Thrift store blues & brags

drpeter

Super Member
A handful of ties from Goodwill, seven in all, with four in wool -- two from Scotland, two from Resilio (I think, US). The others are silk ties with neat patterns. Each cost $2.00

A pair of Bass Weejuns and another pair of Florsheim penny loafers, both in burgundy, richly patina'd, but not overly worn. Cost $7 and $10, respectively. Both pairs are solidly made, with nice stacked leather heels with a rubber layer outermost. Best of all, these fit me perfectly, and will be great for everyday casual wear.

Burgundy penny loafers, in my view, are just terrific with well-pressed khakis, and if one wants to be a bit formal, a navy blue blazer and OCBD. One really can't have too many of these shoes. Or OCBDs or khakis, or blue blazers...LOL
 

drpeter

Super Member
Recent finds:

A lovely, soft 100% cashmere tailored sportcoat in a medium-sized Prince of Wales check with red overpanes, made for the old MacNeil and Moore shop (Milwaukee and Madison) by E&J Peake. The cut is conservative, and the jacket is fully lined, with a single vent, but with a two-button closure and darts. The lapels are on the wider side, but not excessively. I like having a mix of lapel widths in sports jackets and suit coats. I like a mix of widths in ties as well. I had picked up another sportcoat a few months ago with the same label from the same shop, again from thrifting. Their standards are very high judging by cut and fit, and the quality of the cloth. A perfect fit for me. Cost $9.00.

A clutch of ties, mostly silk, solids, reps, neats, etc., including a couple of notable cotton-linen Madras ties, one in a very beautiful, summery Stewart check. These ties were $2.00 apiece.

Lastly, the small community thrift shop in town was having a clearance sale with all items at low prices. I found a sports jacket, light grey 100% tropical worsted wool by Pierre Cardin, with four buttons (a bit unusual) and a navy blue travel blazer, likely a wool/poly blend but unspecified, by Penney's, for the startling price of --- wait for it --- 25 cents each! That is the absolute lowest price I have ever paid for a sports jacket or blazer in my life. At that price, a four-button "experimental" jacket and a run-around blazer, are certainly worth having, LOL.
 
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Fading Fast

Connoisseur
⇧ Your finds sound incredible.

I wonder if these prices don't, sadly, reflect the collapse in traditional attire as, even in thrift stores, fewer and fewer are buying suits, ties, sport coats, dress shirts, etc.

It's a shame, but I bet it's part of the story.
 

drpeter

Super Member
⇧ Your finds sound incredible.

I wonder if these prices don't, sadly, reflect the collapse in traditional attire as, even in thrift stores, fewer and fewer are buying suits, ties, sport coats, dress shirts, etc.

It's a shame, but I bet it's part of the story.
You're absolutely right. I think I have been able to get wonderful jackets and suits at bargain prices because very few people are keen on buying them. This is why many of them go from $9 or so initially, down to $2 at clearance in Goodwill shops. The same is true with ties. Suits are rarely picked up.

Many of these clothes are finely made, and often tailored for old men's shops or are from good makers like HSM or Hickey Freeman. Many are new with tags, so it is almost like buying new at a shop. So a suit or sportcoat that would have set you back a few hundred dollars can now be yours for a few dollars.
 

ran23

Super Member
Cleaning up some A&E Road Warriors in Black Penny Loafers. Can't wait to try these out later, full rubber sole--nice for the wood floors here. Briefly walking indoors, I think these will work just fine.
 

drpeter

Super Member
I have a whole slew of penny loafers -- they get worn the most. A&E, Vintage and Modern Bass Weejuns, Florsheims new and old, Bostonians, old J&Ms. Most of mine are burgundy, brown or tan. I do have a few that are black. An English Grenson penny loafer with tan scotch grain leather is one of my recent acquisitions, brand new not thrifted.
 

drpeter

Super Member
Recent acquisitions from Goodwill: Six Brooks Brothers shirts, button down broadcloth with small stripes or checks, made in Malaysia, looking almost new. Clearance prices at $2 per shirt.

