16 December 2009

The Perfect Suit?

Recently our man Enzo, writer of the blog "13th & Wolf" wrote of "finding your style sweet spot". Yesterday, at a nearby thrift shop, I may have found mine, for all of $14.99:

3 season wool 2 button sack suit, with 2 button cuffs, in charcoal with a soft chalk stripe.

3/4 lined jacket, plain front pants with a 1 3/4 inch cuff.

Best of all, it's an old store brand number. I'm all about the Brooks Brothers and J. Press, but I really love to find something from one of the innumerable old small-time men's shops that used to dot this country of ours. Anybody know anything about the Limited Edition line from a place called Learbury?

That Learbury label has a decidedly 1960's look to it, but the label from the Amalgamated Clothing Textile Workers Union (ACTWU) puts this one likely in the late 80's/ early 90's. Is it really true that as recently as twenty years ago we were producing high quality domestically produced tailored clothing for independent shops geared toward the everyday, non-millionaire office worker? Cripes, what happened?

This suit is great. It's got all the elements of an East coast "Trad" fit that I love (undarted front, flat front pants and 2 button cuffs), without looking like a 1962 costume (2 button front, not 3/2, no hooked vent, no lapped seams). The best of both worlds. I can wear this, confident in my own sense of style, without looking like an anachronistic fop. This suit is really gonna be something with a white Brooks Brothers button down oxford, a simple burgundy tie with white pin-dots, black tassel loafers, and a tan cashmere overcoat.

If only I had a corner office on the 50th floor, a bottle of good Scotch in the bottom drawer of my desk, a sexy but demure secretary, a box of illicit Cuban cigars hidden in the garage, and some wealthy international clients that wanted me to "show 'em a good time while we're in town", I'd be all set.


Scott Alexander said...

It's nice to dream. Looking forward to seeing the outfit put together!

Old School said...

"Learbury" was not a "small town old men's shop", but the brand name of suits made by the Joseph J. Pietrafesa Co. in Syracuse.

From the book "Immigrant Women's Lives" (1999):

The Learbury company has been making some of the finest suits in the U.S. since 1922. The business was started by the Pietrafesa brothers who were Italian immigrants who bought the name, fabric, and machines from a St. Louis suit company that had failed. Professionally they are known as the Joseph. J. Pietrafesa company, but locally everyone refers to them as Learbury." (p. 39).

The book goes on to say that they made suits for Brooks Brothers, Britches of Georgetown, Ralph Lauren/Polo, Nordstrom, and Lands' End.

Great suit, by the way.
Wear it in good health!

C.Sharp said...

There was a Learbury out of Syracuse NY. I figured they did allot of contract and private label stuff. They had a retail store above an Oriental rug store in an old factory building.

James said...

Great look, Lord what I'd give to live near your thrift shops.

Giuseppe said...

Oldschool and C. Sharp,

Thanks for the info on the Lerabury brand. I knew it was a good one.

Enzo AGC said...

Giuseppe - Thanks for the shout out man. That suit is a stunner. Wear it well and if you really want to piss Bayonette off, wear it with brown suede shoes!

Percy Chatsworth said...

I found a similar three piece suit like this last year, but the trousers were a slightly faded - almost entirely a shade lighter than the vest and jacket. Sadly I have to wear the pieces separately.

OCBD said...

Your use of the definite article ("the"), rather than the indefinite article ("a") was a correct choice, in deed. It is, undoubtedly, THE perfect suit!

Giuseppe said...


I plan to trot this one out on Christmas Eve, with a festive plaid tie, a bright red boiled wool vest with brass buttons, and of course, brown suede shoes. Ought to send Bayonette straight up the wall.


I've seen that happen to a lot of suits. I think it's because so many men take off their jacket upon arrival at the office. The pants wind up getting much more worn than the jacket.


I know, it's perfect.

Pitboss12 said...

G- Great looking suit. I am jealous that the thrifting gods always seem to smile down on you.

Oldskoll - Kudos on the research! It's always interesting to learn about thrift store finds.

Email us at said...

Well done, Giuseppe. I found a similar Paul Stuart suit at a thrift near me, but didn't get it for $14.99. Still, $100 for a lightly worn, perfectly tailored Paulie is nothing to sniff at.

Zach said...

Not to nitpick, but I fail to see how a lapped seam or a 3/2 roll would make you look like an "anachronistic fop" while a red boiled wool odd vest with brass buttons would somehow be current.

That said, great suit; nicely textured fabric.

tintin said...

Are you aware of RN numbers? Go here:


Enter the RN number and it'll tell you made it.

That's great background Old School dug up. You owe him at least a pocket square.


Good for the price

Cyclo2000 said...


I can only assume you're some kind of short-arse. When ever I find anything decent it's invariably made for a dwarf (or at least not for a 6 foot 4er like me).

I'm not usually the jealous type but

Oxbridge said...

You're likely to be appointed as an ambassdor, or made Prime Minister of England, thanks to that suit.

Stuart said...

Very nice, Giuseppe.

Cyclo2000, at 5'11", I don't usually have a problem finding slacks and jackets that fit, but with feet at 11 1/2, I have serious trouble finding shoes. Once I found a whole cache of great dress shoes at a thrift shop (probably came from the same person) and was disapointed to learn they were 10s.

Nonetheless, I keep searching for the jackpot and content myself with smaller finds here and there.

Such is life.

NCJack said...

C'mon, you want the shiny black captoes with this one

Or maybe the longwing gunboats, but not the loafers

Hello said...

What a treasure find!

"If only I had a corner office on the 50th floor, a bottle of good Scotch in the bottom drawer of my desk, a sexy but demure secretary, a box of illicit Cuban cigars hidden in the garage, and some wealthy international clients that wanted me to "show 'em a good time while we're in town", I'd be all set." (LOL) The life we all dream of.


Rowsella said...

I used to go with my father to purchase suits at Learbury. He would be measured, given a sample or 2 to try on and the tailor would make some marks on it. I would play with all the wool, linen and cotton blend samples that were hanging on the wall. He would go back for another fitting and the third go round we would leave with the suits. I remember in Spring he fitted for some seersucker and linen suits for summer. He worked in sales, leases, finance etc. I think my brother donated all his suits after he died though. Too bad, my father kept his clothes and suits forever. I do have his overcoat though... Learbury has been out of business now for some time.