Pictured above is a pair of 1960s vintage real madras jackets, acquired last Saturday. They're dirty as hell, and one needs a button replaced, but honestly, two real madras jackets, in my size, in excellent plaids, in one day? Worth every bit of $14.98. But the jackets are immaterial. How I came by them is the real story.
A young fellow, early twenties, was in the thrift store with his mother, father and kid brother (18?) looking for a blazer. Mom kept trying to get him to buy orphaned suit coats. Dad kept telling him everything that fit was too small, and tried to coax him into two sizes too big. Kid brother just kept giving him a hard time, the only member of this family actually doing his job. At one point, he had on a perfectly serviceable navy blazer with sleeves a hair long, which mother told him would be impossible to alter. My ears were burning, but it was none of my business, and so I stayed out of it. So I turned away.
Then I hear father and brother really laying into him for how silly something looks, while big brother tries to defend his choice of something which clearly appeals to him on a real level. I look up to find the kid in a vintage Indian madras jacket, big plaid in burgundy, navy and gold, that fits him well. As he momentarily escapes the clutches of his parents' useless and misguided advice to find a mirror, I immediately dive on these other two.
The kid comes back and says to his parents something like " I don't care what you say, a cute girl just told me I look good in this jacket so I'm getting it." I smile. Mom and Dad are not happy, and I can hold my tongue no longer.
"You know," I said, " in another kind of store that jacket would sell for quite a lot of money. It's really something special you have there, a real Indian madras jacket. That cloth hasn't existed in a long time, and collector's would go mad over it. That's why I'm getting the other two. Good job."
"Really?" says mom.
"Really." says I.
"See, I knew this jacket was cool." says the kid.
Dad and younger brother are speechless.
Maybe I shouldn't have butted in, and I'm glad I didn't hand out a business card. But c'mon, this kid was feeling it, and he just needed some encouragement. If mom and dad, especially dad, wasn't willing to give it, I'd like to think, in my own demented way, I helped that kid down the road to dressing well.
The kid even said to his shocked parents " Let's keep looking for something more conservative, too. This is a fun jacket." There's hope for the future yet.
p.s. after a period of neglect, there are new items in the Shop, with Fall/Winter items beginning to trikle in. Have a look.