Thrift Shopping For Mens Suits – Tips & Finds
WELCOME to my thrift shopping for menswear adventures! When it comes to clothing, I thrift shop my entire wardrobe, and have been doing so for over three decades! I budget about $60.00 (US) per month (now less than $20.00 per month as my closet is full) for my thrifting acquisitions. I share the techniques I use to dress well on a budget here. These photos show some of the newest additions to my wardrobe over the past six months.
My Ultra-Low-Priced Dress Watch (Made in China)
I want to feature something that is a bit of a departure from my thrift finds. I have diverted my $20.00 per month thrift shopping budget (while sheltering in place during this Covid-19 pandemic) to watches. Of course, being the frugal man that I am, I have focused on uber-cheap Chinese watches that typically sell for $10.00 to $20.00 on Chinese e-commerce websites (Aliexpress.com. GearBest.com and BangGood.com) and in the US on eBay, Amazon.com, and Walmart.com. Here is an exceptional quartz dress watch I purchased recently for the unbelievable low price of only $13.99 (including shipping). What is more, that is the day-to-day price for this beautiful timepiece, not a sale price!
This watch is by Curren, a well-established Chinese watch manufacturer, and features a stainless steel band, a reliable Japanese quartz movement, 30m water resistance and classic design. You could easily pay over $100.00 for a watch of similar quality if you were buying from well-known retail brands. Don’t get hung-up on “everything China makes is junk” propaganda. The truth is that if you pay up to $1000.00 for any watch, no matter the brand, most of its components were probably made in China, including so-called “Swiss-Made” watches. I share my tips for buying low-cost watches ($20.00 or less) from China in this post. The frugal man never had it so good! Now, let’s get back to thrifting!
Made in Italy, Second-Hand Pavone Suit
The suit shown above is made in Italy under the Pavone brand. It is a beautiful half-canvas construction, Super 120’s wool, 100% Cupro Bemberg lined, 2-button suit in like-new condition. I purchased it second-hand on eBay for only $14.88 (it was $11.88 after applying an eBay coupon). plus $13.00 shipping.
I could find no information when I researched the Pavone brand on Google to determine its quality and value, nor was I personally familiar with this brand. However, the fact that the lining is made of 100% Cupro Bemberg was a clue that this was a suit of high quality. Generally, only top quality ready-to-wear men’s suit brands (and bespoke tailors) use Cupro Bemberg for suit linings. The low price of this second-hand purchase makes this an exceptional acquisition.
A winter weather bargain! For more details on this full-length overcoat, check out this post.
This is special! This suit (shown above) is made by Vestimenta SpA, a highly regarded Italian suitmaker that makes suits for Armani, Emanuel Ungaro, and other high-end Italian brands. Needless to say, it is exquisitely tailored and made of the highest quality fabrics. Generally, suits made by Vestimenta retail for over $2,000.00. I purchased this suit second-hand on eBay for only $28.00! It is fully canvassed, made of a wool/mohair blend, and has the classic ventless Italian silhouette that was in vogue more than a decade ago. It will never be mistaken for a modern slim cut suit. Rather, it reminds me of the classic suits of the 1930s, the Golden Age of Menswear. It is a personal favorite!
With this Vestimenta suit, I am wearing a Brooks Brothers non-iron cotton shirt purchased on Poshmark.com for $3.00 and a Bert Pulitzer silk tie purchased at a local thrift shop for $2.00. The pocket square was made from a square of cloth cut from an old wide silk tie.
Second-Hand Custom Made Sport Coat
This custom-made sport coat was purchased NWOT (new without tags) on Poshmark.com for only $11.00. The label shows that it was custom made in Singapore by LJ Master Tailors. It is a one-button sport coat made of lightweight all-season wool and appears to have fused-interlining construction. It is very well made. It fits me well without alterations.
This is the first Canali I have ever owned, a jacket I purchased on eBay for only $8.00 (yes, that’s not a typo). I took the time to properly iron this jacket (sleeve board, tailor’s ham). In doing so, I was immensely impressed with the hand-tailored details. Plus, it is one of the most comfortable jackets I’ve ever worn. Canali suits generally retail for over $2.000.00 (US) and are fully canvassed, the highest quality of suit construction. Canali is without question the Ferrari of ready-to-wear suits.
