drpeter

Super Member
Over the last several days, I picked up a number of sports jackets and three suits (various men's shop brands and one item, a medium grey pinstripe two-piece suit, by Lands' End). All these items were US-made, 100% wool, and cost me about $10 on average for the sportcoats and $20 on average for the suits. The cuts and styling are mixed, but nothing too extreme, so they are all very serviceable -- no raised eyebrows, LOL.

This morning I found a very interesting overcoat. It is US-made, of jet black imported cashmere, fully lined, and was hand-tailored by Sandringham for Gimbels, according to the label. I believe this was a house brand for that department store in the sixties. The cut of the coat, especially the collar and lapels, is reminiscent of the tailoring style of that period. The construction is quite good throughout, and the garment has held up very well over the years. It comes to just about mid-calf, actually a bit closer to the knees. The cost was $15.

This overcoat will complement another beautiful navy blue cashmere overcoat I have had for almost thirty years. I have kept the navy blue for special, dressy occasions, so this black model will serve for more casual wear in the winter. It fits nicely over a thick sweater and shirt, and it looks fine over a sportcoat as well.
 

drpeter

Super Member
Today, I purchased a Korean War era cotton trenchcoat, olive drab, with a wool liner (removable, buttoned-in type). This coat is in mint condition, never worn, and has no patches, or holes or any other sign of anything having been mounted anywhere on the coat. Late edit: The Patent Nos., are 21676 & 2198064, which correspond to the OG-107 Model, used during the period 1950-1953.

The construction is classic trenchcoat style, double-breasted, with a full collar and a belt. It comes to mid-calf for me, and the shoulders are perfect over a thick sweater or a sports jacket. Looks terrific with a popped collar. Total outlay with a special 10% discount: $85.50 plus tax.

This will complement my Korean war era M-53 field jackets rather nicely. Here is an image off the internet, with the details identical to the one I acquired:

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drpeter

Super Member
Further thrift finds in recent days:

A Ralph Lauren suit under the Lauren label: This one is of very dark grey (almost black) worsted wool, made in the USA. It has a single breasted jacket with medium lapels, and pleated and cuffed trousers. I may have to take in the length of the trousers by an inch or so. This is my first RL suit, although I have owned odd jackets and trousers made by RL. I paid $3.00 for this suit and a pair of wool trousers.

Several tweed and flannel herringbone trousers, and one beautiful bluish-grey flannel pair. This is something I had been searching for, and it is almost identical to O'Connell's stone blue flannels. There is no maker's label inside, but it does have a small label that says Made in USA, 100% wool, and fabric imported from Italy. It is a medium-weight flannel, not as heavy or thick as some of my other grey flannels. It is flat-front and without cuffs, but I may have cuffs placed on it. It is simply lovely. Cost: $6.00 The other trousers were all $6 to $8 apiece.

Here is the O'Connell's pair for comparison (we had discussed this in another thread some time ago):

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Also, a London Fog wool overcoat, US made, with dark brown tweed in a tic weave. Classic single-breasted style with large lapels and collar, and hand warmer pockets. It's close to mint in condition. Cost $ 20.00.
 
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drpeter

Super Member
I found an interesting shirt jacket made by Ralph Lauren in the Polo line from thick cotton blanket material in the Navajo/Aztec style. It looks a bit like the pic I found, except that there are geometric patterns (triangles and diamonds) in the coat I picked up. Mine is in pastel colours with some darker ones thrown in. It's very lightly worn. Made in USA, cost me $15. I saw similar coats listed for hundreds of dollars on eBay and other sites!

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drpeter

Super Member
Latest score from a local thrift shop, formerly St Vinnie's: A lovely black wool topcoat by Botany 500 "Tailored by Daroff" for a local men's shop that has long been defunct. The cloth looks a bit like covert cloth or whipcord because it has faint diagonal twill stripes that show up when the cloth is held against the light. It has the hand of soft thick flannel.

The cut is definitely 1960s, with a small gorge between collar and lapel, and rounded corners at the gorge. There are no darts in the front, the coat has just two flapped pockets on either side, and there are two spaced buttons on each cuff. It will go well with a Trad suit or jacket, and also with a sweater and odd trousers. And it is a perfect fit, no alterations needed. I'm most pleased. The cost was $7.00 plus tax. Here is an exact copy from the net, although mine, a size 40, is much slimmer than this one, which is a size 44!

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The cloth of the topcoat I found looks very much like the swatch below, except for the fact that it is, of course, black. The ribbing pattern is exactly like the one on this swatch:

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drpeter

Super Member
I found some information about Daroff and Sons, who actually manufactured the suits, coats and other garments sold under the Botany 500 brand. The plant was on 23rd and Walnut. Below is the wiki entry for Botany 500.

I have been to Philadelphia, and I have been on Walnut Street, although this was years ago and I do not remember this company. LOL, I do remember having lunch with friends at Bookbinder's where I saw the largest sea of grey flannel suits to ever occupy a dining establishment! In those days, it was a favourite hangout of the flannel-suited cognoscenti. The martinis were out of this world, and the steaks were fabulous. In those days, people did not mind having a couple of drinks before lunch with wine to accompany the meal, and a cognac or three with fresh coffee afterwards. Daroff and Botany have gone their way, but Bookbinder's is still around. Good friends, good food, fine memories.

