Thrift Tip - Use the RN Search

Often when thrifting I come across items which have had their labels removed, or never contained them in the first place. Whether for my own knowledge or for help in selling on eBay, this is a valuable piece of information to have gone missing.

Take, for example, the tie pictured above. I found this one a few months ago and right off the bat I could tell the tie was of high quality, but it had no label whatsoever. Based on the color scheme and the font used in the “made in England” tag I had my suspicions, but I was not sure. 

So I went here.  The US maintains a database of all companies’ registered identification numbers (“RN”). The RN number is a number issued by the FTC to a business engaged in the manufacture, importing, distribution, or sale of textile, wool, or fur products. Simply type the number next to the “RN” on your item into the appropriate portion of the search query and hit the search button.  Here, RN 41381 shows that this tie was made by the Ralph Lauren Corporation, confirming my suspicions.

The RN number search, a helpful tool in the thrifting game.


I began thrifting back in 2012 and the very first time i tried to thrift, apparently, I could barely remember where it was exactly but the satisfaction it had given my system will never be forgotten. Yeah, seriously haha! So, in this post, I’ll answer the most basic questions frequently asked by my friends or my relatives.

Mostly asked questions about thrifting:

Why do you thrift?

      Let’s make the story short.. because I’m a broke gal who loves expensive sh*t. :)

      Tagalog Translation: wala akong pera pambili ng white tee sa Zara worth 2,500pesos kaya sa ukay ako kakapit hehe zzz

Where do you thrift?

      Usually Cubao (fashion delite,Kabunyan), Marikina (fleur de lis, Kabunyan), Cainta (Sta. Lucia Mall old cinema), Katipunan (beside the old 711). Oh, and i’ve tried thrifting in Recto once and it was amazeballs! Damn, those braded bags! But my go-to thrift shops will be found in Bayan, Marikina.

How do you thrift? Why do you always get awesome and interesting things in ukay-ukays?

     Uhm.. tyagaan lang and patience? hahaha! Will post more tips on how to achieve well-accomplished thrift hauls soon! ;)

Hindi ba madumi mga ukay-ukay?

      Yes! Dusty, dirty, mabaho, mainit, etc etc etc etc.. and i don’t really care haha. Depende na sa tao yan :) But nowadays mas improved na yung ibang thrift shops.. Air Conditioned! So, sa mga medyo sensitive sa heat but who’s willing to try and discover the magic in thrifting, doncha worry the aircon’s got your back!

Do thrift stores go on sale?

     OH, YES THEY DO! New arrivals ranges at 100-300 pesos, depending on the kind of items and sale price ranges at 5php-100php

Do they allow reservations?

     Yes, depends sa store if gano katagal pwede magreserve :)

Aaaaaaaaaand that’s a wrap for my very first post!

Next time, i’ll be posting my most favourite thrift finds since i started thrifting!

See you on my next post!

PS. HAPPY 2016!

10 Tips For Your Next Thrifting Trip!

*I wrote this for my style blog that is now closed.

1.Go to as many thrift shops as you can because if you go only to one your limited to what that store has and they may not have anything you like.( I highly doubt that you won’t find anything you like) But,If this happens don’t give up move on to the next store!

2.Don’t limit yourself to one section of the store. I shop in the men’s section,plus size section and straight sizes and if your small enough you can sometimes find something in the children’s section.This is how I find great things because there are more options.

3.Take your time and look through everything. Thrifting can be done in 30 minutes(I’ve done it) ,But f you want find hidden treasures look between each hanger! If you do plan ongoing thrifting make it an all day thing.

4.Try on everything! This goes back to shopping in all sections of the thrift star.Try on everything because if you think it might fit it might not,and the other way around. And if it doesn’t fit then you can put it back and find something else to save your money on.

5.If your not sure about it buy it anyway! I say buy it because you may regret if you don’t and if you try to come back for it most likely will be gone.

6.If you want to go with your friends limit it to two because  two people can give you different opinions. Another reason is so you won’t get distracted with what your doing and limit your time thrifting.

