Whenever I find a beautiful dress jacket (suit jacket) in a thrift store, I find that it is well worth my time to next look for the matching trousers so that I can put together a suit as it may have initially came into the store. Most suit pants I have found do not advertise who made them inside the waist band and are very difficult to identify unless you have the matching suit jacket in hand to immediately compare.
Earlier this week, I found a top of the line Ermenegildo Zegna Trofeo suit jacket, a dark grey with faint blue stripes for less than ten dollars. It was very wrinkled and had been hanging on the rack for four days, judging from the date stamped on the price tag. This was quite an exciting find, especially since it fit me very well.
I was still excited, especially after finding three pair of Brioni dress pants earlier my size in great condition and decided to try my luck in the pants section. Lucky for me, when I cruise through the pants hanging on the racks, the inside waist band occasionally offers the opportunity to identify the brand mostly by the pattern of the inside comfort band. I quickly recognized the possible Zegna pattern of diagonal lines and pulled the pants out to see if they matched the suit jacket carefully placed inside the buggy. Yep, they matched perfectly and I just created a suit.
Yesterday, on a lark, I decided to hit the nearest Goodwill store to where I live. They typically do not have the higher end brands I look for now but on occasion you may find that rare item. I usually hit the silk ties first as this is the place where you will find the majority of high-end brand names. No luck there. I then move on to the suit jacket and suit rack. It didn’t take long before I found the holy grail of suit jackets, Kiton! Not only was it a beautiful example of the Best of the Best + One but it was brand new, not having been worn due to the shoulder and sleeve cuff tailor tacks (white thread) still in place. What a fantastic find and the price tag was only $9.99. It is fortunate for the buyer that a seldom seen name like Kiton is treated as though it is just another name and not marked up accordingly by the thrift store.
If finding a Kiton suit jacket wasn’t enough, and this was only my second of this brand in five years of searching, I also located a very nice Oxxford Clothes dark brown suit jacket. It is my understanding that Oxxford Clothes is one of the last bespoke tailor companies in the this country that carries a heritage of specialized suits back many years and takes pride as offering some of the best suits you can buy made in the United States. The dark brown with a faint dark red vertical stripe fabric on this jacket offers a warm appearance while slimming the wearer.
Now, it was off to the next section; the pants. With my recent luck in locating some really fine high-ended clothing, I decided to take the time in the dimly lit area to see if I could locate the matching trousers to these two fantastic finds. I draped the two coats in the buggy with the sleeves hanging along the edge so that I could quickly pull out a pair of pants and place them across the fabric to see if there might be a lucky match. After about twenty minutes, I had both pair of trousers that had been separated back together with their jackets to create two sets of very expensive suits.
The chances of finding the matching pants or jacket to create a suit are usually very good when you can take the time to walk between the isles of wool and slowly compare the fabrics of each. Be sure to walk through the sizes that are both larger and smaller than you normally would as most high-end suits are tailor made to the individual and may not be your exact size. If there isn’t much difference in size, it could be well worth the extra expense to ask a good tailor to make the necessary adjustments to fit you perfectly. Unfortunately, both of these suits are two sizes too small in both the jacket and the trousers so there just isn’t enough material to bring either up to my larger size.
In case you were wondering, I was surprisingly able to find both suits on a late afternoon of the Goodwill half-off Saturday and paid only $4.99 for each jacket and $3.49 for each pair of pants for my total price of $16.96 for the two suits. The Oxxford Clothes retails for $4,575 and the Kiton Blanc Blu has a price tag of $8,995 added together for a retail of $13,570. This is why you can find me in thrift stores every other day or so after work.
Note: I will be following up this post with a page showing the various pants waist band identifiers where available. Hopefully, this will help when you find a great pair of trousers and would like to know who made them.