It's been interesting to watch the explosion of menswear writing online over the past few years in the form of blogs, fora, and other sites. Along with that, its been gratifying for a guy like me to realize that he's "not the only one" who cares about this stuff. Apparently, far from it, in fact. More and more men, especially younger ones, seem to be taking an active interest in how they present themselves, and with it has come some small return to a gentility we've been lacking for too long. Bravo!
There is, of course, a down side to this. There is an underlying tendency among many of these online resources to encourage personal pigeon holing. The "preppy" guys only do preppy, and are ready at a moments notice to decry anything that falls outside of their own iron clad code of rules. So too the European tailoring guys, the British Savile Row guys, and so forth. Heaven help the fellow who dares to appreciate more than one school of thought, or worse, actually attempt to combine them within his own wardrobe. It borders on fetishism. This kind of close-mindedness will only spell defeat for anyone attempting to build a suitable wardrobe built on thrift shop finds and ingenuity. Keeping an Open Mind may in fact be rule #1 of successful thrifting.
What it is is a well made jacket rendered in beautiful silk tweed in my size for less than ten bucks. A perfect coat for an unseasonably warm day in March. It looks well paired with a white shirt with short pointed spread collar (not a rolling button down) and an Italian knit tie.
My point is this: I may generally prefer a style based on the basic tenets of American traditional tailoring, but I won't toss an item away out of hand if it happens to lie just outside of those guidelines. Nice clothes are nice clothes, and fortunately for men, the minute details that differentiate one style from another are just that: minute. Truth be told, the only people likely to notice these little things are fellow clothing dorks. The rest of the world just sees a guy who looks nice in nice clothes. Additionally, real style is found in easy blending of various elements, not in rigid adherence to secret codes. In that regard, being at the chaotic mercy of the thrift store can actually help a man sharpen his skills in a way that makes his eye keen and his choices solid.
All this only works if you keep an open mind.