7. Make a List! If you go thrifting on a spur then don’t bother making a list. But,if you planned this day make a list so that you get what want/need and then you can head home!

8.If you’re a DIY-er then I think you should buy doubles of things , they don’t have to be the exact thing but similar. For example if you like diy shorts then buy two or three pairs of shorts and if you mess up on the first try you can re-do it!

9.Learn you thrift stores schedule, my local  thrift store restocks the floor every Thursday  and our Salvation Army has half price Wednesday's .

10.Have Fun, Don’t stress out when you can’t find what you want because  you’ll find it soon enough. Don’t Give up!


Before & After

Picked up these vintage Johnston & Murphy ‘Aristocraft” shell cordovan shortwings this past weekend at a local thrift store not known for its footwear selection. There was a time when J&M made shoes that were of a quality level higher than that of Allen Edmonds today, and these certainly fit that profile.

After I got them home I took them through my standard cleaning process for shell, sort of a slightly altered “Mac Method”:

1) Clean with a lightly dampened shoe cloth.

2) Buff each shoe with a horsehair brush for a minimum of five minutes.

3) Rub down each shoe with a deer bone.

4) Buff with a dry soft shoe cloth to smooth out the deer bone oils.

5) Quick once over with the horsehair brush.

6) Quick re-buff with the dry soft shoe cloth.


Thrift Tip - Licensed Brands and Diffusion Lines

There is an old episode of South Park titled “The Simpson’s Already Did It” in which the antagonist of the episode continually comes up with various plans, only to realize that such schemes have already been used on The Simpsons. I’m beginning to think that same concept is true for #menswear articles and PutThisOn.

A few years ago Jesse at PTO wrote about the abundance of licensed brands (especially in the 70s/80s) and diffusion lines.  To sum up, certain brands at one time or another would license out their name (think Christian Dior or Pierre Cardin) to manufacturers who would then churn out low quality products with a high quality name attached. Similarly, brands like Brooks Brothers and Ralph Lauren produce goods at various price points and rely on a slightly altered brand name to move these products, even if the quality is not up to the standards the company generally stands for. A link to that article is here, and it’s a good read, especially for the novice thrifter.

Still, I continue to see items pop up on my dash and in other web fora touting the finder’s joy at unearthing some piece of licensed garbage. Before we go any further, let me say that finding a piece as a “placeholder” is fine, and a normal part of growing one’s wardrobe. Need a navy blazer? Great. Find one that fits you perfectly, regardless of brand, and wear it until you can afford to upgrade, or you come across something of higher quality (I did this with a russell plaid jacket a few months back). As we know, Fit > Style > Brand.

But this shouldn’t excuse you from picking up every piece of licensed merchandise you see in a thrift store and bragging about it like you found Steve McQueen’s underpants. A polyester Dior tie from 1976 is still a piece of crap polyester tie, no matter the name attached. Thrift stores are full of average and below average items, and if you picked up everything that’s “not bad” your home would be so overflowing with dead men’s clothes you wouldn’t have anywhere to shoot your daily WIWTs. And who wants to live in a world like that?

As a quickie guide, here are a number of often seen licensed/diffusion brands to generally avoid:

Aquascutum - Made in England? Yay! Made in Canada? Boo!

Pierre Balmain - Licensed. Move on.

Brooks Brothers “346” - Unless truly vintage (346 used to be a younger line for BB), anything labeled 346 is a lower quality outlet item.

Pierre Cardin - Despite Frank Costanza’s proclimations, generally best to avoid.

Christian Dior - Unless you find something with a silver tag labeled solely as “Dior,” do not buy. Even then, be wary.

Givenchy - 99% of the Givenchy you find is licensed. Listen, I’m telling you, it’s licensed. Believe me.

Lanvin - If it’s made in the USA, it’s licensed. If it’s made in France, it’s still probably licensed. Recent Lanvin is good (Look for the “mother & child” label, which sort of looks like a sailboat), and there are quality vintage pieces out there, but differentiating good from bad is not for the beginner.

