One of our readers sent us this message detailing his recent thrift store experience. This just goes to show that you don't need a lot of money to find good clothing, or at least a good story.
"Friday I came home from a business trip in Philadelphia around 4:30pm, a little restless from the train. I felt like shopping, but not spending too much, looking through a lot of clothes, but not necessarily from the same manufacturer. I needed to thrift.
I hit H St. to the nearby Salvation Army that I've hit once or twice in the past. Moderate success has found me there, a J. Crew shirt or two perhaps, nothing more.
They have a rack for jeans, suits/jackets, shirts, polos and kids clothes. I'd say there is 100-150 pieces in each rack, rough estimate. I normally wouldn't buy used jeans, but gave them a quick overview. Jackets and suits I'm much more interested in, so I give each a quick touch to feel the luxuriousness (or lack thereof) and take a peek inside to see the designer and where it was made. Not but a few jackets in I find what was most likely an old park ranger's brown field jacket, made by Filson of Seattle. I'm a big Filson fan, and I have their tote on my wish list, as well as wanting a field jacket (but was looking for olive green in a washed cotton or otherwise), so I scooped the jacket for $10.
A few jackets down I find two jackets hung on top of each other. The outer was a charcoal of a common department store maker, the inner, something more eye-catching. I call it sun-ripe blueberry, but it's a lighter shade of navy blue, it's Pure Silk and made by Brooks Bros. I slip it on, the sleeves are a quarter inch long and there isn't much waist suppression, but it's passable and a steal for $10.
Down the line I see a real eye-catcher. I'm a sucker for tweed, probably due to my rainy European roots and love of the country-side. This "tweed" was a mix of white, black and goldenrod threading. At a closer look it was similar in texture to the blue jacket I just picked up. Sure enough, a look inside the jacket reveals 100% silk. Ermenegildo Zegna. I was a bit floored. I tried it on, it fits almost perfectly.
Unfortunately, some brown (hopefully chocolate?) stains are on the sleeve and a touch on the lapel. Called up the trusty tailor/launderer and asked what the difficulties were in removing stains from silk jackets. He wasn't 100% confident (in fact, he gave it a 50-50 chance that the jacket makes it out of the cleaning given it's probably vintage and the stain old as well), but for $10 who wouldn't pick up a Zegna silk jacket? (this is not rhetorical, what do you think about a silk Zegna jacket?)
There can't be anything decent left in this store right? Wrong. Another charcoal gray catches my eye. Peak lapels, double breasted, this thing could be a real winner. The maker? Brioni. Fuck. I just saw a Brioni suit on Mr. Porter for $2K+. This could be the greatest find of all time. I pull it off and try it on. My right sleeve wasn't rolling down properly for some reason. A few tugs and I figured it out. The sleeve had been shortened by half. The jacket was made for an amputee (to my best guess). Needless to say I had a pretty hearty laugh, with a one sleeved, double breasted Brioni jacket on in the Salvation Army.
That wasn't all either. Brooks Bros olive green linen pants for $7, RL chinos for $5 and a Gant short sleeved button-up for $4 (didn't we talk about short-sleeve button ups....). neither of the pants ended up fitting to well, or well enough even to be altered. gave them to my business partner for the biz.
Anyway, I asked some style questions now but I think I've wasted enough time."