03 September 2010

Worthy Compromise

I may buy everything cheap, but I'm actually fairly uncompromising in my standards of quality. At least where it really matters. Other times, there are alternatives to be found. Here's a case in point:


I've always dug the iconic khaki bucket hat from J. Press. True, it's frumpy as all Hell, but on a rainy day with a Macintosh or a Barbour? Unstoppable. It also makes a fine beach hat, with swim trunks and a soft old oxford with a frayed collar. I've wanted on for a long time, but $55 is a little dear for a cotton hat. The description on their website doesn't even say where it's made, which leads me to believe it's anywhere but the USA. They tend to proclaim that fact loudly when it applies.


O'Connell's in Buffalo trumps old J. Press with their offering. Made in USA and only $39.95. Similar styling, similar navy and red grosgrain band. I might even have considered paying full whack for this one, but then divine Providence stepped in.



Here's a little number I picked up at Target today, $14.99. 92% cotton, 8% ramie, waterproof, crushable. Forget for a minute it's cheap, forget where it came from. I actually like this hat better. The styling is more along the lines of a stingy brimmed fedora, right in keeping with my own sense of style. And check the grosgrain ribbon. I like it better. It also came with these quaint instruction on how to crush it and pack it. Good thing, I might never have figured that out. This little card will be my new bookmark.


Before one of you says it, let me beat you to the punch. I hate Target and every place like it. Such places are harbingers of the end and each time I step inside, I die a tiny death. But I have two small kids, one of whom is still in diapers, and so I find myself frequently in such places buying said diapers, or paper towels, or poster board and magic markers. Because Target is the place to get cheap commodities cheap. But I can't help but cast at least a stray eye at the men's department. It's like they say, you never know....


There is a vast difference between a J. Press suit and a Merona suit from Target, a difference so vast I won't even begin to describe it. I wouldn't even look at the neckties. But undershirts? Sure, why not? Argyle socks? Sometimes they have 'em for two bucks, why not? And is there really that much difference between this hat and the one from Press? Probably not. Being thrifty is as much about knowing how to recognize a worthy compromise as it is about hunting down the really good stuff at outrageously low prices.



To put it all in perspective, earlier in the day I picked up this shirt, at a thrift store, for $1.00.


Always keep your eyes peeled and be open minded. There's deals all around you if you only learn to see them.





12 comments:

Laguna Beach Trad said...

I prefer the J.Press and O'Connell's versions of the hat. And, I would never buy a used dress shirt, but you would and that's what makes this column great. Rock on G-Dawg.

Anonymous said...

Mr. G: I have the navy version of the J. Press bucket hat. And I can tell you that it is in fact made in the USA.

mhass30 said...

What are your favorite thrift stores around Somerville? I don't think I'm looking the same places you are.

Anonymous said...

Those hats will pre-maturely age you by 40 years.

Giuseppe said...

Anon,

You're absolutely right. But this one is styled in a significantly less frumpy way than the "better" ones.

mhass30,

that would be telling....
rule number one of succesful thrift shopping is: never give uo your secrets.

Be persistent. There aren't that many around, so chances are you're frequentling the same places I am after all.

NCJack said...

Those hats can often be found at golf shops, or golf depts. at sporting goods stores for fairly cheap.

Adam said...

Giuseppe,

I was recently in the J Press New Haven store, specifically looking for a new hat. After holding that same Press hat in my hands, I wasn't that impressed with its quality. Out of frustration, I ended up modifying something I all ready owned. (I wrote about this experience on my blog if you are interested: http://w2west.wordpress.com/2010/08/03/if-you-cant-find-it-modify-it/)

Thanks for the target tip!

Cheers

The Queen of Fifty Cents said...

I do very little retail shopping; as you know I much prefer shopping on driveways. But let me give a thumbs up to Target. As a corporation they are very supportive of children's reading, and have given a lot of dollars in grants to my libraries. Seven of my branches just got $2000 grants each. One year they gave me $49,000 for a couple of projects that benefited the whole county. So if you're going to buy in a store, I'd vote for Target.

And I like all three of those hats!

Anonymous said...

Do you get a free bowl of soup with that hat?

Wrecked Stellar said...

Just came across your blog-this is a great post. Clothes-wise, I'd get men's undershirts from Target too to bum around in. It's all about what you want to save on and what you want to splurge on.

Giuseppe said...

Anon.,

The line for the soup was too long for me to wait in that day. Too bad, it fish chowder, my favorite.

Anonymous said...

Great find. I actually design for Target and believe it or not, this is one of my hats.. Appreciate the plug, hopefully you'll warm up to more of our offerings!

Also, I completely appreciate your distaste for mass discounters, but don't loop us in with the likes of Wal-Mart, it's just not the same.