Missoni - Lots of licensed or lower quality items out there. Stay away from the “M Missoni” line.

Ralph Lauren - The green label “Lauren Ralph Lauren” is a diffusion brand sold at Macy’s and lower level stores. Same goes for Chaps. Avoid entirely. 

Yves Saint Lauren - Only the recent Hedi Slimane-esque items are worth picking up, or those that are labeled “Rive Gauche”, and even in that case it’s not 100% foolproof.

Are there exceptions to all of these? Of course. But finding high quality pieces such as a truly vintage Pierre Cardin suit or a runway item from YSL is incredibly rare. 

I’ve blown money on most of these items in the past. I’m trying to save you that pain, while saving me from the pain of having to flip past these posts as I scan the interwebz.

Tumblrati- did I miss anything?

Thrift Tip - Know Your Size

Seems pretty simple, right? But one of the things I’ve learned most since I started this Tumblr blog is how important it is to know your correct measurements. As I look through my closet, items I once treasured I now have no use for as I realize they are too short, or the shoulders are just too tight, or the entire cut is off by one size.

Get a tailor to measure you, or check out these handy PDFs (h/t to The Silentist via PutThisOn) and commit them to memory. As you scour eBay, don’t be seduced by an item if it doesn’t match up, no matter how beautiful the fabric or exquisite the corozo nut buttons appear to be. I made that mistake with the above Southwick jacket and after investing a hefty sum into getting it tailored, it just doesn’t fit quite right.

Not all measurements are created equally. In order of importance:

1) Shoulder: The costliest for a tailor to fix, and sometimes impossible to do so. Know your shoulder measurement to a T.

2) Length: Short jackets will make you look bottom heavy, long jackets will do the opposite. Ignore the trends and figure out what your “timeless” length measurement is. Some say the jacket should reach your fingers as you “cup” your hands, some say it should be halfway between your neck and the ground, and others just want it to cover your butt. Find out what works for you and stick with it.

3) Chest: A chest measurement a few inches one way or another should be able to be altered by a tailor, but know that a jacket with a bigger (or smaller) chest is going to be cut bigger (or smaller) all around, so be wary of overreaching here.

4) Sleeves: Frankly, just try to get close here. Most of us don’t spend our days in a robo-pose trying to show ¼ inch of shirt cuff, so figure out your perfect sleeve length and stay within .5-1” either way. Tailors should be able to alter sleeves for about $20, unless the cuffs are functional or “surgeon’s” cuffs, which then becomes much more expensive as the jacket will need to be altered from the shoulder.

If your clothes don’t fit, then you won’t feel comfortable, and in that case what’s the point in wearing them anyway?


Pocket Square Thrift Haul - The Sulka Square

Yesterday at lunch I stopped into one of my local thrifting haunts (the same one Jesse from PTO found all those suspenders at here) and stumbled upon a box of about 50 pocket squares.  Usually I have to go digging through miscategorized women’s scarves to find some pocket gems, but yesterday I got lucky.

I picked out about a dozen squares of different colors, styles and materials, many of which I will be breaking out over the next few weeks. I was actually about to purge my collection, so it’s nice to get a new influx of squares in to replace the others as my tastes evolve.

First up is this beautiful blue paisley number from Sulka.  For those of you who don’t know, Sulka was one of the world’s finest men’s clothiers during the 20th century, but closed its doors near the end of the millennium (although it has recently been revived through Mr. Porter, the results of this rebirth are inconclusive).

I’m thinking this could be a nice alternative to the white linen for those times when I want a white square to calm things down, but I don’t want to be too formal.  Maybe with a classic blue blazer, or a tan cotton number once the weather warms up.

anonymous asked:

I don't get why you thrift if you are a lawyer for an entertainment company in L.A. I get that not every company is Disney but you must make enough to buy clothes at a real store. Do you subscribe to a quantity over quality philosophy? Do you think it's better to have a few high quality made to order items or do you think its better to just collect as many name brands as you can from a thrift store?

