WELCOME to my adventures in thrifting! When it comes to clothing, I thrift everything, and have been doing so for over three decades! I budget about $60.00 (US) per month for my thrifting acquisitions. The photos below show some of the newest additions to my wardrobe over the past six months.
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 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 sportcoat (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 and really 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 Salvation Army Thrift Shop) and a Tommy Hilfiger silk tie ($2.00 Salvation Army Thrift).
Thrifted Joseph Abboud Suit
Joseph Abboud is one of my favorite menswear designers. This suit is from the Joseph Abboud American Soft label and was purchased used on eBay for the modest sum of $19.00. This is Abboud at his best. This business suit features side vents, flat-front pants, premium fabrics half-canvas construction and a trim silhouette. It is a very comfortable suit as well.
This suit line generally retailed for around $400-$700. Sadly, this label was introduced (1995) just as the American male was abandoning business suits. A shame. I consider the Joseph Abboud American Soft line a stylish (and better made) alternative to European labels like Hugo Boss. Abboud is now designing a premium line for of suits for Men’s Wearhouse.
All this suit required was minor waist alterations for a perfect fit. This is a label that I keep an eye out for when thrifting. Love this suit!
Thrifted Paul Betenly Sport Coat
This is one of more unusual items I have thrifted and a favorite! This is a Paul Betenly sport coat 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 (see the photo below).
This sport coat 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 sport coats 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!
Blue Linen Windowpane Pattern Sportcoat
The photo above shows one of my favorite buys: A Hart Schaffner & Marx, Gold Trumpeter Sport Coat. This sport coat was purchased for the grand 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 details and fabric. Generally, you will find the Gold Trumpeter label sport coats selling at retail for $400 and up.
This sport coat is blue with a classic window-pane pattern. It is in like-new condition. There is no label identifying the fabric, but it appears to be linen possibly woven with lightweight wool. It is a very breathable and lightweight fabric that makes this jacket ideal for spring and summer. This jacket only required minimal alterations to fit me perfectly. I did the needed alterations with my budget-priced Brother JX2517 sewing machine.
I have paired this jacket with a pair of dress khaki slacks (Goodwill Thrift, used, $3.00) and Ben Sherman dark brown oxfords (eBay close-out stock, $15.00). If new, these three items together would have cost approximately $560.00 at the full retail price. I paid a total of $37.00 by thrifting these purchases. Now that’s value! Try finding a pair of Nike sneakers for $37.00!
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. That is a huge savings! 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) sport coat 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 thrifters 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 sport coats and $500 range for suits at retail. This is not to be confused with the lower-end licensed LAUREN line typically sold in Macy’s for well under $200.00. The quality of the RALPH line is superior. This silk jacket appears to be of half-canvas interlined construction. The silk fabric is excellent and has a subtle sheen and 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 Kirkland Signature wool charcoal grey dress slacks ($6.00 Goodwill) and Alexander Julian 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!
My 99 cents eBay Suit!
Yes, that is not a typo! I had the winning bid on the suit shown above for 99 cents (plus 13.95 shipping). The auction was ending with no bids and the reserve price was only 99 cents. Sweet!
This is a Tallia Uomo for Nordstrom suit made in Italy. It is a lightweight wool perfect for year-round wear. It is in very good condition overall. There is a tiny bit of fraying on the edge of one pants pocket (usually caused by a wearing a watch). Other than that, it is in great shape. It is a lightweight wool suit that formerly sold in Nordstrom for $395.00. The sleeves of the suit were previously altered and are too long for me. So, I am using this suit to learn how to alter sleeves.
In the photo above, I pair the suit with a pair of Sebago handsewn loafers purchased at a local Goodwill for $8.00, and an all-cotton striped dress shirt (Savers Thrift Shop, $4.00).