30 November 2010

2/3 or Not?

Today we have yet another tale of separated siblings, the ubiquitous incomplete suit that is the bane of the thrift shoppers existence...or do we?
A matching jacket and vest, vintage mid 1960s, priced at $9.99 for the "set" of two. The cloth is a lovely brown mini-herringbone tweed, lightweight for tweed and very soft to the touch. And of course, all the details are there: 3/2 roll, hooked vent, two button cuff, etc.
Puritan, Cricket Shop, Hyannis. I am a sucker for these old house brand labels. I find them so much more meaningful than brand names, even good ones. Great...but where are the pants.

Of course, I snapped up these two pieces and headed straight for the pants rack looking for a pair of flat front, narrow cut trousers in brown mini-herringbone tweed, but to no avail. Can't win 'em all, I guess. So I left the two pieces in my cart and finished looking around. The whole time I flip flopped over whether to leave these two or keep them. I decided that for ten bucks, this was a nice tweed jacket, and the vest was like bonus points. Not as good as a three piece suit, but admittedly more useful these days. Then, as I was waiting in line to pay, I noticed something:

The vest is reversible, a really killing rusty brown doeskin on the other side. Now that's the corker. It may be a little weird having the buttons on the wrong side, but I think I'll manage. Before my turn comes up in line, I'm already thinking about how great this will work with some khaki moleskin pants and my vintage pair of British made Clark's chukkas in loden suede. And then I remembered something my Dad told me years ago. Not really sage fatherly advice or anything, just a thing he said in passing.

Back when I first picked up the old Clark's, my Dad saw them and said something like "I had a pair of shoes just like that when I was in high school (in the mid sixties). I used to wear them to dances with the brown tweed vest and jacket set I had." So apparently, these two piece sets did exists in the time this set dates from. Maybe then this group is in fact complete. Again, maybe not as good as a three piece suit, but maybe it never was one.

2/3, or one whole? Either way, it's pretty cool.


spoozyliciouzz said...

Wow, amazing catch...i´d say 2/3 of something is always better than nothing at all. And the pieces are indeed very versatile, even more with the reversible waistcoat.

Would be a different story with a pin striped ensemble...thx god it´s herringbone!

Thad said...

You find all the good pieces ... this makes me want to check out a couple of new thrift stores that I have not had time to visit.

Anonymous said...

Giuseppe, you are a satorical anthropologist! I totally dig the idea of jacket, waistcoat and different, but complimentary trousers. That look could total rock.

Giuseppe said...

I wouldn't hae touched it in pinstripes-way too obvious. In tweed, it's an easy trick

Do it. Persistence is the key.

Anthropolgist? Maybe I could get one of the colleges around here to garnt me a degree. A big fat research grant to spend on this junk would be nice, too.

JMC said...

I've really been enjoying the posts that, I think, are at the heart of this blog - stories of thrifting. It's a mix of how and inspiration. Proving that indeed penury is no excuse. Keep it up!

Cyclo2000 said...

I'm wearing a reversible Hunting waistcoat today by Ede and Ravenscroft. Tattersall one side, burgundy the other. Thing is, it has two rows of button holes and two rows of buttons, so it always does up the correct side!

David V said...

I, too, had a suit with a vest that reversed. This would have been in the mid to late 60's.
Wish i could remember the detail of it.

Young Fogey said...

I've seen Hugh Laurie as Bertie Wooster wearing the top 2/3 of a 3-piece suit with contrasting trousers, but it's always a country suit, which means a brown or green tweed of some sort. Stripes are definitely out for mix-n-match with suits, though some checks might work. I'm pretty sure I've seen it in Apparel Arts illustrations, too. I think it's a nice look.

Congrats on such a great find!

Thad said...

Giuseppe -

Thanks for the encouragement, but unfortunately it is not time or motivation that is keeping me from the stores now. It is money that is in short supply.


Anonymous said...

Killer 2 piece. I'm glad that I'm not the only one who would take an old house label from the 50's-60's over a brand name. I love those old haberdashery clothes.

scone said...

I remember those sets, they used to go with corduroys and suede shoes, for fall. I associate that with college students, I guess they don't need 3 piece suits much.

tintin said...

Love that Cricket label. I was buying crap in thrift shops just because of cool labels and learned to start bringing my camera instead.