03 October 2009

Secrets of Thrifting

It's October, and Halloween is around the corner. This means that many thrift shops will be putting together a special Halloween department. In some stores, this means nothing more than a lot of plastic Devil forks, fake moustaches, and cheap wigs. In other stores, it means they will be combing the regular merchandise for "wacky" or "old fashioned" items to upcharge and place out front. It can be a real gold mine for "go-to-hell" pants, bright colors, serious vintage, and all manner of madras. Sure, you have to sort through a bunch of gas station uniforms and the worst the world has to offer in polyester double knit, but at least you'll get a laugh. Bring a friend, it's funnier (and a lot more bearable) that way.

And so, we have these, which are also in keeping with my other secret of buying off season:

One hell of a serious pair of madras pants. They look a little frumpy in this photo, but...
a close up shot reveals a zesty plaid with enough yellow, blue and deep burgundy to match with a wide array of tennis shirts. $9.99. A bit pricey for me, but only because they were in the Halloween department. Hell, if I didn't buy them, some college kid would have puked all over them at 4:00 a.m. November 1st.
Made by "Asher...since 1900". Couldn't find a thing about those guys on the webs. My educated guess tells me that Asher was one of the innumerable clothing factories this country used to have, back when we actually produced anything for ourselves.

Things I passed up:

-Canary yellow wide wale cords by Woolrich, made in U.S.A. (too small)

-Indian patch madras sport coat, in a very pink and green color scheme (too big)

-More killer neckties than I care to mention (I've got enough ties, and I really wanted the pants)

So shop the Halloween department, and try to get over the fact that the clothes you like constitute a Halloween costume for many people.(Still struggling a bit with that). Do these pants make me look spooky? (rhetorical).

p.s. I also got a proper ascot, in a dark green foulard print. That must be wacky too.


Young Fogey said...

Congrats on the ascot! I hope that you will enjoy it.

OCBD said...


You seem to be better at thrifting than at Googling.

Here's the lowdown on Asher Trousers:


Long History - The Asher Trouser Company was originally established in 1900.

State of the Art - Our new "State of the Art" location in Shippensburg Pennsylvania is a 65,000 square foot manufacturing facility.

Old World Craftsmanship - We have combined old world craftsmanship with today's current technologies and equipment.

American Made - We're proud to be able to guarantee the finest "American Made" trouser to those quality stores that demand the best.

Full Service Company - Offering advanced order, extensive instock service and special order service.

luap said...

Those are great pants! I love the color scheme.

Anonymous said...

Hmmm...as one myself, I agree with your assumption about the narrowly avoided fate of the madras. Though some inebriate would probably have just sloshed their cup of jungle juice on them - we're not pigs.

L.A.S said...

Wait, are you saying fake mustaches are not a worthwhile purchase?

Paul said...

I have those very same madras pants... my wife found them at an estate sale here in FL. Too small for me, so they will probably be put out at our annual garage sale (tag sale).

EsseQuamVideri said...

Agreed -- Halloween is a great time to sub-thrift. I think that means "thrift for great stuff under the radar".

C said...

G: Nice pants. Care to show a picture of the ascot?


Can you find me a good 30's tie
and a loud forties one in youtr thrift shop strays.
Check out Woogies in Italy.Great shoes for Bibop

Anonymous said...

Just wanted to say how glad I was to find this site. Never went to Salvation Army et al except for hiking/yardwork stuff.

Since I found you I've also found a couple of really good thrift/consignment shops. First score: a pair of $600 Crockett & Jones shoes, barely used for $12. Just yesterday got some "go to hell" red cords.

I'm a fan!

Young Fogey said...

Funnily enough, last weekend I just saw a pair of Crockett & Jones shoes in a thrift store, too, for $20. And today, I saw something G would love: an American-made Pendleton Blackwatch suit--for $15! Too big for me, but I'm tempted to buy it and sit on it until I can afford the outrageous sum required to alter it....

james at 10engines said...

like you say, i've used the halloween area to get some stuff for the regular roation... think i've seen you zipping through teele sq. or thereabouts... ages ago put this post together and now believe it was inspired by yer rig that day... best J

Alex M said...

Just found your blog -- and love it.

My all-time favorite Halloween costume was my wedding gown. With bugs sewn into it and spider webs put in the lace: Mrs. Havisham.

I don't fit in it anymore but can't bear to part with it. The thing is, I'm sooo tempted to donate it with the bugs and all sewn in, just to see if it's re-sold that way.

Justin said...

I get most of my clothes at a popular cambridge thrift store with a costume department, and the always have some great ascots and cravats. unfortunately, I'm always shopping with my girlfriend who vetoes them.