To that end, a few new pieces have recently gained membership to the Affordable Wardrobe...at the usual impossibly cheap prices.
These old Brooks Bothers suits were the best. The three quarter lining makes them very comfortable, and I find their take on the sack cut jacket to be slightly loose fitting without being frumpy. In fact, I've trained my eye to hone in on the 2 button cuff when sizing up a rack of suits at a thrift store. Too bad they don't make them anymore, but I suppose that's what we have J.Press for. I actually found a J.Press poplin sack (with an incongruous 4 button cuff) in my size at the same store, but it had a big stain on the shoulder, so I took a pass.
I also found a very nice pair of medium grey pants in a lightweight wool, for $3.99.This is something I've actually been hunting down for a while. Thrift shopping is fun because you never know what you might turn up,but it can be frustrating when you actually need something. In menswear, the basics, like these grey pants, are the hardest thing to find. Why? Because most men will wear their stuff until it's trash, and then throw it away (or the wife will), so there's often not much of it in good second hand condition. It's the same reason you see so many suit jackets with the pants missing in these places. A guy goes to work, takes of his jacket, then carries it to the car and drives home. The pants get wrecked and the jacket, like new, gets donated. I never buy the top half of a suit, that's chump stuff.
These pants are from the Harvard Cooperative Society, or "the Coop". (that pronounced the same as in Cooper, not 'co-op').I have some vague memories of the old Coop. The first two floors were the bookstore, a really great place, where all the textbooks for Harvard were sold, in addition to a lot of other cool stuff. Above that was the men's shop, which sold sack suit, striped ties, Harvard scarves and sweaters, penny loafers, the whole nine. In back at the annex, was the music department and all the Harvard souvenir junk, sweatshirts and coffee mugs. Now, the men's department is gone, and the bookstore has become a Barnes & Noble with a Starbuck's in it...yet a sign outside still calls it "The Historic Harvard Coop". Kinda like all those stores called "Filene's Basement" that aren't in basements and don't have 6 floors of Filene's above them. Go figure.
Also acquired, not pictured: a pair of Brooks Brothers 'Hudson' chinos in brown, $5.99; a pair of J.Crew chinos (can't have too many of those), $4.99; and really cool Rooster necktie in real Indian madras, square cut at the bottom, $3.99.
Right now, the thrifts have a lot eighties vintage traditional stuff, if you can find it. I wonder what I'll do ten years from now when they're all full of sweatshop junk from the nineties. Better get me a real job and start forging a relationship with the boys at J.Press and Andover Shop, quick!
p.s. In browsing the Brooks Brothers website to find the link for the Hudson chinos, I came across this photo where the model is wearing both buttons closed on his two button jacket. For shame! Can it be the truth?