All posts in Thrift Stores

Trad Cold Weather Accessories: The Tartan Scarf

Men are often left out in the cold when it comes to accessories, but the colder it gets the more we gain. As we add layers for the additional chill in the air we start with a sweater then add a coat next up comes the hat, gloves, and scarf combo. I will start with one of my favorite cold weather accessories the scarf.

When it comes to trad scarves there are essentially three choices. There are solid scarves, school boy scarves (think regimental stripes), and tartan scarves. I have at least one of each style, but I overwhelmingly favor tartan patterns. I have added a few pictures below of my growing tartan scarf collection.

If you are wondering where I got all these scarfs I will tell you. They were either gifts, purchased at deep discount, or found on the second market. Scarves make great gifts as sizing is relatively easy and one can never have too many. Also, like all shopping, it is a lot less expensive to purchase off-season or end of season. Last , but definitely not least the scarf is one of the few items that I suggest shopping for on the second hand market. Again, the one-size fits makes them easy to source. Just be to sure to drop it off at the dry cleaner before taking it home!

I haven’t had the chance to wear one of scarves yet, but I know that I will get the opportunity soon enough. Which means that this is the right time to start taking stock of your winter accessories so that you are prepared when the time comes. Don’t get caught out in the cold without one!

Tartan Scarf 1
Tartan Scarf 5
Tartan Scarf 6
Tartan Scarf 4
Tartan Scarf 2
Tartan Scarf 3
Tartan Scarf 6

Triple Patch Threat

Lately, I have been doing a lot less thrifting. It is not that I have lost any love for the thrift, but overtime I have learned that it does not have the best ROI for me. However, I did get my hands on the traddest of the trad blazers from a thrift run, just not my own (shout out to Preservation Thrift!).
Triple Patch Pocket DetailWhen I say, “traddest of the trad,” I am referring to the triple-patch pocket blazer. For those that are wondering what a patch pocket is. It is a lot like what it sounds like, a patch. Patch pockets are sewn on the outside of the garment rather than sewn between the shell and the lining. This gives the jacket a more casual look than jetted pockets.

The patch pocket on the chest is what makes this blazer special. While you may find patch pockets on the chest of very casual unstructured blazer à la the Keydge it is rare to see one on a business oriented blazer outside of traditional American style strongholds like J.Press or O’Connells.
Triple Patch Pocket BlazerThis specific blazer comes from Brooks Brothers University Shop line. I am not sure when the University Shop line was introduced and when it ceased to exist. I have heard that it existed from the 60s-70s, but I could not verify this. I would appreciate any insight that you Brooks aficionados can provide.

This post should inspire hope in all you thrifters. Even you weekend thrifters like me. While I have cut back on my time in the trenches this find illustrates that there are still treasures out there. Even treasures in my size.

The Bow Tie Find: Vintage Patterns & Labels

While out running errands a few weeks ago I decided to pop into one of my favorite thrift stores. It is a little shop and while I have seen a lot of nice suits and sport coats there I have never found anything for myself. I went in the zero expectations, but I left with 12 bow ties for $3. Needless to say, it was a good trip.

Finding ties at thrift stores is easy. Finding ties that I like at thrift stores is a little more challenging. Finding bow ties at thrift stores has proved itself extremely difficult.  So when I found the first bow tie I was surprised. When I found 12 more that I Liked (and about 6 that I loved) I was ecstatic. I have included a few pictures of the bow ties below.

The Patterns

Green Wool Bow tieFerrell Reed Pheasant Bow TieYellow Paisley Huntington Bow TiePaul Stuart Bow TieVintage Madras Bow tieGreen Vintage Bow TieBatik Bow tieThe patterns are great, but there are some very cool labels as well. I found the Magnolia Cottage label first and loved its simplicity. I noticed the Welch, Margetson label in the store and immediately remembered that Richard Press mentioned the brand in a post (Here is that post: The Black Sheep). I didn’t discover the Made in England Rike-Kumler Co. in Dayton until I got home, but because it is local it is my favorite.

The Labels

MAGNOLIA COTTAGE Bow Tie LabelThe RIKE-KUNLER CO. Dayton Bow TieWelch, Margetson 8 Bow TiePaul Stuart Label on Bow Tie

An interesting fact that is relevant to this post is that I don’t actually wear bow ties. Well, I have worn a bow tie 3 times in my life, but I am still not comfortable in one, at least not in an office setting. However, I have learned that I do not know what the future holds. I may decide to wear bow ties in the future and that time I will appreciate the $3 investment.

