The Find

Every now and then in a man’s shopping life there comes a time when although he was on the hunt for something specific — a cardigan, a cashmere blazer, or whatever else your imagination can conjure — he will inevitably run into something he was neither looking for nor ever thought he would find if he was.  This all too rare occasion is what we like to call “The Find”, and I recently had two fantastic finds.

I happened to be perusing a local thrift shop where I’ve found many treasures in the past.  I wasn’t looking for anything in particular that day, but while rummaging through the men’s shirt racks I turned around and there it was.  A solid white Brooks Brothers oxford, non-iron, semi-spread collar, pocketless, square french cuff dress shirt.  I nearly jumped at it.  I inspected it for quality and authenticity (the brand name was blotted out but still visible) and it was flawless.  I tried it on and the fit was just right although the “regular fit” version is a bit large in the sides which I’ll have my tailor dart for a slimmer fit.  The best part about this particular find was the price.  A whopping $6, which I negotiated down to $5.  Having cash on hand is always important in negotiating.

Brooks Brothers Dress Shirt

The second find came in the same day which is extremely rare.  I stopped into another thrift store in town.  I had heard this place was good but never had the chance to visit.  The shop has over 20 rooms and 3 floors of vintage clothes, antiques and more.  I finally located the men’s vintage room and on my first pass through the coat section there it was.  A vintage 1960′s double breasted, knee length, navy blue, reversible collar, double vented, 100% Mongolian cashmere topcoat.  My jaw nearly dropped.  It looked about my size on the rack and when I tried it on it was as if it were custom made for me.  Ironically, it was custom made and still had the name of the former owner inside the breast pocket.  It was luxurious to say the least. It needed a nip in the waist but otherwise it was perfect.  At $140 it was steal.  Better yet it was 20% off that day bringing it to $112.  There was also a button missing (also navy blue cashmere) which warranted another discount from the owners.  I could have had a beautiful cashmere topcoat for a mere $100 but my discipline took over and I did not make the purchase that day.  I’ll have to return another time.  Meanwhile, I hope you will enjoy the experience of “The Find” in the near future.

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  • Anonymous

    My town has a wonderful consignment shop. I shop it regularly and have many shirts by Brooks Brothers, Ralph Lauren, Hugo Boss and one Dolce & Gabbana. The icing on the cake is that they slash them on sale (after a few weeks!) all the way down to $4-5 so I get to scoop them up by the armfulls. I'm glad more guys don't shop there.
    A couple of other recent great finds are a maize-colored super thick Pringle cashmere v-neck sweater and a three-piece blue pinstripe suit ($25 at Salvation Army) that I don't think has ever been worn and only had to spend another $25 to slim down the pants.. One Grail would be tobacco colored shell cordovan wingtips. Thanks for the post.

  • Image Granted

    Wow, great finds! Where is your hometown? I was just telling a fellow blogger about my purchase today. I found a gray herringbone, 100% wool, 3 button, single breasted, single vent sport coat with a 3/2 roll in size 40. Originally priced at $5 but it was half off day so I picked it up for $2.50. It fits nearly perfect. I'll just have to shorten the sleeves a bit. Winter is winding down here in DC but it's still chilly enough to wear once or twice this season. I'll look forward to wearing it come Fall. I also bought a Land's End navy polka dot tie in 100% silk for $1 after being marked down from $2. Thanks for reading and your comment!

  • Lester Bryant III

    Alas, someone who can see! I have shopped thrift stores for years. The key is that you must know quality. I would say that 80% of the stuff in those places should be placed in a giant trash bag but, if you know clothing and like natural fibers you can find incredible stuff.
    Recently, I found a Polo (navy, double breasted) Tux jacket and a Hickey Freeman shawl collar Tux jacket also in dark navy. They were $2.99 each and that day they had a half-off sale so, I paid a total of $2.99 for the two. The jackets do not even look worn.
    A lot of people buy items for special occasions or receive them as gifts and then move them around their closets until they finally get rid of them. I've found that if you stick to well made classic items you can really make out. Also, make sure you try everything on. Many times quality items have been personally tailored. I learned this the hard way once. I got home only to discover that the sleeves of the two beautiful shirts I had just purchased were 4 inches shorter than the label suggested.
    Speaking of Brooks Brothers, I have found several shirts too and most recently a $500. brown Herringbone blazer with the BB store tags still on it and now selling for $4.99. I've found a small out of the way shop here where they do not know labels. They charge $2.99 for shiorts… a used Walmart shirt or a new Paul Stuart/Fredrick has the same price. (I've never liked discrimination either.)
    I also find accessories and other items. A few months ago I found a box with a dozen pairs of oak shoe trees for $1.99 (for the whole box). As you probably well know many sell them for $30.-$40 a pair. Another great place to find classic clothing and other great items is at estate sales… off my soap box. :-)