12 April 2010

A Return to Roots

Anyone remember back when I started this blog and most of the posts were about the stuff I just bought, and how cheap it was, and how exciting it was to find it? Well, consider this post a return to roots.

I always say that one of the most important "rules" of successful thrift store shopping is a total disregard for the current season and a willingness to buy what you find when you find it. The other day, I got a little bit of Winter and a pinch of Summer all in one drop.
The iconic L.L.Bean Norwegian fisherman's sweater is a staple of full-bore vintage 1980s 'preppy' style. Wear it with jeans, Bean Boots, and a down vest and you're screaming "Cornell, Fall semester, 1984" at the top of your lungs. Usually seen in navy with a white pattern, sometimes seen in white with a navy pattern. But, ever seen a red one? Me neither. No tags in this one, but clearly made of wool and of the period. Not bad for $1.00.
The "Shaggy Dog" from J.Press is another 'preppy' staple. This one makes for a fair knock-off. It's wool, it's a weird peachy shade of off-white, and it has a fuzzy nap reminiscent of the proper Shaggy Dog.
This one, however, is a "Tally Ho Creation", for Henry Pollak of New York, made in the "crown colony" of Hong Kong, so I guess technically, it's British. I think it's from the boys department. Though my girth has admittedly grown in the past few years, I have never fit into anything XL. No matter, this too was well worth $1.00
Now for some old fashioned Anglophilia. Here's a pair of tan moleskin trousers. Moleskin is cool, because it's kind of like khaki for the Winter, but it has fallen far enough off the map that only a fellow clothes horse, or member of the British gentry, will see them and quietly understand. So soft to the touch, so warm to wear.
From Johnston's of Elgin, a truly venerable British establishment. A hell of a steal at $5.49. To finish things off, a fine example of the Northeast New England seaside clam chowder (the white kind...the only kind) yacht club obnoxious go-to-hell lifestyle. I'm sure we all know that the only "legitimate" Nantucket reds come form Murray's Toggery Shop, but this pair from Berle, new-with-tags, runs a close second in "authenticity" (whatever that means).


$35, available at Syms for $19.99, marked down to $15, marked down to (and presumably purchased for) $10, donated to charity, and purchased for $4.99. Five inches too long in the leg, but nothing old Mr. Lee can't manage with his eyes shut.

Penury is not and excuse...







15 comments:

Sheik of Araby said...

Nicely done! Though, it's a shame we can never find genuine moleskins anymore. Damned animal activists...

Just yesterday, with the high temp near 70, I adopted a fantastic camel-colored, double-breasted overcoat. Just putting the thing on had me sweating (or maybe because the thing weighs 15lb). At $10, that coat would not have remained on the rack until November when I might have needed it.

Stephen said...

Thanks for writing a great blog. I have been reading since you first began An Affordable Wardrobe but have never posted a comment. As a native New Englander who lives outside of Portland Maine, I regularly find Bean's Norwegian sweaters at the local Goodwill for $5.00 each...to add to the collection with my own original blue and white model from 1982. I just scored a pair of Murray's Nantucket Reds ( still with the tags too..) for $4.99 also. As you know...Bean's new Norwegian sweaters now retail for $130.00!!! Thanks for promoting a way of life that to us frugal yankees is habitual and pragmatic...my three brothers and I...all Ivy/selective college grads have been passing down Brooks ties, topcoats, tweeds, even used cars to each other for years! My oldest brother is still wearing a few items that my dad wore in college and grad school..Dartmouth 1949 and Columbia 1953! It is the ultimate form of recycling and comes with family sentiment! Keep up the great work and thanks again!

Thornproof said...

Great Haul! Me and the wife had a great haul this last weekend ... will post something about once I get a chance. Damn job applications taking all of my time!

Anyway, I dropped off what may be a moleskin suit at the tailor's last night that I purchased over the weekend.

Scott Alexander said...

I've seen the fisherman's sweater both red and green before, but they were by Boston Traders and contained some acrylic. The tags on the on the shaggy sweater are quite interesting. Great finds overall, G!

Pigtown-Design said...

Tally Ho made a lot of women's clothes... Lots of woolen skirts, jackets and sweaters. Probably 70s and 80s vintage.

Young Fogey said...

...and then we have my part of the world.

One of my favorite haunts sells ties for $2 each, or 3 for $5. Yet some numbskull at the same boutique decided that someone's cast-off topcoat should be sold for $100! (If I had wanted it, I would have argued to the clerk that it was obviously mislabeled with an extra zero.)

I think the problem is that the thrift stores in my area are largely volunteer operations run by the well-to-do, and so they have no idea what is appropriate. As an example, another thrift store in the same neighborhood wants $15 for its ties, and yet another was asking $90 for a so-so suit. It's nuts.

Now to talk to the management and let them know how grossly inappropriate those prices are.

clg23 said...

Those Red's should be cut into shorts :-)

great find though

Thornproof said...

First, I would like to thank you for the inspiration.

I got my first haul up after I completed an important job application - it is amazing how relaxing writing about clothing is.

I would appreciate any comments that anyone has!

Christopher said...

Nice! My favorite kind of post. I'm jealous of the moleskins, I've been looking for a pair for myself for some time. And out here in the midwest we NEVER get J Press. Lucky!

Anonymous said...

A 34 waist and an XL sweater?

Young Fogey said...

The red pants are five inches too long in the leg? Why not get Mr. Lee to give you some stylin' 4" cuffs?

Jho78 said...

I just got a totally sweet Andover Shop camel hair sport coat for 50% off of $4.99. Who cares if I'll have to wait six months before I can wear it?

Giuseppe said...

Anon.

Never pay attention to the size on the tag when thrift shopping. Only pay attention to the physical size of the clothing itself.

tintin said...

Berle was (is?) the maker for J Press khakis. Hands down one of the best but a recent order from Huge Store resulted in "Made in Mexico" khakis that were so bad. So sad. Anyone know if all Berle manuf has moved south of the border?

Giuseppe said...

Keohane makes an excellent point.

But I still like my pink pants, and I'll wear them anyway.

Besides, I've never really been the type of guy to actually go around telling people to go to hell...I think it alot, but I don't often say it out loud.

I could say more, but I think I'll save it for a full post.