17 November 2010

Secrets of Thrifting: A Tale of Two Pieces

Thrift stores are full of orphans; suit jackets without their pants,suit pants without their jackets or worst of all, a matching jacket and vest without pants. It's unfortunate, really, because often these items are useless in their separation. Sure, you might be able to wear a seersucker jacket with summer weight grey slacks, or salvage a navy suit coat with some brass buttons, but that's about it. Often, suits make it all the way into the thrift store and wind up separated there. Always check. For example:
 The other day, I came across this beautiful pair of pants, in navy blue herringbone, with an incredibly soft hand. Sure, I suppose you could wear these alone, but I've got a thing against navy blue dress pants. Don't know why, but I do. It's a separate post. Anyway...
 They're vintage, probably early 1960s, with all the right details, like a longer rise and a steel zipper,

Waistband notched at the back, brace buttons on the outside. So nice, but half a suit. This happens all the time in the dirty and disorganized madhouses where I find this stuff. Rather than feel pity for the orphan, I decide to do what I can to reunite it with it's family. Pants in hand, I head to the jacket rack, to see if I can match the fabric. Nine times in ten, it's a strike out, but it's worth the effort for the one time it's not. This time, I was in luck:




There, alone, was this jacket, the top half! Three button front, two button cuff, un-darted, and a pretty damn good fit, to boot. By the way, that's "Bill", my mannequin, newly arrived from California. This is good news for all of you, as it means I can now take proper photographs of jackets and suits, which in turn means such items will be making their way to the online store soon. Anyway...

The corker: it's vintage Andover Shop, a score the likes of which shocks even me. J.Press and Brooks Brothers are (relatively) easy to come by out there once you get the knack, but you rarely see Andover stuff. I've turned it up before, but I've never seen old vintage from them before.
 Reunited and it feels so good! Being apart, the two pieces were priced separately: $5.99 for the pants, $5.99 for the jacket. But it was half price, so I got the whole rig for $5.99. Good thing too, it wouldn't be fair to pay twice for what is essentially one garment (tongue firmly in cheek).

Shopping this way really is a time consuming pain in the *ss, but that's how you get an Andover Shop suit for $5.99. If you find a nice half, take some time to see if you can make it whole. Don't get discouraged when you miss, because when you hit you hit big.

p.s. Store Policy Update:
Getting to the post office can be tricky when you've got two kids. For that reason, all items purchased at the online shop will ship the following Wednesday, arriving in about a week in the US. 

p.p.s Thank You
Sheesh, you guys are ravenous! I can barely keep stuff in the shop! To all of you who made a purchase this week, or even stopped by to look, my sincerest gratitude.

15 comments:

Main Line Sportsman said...

I also abhor navy blue dress pants...don't know why...just don't like 'em.

Gregorius Mercator said...

Aw, but you gave such life to your outfits as a model.

Giuseppe said...

Don't worry. There will certainly be live action shots of this one as soon as it's been dry cleaned.

Anonymous said...

Mr. G - The new stuff in the shop looks great. But please post measurements of your items. Especially with jackets. A 39 or a 42 or whatever it is does not always mean the same thing, brand to brand, era to era. Or shoulder measurements are especially important. Tailors can't really fix off sized shoulders, and those vary a lot jacket to jacket. Again everything looks great. But measurements please.

Giuseppe said...

The sizes are based on measurements. I always ignore tags.

The Tyrant said...

Good mannequin -- now, clothespins.

Claude said...

Another great post. I'm so pleased that you included the pricing of the suit. I was concerned that you would limit that information because of your business; I must admit I enjoy vicariously experiencing your "scores" thrifting.
I think all of us that are eyeing your shop are very willing to pay for your legwork in getting your goods, as well as your TASTE and KNOWLEDGE.
It is a pleasure to meet Bill, as well.

Giuseppe said...

Exactly why I wrote this post. I've enjoyed writing this blog these last three years and don't want it to become a mere selling tool.

Sal said...

The "orphan" thrift happened to me a couple of weeks ago. Apart from some fantastic tweed sportcoats (one of which was a Fioravanti), I found this awesome pinstriped navy jacket that was clearly part of a suit. Unfortunately I didn't succeed in finding its bottom half. I still bought it as part of a Halloween costume (I went as Gomez Addams!)

HOM said...

hmmm I'm firmly of the opinion that you should sell me that suit.

NDDC said...

Don't forget about us bigger guys for your inventory! I will probably buy any 44L or 45L's you can find.

I really enjoy AAW. You, Tin Tin and ADG are my three daily style (and culture) reads.

Paul in Virginia

Roger said...

Bang on about seeking out the other half of a suit. Generally the thrift shop ladies at my local places tend to keep things together. However...

I picked up a marvellous jacket last week: 80% wool, 20% linen. Midnight blue, surgeon cuffs, a striking lining. I thought it would work great as a blazer (note that technically a blazer does not have to have brass buttons; the origins of brass button coats were called 'reefer' jackets and were worn by naval officers).

A week later I happened upon the matching trousers, which I'm sure weren't there before...but there we have it.

Anonymous said...

Hey Giuseppe, have you considered buying pretty finds like this one that don't fit you at thrift stores? I love your stock but I can't find anything in my size. Considering the amount you pay for them, you can allow yourself a large profit margin while remaining very competitive if you feel the need to buy even more suits (and you call us ravenous!). I trust us readers to supply you with more demand than you can handle...

tradfan207 said...

Great find! Congrats on the new store! Grab some 46R 3/2 Sacks if you come upon them!

Anonymous said...

Can't you buy postage on-line from the USPS? It gives a discount, and the P.O. comes to pick up.