Wiki entry:

"Botany 500 was a brand name owned by the Botany 500 Group of New York. Their men’s suits and sport coats were manufactured in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, by H. Daroff and Sons, who were contracted with Botany Mills of Passaic, New Jersey, to produce products and later bought the firm outright. Their plant was located at 23rd and Walnut Streets during the 1940s and ’50s and beyond. Until 1945, it was located in the Pitcairn Building at 1027 Arch Street.

They also produced another line called Worsted-Tex that had the image of the head of a German Shepherd dog on its label. The office, on the first floor of the plant, had a stuffed German shepherd standing guard. The seventh and topmost floor contained the top coat design department and a fabric cutting floor.

Decline

Daroff and Sons and the Botany 500 group went bankrupt in August 1973. An attempt was made to turn the company over to another company, named Cohen and Sons, which was still operating profitably. Because of resistance by the company's employees, Cohen backed out of the deal by the end of September. When Daroff finally closed its doors in December 1973, Cohen and Sons bought the Botany 500 name and assets for $4 million. They planned to keep the labels, marketing, sales, and distribution of Botany as a separate Botany 500 line.

With the garment business taking a downturn during the second half of the decade, the Botany and Cohen and Sons operations ceased production in 1986. The building was sold in 1989 for $1.75 million. Manufacturing under Botany 500 name was then outsourced to foreign companies."
 
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drpeter

Super Member
New thrift shop finds:

A pair of medium weight, oxblood/burgundy flannel trousers (rather unusual, but beautiful) made by Asher and labelled Coventry Flannel. Likely made in the sixties, but in beautiful shape. Cost $2.50.

A truly amazing find -- a dark blue 100% Royal Alpaca scarf, with tasselled ends, made in Peru by Kuna. The hand of this gorgeous cloth is just amazing -- thick, rich, soft. At $3.80 plus tax, it is a comprehensive steal. I know the owners and salespeople at this shop and I told them they should charge higher prices for alpaca, and offered more, but they would not accept it. This is the first time I have even seen an alpaca scarf!

I picked up three other woolen scarves from the same shop, all very nice and at the same $3.80 price, one grey herringbone the other two solids in navy blue and grey. But the alpaca scarf was the star item. I'm beginning to develop a scarf collection, I think -- I have about twenty or so currently.
 

drpeter

Super Member
Yesterday, I picked up a pair of tan Brooks Brothers wingtips in fine nick from Goodwill, with the leather beginning to develop darkened spots here and there, a nice patina which I like. The brogueing is lovely. They are branded BB and were made in England. I read up a bit on these kinds of shoes, and found that after the Peale & Co brand folded, the BB shoes that were made in England were crafted eiither by Crockett & Jones or by Alfred Sargent.

I also read that the way to tell between these two makers was to look at the heel: If one found a single line of nails, it was C&J, but if one found a double line, it was AS. I'm not sure how accurate this test is. But my pair has a single line of nails, and its construction, especially the shape of the shoe around the vamp and toe, looks identical to a pair of C&J shoes I own. So I'm assuming that these shoes were made by C&J. My cost was $20 plus tax.

I'd appreciate any thoughts you might have on this matter.
 

drpeter

Super Member
Today's score from a consignment shop in town: A mint pair of dark brown suede penny loafers by Allen Edmonds. This model is called McGraw, and it is handcrafted in the US. There isn't a single scratch on the oak bark soles, and the uppers themselves are without scuffs. Total cost $32 plus tax. Perhaps not as cheap as Goodwill shoes, but after all, these are mint! And the original retail price was around $345, based on one site I saw. I also read that this model is not being made now, but I am not sure how accurate that information is. Here is a picture from the web:


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drpeter

Super Member
A few items from Goodwills in the area today. I was supporting Small Business Saturday, LOL.

A beautiful DB sports jacket by Kuppenheimer, in a medium weight dark brown glen plaid, 100% wool made in the US. There's a wonderful hand to this cloth. It has several unusual features -- very large lapels, lining only on the side panels and not the back except for a small curtain lining at the top, jetted pockets without flaps, and the lapel notch almost horizontal. It is an interesting vintage piece, looking very much like jackets from the 1940s. Here's an image from the Ralph Lauren site. It's appearance is identical to my jacket, although mine has much smaller plaids/checks. I had been searching for a jacket like this for a long time. It goes well with dark blue trousers or grey flannels. Cost: $10 plus tax.

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I also acquired a pair of dark tan/British khaki corduroy slacks, flat front and uncuffed, made by Brooks Brothers (346). Very nice material and construction, fits me well, and is made in China with corduroy from France. I will see how this wears and performs in the coming weeks. It is a good item to put to the test, to see if Chinese clothing manufacture has improved since the last time I checked -- which was quite some time ago. $6.00 plus tax.

A couple of tweed sport coats, another pair of grey wool slacks. Not a bad day.
 

drpeter

Super Member
After picking up my DB jacket, I've been reading up on the structure of double-breasted jackets. What a splendid source of information Matt Spaiser's Bondsuits blog has been! Exquisite illustrations and explanations, and wonderful shots of the Bond actors who sported DB jackets, mainly Roger Moore. Thanks heaps, Matt. It's great to have you as a member here at AAAC.

https://www.bondsuits.com/variations-double-breasted-jacket-buttons-wrap-lapels-width/

I've also been thinking about occasions when I could wear my newfound DB jacket. Especially with the pandemic, such occasions are going to be very few. But it feels good to have found this jacket after searching for quite some time.
 
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