The photo above features one of my newest acquisitions. This is a vintage linen safari jacket purchased new with tags on eBay.com for the modest sum of $18.00. These are very difficult to find as only bespoke tailors are making jackets of this type in linen. It is perfect for spring and summer! Plus, it makes a great alternative to wearing a classic blue blazer when dressing informally.
Now that my wardrobe of carefully curated second-hand tailored clothing is fairly complete, I only seek out the exceptional underpriced second-hand gems that pop up occasionally online (usually on eBay or Poshmark) or at local thrift shops. Here is an exceptional find. This Corneliani double-breasted black sportscoat is from 1998, yet it has timeless good looks (and is in immaculate condition). It is also of exceptional quality with fully canvassed construction, horn buttons, and top quality wool fabric. Corneliani is considered one of Italy’s finest fashion brands and is featured in Saks Fifth Ave. I paid $21.00 for it on eBay. Is it old-fashioned? Yes. But so is a classic E-Type Jaguar . . .
Mattarazi Wool & Cashmere Sportscoat
Although this sportscoat was on sale for only $8.00 on Poshmark.com, and the single photo shown was rather dim, I sensed that this was a quality garment worth purchasing. Was it ever! This is a Mattarazi sportscoat featuring half-canvas construction, wool & cashmere fabric, and exquisite tailoring. The tailoring has an Italian feel but there is no country of origin on the label. This is perhaps the best-fitting sportscoat I can remember purchasing. What a bargain! Check out my guide to thrift-shopping like a pro to see how I uncover these amazing deals!
By the way, do you like that crisp white pocket square in my jacket pocket with the gray color fringe? Here’s a post that shows where to buy the stylish pocket squares for only .75 cents in a range of colors!
Hickey Freeman Blue Blazer
This is an exceptional classic blue blazer by the well-respected menswear brand Hickey Freeman. This is a timeless jacket this will always be suitable for dressing up or down. I discuss this exquisite Hickey Freeman Canterbury Blazer in detail in this post (purchased on eBay for the low price of only $14.00).
Coppley Wool Suit
This is a Coppley made-to-measure 3-button wool suit I purchased second-hand on eBay for $28.00. It has refined styling and exceptional construction. Although made-to-measure for its prior owner, the seller provided all of the measurements in her eBay post, so I knew it would fit me well. One of my favorites suits for the fall and winter season.
Windowpane Pattern 3-Button Sportscoat
I purchased this 100% bamboo & wool olive green sportscoat because I liked the color and windowpane pattern. However, it was a rear-vented jacket that was too big in the waist and did not have the trim fit I needed. So, I pulled out my sewing machine, removed the rear vent (making the jacket ventless) and slimmed the overall proportions. Now, it fits quite nicely! Learning how to do my own alterations has saved me the cost of going to a tailor on many of my thrift purchases!
This black chalk-striped Super 120’s wool double-breasted sportscoat is made by Bachrach and was purchased for $12.00 at my local Savers Thrift. I purchased the matching slacks for an additional $6.00 only to discover that they were altered and could not be made to fit. That left me with only the jacket. Although wearing a striped jacket as a sportscoat is usually considered a fashion faux pas, the widely spaced bold stripes in this jacket look great when paired with light grey or white slacks.
Jos. A. Bank Signature Collection Suit
Jos. A. Bank is a brand that many menswear enthusiasts love to hate. I don’t see why. They offer good quality at an affordable price. This is a Jos. A. Bank Signature Collection blue chalk-striped 3-button wool suit I purchased gently-used on Poshmark.com for only $23.00.I was pleasantly surprised at how appealing this suit is. It is a handsome and well-tailored suit with better-quality fused construction and premium wool fabric. This makes a very nice addition to my growing collection of thrifted suits and sportcoats.