Interesting question. Even working in my field, after taxes, mortgage payments and student loans, I don’t have the kind of funds available to buy the type of clothing that I want on a consistent basis. Even if I did, would I really feel comfortable spending $2000 on a sport coat?

Thrifting allows me to experiment with different styles, cuts and colors while my own personal style is evolving, all without costing me an arm and a leg.

I completely subscribe to the quality over quantity ethos, and I’m willing to pay retail (or close to it) for certain high-end wardrobe workhorses like gray trousers, navy blazers, or a good pair of shoes. But I don’t think there is anything wrong with owning a few FU tweeds from quality makers that I happen to pick up on the cheap, even if that means my closet has a few redundancies.  

Eventually my wardrobe will sort itself out, I’d just rather not break the bank getting there.


Finding Grenadine Ties on Ebay

As most followers of this Tumblr, readers of PutThisOn, or members of Styleforum could tell you, the grenadine tie is the most #mensweary tie on the market. No other tie combines the outfit-matching prowess of the solid navy silk, with the subtle eye-catching individuality of a black knit, like the grenadine tie. Whether the more robust weave of the “garza grossa” or the subtle textured weave of the “garza fina,” there are few jacket-required occasions that could not be competently completed by adding a grenadine tie. Hell, James Bond wore one and it’s pretty much sartorial law that whatever Bond wore, you can wear (except for maybe this).

Problem is, everyone knows this, so as soon as someone uses the term “grenadine” in their Ebay listing, the price is destined to reach the upper limits people would pay for dead people’s ties. So, what to do?

Collected above are a handful of the grenadines I have been able to purchase for a song on Ebay based on the seller’s lack of cravate-specific knowledge.  The best way to replicate these results is to search for some type of language indicating the look of the tie. Try words like “weave,” “woven,” and “textured.” Even “knit” is bound to turn up a few misplaced grenadines. Old-timey men’s clothiers were more likely to sell grenadine ties than they are today, so searching for solid colors amongst the likes of Brooks Brothers, Sulka and Robert Talbott will often lead to success.  Another good option is to search by tradly men’s clothing stores like Carroll & Co., Wilkes Bashford, Cable Car Clothiers and Chipp in order to turn up these overlooked gems.

Look, even trying out these methods is going to take some time. So if you have something better to do than spend fifteen minutes scrolling through rolled up swatches of used silk, please do it. Brag about it, why don’t you?! But for those of us who enjoy the thrill of the hunt, and a steal of a deal, I hope this was of some help.

The Leather Jacket 

This past Tuesday I had the opportunity to meet up with fellow Tumblrite and SFer looklikeme to hit up some Los Angeles thrifts. Amongst our pickups were four pairs of selvedge denim (inlcluding a NWT pair by Imogene+Willie), a Stunning harris Tweed jacket by Ben Silver, shirts by Charvet and Hartford, and the leather jacket pictured above.

I’ve been interested in trying out a leather jacket, but didn’t want to drop big coin on something I might not be able to pull off. This medium brown cafe racer style is from Levi’s “Capital E” line, which I believe is the precursor to “Levi’s Made & Crafted.”

This is what I mean when I say that thrifting allows you to try out various types of clothing without breaking the bank. If it turns out I’m not a leather jacket guy, it’s a few bucks down the drain. If I fall madly in love with the style and want to bring out my inner Brando, I can save up a few dollars and splurge on something of higher quality that will last me years and develop a reblog-worthy patina the likes of which most men dare not dream!

Until then this will do nicely.


Thrift Tip - Check out Marshall’s

Sure, Marshall’s is a great place to get Kirkland Signature t-shirts and Donald Trump neckties at rock bottom prices, but during these post-holiday doldrums they also occasionally have a limited selection of clothing you might actually like to wear.

How does a Ralph Lauren Purple Label jacket worm its way onto the Marshall’s showroom? Who the hell knows. But it does happen.

portpoliticsandprep  asked:

How do you find all of these amazing things from thrifting? What shops do you go to?

