drpeter

Super Member
The USN peacoat I have is not the officer's or CPO's bridge coat, it is the shorter version (would that be an ensign's coat, perhaps?). I do keep an eye out for a bridge coat.

One rule of thumb we civvies could follow in the past, when there were plenty of Army/Navy/Air Force surplus stores (Marines too?), was to trust in their judgment that, if they sold civilians a piece of kit, then it was OK for civilians to wear it. Not sure if that stands up to inspection and scrutiny, but I have thought of that as a rough guide. In general, though, I have followed what you suggested, and collected dress uniforms purely for admiration.

I wish I had kept my uniforms and other bits of kit from my National Service days in India, although I would hardly be able to fit into those since I was in my late teens or early twenties then. I've mentioned this before: In my old country, India, I was in a paramilitary outfit called the NCC, and we had Gurkha instructors who were tough, fearless and very decent to us cadets. The NCC was an outgrowth of the old British Officer's Training Unit or OTU, designed to produce an Indian officer corps by the time independence was granted.

So I have collected Gurkha insignia and also a Gurkha knife (a kukri). Regiments have a storied history in the Indian Army, the oldest being raised in 1768. They have a lot of traditions and lore. I have thought of converting a Gurkha cap badge with the crossed kukris and the regimental number into a lapel pin, but it is not easy to do. I also have Gurkha trousers which they used in campaigns, but this is not an original, it was made by Bill's Khakis! Still, it is a memento of sorts. I also have an attachment to khakis because of its origins in India. There is a whole line of luggage and leather goods in this country called Ghurka ( a mis-spelling or variant of the term, funnily enough). I think I have a garment bag made by them somewhere, LOL.

I respect and admire the militaries of most of the countries in the world, especially those that are still functioning democracies. In our own USA, I think it is the one institution that still has the trust of a majority of our citizens. The military have been steadfast and loyal to the Constitution and to the country in all times. That is not something easily achieved.
 
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Steve Smith

Super Member
Strangely enough, I own the only pair of Bill's Khakis Gurhka shorts that I have ever seen, a great thrifting find. And I confess to having spelled the word in the incorrect way that you noted. One of the buckles broke in the dryer and I am debating trying to source a similar buckle and have it sewn in. The shorts are slightly large on me now. My impression from movies that these shorts are typically sized baggy. Is that correct?
 

drpeter

Super Member
To answer your question, yes, they are supposed to be baggy, so that comfort is ensured in hot environments like the Westerm Desert or the jungles of Burma during WWII. The buckles will enable you to tighten the waist if you lose weight, which is typical during prolonged campaigns. I hope you can find one, perhaps on eBay.

I grew up in Malaya in the fifties when there was an ongoing shadow war, and British Gurkhas and the Argyll and Sutherland regiment were involved in hunting down Communist guerillas in the dense Malayan jungle. It was exhausting and time-consuming work. They could travel at most 500 yards in a day, hacking at the undergrowth with parangs, a kind of machete. They used trousers with adjustable buckles in the waist because bare legs meant leeches!

Don't worry about the spelling very much -- the customary spelling is Gurkha, and that is because the /kha/ syllable is aspirated, it comes out as a plosive sound, linguistically speaking. This way of sounding the letter k is not there in English, in fact the doubling of the letter (kk) to stress it is also very unusual in Engliish, while common in Dutch.

The way you just spelled it may have been a typo, LOL, because you reversed the letters k and h! It is not too critical because, after all, these are all Romanizations of a word in another language, Nepali. I speak two Indian languages (Malayalam and Hindi/Urdu) well, and one (Tamil) poorly, and I also have a passable knowledge of French and Spanish. This comes from a wandering life, LOL.

I love languages and seem to find it easy to pick up a working knowledge of another language, with the exception of Dutch. Although I lived in Holland for a few months as a visiting scientist, I never could learn the language except for a few words and phrases, badly pronounced. Everyone spoke very good English too, so it was hard to have conversations in Dutch. Ah well.
 

drpeter

Super Member
Here's a statue at the Brigade of Gurkhas memorial in London on Horse Guards Avenue. The unique hat worn at a tilt is recognized everywhere there are military forces:

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And here they are in full ceremonial gear, during the Republic Day of India ceremonial parade on Jan 26th of each year. I'll always be very proud of them, not just for their bravery and skills, but also for their decency and compassion. A great people, the Gurkhas -- and they are not Indian, they are Nepali Hindus.

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drpeter

Super Member
A while ago I had picked up a beautiful pair of Bostonian Luxe longwings in burgundy calfskin from a thrift shop. They have leather soles and rubber heels, and they are fully leather-lined inside. They were lightly worn, and today I gave them a good cleaning and polishing which had them looking quite smart. There is a simple cloth label inside that says Bostonian and at the end of it there is another cloth tag that says Luxe. No other model name is provided.

