21 September 2008

Restraint is a Virtue

Charles, a commenter, recently said:
"Thrifters have too much sh*t. You get used to not getting exactly what you want so you tend to buy everything that even comes close."

He's absolutely right. For the longest time, I would by anything that bore the name of an old and venerable label. And if something was old and rare, forget it, I was sunk. It didn't matter if it fit, or I needed it, or anything. I can't tell you how many things I hung onto for years, saying, "I'll take it to the tailor, you'll see." True, your friend the tailor can let out the waist, fix the hem, shorten the sleeves, etc. But if a thing needs extensive work, it will never get done. Still, it's hard to say no, for example, to a vintage Hart,Schaffner & Marx suit for $11.99. So what if its a 42 long and you wear a 38 regular?

The fact is, no matter how cheap a thing is, no matter how much of a bargain, it is in fact a waste of both money and precious closet space to buy things that deep down you know you will probably never wear. I thank our commenter Charles for putting that in my mind. I was very selective on my most recent thrifting excursion because of it. I even put back a Brooks Brothers brown Prince of Wales sport coat for $5.99( after I tried it on 20 times trying to convince myself to buy it.)
Here are some fun label shots of the stuff I passed up today:

A blue flannel blazer with horn buttons. Too small, not enough cloth to let out. Another advantage of thrift is that you can discreetly separate the lining and have a peak inside at the extra material. Don't tell on me.

A white french cuff shirt. Too big in the neck.

A grey two button suit with a white and burgundy pinstripe. A good fit, but the jacket was a little too darted for my taste. Which brings up a good point: once upon a time, I would have bought this suit, and for years gotten fully dressed into it, shirt, tie, everything, before getting changed at the last minute before leaving the house and winding up in a hurry or late to whatever it was that I had to put on a suit for in the first place. Hardly worth $14.99 in the long run....and there's no way the guy on that label drives a van, either.

Navy pinstripe 3/2 sack suit from the Coop (i.e. Harvard Co-Operative Society) back when they were something more than a glorified souvenir store for the parents of the incoming freshman class. Alas, made to fit a man much larger than myself.

Like I've said before, it's all about developing an eye for things, which also means knowing what not to buy, no matter how nice it may be.

p.s. R.I.P. local store brand stuff and funny little unknown labels (Trotters Club!?! New England Gentleman!?!) Some of my best stuff has been from the likes of theses 'No Name' names.


Laguna Beach Fogey said...

Nice to see the Van Driver label.

Charles said...

Gus, This is something I wrote in the first couple of weeks of my blog, before I ran out of ideas:


It is very silly and I don't think anyone ever read it, but maybe you will read it now?

Giuseppe said...

I read it the, Longwing, and I laughed. I've been reading you and all the others all along. One of the reasons I jumped in myself is that I find all this silliness helpful in honing my own shopping skills. Believe me , I'm well over having a house full of garbage. Now that I have a toddler and one on the way, I've got the mess and garbage factory all sewn up and it's time for me to get organized.