Thanks for the question (and the follow). Honestly, at least 75% of my finds happen at the local Goodwill and Salvation Army, which are just a Google search away for you.

As I’ve said before, the key to successful thrifting is a combination of 1) knowledge, 2) persistence and 3) luck.  I live in Los Angeles, which certainly helps, but there are other non-LA people that find great items all the time like SpooFrenchy, Hot Whiskey, Grendel, and StuffIFoundToday.

One day I might put together some sort of thrifting guide when I can think of something new that needs to be said, but for now I would highly recommend these: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3

Afistfulofstyle: Part 1, Part 2

ThriftyGent: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4

Bottom line: 1) know what to look for, 2) look for it as often as possible, and 3) cross your fingers.

Hope that helps!


Thrift Tip - Know Your Tags

Two quicky ways to sort the wheat from the chaff in thrift stores is by looking at labels and country of origin. Sure, Ralph Lauren makes some garbage (green label) as well as some pieces that can take your breath away (purple label), and some items produced in China can be ten times better than those made in Italy or England, but when you are trying to save time the brand and country it was made in are pretty good places to start. But sometimes it’s best to dig a little deeper.

A few days back I stumbled upon this beautiful olive green corduroy sport coat, made in Italy for Barney’s department store. As you probably know Barney’s is a very high end shop, above Nordstrom and up there with Saks and Neiman Marcus.

What you may not know is that one of the finest RTW makers in the world, Raffaele Caruso, used to make items for Barney’s. So how do you know if you have a Caruso-made Barney’s item? You check the content tag. If it looks like the (now faded thanks to my dry cleaner) tag on the right , you’ve found a Caruso. A better pic of a similar tag can be found here.

There are tons of examples of this: Chester Barrie made for the Carroll & Co. men’s shop in Los Angeles, Alden made (makes?) for Brooks Brothers, Crocket & Jones and Corneliani for Polo, etc. Even Daniel Cremieux has some pieces made by Isaia.

If you can familiarize yourself with the content tags of the companies who make the clothing, you can match those up with items you find in thrift stores. If you can’t get your hands on labels for St. Andrews (Ralph Lauren Purple Label) or Martin Greenfield (Brooks Brothers Golden Fleece), you can use this excellent resource on Styleforum found here.


Discount Days

Thrifting Pro Tip: Do not wait for sales.

If there is an item you like, but you know a sale is coming up (“all yellow tags are 50% off!”), do not hide that item in the women’s department or leave it and pray it’s still there in a week. Buy it now. The thrift store gods will not allow the item to remain un-purchased until your return.

Thrifting Pro Tip (Addendum): If the item does go on sale - pounce.

A week ago I stumbled upon a beautiful brown herringbone tweed suit, made in the good old days by Brooks Brothers, full of details like a 3/2 roll and handsewn buttonholes.  So why not buy it for the princely sum of $25? Well, 1) I rarely ever wear suits; 2) I very rarely ever brown suits, 3) I very, very ever wear brown Fall/Winter-only suits. 

So when I returned to that store a week later and it was marked down by 50%, I knew it was a sign that I needed to add this suit to my completely impractical suit rotation.

The gods were asleep. So I pounced. And I am certainly glad that I did.


Finding Pocket Squares on Etsy

I have received a number of emails asking for tips on finding pocket squares on Etsy, so I thought I’d take a few moments to give my two cents. As most of you are aware, searching on Etsy can be a real pain. Without the ability to narrow down your quest by certain details, or save searches like you can on EBay, searching on Etsy takes a lot more time and patience. But there are certainly deals to be had.

For me, the simplest way to search is either by material or by country. Sure, you could try throwing some brands (Turnbull & Asser, Charvet, Robert Talbott, etc.) in the search query and hope you get lucky, but most of the time you will find that your results in those instances will be limited, and often price prohibitive.  By sticking to materials and countries of manufacture, you are able to shortcut your way to finding what you want.

