Not my neighborhood thriftshop, which is shortly to move into newly renovated premises, but a nicely appointed one from somewhere else. A seasoned thrifter never, ever, EVER reveals the location of his shops of choice.
Most of the time, what you'll find in thriftshops is junk. Especially where menswear is concerned. But every once in a while, you'll strike gold.
This summer hasn't seen me in the three area thrift outlets in my neck of the woods very much. You reach a point where, due primarily to closet space, you must become even more discerning and simply say no to most additional purchases. After all, how many Brooks Brothers neckties, Harris Tweed jackets, and pairs of Allen Edmonds wingtip brogues can you hoard?
But sometimes, a guy has to throw caution to the wind and snap up those rare gems when he spots 'em. And that is what happened yesterday evening and this afternoon when I visited two of my local thrift haunts for the first time in four weeks or so.
At the first one yesterday evening, I stumbled across a pair of men's brown wool pants by Ralph Lauren with a subtle herringbone pattern. They are cuffed, have a pleated front, were made in Canada, and are a medium weight. Perfect for six or seven months of the year here in the wilds of the American Midwest. Best of all, the pants will require no alterations, just dry-cleaning, pressing, and they'll be ready to go. Oh, and the cost? Just US$2.68 with tax.
But hang on. It get's better.
Today, on a whim, I stopped in the best of my three area shops and in two minutes found a summer weight, cream-colored sports jacket in a wool, silk, and linen blend, made in Italy and sold by Brooks Brothers. Once again, it fits well already, especially in the shoulders, and even the sleeve length is fine, so no immediate alterations are necessary. I plan, however, to have the waist nipped in just a bit this winter, to give the jacket a bit more shape. I'll also have some some of the lining removed and the inner stitching finished up, to ensure the jacket is comfortable enough for all but the most miserable summer weather next year. Still, an incredible find for only US$7.00.
So, average guys looking to kick up your style a few notches in an economic way, take note. Two amazing new pieces to work into the wardrobe rotation for next to nothing. Each looks almost new. Probably worn a few times and then relegated to the back of the closet until they were given away for whatever reason. I'll drop 'em off at the dry-cleaner's tomorrow on the way to pick up a few items from my tailor, and have them back in time for the start of the new semester midweek next week! Certainly not bespoke gear from the finest old tailors of London or Milan, mind you, but great off the rack pieces nevertheless. I'll certainly wear and enjoy them. Stay tuned for a couple of new photos of ol' Heinz-Ulrich von B. next week.