This lightweight silk, wool & linen blend sport coat is from the Signature Collection by Jos. A. Bank. It’s a great sport coat for spring and summer. This was purchased for only $8.00 on eBay (plus shipping). This blend offers a bit of the sheen of silk, the wrinkle resistance of wool and the breathability of linen. This is a Tailored Fit jacket with a trim silhouette. I now budget under $20.00 per month for my thrift purchases because my wardrobe is full. This is a great bargain that came in well under budget!
Rigatti Silk & Wool Sportscoat
This is a silk & wool blend 3-button sportscoat made in Italy under the Rigatti label. So often, when I purchase second-hand suits and sportcoats made in Italy I am impressed with the tailoring and fabric. This is no exception! The lightweight fabric makes it a great sportscoat for warm weather, and the tailoring is superb. I only paid $12 for this sportscoat on Poshmark.com!
Daniel Cremieux Suit
This is one of three Daniel Cremieux wool suits (sold by Dillard’s) that I have purchased second-hand (each for less than $25.00). I like this brand for its modest yet stylish tailoring and Loro Piana wool fabrics. Also, they fit me very well with minimal alterations. One of my favorite brands!
Baroni Silk & Wool Sportscoat
This is a luxurious tan Baroni Couture silk & wool blend sportscoat made with Lanificio Di Pray fabrics (one of Italy’s top fabric mills) that sells at retail for over $500.00. It is 2-button, side vented with a Bemberg lining and excellent tailoring. I purchased this sportscoat for the rock-bottom price of $6.00 on Poshmark.com. No, that is not a typo. $6.00! To sniff out great deals like this on Poshmark you need to research your brands and find the sartorial gems hidden behind poor product photos and incomplete descriptions.
Thrifted Blue Linen Sportscoat
The photo below shows one of my favorite buys: A Hart Schaffner & Marx, Gold Trumpeter Sportscoat. This linen 3-roll-2 roll (a 3 button sportscoat worn as a 2 button) sportscoat was purchased for the paltry sum of $10.49 on eBay (plus $8.75 for shipping). Gold Trumpeter (now known as simply Gold) is Hart Schaffner & Marx’s premium line of suits and sports coats. They feature half-canvas interlinings and premium fabrics. Generally, you will find the Gold Trumpeter label sportcoats selling at retail for $400 and up.
This sportscoat is blue with a classic windowpane pattern. It is in like-new condition. I removed the rear center vent, making the jacket ventless and slimmed the body. All alterations were done with my budget-priced Brother JX2517 sewing machine. In the photo above, I am wearing a silk Cremieux tie and silk slacks by Jos. A. Bank (also purchased second-hand). Both were purchased at Goodwill Thrift for $3.00 and $6.00 respectively.
Lauren Ralph Lauren Overcoat
This is a very practical and versatile from Lauren Ralph Lauren. It is great for rainy or fall/winter wear. I purchased this coat on eBay for the modest price of only $23.00.
Daniel Cremieux Wool Suit
This is one of my favorite second-hand suit purchases. This is a Daniel Cremieux Collection suit that features luxurious Loro Piana Super 120’s wool fabric. This brand typically retails for over $700.00 at Dillard’s. I purchased this suit on eBay for $21.00. The tailoring and fabric are simply superb. I highly recommend looking both for this brand and for the Loro Piana label when thrift shopping. It is a sure sign that you have a high-quality suit. This suit is worn with a Stafford Pinpoint Oxford 100% cotton shirt (Purchased for $6.00 at Savers Thrift) and a Ferrell Reed silk tie that normally retails for $50.00 ( I paid $1.00 at a local thrift shop).
Used Gianfranco Ruffini Wool Sportscoat
This vintage Gianfranco Ruffini tan nailhead two-button wool sportscoat may be at least 20 years old. It has the broad-shouldered stance made popular by Italian designer Giorgio Armani in the 1980s but with more subdued proportions. I purchased it second-hand for only $12.00 on eBay. All it required was a slight slimming of the waist for the perfect fit. In this photo, it is paired with a Michael Kors cotton dress shirt ($3.00 Savers Thrift), Kirkland grey flannel wool slacks ($3.50 Goodwill Thrift) and silk tie by Pavia of Italy ($1.00 Savers Thrift).
