WELCOME to my thrifting for menswear adventures! 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. Update: I now spend less than $25 per month, find out why below. The photos below show some of the newest additions to my wardrobe over the past six months.
Gently Used Hugo Boss Linen Sportscoat
Just in time for the lazy, hazy days of summer! This is a second-hand Hugo Boss unstructured (no shoulder padding, interlining or chest pocket) 100% linen windowpane pattern sportscoat. This lightweight, fully-lined jacket is ideal for ‘dressy’ casual summer wear. Normally, a Hugo Boss sportscoat like this will retail for about $400.00 when new. I purchased it second-hand on eBay for the bargain price of $26.00. It should have commanded a much higher price. However, the poor online photos uploaded by the vendor did not help sell this jacket. It remained unsold for over a month despite two price reductions by the vendor. I know it was a great deal in spite of the poor photos so I made the purchase when the price became irresistible. After making a few minor alterations, this has become one of my summertime favorites!
Second-Hand Italian Wool Suit
This Vestimenta lightweight wool suit was purchased second-hand for $15.00 on eBay. This manufacturer generally retails suits in the $1200 range and higher. This suit is fully-canvassed and beautifully tailored. By doing a quick search for the brand name on Google when considering this purchase, I realized that it was a true bargain. What is more, it fits me perfectly with no alterations required!
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 Brooks Brothers cotton khaki slacks (local thrift shop, $3.00), Daniel Cremieux 100% cotton shirt (local thrift shop, $2.00) and a summer straw hat purchased from China for $6.00 (aliexpress.com). 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! In my hand, I hold a straw Panama hat purchased directly from China through Aliexpress.com for $7.00 (including shipping).
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.
Alan Flusser Sport Coat, Thrifted & Altered
This is a bamboo/worsted wool blend Alan Flusser sports coat purchased second-hand on eBay for $30.00. Bamboo has the breathability and warm weather comfort of linen with a much more luxurious feel. This is a great sports coat for warm weather!
This is my also my most ambitious effort at learning to do alterations as well. I slimmed the jacket, removed the center vent, and removed a ripple in the upper back collar. The top photos above show the original unaltered jacket. The bottom photos are taken after completing alterations. I’m still perfecting my tailoring skills so I may redo the back seam at a later date.
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. It is not a brand I seek out generally because I prefer something closer to an Italian silhouette. Nevertheless, I do like their cotton suits, which are hard-wearing and good-looking. This second-hand Jos. A. Bank cotton 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 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, local thrift shop) and a Tommy Hilfiger silk tie ($2.00, local thrift shop).
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 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 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 (see the photo below).
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!
Blue Linen Windowpane Pattern Sportcoat
The photo above shows one of my favorite buys: A Hart Schaffner & Marx, Gold Trumpeter Sportscoat. 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 sportcoats selling at retail for $400 and up.
This sportscoat 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. 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 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).
Update: The Closet is Full…
A few months of carefully curated 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 and limit myself to a monthly thrift budget of $25.00. I only buy if something if the item is of high quality, exceptional appeal, and under $25.00. 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. The thrifting adventures continue!