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.
 

drpeter

Super Member
Recent finds from an antiques and vintage clothes shop:

A lovely thick cotton and poly cream sports jacket from Lands' End, made in my old country, India. Pretty standard features, medium-width lapels. patch pockets, two-button front and single vent. It has a nice, slightly heavy drape, and best of all, brown horn buttons that create a rich effect with the cream colour. Cost $3.50

Three 100% silk ties, one in summery pastel stripes, the other in black and cream thin stripes, and a third, a grenadine in a beautiful, vivid shade of fuchsia. The first two are Lands' End, the third is Cape Cod Neckwear. $3 each

I found a picture of the exact sports jacket online:
 

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drpeter

Super Member
That's the right approach, Peaks. In fact, already anticipating the problem you envision, I have taken pains to acquire a dozen or so similar jackets in slight variations of that cream colour I love. Prices ranging from $1.99 to maybe $9.99 tops.

I have eaten at fine restaurants on three continents, but I still have a hunger for Taco Bell. Thankfully, these days, I can go in and order (I really hate drive-thrus -- the mask, on top of my accent, gives the sweet Midwestern lads and lasses at the counter a lot of trouble, and they don't speak the Queen's English, that's for sure).

But I have a range of solutions to stains on clothes (O ye of little faith), so I won't give up that easily. I don't trash anything quickly. There are so many things you can do with unwanted clothes, including buffing your fine leather shoes.
 
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drpeter

Super Member
Further finds:

A classic "346" Brooks navy hopsack blazer, with the full Ivy cut and look -- 3 roll 2 button stance, undarted front, medium lapels with quarter-inch stitching, single vent, patch pockets, and two spaced buttons on the sleeves. All buttons are brass with the 346 logo. Great fit, fine condition, lightly worn with no damage. Cost: $6.00

A Reed St James 100% camelhair beige sportcoat, leather buttons, with standard features and a timeless cut. Very comfortable. Cost : $6.00

Plus a few US-made ties, wool and silk, and one wool challis from England. And a wonderful wool scarf with muted olive, red and brown plaid. The ties and the scarf cost $2 apiece.

I found this quotation from the 1985 Brooks catalogue, posted by another member:

"Almost forty years ago Brooks Brothers commissioned a new line of clothing to be made for executives. Proudly, we named it after the New York flagship store at 346 Madison Avenue. Appropriately, 346 clothing offers classic tailoring, fine workmanship, fabrics and lasting value that is a Brooks Brothers tradition to provide. 346 is made for us under our careful supervision. The resulting quality, evident in the natural drape of the shoulder for example, assures the longevity of your investment."

Apparently my navy hopsack blazer cost around $190 in 1985. The "346" line fell between the entry-level Brooksgate line (buttons featuring the gate) and the Makers' or Own Make top line (buttons featuring the golden fleece).
 
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drpeter

Super Member
Today, I found a very nice, barely worn HS&M Gold Trumpeter suit. The material is 100% wool in a fine bird's-eye pattern, which looks medium grey overall. This is the first bird's eye suit I have ever had!

The jacket is half-canvassed, and the suit drapes very nicely because the material is fine quality and also slightly heavier than worsted cloth. Two-button front, darted, flap pockets, single vent and pleated and cuffed trousers. A good fit, except for the trouser legs which will have to be shortened an inch-and-a-half. A very good bargain at $9.00, given that these suits were in the $700 range at retail.

I read up a bit on the Gold Trumpeter line which was HS&M's top line. Since 2015, the logo just says GOLD, and their top line suits are called Monogram (I can't guarantee this, I simply read it in a posting here). My suit has the old logo with the trumpeter on horseback and "Gold Trumpeter" below it.
 
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eagle2250

Connoisseur/Curmudgeon Emeritus - Moderator
Today, I found a very nice, barely worn HS&M Gold Trumpeter suit. The material is 100% wool in a fine bird's-eye pattern, which looks medium grey overall. This is the first bird's eye suit I have ever had!