Three fine leather belts from the small community thrift shop, at $1 per belt.
 
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⇧ Your finds sound incredible.

I wonder if these prices don't, sadly, reflect the collapse in traditional attire as, even in thrift stores, fewer and fewer are buying suits, ties, sport coats, dress shirts, etc.

It's a shame, but I bet it's part of the story.
As we strive to reach herd immunity, more and more people will start returning to their offices and business attire. Then, in terms of desirable dress clothing at thrift stores, we will revert to a sellers market (demand exceeding supply). Not only will people be needing to update their wardrobes, many will find that their existing wardrobes no longer fit on their over-indulged frames.
 

Fading Fast

Connoisseur
As we strive to reach herd immunity, more and more people will start returning to their offices and business attire. Then, in terms of desirable dress clothing at thrift stores, we will revert to a sellers market (demand exceeding supply). Not only will people be needing to update their wardrobes, many will find that their existing wardrobes no longer fit on their over-indulged frames.

I hope you are correct. To be sure, as we return to offices, some demand for "work" clothes will increase. But I still think Covid has accelerated the trend away from traditional-work attire that was already in place.

Over the next few decades, as more Baby Boomers pass, the oldest is 75, the thrift stores will probably see a regular inflow of traditional suits, sport coats, ties, etc., but I doubt the demand will be there to absorb all of it.
 

Tweedlover

Active Member with Corp. Privileges
I hope you are correct. To be sure, as we return to offices, some demand for "work" clothes will increase. But I still think Covid has accelerated the trend away from traditional-work attire that was already in place.

Over the next few decades, as more Baby Boomers pass, the oldest is 75, the thrift stores will probably see a regular inflow of traditional suits, sport coats, ties, etc., but I doubt the demand will be there to absorb all of it.
For some years now locally have seen few folks wear jackets and ties.
 

drpeter

Super Member
Just in the past year, I have seen, and benefitted from, the inflow of high-quality traditional suits and sportcoats into thrift shops. Whether there will be a return to these kinds of clothing in the near future is hard to foretell. If history is any guide, these trends are cyclical, so a period of informal dressing might be followed by a resurgence of formal styles.

The other major factor that affects clothing styles and trends is cultural change. Over the last hundred years or so, we have seen a drift from very formal (almost staid), cuts, styles and colours in men's clothes to more informal ones. Tailcoats, stiff celluloid collars and heavily starched shirtfronts are antiques now. The trend has been towards softer fabrics, more comfortable, natural-shouldered jackets, and more vibrant colours.

I think this trend reflects general changes in the culture in the direction of greater informality in behaviour and social attitudes -- a move away from more traditional, and dare I say more rigid, manners and mores, toward more informal and flexible codes of deportment and behaviour. How long this trend will continue is hard to tell. Perhaps things will become so soft and flexible -- think of sweatsuits in airplanes -- that people will decide they have had enough of it and take up more formal clothing.

Formality and tradition are both factors that point towards consistency, sincerity and integrity in our history as a culture, at least in the Western countries. Maybe I'm an old fogey, but I still think of a good grey flannel suit as a badge of integrity. And the simple addition of a sports jacket to my clothes, on any given day, still gets me a more respectful, and even appreciative attitude from everyone I come into contact with on that day. It is as though they are a bit grateful, a tad happy, that someone bothers to put on a jacket!

As Doris Day famously sang: Que sera, sera. The philosophers would say that is what they call a tautology, LOL.
 

TKI67

Elite Member
Just in the past year, I have seen, and benefitted from, the inflow of high-quality traditional suits and sportcoats into thrift shops. Whether there will be a return to these kinds of clothing in the near future is hard to foretell. If history is any guide, these trends are cyclical, so a period of informal dressing might be followed by a resurgence of formal styles.