Stafford Wool Sport Coat
This is a brand that pleasantly surprised me with its quality! This Stafford wool sport coat has a timeless windowpane pattern and excellent tailoring. It only cost $12.00 at a local thrift shop. Read more about my impressions of JC Penney’s Stafford menswear brand and why I consider a great choice for frugal menswear buyers here.
Thrifted Daniel Cremieux Blue Wool Blazer
This is a second-hand Daniel Cremieux Collection blue blazer made of lightweight wool. This is a ventless, three-button, fully-lined blazer with very stylish tan buttons. It was purchased on eBay for $12.00 in like-new condition. It would normally retail in Dillard’s for about $230.00. I have matched this beautifully tailored blazer with a pair of Ralph Lauren cotton grey flannel slacks (local thrift shop, $3.00), Daniel Cremieux 100% cotton shirt (local thrift shop, $2.00) and scarf found at Savers Thrift for $2.00. Timeless and classic!
Thrifted Made-to-Measure Linen Sport Coat
This beautiful made-to-measure linen sportscoat was purchased on eBay for the grand sum of $12.00 (including shipping). Of course, it was not made-to-measure for me. However, the measurements provided by the eBay seller were enough to indicate that this sportscoat would be a good fit. It is! No alterations were made to this jacket. There was a small tear in the lining near the inside pocket that took all of five minutes to repair (the reason why this sports coat was so cheap). Its a great warm-weather jacket with classic good looks. A great find!
My $1.00 Thrift Store Pleated Wool Slacks!
These are Louis Raphael Luxe pleated & cuffed wool slacks purchased for the princely sum of $1.00 (yes, only $1.00!) at a local thrift shop. I stopped in just before they were closing on a Thursday, discovering that they were holding an “All Clothing For $1.00” sale. These beautiful slacks are all I had time to buy. To my delight, the cashier told me that they hold the “All Clothing For $1.00 Sale“ every Thursday. Whaaaat! Needless to say, I will be stopping in on Thursdays in the future. These slacks are in mint condition and normally retail for $75.00 when new.
Thrifted Silk/Wool Sports Coat
This is a silk & wool blend sports coat with a Dillard’s label purchased second-hand on eBay for the modest sum of only $12.00 (including shipping). I was ready to discard it when I first received it as it fit me poorly. It was transformed from a beast into a beauty with a few alterations that included removing the center vent. This was the first time I attempted such an advanced alteration and I think it turned out pretty well. The money I saved by not going to a tailor covered the cost of my sewing machine!
Jos. A. Bank Cotton Suit
Jos. A. Bank is a brand well-known for its affordable business suits. This second-hand Jos. A. Bank cotton blend suit was purchased for only $15.00 on Poshmark.com. It is fully lined, with a center vent and cuffed and pleated pants. It was previously altered but fit me quite well. All that was needed was minor cuff alterations. I matched the suit with a Reed St. James silk tie ($1.00, local thrift shop) and a blue 100% cotton Calvin Klein dress shirt ($1.00, local thrift shop). The blue plaid pocket square is a thrifted purchase from Savers Thrift (.75 cents). A great-looking suit for spring!
Thrifted Ralph Lauren Overcoat
This is my everyday overcoat. It is a Lauren (Ralph Lauren) faux-suede 3/4 length coat with a zip-out quilted lining. This was purchased for $12.00 at a Savers Thrift Shop. It was in like-new condition, possibly a donation by a local department store (my guess is Dillard’s). This is a good coat for rain and snow as it can be quickly thrown into the washing machine and comes out looking great (even though the label says to dry-clean only). The scarf is also thrifted from Savers for the princely sum of $1.00, as are the cotton L.L. Bean chinos ($6.00).
Thrifted Emilio Yuste Silk/Wool Houndstooth Sportcoat
I purchased this beautiful second-hand Emilio Yuste tan silk/wool houndstooth sport coat (ventless, two-button) for the grand sum of $24.00 (including shipping) on eBay. I was not familiar with this label (it is made in Spain), but it was apparent from the eBay sellers photos that the fabric had a beautiful finish. From my online research, I could see that it was a popular mid-priced menswear brand in Spain most likely imported by a small specialty menswear shop in the US.