These shoes are made in India, and I know that India is a mixed bag when it comes to clothes and shoes. Sometimes they are well-made, at other times they aren't. However, these shoes looked solidly made, high quality calfskin and stitching, beautiful brogueing, solid Goodyear-welted soles, and an overall look that clearly said well-made. And it's my old country, LOL. So I decided to buy them; after all, my cost was just $15, not a huge investment. I tried them on and they feel very comfortable. This spring, I will try them outdoors, and see how well they perform.

I have a couple of older, very nice pairs of Bostonians from the seventies, when they were still making all their shoes in the US. After a period of outsourcing, in 2018, they brought back their manufacturing to the US, although they have continued to make a less expensive line of shoes in India.

Here's a pair of Bostonians from the web that look exactly like mine:

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drpeter

Super Member
New thrifting finds:

A lovely mottled wool flannel sports jacket by Land's End. It resembles a mottled Harris tweed, with mostly light and dark browns and blacks, plus a bit of blue and dark red here and there. Club style with patch pockets at the hips, a patch breast pocket, and no vents. Nice drape, and a good fit for me. Outlay: $10 plus tax

An almost brand new pair of black Allen Edmonds Wilberts. These are comfortable US-made walking shoes with a clean, unscratched split-toe leather upper and good Vibram rubber soles, and with no wear I could detect on the treads. At St Vinnie's, they had marked it at $45, but I got it for $35 since I had a cumulative purchase discount (stamped card from previous purchases) of $10. For a pair that costs $350 retail, this was exactly a tenth of the price. I am pleased with this addition to my now-extensive AE collection. It will be fun to polish it and make it look nice.

Lastly, a pleasant surprise. Since my type 2 diabetes diagnosis back in 2016, I had cut sugar and carbs seriously and halved my food intake. I don't check my weight and I don't pay close attention to what I eat since I have made it a habit to avoid sugar and too many carbs almost automatically now. Well, apparently the weight loss continues. Today, I bought a pair of RL Polo trousers at a thrift shop that I thought was marked 34, and that fit me with just a touch of tightness. I liked the light blue corduroy material (nice for spring) so I bought it thinking my tailor could take out the waist by half an inch or so.

When I went home, I found to my surprise that the tag inside said 32! I double checked and measured it, and the waist was 32.25". The last time I had trousers with a 32" waist was 35-37 years ago! I know that we shrink a bit as we grow older -- I have lost an inch in height -- but I did not think my waist size would also drop, LOL.. It is a nice surprise.
 
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drpeter

Super Member
Good show! I take it you got these thrifting -- that's a nice price for those sweaters. And I agree, my cotton cable knit sweater in navy is almost as versatile as my navy blazer -- a more casual stand-in for the jacket, and one that goes with most of my trousers (usually khakis) and shirts (usually OCBD or broadcloth).

I don't have white sweaters but I do have a lovely cream Irish fisherman's sweater, cable knit in the Aran style. Indoors, though, it gets a tad too warm, so I usually wear it if I have to spend some time outdoors.

I also have a bunch of sweaters, lambswool and cotton, in subdued colors like navy and maroon, which go well with a shirt and tie, and grey flannels or khakis.
 

drpeter

Super Member
Today's thrift shop score: A very nice British-made polo coat in the WWII US Army Pink colour (but it's a civvy coat), 100% wool, with a double breasted front, four pairs of buttons, and medium lapels. Two flapped pockets at the hips, epaulettes with no buttons, and sleeve latches, each with a single button on top. This coat is fully lined in beige satin and also has a belt in the back with two buttons for decoration. It seems to be a pretty standard, timeless design. It is calf length for me, and a perfect fit throughout.The cloth is medium heavy, probably 22 oz, and it should be nice and toasty in the chill of a Wisconsin winter (as in right now). I steamed a few wrinkles out of the coat and it looks splendid.

The coat is in beautiful condition, except for one problem. It has a handful of very tiny spots where the flannel fabric has been abraded and a net-like backing shows. These are mostly on the back and one or two on the back of the sleeves. You have to look closely to find these abrasion spots. It may be possible to scrape off flannel material from elsewhere on the coat and mend the spots using a felting pad and needle, but I am thinking of leaving them alone. They are hardly noticeable, and I can regard them as the patina of this jacket. I love the colour, not easy to find in a polo coat, so there was no way I was going to pass this one up. Total outlay was $25, a felonious steal for this garment in the rare Pink overcoating cloth, in this general condition.