The other major factor that affects clothing styles and trends is cultural change. Over the last hundred years or so, we have seen a drift from very formal (almost staid), cuts, styles and colours in men's clothes to more informal ones. Tailcoats, stiff celluloid collars and heavily starched shirtfronts are antiques now. The trend has been towards softer fabrics, more comfortable, natural-shouldered jackets, and more vibrant colours.

I think this trend reflects general changes in the culture in the direction of greater informality in behaviour and social attitudes -- a move away from more traditional, and dare I say more rigid, manners and mores, toward more informal and flexible codes of deportment and behaviour. How long this trend will continue is hard to tell. Perhaps things will become so soft and flexible -- think of sweatsuits in airplanes -- that people will decide they have had enough of it and take up more formal clothing.

Formality and tradition are both factors that point towards consistency, sincerity and integrity in our history as a culture, at least in the Western countries. Maybe I'm an old fogey, but I still think of a good grey flannel suit as a badge of integrity. And the simple addition of a sports jacket to my clothes, on any given day, still gets me a more respectful, and even appreciative attitude from everyone I come into contact with on that day. It is as though they are a bit grateful, a tad happy, that someone bothers to put on a jacket!

As Doris Day famously sang: Que sera, sera. The philosophers would say that is what they call a tautology, LOL.
I greatly enjoy your reflections. There are, indeed, some real deals piling up out there, literally, as tastes change. Clothes are such dear and familiar companions, and we remember them as clearly as we remember departed family and friends. As a result changes that took place quite long ago by most standards seem newer than they really are. Comfortable evening wear is something I figured out in the 1970s. I cannot imagine binding myself in overly fitted evening clothes, starched shirt, and patent leather shoes that pinch.

Your thrifting finds are impressive, but I am pretty firmly committed to sticking with my sharply pared post retirement wardrobe. We shall see how long that lasts! It does, however, look safe as we head into another Texas summer, a season designed for Patagonia stand up shorts, tee shirts, flip flops, gimme caps, and puffy tacos with Corona light and lime.
 

drpeter

Super Member
Thank you for your kind words -- I suppose it is obvious by now that I love to reflect and write!

How true about clothes! They are indeed beloved companions and that is one reason why I find it so hard to purge.

As for your summer outfit, I'll go with everything except the cerveza. My strongest drink these days is tea, LOL. For me, shorts, T shirts and sandals are virtually a summer uniform here in Wisconsin. Perhaps poplin slacks and polo shirts for occasions that require something a bit more presentable. And a silk or linen-cotton blend sportcoat, once in a great while.
 

drpeter

Super Member
Today's acquisitions from Goodwill:

A single-breasted, two-button HSM Gold Trumpeter blazer, soft worsted wool (120s from the feel of it), black with brass buttons, moderate lapels and single vent, very functional and useful when one needs a change from navy blue. I do have a black jacket, but it does not have brass buttons. Black blazers often work well with trousers in dove grey or Nantucket red. Cost $10.

A pair of Corbin navy gabardine slacks. It is 100% wool, has reverse pleats and is cuffed, made in the US. On Goodwill clearance at $2.

Three decent ties, all silk, at $2 each: Gant, Don Loper of Beverly Hills, and Robert Talbott. Small patterns, except for the Robt Talbott which has large flying pheasants on it -- this is off the beaten path for me, but for two bucks, why not?
 
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eagle2250

Connoisseur/Curmudgeon Emeritus - Moderator
Today's acquisitions from Goodwill:

A single-breasted, two-button HSM blazer, soft worsted wool (120s from the feel of it), black with brass buttons, moderate lapels and single vent, very functional and useful when one needs a change from navy blue. I do have a black jacket, but it does not have brass buttons. Black blazers often work well with trousers in dove grey or Nantucket red. Cost $10.