The fabric is simply beautiful. The silk has a high sheen and luxurious feel that makes this jacket distinctive. It has a classic ventless European cut and fit me with no alterations required. An impressive jacket! I matched it with an Arrow 100% cotton dress shirt ($3.00, local thrift shop) and a Tommy Hilfiger silk tie ($2.00, local thrift shop).
Shawl Collar Cardigan Sweater
The cardigan sweater has working-class origins as a sweater worn by fishermen in Normandy and later popularized by the Duke of Windsor in the 1930s. It can serve as a dressy casual alternative to the blue blazer. Here is a cotton shawl-collar cardigan I purchased on Poshmark.com (made by Banana Republic) for only $4.00 second-hand in like-new condition. If new, it would cost over $100. Classic style can be frugal!
Thrifted Paul Betenly Sport Coat
This is one of the more unusual items I have thrifted and a favorite! This is a Paul Betenly sportscoat that normally retails for $500.00. I purchased it second hand on eBay for $16.00 (including shipping). This is special. The wool fabric has a speckled finish which sets it apart from the standard blue blazer. It is superbly tailored with whimsical details that you don’t normally see in ‘off-the-rack’ clothing. The jacket is side-vented, natural-shouldered, and has wonderful finishing on the tailoring.
This sportscoat fits superbly and required no alterations. I have matched with a 100% cotton dress shirt, silk tie, and white khaki slacks all thrifted from Goodwill. The pocket square cost 98 cents on eBay (see the Classic Blue Blazer below for more info on that). I really love this jacket and have become a fan of Paul Betenly!
Thrifted Made-To-Measure Suit
Well… It was not made to measure for me… but it was made to measure for its original owner (his initials are still in the suit). This is a Tom James made-to-measure blue wool pinstripe suit (3-button, side vents) purchased second-hand on eBay for the modest sum of $20.00! The red pin-stripes set it apart from the generic pin-striped suit. New, a suit like this will cost upwards of $1,000.00. The Tom James brand is popular with high-rolling Wall Street executives.
Because the eBay seller listed all the measurements of the suit, I was able to compare it with a suit that fits me well. That’s the key to buying used suits online. Many times suits are altered so you need to know the full measurements to ensure that the fit is compatible. This suit was a near-perfect fit. All it needed was a minor alteration of the pants waist. Learning how to do alterations is not difficult. I’ve saved hundreds so far by doing my own alterations (you can find very good sewing machines new for under $100 if you catch a sale).
The Tom James suit is mated with a thrifted Hathaway 100% cotton white dress shirt ($2.00 Goodwill) and thrifted Italian silk tie ($1.00 Goodwill). I’d like to thank the original owner of this suit for taking such good care of it!
Thrifted Italian Blue Double Breasted Blazer
A classic blue double-breasted blazer brings to my mind visions of zipping through the Italian countryside on a Vespa to have a picnic lunch at an impossibly beautiful Tuscan villa. Well, I’m not Italian, don’t own a Vespa, and am nowhere near any Tuscan villa. But now, at least I do have the right blazer for it!
This blazer was purchased used on eBay for the princely sum of $16.00 (including shipping). It is made of sturdy blue wool twill and has classic Italian style. The fabric and quality are excellent, with half-canvas interlining as far as I can tell. It appears to be unworn. All it needed was a minor alteration in the side seams to fit me perfectly. Another alteration job perfectly handled by my Brother JX2517 sewing machine.
The blazer carries the label Confezioni Riserva. This is an Italian-style line of suits and sportcoats introduced by the American suit manufacturer Hart Schaffner & Marx in 1988 when Italian style was becoming all the rage in men’s wear. Luciano Franzoni is the Italian designer licensed by Hart Schaffner & Marx for this line. Nice work Franzoni!
The pants mated with this blazer were thrifted from a local Goodwill that gets a lot of donations from a local Dilliard’s dept. store ($3.00 on half-price Monday). The shirt is 100% cotton and is also purchased from my local Goodwill for only $2.50. If ever I have the opportunity to ride a Vespa in the Tuscany countryside, this is the blazer for it!
