrong. Unless there is a tag inside the breast pocket indicating a size 44L (etc.), you really have to try the jacket on.

If I were a size 40 or thereabouts, I would probably consider taking a thrift store safari through the Salt Lake City Area some time. Provo-ites are generally too cheap to buy good quality suits, and Ogden is a whole different animal. Salt Lake would probably suffice.

It might seem logical to stick to the East side of town, but I would actually suggest otherwise. I've found some really great stuff in even the most poverty struck parts of town.

No reason to worry about getting mugged or anything, just so you know. Utah may be famous for bankruptcy and white collar crime, but violent crimes are not very common. What violence you do hear about is mostly between domestic partners, or members of rival gangs.

I'm rambling here, so let me summarize. Lots of ties in pink and other unmanly colours. Often a good selection of braces. Lots of blazers in smallish sizes with no smell of smoke. Suits are more rare, but sometimes a good deal can be found. True sacks are rare nowadays. I suspect that's true everywhere you go.

Rival gangs in Utah?
 

Topsider

Honors Member
crs said:
What I am asking is, is there a certain smell that is common to all Harris Tweeds, even new ones? Or have these Harris Tweeds likely acquired this mild odor via contact with humans and will only worsen via contact with me?
OK, you made me go upstairs and sniff my jackets. Don't tell anyone, OK? ;)

All of my tweed sportcoats, new and pre-worn alike, have a "wooley" scent that is really only noticeable if you put your nose right up to them. It's rather like a wool sweater. At least one of them is labeled Harris Tweed, and it doesn't smell any different to me. Dunno if that helps. I don't smoke, and never did, nor to I tend to be around second-hand smoke much. Smoke can make clothing smell all kinds of funky...maybe that's what you're smelling?
 

crs

Super Member
KentW said:
All of my tweed sportcoats, new and pre-worn alike, have a "wooley" scent that is really only noticeable if you put your nose right up to them. It's rather like a wool sweater. At least one of them is labeled Harris Tweed, and it doesn't smell any different to me. Dunno if that helps.
Yes, that is what I was wondering, as all of them, in varying sizes, seem to to have it. I suppose at $10 each I ought to give it a shot.
 

Nordicnomad

New Member
LOL that's pretty good Alan.

I was dissapointed the one time I hit a thrift store (the DI in American Fork) in northern Utah. I didn't find anything I was tempted to buy. Guess I will have to try again. As for my local thrift store - fugghedaboutit. Pickings are pretty slim in a town of 7,000 - and I know most of the stuff is local because I am always coming accross things we donated.

As for the rival gangs in Utah judging from the news reports they seem to be mostly Samoan and Mexican. David, in your thrifting do you ever come upon nice traditional black polyester lava lavas for wearing to church? Perfect for the hot summer weather. It may be tempting to laugh at a man wearing a skirt and white shirt and tie; but when he is a 300 pound Samoan....
 
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