The jacket is half-canvassed, and the suit drapes very nicely because the material is fine quality and also slightly heavier than worsted cloth. Two-button front, darted, flap pockets, single vent and pleated and cuffed trousers. A good fit, except for the trouser legs which will have to be shortened an inch-and-a-half. A very good bargain at $9.00, given that these suits were in the $700 range at retail.

I read up a bit on the Gold Trumpeter line which was HS&M's top line. Since 2015, the logo just says GOLD, and their top line suits are called Monogram (I can't guarantee this, I simply read it in a posting here). My suit has the old logo with the trumpeter on horseback and "Gold Trumpeter" below it.
During my civilian working years I bought more than a few of HS&M's Gold Trumpeter suits at retail pricing. Based on your experiences I should have been shopping the thrift shops.....but alas, I've always been a slow learner. :(;)
 

drpeter

Super Member
I seems that a thrifting trip to Wisconsin could be worthwhile.
Well, I believe it might be worthwhile. But I must say that I shop regularly at about five Goodwills and other shops, several times a week ( a little less with some of the outlying ones).

Today's find, for example, was an almost new, slightly scuffed pair of Made-in-England Doc Martens, tan colour with the white thread stitching in the welt. Beautiful condition, and a perfect fit. ( I am fairly easy to fit with ready-made pieces). The heels and soles show no wear I can discern, so the slight scuffing (easily fixed) is the only indication they've been worn -- it could have been marks acquired while moving them around! Cost me $25, which is a bargain when considering retail prices. This is the second pair of genuine English-made Doc Martens I have found in two months.

Also some nice ties, including a lovely Robert Talbott regimental with vibrant colors, in a heavy silk that almost feels like a seven-fold tie. Each tie was $2.

Based on your experiences I should have been shopping the thrift shops.....but alas, I've always been a slow learner.
LOL, it may be that this past year has seen a lot of good things sent to thrift shops. Again, if you don't stop by regularly, you can miss items. Even if I don't find something (I almost always find stuff, especially books and DVDs) it is enjoyable to hunt through things. I stop by at garage sales and flea markets in the summer as well. It's a good way to spend time, and in this part of the world, people love it when you stop by and chat -- I know three-quarters of the people in this town! Besides, didn;t the government tell us to stimulate the economy?
 
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TKI67

Elite Member
Further finds:

A classic "346" Brooks navy hopsack blazer, with the full Ivy cut and look -- 3 roll 2 button stance, undarted front, medium lapels with quarter-inch stitching, single vent, patch pockets, and two spaced buttons on the sleeves. All buttons are brass with the 346 logo. Great fit, fine condition, lightly worn with no damage. Cost: $6.00

A Reid St James 100% camelhair beige sportcoat, leather buttons, with standard features and a timeless cut. Very comfortable. Cost : $6.00

Plus a few US-made ties, wool and silk, and one wool challis from England. And a wonderful wool scarf with muted olive, red and brown plaid. The ties and the scarf cost $2 apiece.

I found this quotation from the 1985 Brooks catalogue, posted by another member:

"Almost forty years ago Brooks Brothers commissioned a new line of clothing to be made for executives. Proudly, we named it after the New York flagship store at 346 Madison Avenue. Appropriately, 346 clothing offers classic tailoring, fine workmanship, fabrics and lasting value that is a Brooks Brothers tradition to provide. 346 is made for us under our careful supervision. The resulting quality, evident in the natural drape of the shoulder for example, assures the longevity of your investment."

Apparently my navy hopsack blazer cost around $190 in 1985. The "346" line fell between the entry-level Brooksgate line (buttons featuring the gate) and the Makers' or Own Make top line (buttons featuring the golden fleece).
I still miss Brooks Brothers. The 346 line was good value for those who wore suits to work.
 

drpeter

Super Member
Today's finds:

A pair of mint burgundy Bass Weejuns (likely old stock), penny loafers made in USA, in completely unused condition, not a scratch on the sole or heel. Slightly loose for me, so I will have to wear thick socks or get a pair of heel inserts. Cost $10.00

A pair of vintage tan Johnston & Murphy tassel loafers, model name Edwardian, moderately used. A good fit. Cost $10.00.
 
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