A Thrifted Classic Blue Blazer
A blue blazer is an essential part of every man’s wardrobe. This 3-button, ventless blue all-season wool blazer (shown above) is by Calvin Klein (white label) and was purchased on eBay for $10.00 ($7.50 shipping). Although used, it was in excellent condition. It had been altered to fit a slimmer physique. However, it was a fairly basic task for me to open up the side seams and restore the original proportions of the jacket (thankfully, the original fabric was intact) with my modest sewing skills.
The pocket square in the photo above is white cotton with a stitched color edge. This accessory adds a modest flourish to this outfit. It was only .99 cents per square on eBay (I purchased them in a range of stitched color edges). They are shipped from China when you order on eBay (shipping was about two weeks). The quality is excellent. If you want to find these pocket squares, do an eBay search for “Men Plain White Cotton Handkerchief Candy Color Rolled Edge Pocket Square Hanky.”
Finally, the shirt was purchased from a local Goodwill (100% cotton, $2.00) along with the tie (Alexander Julian, silk $1.00). By the way, check out my guide to ironing cotton shirts. A pair of casual white khakis finishes the outfit. Cheap and classic!
When I buy clothing, I stick to a limited color range to ensure that everything I buy can be coordinated. All of my sportcoats and blazers are shades of blue or brown so that they will coordinate with khaki slacks. And yes, in case you’re wondering, all of my casual slacks are khakis. I never knew a thrift shop that did not have tons of khakis to sell!
I purchased an inexpensive sewing machine (Brother JX2517, on sale for $69.00) over a year ago and learned to do basic alterations (it’s not as difficult as you may imagine). With a bit of practice, I have learned to alter all of my thrift purchases. Often, the cost of alterations can easily be ten times the cost of thrifted garments! Do you want to thrift like a pro? Read my thrifting tips for men’s clothing in this post.
Thrifted Ralph Lauren Silk Sport Coat
Here is a beautiful silk herringbone RALPH (Ralph Lauren) sportscoat I purchased at a local Goodwill thrift shop in like-new condition for the princely sum of $6.00! I purchased it on a Monday during the 50% off all clothing sale. This particular Goodwill is located near a shopping mall anchored by Dillard’s dept. store.
This like-new silk sport coat was only $6.00 at my local Goodwill Thrift Shop!
It seems that the local Dillard’s donates lots of men’s clothes to this particular Goodwill location. That may be something for you thrift shoppers to keep in mind. Seek out Goodwill thrift shops located near high-end shopping malls. You may discover some excellent deals on brand new clothing donations!
The RALPH line is a private label of Dillard’s licensed from Ralph Lauren and made in China. Typically, the RALPH line sells in the $300 range for sportcoats and $500 range for suits at retail. This silk jacket appears to be of half-canvas interlined construction. The silk fabric is excellent and has a subtle sheen and a very soft feel. It appears to be new and in excellent condition. It is ventless, two-button, and has a soft Italian cut. It fits beautifully! I paired this herringbone sport coat with a pair of thrifted wool gabardine slacks ($6.00 Goodwill) and Robert Talbott silk tie ($1.00 Goodwill).
Normally, I focus on buying my slacks, shirts, and ties at local thrift shops while buying used suits on eBay. This, however, is one of those ‘in the right thrift shop at the right time’ purchases. I’m going to keep my eye open for more of Dillards very elegant donations!
Update: The Closet is Full…
A few months of carefully curated, frugally financed thrift shopping has resulted in a closet full of beautiful suits, sportcoats, slacks, and all ‘the fixins.’ Now, I am much more picky about what I buy (if anything) in my thrift shopping adventures. Currently, I keep an eye out for unique silk or linen suits and sportcoats, limiting myself to a monthly thrift budget of $20.00. I only buy if the item is of high quality, exceptional appeal, and under $20.00. Otherwise, I only purchase an item to replace something that has worn out or is no longer wearable in my current wardrobe.
Thrift shopping is a skill that requires a working knowledge of menswear and the ability to hunt down bargains. So, like any athlete, you need to practice your skills from time to time to keep them sharp. My thrifting adventures continue, but at a minimal level.