This coat seems to be from the sixties and has the name of a now long-defunct Appleton, Wisconsin shop, W A Close on College Avenue, a street I know fairly well. I found some information about this shop and some images. Below is the Victorian building which housed the shop. It does look familiar, but the next time I am in Appleton (an hour from where I live) I will try to find it or at least find the location if the building has been demolished.

Half the pleasure in thrifting is in finding these rare items and then researching them. In the process, I found a website with almost forty photos of downtown Appleton in the 1960s and sent the link to several of my pals and colleagues who grew up here in that time. In case you are interested, here is the link, from the Appleton Post-Crescent newspaper:

https://www.postcrescent.com/pictur...back-downtown-appleton-in-the-1960s/24096823/



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drpeter

Super Member
Two thrift-shop shoe finds:

First, a pair of Allen Edmonds McTavish wings, made of black waxy leather, very stout and quite comfortable, and barely worn. The soles are thick with a deep tread in the Vibram-style.The waxy leather means I will go for a simple leather-lotion treatment and brushing to bring out what one might call a "quiet" shine, LOL. I wish they had been a shade of brown rather than black, since they would have then been more versatile. But these are good enough as walking shoes, especially with khakis/flannels and a bright pair of argyle socks to create contrast. Cost: $32.00.

Second, a pair of cognac, calf leather Cole-Haan single monk straps with cap toes, likely from the early 1980s since they are US-made (C-H shifted production to India in the late 1990s, if I recall correctly). Based on my research, these appear to be unusual because they are single strap shoes with cap toes. I found no examples of them on an initial search. The C-Hs with cap toes I saw were all double strap monks.

They look exquisite (especially the colour), which is saying a lot for the C-H brand! They fit a little loose initially, but once I tightened the straps (isn't that what straps are for?) and wore a medium thick pair of socks. the shoes fit nicely. I'll have to see how well these hold up, but having read good things about the C-H line in their earlier days, I am happy that I picked them up. They are definitely not near top-quality brands, but like the second-tier ones, they can be very serviceable. And the price I paid is most conducive to experimentation. Cost: $10.00.
 

drpeter

Super Member
Today's thrifting find: A beautiful Oxford grey, heavy flannel (22-25 oz?), single-breasted overcoat from Bill Paul Ltd., a men's shop in Neenah, Wisconsin. The label simply says "Bill Paul Ltd, Outfitters to Men, Neenah Wisconsin". There is a locker loop inside the collar which says that the garment is made in USA of 100% pure wool.

The collar and lapels are medium, there are darts in the front, and two outside pockets with flaps, and one inside breast pocket on the right. The sleeves have three black buttons and the front closure is with three buttons as well. There is a single, deep vent in the back and there is full lining in black satin.The coat is simple and elegant, and in immaculate condition.

The few wrinkles it had came out with a steaming, once I brought it home. It's also a perfect fit. It looks almost custom-made, perhaps it is semi-custom. The shaping of the torso and waist seems more marked than in an OTR coat. The lack of the usual tags inside the coat about cleaning directions, etc. also suggests some sort of semi-custom tailoring, but I may be wrong. I'm very pleased with this piece, especially because of the pleasure of discovery. And I don't think I have an overcoat in this particular combination of material and colour. Total outlay: an astonishing $10 plus tax.

A couple of weeks ago, I had mentioned in this thread that I had found another item from this shop, a lovely, bright tussore silk summer weight jacket, of Italian make. There is a Bill Paul's still running in Neenah, with men's and women's items. The pieces I picked up, however, seem to be older, perhaps from the eighties.
 
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Fading Fast

Connoisseur
Today's thrifting find: A beautiful Oxford grey, heavy flannel (22-25 oz?), single-breasted overcoat from Bill Paul Ltd., a men's shop in Neenah Wisconsin. The label simply says "Bill Paul Ltd, Outfitters to Men, Neenah Wisconsin". There is a locker loop inside the collar which says that the garment is made in USA of 100% pure wool.

The collar and lapels are medium, there are darts in the front, and two outside pockets with flaps, and one inside breast pocket on the right. The sleeves have three black buttons and the front closure is with three buttons as well. There is a single, deep vent in the back and there is full lining in black satin.The coat is simple and elegant, and in immaculate condition.

The few wrinkles it had came out with a steaming, once I brought it home. It's also a perfect fit. It looks almost custom-made, perhaps it is semi-custom. The shaping of the torso and waist seems more marked than in an OTR coat. The lack of the usual tags inside the coat about cleaning directions, etc. also suggests some sort of semi-custom tailoring, but I may be wrong. I'm very pleased with this piece, especially because of the pleasure of discovery. And I don't think I have an overcoat in this particular combination of material and colour. Total outlay: an astonishing $10 plus tax.