Singing the Thrift Store Blues

Bostonian Crown Windsor Tassels

I recently came across a shoe that on the second-hand market that I have been pining over for a long time. This shoe is none other than the cordovan tassel loafer. The only problem was one that all of my thrifters, Ebay scourers, and other experts of the second-hand/vintage clothing markets can relate. Will they fit?
Tassel LoafersCrown WindsorsThis specific pair of tassels are Crown Windsors made by Bostonian. These tassels are not from the current iteration of Bostonian, but rather from an era when their quality was on par with Allen Edmonds and Alden. This specific pair was being advertised as having not been worn outside, but after taking a close look at the sellers pics I believed them to be new old stock (NOS). The quality, condition, and price (when compared with a new a pair) made them very very attractive to me.

My first move was to do some due diligence. I contacted a man of many tassels that I know and sought his counsel. He could not provide me with any fit information in regard to vintage Bostonian tassels, but he did have other pairs of vintage Bostonians and sent me what info he had. I did some more research on the web and in the end I felt the odds were in my favor. I pulled the trigger.
Genuine Shell CordovanBostonian Crown WindsorWhen the shoes arrived they were in spectacular condition. I now fully believe that they have never been worn before at all, inside or outside. I was enamored, but the moment of truth was here. Try on time. They fit a tad big, but I was still hopeful that after a full day of breaking them in that they would work for me. I was wrong. They slipped all day and were even painful. I was and still am crushed.

This sad story is one that I know many of you have experienced. It is also why I am weary of the second-hand/vintage market. While I can certainly get my money back out of them it involves me reselling them which in my opinion is a form of torture. Moving forward I will be purchasing less and less from this market as I can afford it, but for now I will just sing you my thrift store blues.

Tie Collection

Featured image

My ties needed to be reorganized. The current tie set-up was a dresser drawer. All the ties were rolled and very organized. However, this made it hard to try on more than one in the morning and I didn’t think that it was good for the shape of the ties either. I have decided to move them to a tie rack. I got them all out in preparation for the move and was a little surprised how much my little collection had grown.

Ties to be alteredTies to be altered (narrowed, bow tied, etc.)

Two years ago I had fewer than 10 ties. This was not problematic as I rarely had the opportunity to wear one. At some point, I decided that it would be a good idea to stock up on ties and that future me might appreciate that. Two years later and I now have around 50 ties. I have also started to wear a jacket and tie on Tuesday/Thursday. Guess what? Future me appreciates past me’s decision.

Okay, not all of these ties were purchased at a thrift store. 8 were purchased via Etsy and another internet re-seller, 3 were purchased at the Brooks Brothers outlet, and  2 were gifts. The other 80% of the ties were purchased at thrift stores and kept, or traded away for others.

Similar TiesNot twins, but maybe brothers or cousins. The tie on the left is Brooks Brothers and the tie on the right Gant.

Thrift stores have proved to be an invaluable resource for acquiring ties cheaply. If I take my time I can usually find at least one tie at every store, which is a great ROI. It does require a lot of patience. You will sort through tons of ties, find one you like, and then find the stain. It is often painful to find that stain. In fact, I have learned not to get too excited until I have done a thorough examination. Which leads me into a short rant:

Why do thrift stores accept flawed ties? I understand that “beggars can’t be choosers,” but who would benefit from a stained tie? The only person that I can imagine who might be interested in a stained tie would be someone who would use it for the material. So, all stained ties, if accepted (and I don’t think that they should be) should be placed in a bin marked as “Flawed Ties.”

Sorry for the rant, but it needed to said. The moral of this story is to be patient and consistent when looking for ties at thrift stores. Eventually you will have a day like this one (Tie Haul). String a few of these together over the course of a few years and you will have a nice collection of ties before you know it. I do want to leave everyone with something to think about. Why aren’t there more striped ties at thrift stores?

Ties are  3” and 3.25” width with less than a handful of 3.5” width ties

 Red Striped TiesTie Collection Red Stripes Close-up

Blue Striped ties

Tie Collection Blue Close-upTie Collection Green & Yellow StripesTie Collection Green & Yellow Stripes Close-up

Tie Collection - SkinnyTie Collection - PatternsTie Collection - Pattern Close-upTie Collection Patterns 2Tie Collection Patterns 2 Close-upTie Collection Pines & ConesTie Collection Pines & Cones Close-upTie Collection PaisleyTie Collection Paisley Close-upTie Collection EblematicTie Collection Emblematic Close-upTie Collection KnitTie Collection  Knit Close-upTie Collection Bow TiesTie Collection WoolTie Collection Wool Close-up