Obviously, an item made in the USA or England does not necessarily mean that it is of excellent quality, just as an item marked “Made in China” does not automatically mean that it is utter garbage.  But when you are short on time and taking a flier on a discounted square,  the “Made in…” shortcut can end up really paying off. Often an uniformed seller will miss a manufacturer’s printed name or a content tag that bears certain tell-tale signs of its high-end maker, allowing you to scoop up the goods for pennies on the dollar.  I often search for squares made in the USA, UK, France, Italy and Japan. Don’t forget to try variations on names (United States/USA, England/United Kingdom/UK, etc.).

As for materials, silk is always a safe choice (although the search results are many), cotton is great for the warmer months, and wool and cashmere come in handy when the weather gets a bit nippy.  As with most seasonably appropriate attire, the time to shop for the season you want is in its seasonal opposite. Look for hand-rolled edges, try to keep squares between 12"-17" per side, and if possible avoid purchasing a decorative napkin by accident.

Don’t worry about adding “pocket square, scarf, handkerchief, etc.” to your search, as by doing that you limit the mislabeled items from appearing in your search results.  Once your results come back, now is the time to narrow by vintage, then accessories, then handkerchiefs.  Feel free to check in scarves (don’t let the associated gender markings dissuade you), and in the general clothing category. Quality items are often placed in the strangest of places.

I’m certainly not a tech wizard (see my low quality photographs for proof of that), so chances are there are easier ways to accomplish what the previous five paragraphs just laid out, but my methods work for me and hopefully they will work for you as well.
Made by Hand- the great Sartorial Debate: Undercollars

Thrift Tip - Check the Collar

Jeffrey Diduch runs an excellent blog that dissects (sometimes literally) men’s clothing. This post from a few years back highlights the various forms of collar attachment and what each means.

Like label and country of origin, checking the collar can be a quick way to help gauge the quality of a garment. It is by no means a definitive answer, just more evidence to help you decide one way or another.

zkoolz  asked:

Where do you usually go to thrift in LA? Any advice on how to find a good thrift store, especially when the sizing is hard to find? In my case, xs-s sizes ( 34' chest)

I’ve written some posts about this, one of them is here. Living in Los Angeles certainly helps, as you can pick up a number of excellent pieces just by hitting the Goodwill and Salvation Army. I also recommend Out of the Closet and the NCJWLA.

As for finding items in your particular size, that is a tall order (see what I did there? Hilarious). I have enough problems finding things that aren’t too big for me, and I wear a 40. First off, you need to be persistent. Of course, that doesn’t help much, anyone could tell you that. Check the women’s and children’s items, as well as the men’s. You might feel silly at first, but I’ve found suits, shirts, scarves, pocket squares and pants all tucked away in the wrong section.

Finally, this may sound patronizing, and it is certainly not meant to be, but you may want to try the Boys section of stores like Brooks Brothers and Ralph Lauren. They often have items that are of the same quality as their mainline, but at a much lower price point (and a much smaller size).

Hopefully that was of some help, any followers have any ideas?

anonymous asked:

I enjoy your blog very much. It makes me feel cheerful, aside from the fact that it is also very educational. Where else would I learn about how to spot labels and what's a find and what goes with what. Since discovering your blog I've found myself spotting really well dressed men - I think. thanks - P

Thank you for the compliment. I think the best place to start would be at Put This On. Read their “Best of” posts and go from there. As far as brands go, here is a great starters guide.

Also, feel free to peruse my “Thrift Tips” located here.

Remember, successful thrifting is a combination of 1) knowledge, 2) tenacity, and 3) good fortune.  Best of luck to you!

anonymous asked:

I've been following your blog for a few months now. Great info! I especially appreciate when you list what was purchased via thrift. That really helps to show that you do NOT have to pay retail to look great! -Bob, St. Louis,MO

Thanks, Bob. Glad to see that my inane ramblings are occasionally helpful. 

I completely agree with you. The situations where it is appropriate to pay full MSRP for men’s clothing are few and far between.