Friends, I thought about it, I really did, and I have decided against metallic fabric for the time being. A metallic linen suit would be fabulous, no doubt, and perfect if I had a big event coming up -- say, the Grammy's (that's a joke). I really could use a nice suit, however, and if I'm going to go to all that trouble, I want it to be something I can wear on a regular basis.
I picked up some more swatches today, and I find myself leaning toward this:
It's a cotton-mohair blend -- yes, you read that right. It's lightweight, has a gorgeous sheen (not to be confused with the shine of worn pants) and ten times more practical than metallic linen -- no, make that twenty times.
If we were talking a metallic shift dress, well, you could whip that up in a day or two. A men's suit is a commitment. Also, I made my navy blazer in linen, so I'd like to try something different. I hope you metallic fans aren't too disappointed. My life is simply not as glamorous as many of you seem to think.
Case in point, I went on a shopping spree today...at my neighborhood Goodwill. I think Goodwill's prices to often too high for used clothing, but they do have consistently higher quality merchandise than my nearest Salvation Army, at least for menswear. And of course, compared to retail, it's still cheap (unless you're buying used H&M, which at Goodwill is priced nearly the same as brand new).
I got this lovely gray wool polo sweater with a Claiborne label (which I think means J.C. Penney) that is classic and as good as new. It irks me to pay $7.99 for it (it would be $3.99 at the Salvation Army), but it's a whole lot cheaper than it would be in a store, right?
I also got this deep green cotton-cashmere blend crew neck sweater from J. Crew -- same price.
And finally, a pale yellow American Apparel tee shirt with the original label still attached. Believe it or not, this cost more than the sweaters, but still less than the original $18 asking price. At the Salvation Army, they don't distinguish between good quality and bad quality -- the prices are the same across the board; Goodwill charges more for things in better condition or with fancier labels.
Sweaters and tee shirts are still things I purchase since I don't knit and I really don't enjoy sewing my own tees, though I have with mixed success.
Maybe it's the recession, maybe it's a few decades' worth of fast fashion, maybe it's the complete loss of stigma attached to second-hand clothing, but thrifting isn't what it used to be and I've been doing it for three decades. When I started, you'd routinely find stuff from the Fifties and Sixties -- well made clothes with a lot of life in them. Today, most of the stuff I see was never very good to begin with. Of course, there are exceptions, and I still stumble upon really nice things at good prices, but there's much, much less quality: very few 100% wool sweaters, very little that's made in the USA (or has a union label), and nothing that pre-dates the Eighties. There is faded denim for days, however. And fleece, fleece, fleece!
So that was my spree.
Readers, how's the thrifting in your neck of the woods? Are prices good? Is there decent selection?
Are you aware of changes in the kind of stuff available today as opposed to the past?
I'm a native New Yorker and sewing fanatic! I started sewing in 2009 and today make all my own clothes using vintage sewing machines and vintage patterns. I also sew for private clients. Welcome to the warm and whimsical world of Male Pattern Boldness, where the conversation is sewing, style, fashion, fabric, and more!