A pair of Corbin navy gabardine slacks. It is 100% wool, has reverse pleats and is cuffed, made in the US. On Goodwill clearance at $2.

Three decent ties, all silk, at $2 each: Gant, Don Loper of Beverly Hills, and Robert Talbott. Small patterns, except for the Robt Talbott which has large flying pheasants on it -- this is off the beaten path for me, but for two bucks, why not?

Today's effort....a successful hunt, it would seem! May your hunt on the morrow be equally successful. ;)
 

drpeter

Super Member
A couple of interesting finds yesterday:

A US-made cotton/poly blend "uniform" coat which is thin enough to be a shirt, but styled like a sports jacket. Three buttons in front, patch breast pocket and lower pockets, cutaway quarters, ventless, with a collar that looks like a camp collar. The sleeves are plain and long like a sport coat's, but without any buttons. It looks very much like a short white coat that doctors might wear (not long enough to be a lab coat), except that the colour is a really rich royal blue. The label says Angelica Uniform Group. It seems like the perfect summery overshirt or light jacket to add on top of a T shirt. Cost $5.

A pair of black, US-made Towncraft kiltie tassel loafers, almost new, but with a crocodile-skin pattern pressed on the calfskin leather on the toe and vamp, the top of the sides, and, amazingly, the part of the insole on which the arch of the foot rests. I am quite sure it is not real crocodile skin. If it is, then it has to be from a truly diffident, thin-skinned crocodile -- one who would be overly sensitive to comments from all the other boisterous crocs, LOL. I bought it as a curiosity. Cost $6.

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Peak and Pine

Connoisseur
^^^

We may have to do an intervention with you. Start up the Cutlass and take those things back right now. That poly uniform thing, chuck that out the window on the way there. The crock print shoes from low-end J. C. Penny's lowest-end Towncraft line, if you return them, maybe a busted-refrigerator-on the-back-porch type will use them as roach stompers. A man of your class should stick to the tweeds. Let's hear no more of this bobbing for crapola. Come back when you've fished up some Englishy jackets, Norwegian sweaters, Norfolks, Invernesses, balmacaans, chesterfields, alpacas, camels, shetlands, tattersalls, tartans, mole skins and corduroys. Rise to the occasion, the occasion being that you're not getting any younger, so now's the time to join the Peakster's 'How to Dress When You're Nearing the End' Club, where every moment, if not precious is ice cold beer'able and where thrifting in small doses is allowed if accompanied by a chaperone.
 

drpeter

Super Member
Well, Peaks, my dear fellow, all those Englishy things you list, plus the Norwegian sweaters etc, are overflowing from my closets. How many Harris tweed jackets, grey flannels, khakis, chesterfields, tattersalls and cords can one have? Just to take one item, at last count, I had fifteen Harris tweed jackets, not to mention a dozen other tweeds. So now, I am picking up all the low-end things that attract my attention. It is called slumming by some, to use an old-fashioned word. Why restrict oneself to just high-end things?

Besides, why not indulge in these things? I think a really good mark of great taste is to find beauty in objects in the most ordinary, even beat-up category. Besides, one should not take one's obsession with any specific style too seriously. In fact, one should not take oneself too seriously (that's why I love your broadsides, LOL).

I think I may end up with two robes, two pairs of sandals and a begging bowl, like Katagiri Roshi, the most famous Zen teacher I know of. Everything else will be gone to charity. I'll promise you one thing though, Peakster: I shall do my level best to ensure that one of those robes is a Sea Island cotton tattersall, and the other a Harris tweed. And, with any luck, the sandals will be bespoke, from John Lobb. Deal?
 

drpeter

Super Member
Now this find should make the Peakster happy and soothe his agitated Trad feathers: A soft 100% Scottish cashmere V-neck sweater, in a medium brown colour, made by the darling of the AAAC, Ralph Lauren. The only thing that bothers me a little is the dark red polo player on the chest, but oh well, for $8, it's not too bad.
 
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