A couple of weeks ago, I had mentioned in this thread that I had found another item from this shop, a lovely, bright tussore silk summer weight jacket, of Italian make. There is a Bill Paul's still running in Neenah, with men's and women's items. The pieces I picked up, however, seem to be older, perhaps from the eighties.
Wonderful find. If at all possible, I'd love to see a pic or two of that outstanding Bill Paul Ltd. coat. I'm assuming it has set-in not raglan sleeves? It sounds like an incredible find.
 

drpeter

Super Member
Here are the pics, Faders. You have no bloody idea what effort it took!

All three cameras I possess had dead batteries, two of them I found replacements for, fortunately (one Lithium, the other AAs) and the third one was luckily rechargeable and the camera came with a charger! I also broke a spring plate at the bottom of the AA battery slot, trying to clean the old battery's corrosion off that spring plate, so I had to insert it in place with stamp tongs. Amazingly, a little vinegar on a Q-tip helped get rid of the corrosion. Anyway, here are the pics (which I had to resize to fit in here). You can tell I am no wunderkind when it comes to photography, LOL.
 

Attachments

Fading Fast

Connoisseur
Here are the pics, Faders. You have no bloody idea what effort it took!

All three cameras I possess had dead batteries, two of them I found replacements for, fortunately (one Lithium, the other AAs) and the third one was luckily rechargeable and the camera came with a charger! I also broke a spring plate at the bottom of the AA battery slot, trying to clean the old battery's corrosion off that spring plate, so I had to insert it in place with stamp tongs. Amazingly, a little vinegar on a Q-tip helped get rid of the corrosion. Anyway, here are the pics (which I had to resize to fit in here). You can tell I am no wunderkind when it comes to photography, LOL.
Thank you very much, I had no idea that I'd put you through all that - I'm sorry.

That said, it is a beautiful coat. Light grey flannel is not that common in an overcoat but it looks incredible - very Apparel Arts 1930s. It has an elegantly simplicity to it that I really like.

Enjoy and wear it in good health.
 

drpeter

Super Member
Actually, although I am complaining, I really shouldn't -- you did me a favour by having me check out my neglected cameras. It has also motivated me to learn how to take and send pictures using my recently acquired smartphone (usually only for emergencies). This may be easier than getting out my camera. I think I know how to take a picture, but I need to figure out how to email it to my main computer. I'll have to talk to one of the associates at the Cellcom company here, they have been very helpful.

I like it too, and it does have the Apparel Arts look about it. In real life, it looks far better than in the photographs!
 

drpeter

Super Member
New acquisitions today:

A mid-grey flannel suit, broken herringbone in faint stripes, soft, rich and 100% wool. The jacket is pretty standard with medium lapels and flapped lower pockets. The trousers have buttons for braces and belt loops, double reverse pleats and plain bottoms. Very nice, and a perfect fit for me. Cost: $15 plus tax.

A lovely pair of Florsheim Imperial Quality Kenmoor PTBs in pebble grain cognac leather, Model Number 93603. I have read that these are fairly rare, and this is the first time I have seen them while thrifting. The iconic V-cleat on the heel, plus all the nails indicate that these shoes have the original heel and sole. Slightly larger in size for me, but a thick pair of socks makes the fit quite nice. Cost $10 plus tax

A beautiful pair of burgundy Allen Edmonds Saratogas, a fine example of the classic tassel loafer, in soft, buttery calfskin. Saratogas went out of production quite some time ago, so these are a nice find. They have clearly seen some use, but the leather is in good shape and I plan to clean, condition and polish them, then place them with shoe trees to get some of the creases out. Cost: $10 plus tax.

A few ties, and jackets, but nothing of great significance.

Late Edit: I spent some time researching the availability and prices of the Florsheim PTBs I mentioned above. I also forgot to add prices for the PTBs and the Saratogas, which I have done now. The Florsheims (93603) are indeed not very common and the ones on eBay are priced fairly high, in the $180-$300 range for used shoes in a condition that is nowhere near as good as the pair I found. So I think I really lucked out with the $10 price I paid!
 
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drpeter

Super Member
Recent thrift shop finds:

Two jackets: One, a sportcoat in a dark tan camelhair, and the other, a blazer, in a burgundy hopsack. $15 and $10.

A lovely 100% wool Pendleton field coat, dark brown herringbone, thick and warm with bellows pockets at the hip and hand warmer pockets on either side. Solid construction. $20.

And lastly, an olive green army field jacket in 100% thick cotton drill, with removable fleece lining and detachable hood from Slovakia. Multiple pockets in front and buttons galore. The fleece lining has a separate section that attaches to the coat and overlays the collar. Very well made, and comfortable, perfect for the Wisconsin tundra. Cost: $8. Here are pictures of the exact jacket from the web:

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