After a long and relatively fruitless search, I'm glad to say I've finally found the perfect green blazer. Readers may remember a few weeks ago I stumbled on an old Brooks Brothers number.Today, it's back from the careful hands of Mr. Lee, altered and freshly dry cleaned.
As I mentioned in my previous post on the relative merits of the green blazer as an alternative to the classic navy, the shade of green is of the utmost importance. My past attempt at making one out of half a suit left me cold because the shade of green was all wrong. That jacket had a heavy brown cast that rendered it drab and frumpy. This one has a blue cast, a subdued color, yet infinitely more vibrant and workable. It combines well with most things that might normally go with navy. The power of a good dry cleaning can not be understated. When I found this jacket, it was downright crunchy with dirt. A week later, it's two shades brighter and so much softer. The fabric is doeskin, something between flannel and boiled wool, wonderfully soft to the touch and warm without being bulky. Whatever happened to doeskin?
Thrift shopping takes vision. This jacket was nasty filthy and a little too small. The buttons were these cool scrimshaw jobbies, but all wrong for the garment. In short, though it may be vintage Brooks Brothers "346", it was far from perfect. Yet, it didn't take much to restore it to something wonderful. Dry cleaning, letting out the sides a bit, and a new set of buttons made a drastic difference. These are all simple and cheap fixes. Shopping cheap and being stylish have at least this in common: sometimes you have to see something not for what it is right now, but for what it could be with only a few well chosen tweaks. Off the rack clothing, whether thrifted or new, is frequently best viewed only as raw material. Learning to mold it to yourself, to make it yours, makes all the difference.