26 August 2012

An Apt Replacement (or, Fit is Everything)

I used to have a really nice tan suit in lightweight, loosely woven wool. You might remember it, it was a dear old favorite :

A classic piece from Brooks Brothers, flat front trousers, 3/2 undarted front, natural shoulders and all. It sat perfectly between dressy and casual on warm days from May until early Fall. Being tan, it had a laid back, easy going look to it. Being wool, rather than cotton or cotton blend poplin as so many tan suits are, it had more shape and formality.  Recently, I sold it. It even served as the image for my Shop for a few months.

The decision to part with this garment was not an easy one.But for two and a half Summers it hung in my closet practically unworn. Truthfully, it no longer fit well, and likely never would. I just didn't want to admit it. Now, many will say that instead of buying clothes a size bigger I should lose the few extra pounds, you know, men younger than me who don't have kids or take as much joy in the act of eating as I do. While there may be merit to that suggestion, that's not the whole story. This suit was a 40 regular, a size that no longer fits in the shoulder. I now wear 42. A few extra pounds may be one thing, but weight can shift and build can change for some of us. Toad stated this eloquently in a recent post, and he's right. Nothing makes a guy look bigger than clothes that are too small. Slightly larger and well fitting sizes make a man look slimmer. Fit, as they say, is indeed everything. It must come first, before fabric and make.

All is not lost, though. Fortunately, in the rather large thrift shopping haul that made it back from Maine with us was my perfect, if not dare I say slightly better, replacement tan wool suit.

Natural shoulders, 3/2 undarted front, flat front trousers in a lightweight, loosely woven wool. This time in a 42 regular with a 36 waist trousers, sizes that allow me to breathe. After fit, breathing is also flattering on most men.

Seen here with my new favorite tie, a vintage 1960s paisley from Brooks Brothers, and an Italian pocket square with hand rolled edges. Both acquisitions of the mighty haul, it's likely that these two pieces will accompany the suit next week sometime when I take it for it's maiden spin once it returns from dry cleaning and minor alterations.
Hand sewn button holes, one up on the old Brooks Brothers suit.
There is some separation of the seam at the right armhole, but I won't let that stop me. It's nothing that a few bucks and a week at the tailor can't fix.  Remember, when you're buying old clothes, you have to see them for what they will be, not what they are. Besides expecting things to require alteration, know that many blemishes can be repaired. A tear in the cloth is likely a deal breaker, but things like missing buttons, or a break at the seam like this, are no big deal.
Made in USA by H. Freeman & Son for Gorsart Clothes of New York. Apparently, Gorsart was once a lively little secret hidden on a second floor in a factory and warehouse district for 80 years before going under in 2001(see here). If there were still stores like that, there's a chance I'd shop retail more often...just a chance.

Oh yeah, I also nabbed these:

Fingers crossed I'll have an excuse to wear black tie at least once this year.

p.s. the rest of the great haul has been photographed and will be hitting the Shop in the next few days, something for everyone, so stay tuned.

p.p.s. Big and Tall men, I've also received a pretty big consignment of suits and jackets in larger sizes (48-50 long, trousers size 46) and shirts (17 1/2 x 35), largely Brooks Brothers. Interested parties may contact me for details, or look for them in the shop within the next 10 days or so.

p.p.p.s. Thrift Store Runway is offering five prizes of $500 each for their August contest cycle. There still time to enter. Details here.


Johnny said...

Magnificent haul.

The new suit also has a more attractive 3/2 roll than the old one.

Young Fogey said...

Those are the best. suspenders. EVAR.

HerrDavid said...

Is that a schnauzer tie at the bottom right of the new title image? If so, any chance it finds its way into the shop? :)

Looking forward to more posts on your Maine haul!

Anonymous said...

Rest assured--the old Brooks Brothers suit is getting good wear. I took it to New York this weekend, wearing it around town on Thursday and to a Broadway matinee on Sunday.

Amusingly, I was unable to find anybody at the Madison Avenue flagship store who could remember when Brooks Brothers sold a partially-lined undarted suit like this. The salesman told me that they still offer one undarted cut (the Cambridge), but with a more built-up shoulder.

Thank you for searching out and offering such great finds!

- Tim Smith