2011-12-18

Thrift That Blazer

A few years ago I wasn't on twitter, The Hills was my reality show guilty pleasure and I was on the hunt for the perfect boyfriend blazer at Winners. Now that I am older and wiser, I know twitter is the best way to talk smack about the people on your facebook, I care not a wit about those people on that one show and I know that perfect boyfriend blazers are actually found at the thrift store...


blazer2blazer6blazer5


(all blazers thrifted... though the red blazer was a thrifted gift from Ms. Jessie)

I now have, what some would classify, as a bone fide collection of thrifted blazers.

Why thrift blazers? Mostly because, as they say, 'they just don't make them like they used to...'. The blazers available at mid-range stores nowadays are often cheaply constructed. On the flip side, well-made blazers from high end labels are really expensive. It's nice that thrift stores have your back and offer good quality for just a few dollars each...

What are you looking for?

Good Fabric- Look for natural fabrics like cotton, linen and especially wool, when you are thrift shopping for blazers. Nowadays, you can only find wool blazers from higher end labels, while a few decades ago almost every jacket was constructed out of wool. Besides being an attractive fibre, wool is naturally quite stain resistant and holds up well to wear and tear. I'm not knocking on Gap but this blazer made of a poly-blend selling for $108, looks remarkably like my wool blazer in the second picture... one that I got for, maybe, $5? Once again... thrifting is the chance to upgrade.

Nice Drape-I don't think that a nice drape is the right terminology in this case but telling you to look for something that is well-hung, sounds... inappropriate. Basically, you should be able to hold the blazer on a hanger and see a flawless jacket. Puckers at the shoulder are a sign of a novice sewing job (seriously, it's hard to sew in a sleeve... many tears have been shed on that) and the hem should be smooth... no wobbles or waves. A curvy hem can result if a lining is improperly sewn in, if the fabric wasn't cut on the right grade or if there was a top stitch used to finish the hem inside of a nice clean lining.

Lining and Shoulder Pads-I know that there is this idea that shoulder pads belong on your Aunt Patty, who was Prom Queen in 1982, but most well-constructed jackets have shoulder pads. You may not initially notice them because they can be so thin but they are there! Shoulder pads lift the appearance of slopping shoulders and help distribute the weight of the fabric. Of course, there can be nice jackets that have no shoulder pads, but they are generally a good thing to have. They cost the manufacturer to have them put in and anytime the manufacturer pays more for something, especially a hidden but essential detail (this includes lining), it is a good indicator of quality.

Finally, when going to the thrift store, it is always important to be open minded to the sizes marked on the label but when you are looking for blazers, it is not just a good idea but necessary. The cut of blazers can vary wildly depending on the decade... When I find a small blazer from the 1980's, I can fit a my high school hoodie underneath but when I find a small blazer from the 1970's, the effort of trying to button it gives me a hernia.

So, in conclusion, may I suggest that you thrift your blazers and use the money you saved to buy your Aunt Patty a nice gift this Christmas?

32 comments :

Elissa said...

Fantastic tips. Thrift store are my number one resource for blazers. And might I add that you look great in yours - especially that navy blazer paired with shorts. Such a great outfit.

girl in the poodle shoes said...

GREAT tip. Will have to keep my out next time I'm thrifting… LOVE the one in the first photo (I love all of them actually but that one is stunning)
Girl in the Poodle Shoes

Nikki | The Ginger Diaries said...

Our local thriftstores are more into furniture and decoration/ornaments than into clothing. There barely is anything to be found on the one small rack they have. That's why I am always in envy about all the amazing finds you share with us! I LOVE that first the blazer :) it's perfect for the colder seasons :) x

Leah said...

Thanks for the tips! I always look at the blazers in thrift stores, but I never know what to look for, so thank you!

-Leah

www.rhubarbdiaries.blogspot.com

Linda said...

Is ur high school hoodie from gap?

Teresa - Life and Style said...

love these blazers! I wanna go thrifting (I havent been in so so long!)

xo Teresa

parlh said...

I have also found some really nice silk blazers at the thrift store, which are so light and lovely, but also warm in cold weather and can easily fit under a heavy coat. Plus because the fabric is much thinner than wool and what not, it is also easier to wear a hoody or other layers under the silk jacket without feeling like your arms are going to fall off from no blood reaching them. If the jacket has shoulder pads I hate, I just cut them out (if they're internal and really are just too horrible I make a small hole and carefully remove them through it, much like a breast implant surgery, but in reverse).

Lisa said...

I love thrifted blazers, I have quite a collection of them myself ! Love your thrifted blazers, the thrift store is the best place to look for these, and you can't beat the prices !

Melody said...

Great tips! I always go by the blazer section at the thrift store and have found a lot of great blazers.

Kimi said...

I always make a beeline to the blazers at every thrift store. I got my husband's suit coat at Goodwill for $8, a vintage, wool Italian label that looked fantastic on him - waaay better than the Men's Warehouse POS we had originally planned on having him wear - and I just picked up a vintage beauty for myself, as bragged about here:

http://allthefussandmore.blogspot.com/2011/12/meanwhileback-at-thrift-store.html

...and I can't stop wearing it! I think I wore it three times last week. And it was $6.99!! YES.

j.love said...

This post made me laugh. Mainly because a few years ago I also was not on Twitter (although this is a very recent switch), the Hills was also my guilty pleasure (among many) and the very first boyfriend blazer I purchased was from Winners. I recently thrifted a wool suit from VV and after reading your tips above, I am quite pleased with myself because the blazer is a) 100% wool b)fully lined and c) has shoulder pads.

P.S LOVE the second blazer A LOT!!

danielle and dinosaur toes said...

i don't think enough can be said for thrifted blazers! i can't help but laugh a little inside knowing that i got my whole collection of thrifted blazers for less than one at the gap, or even forever 21!

briannelee said...

I love thrifting blazers! Esp ones from the little boys department ;)

Katherine said...

This is so spot on! Ever since I discovered the blazer rack at the thrift store, I haven't even considered buying them anywhere else. I have a bunch but can't resist expanding my collection. I'm currently hunting for a winter white or cream blazer to add to my closet.

freedomandfreethings said...

I've had a crush on that red blazer since I first saw it! Whenever I go thrifting (or "op shopping" as we call it in Melbourne) I keep an eye out for one of those numbers. Thanks for the tips!

A.Co said...

Well written and great tips (esp. the novice-type sewing jobs/mistakes). I JUST picked up a new blazer from VV's the other day and am pretty pumped as, despite being from Reitmans, it's pinstriped and I've been looking for one like that foreverrrr.

HuntGatherFashion said...

I couldn't agree more. Thrifted blazers are where it's at! Great post!

Anonymous said...

thanks for the good tips!!

newpetite said...

Thanks for all the thrift tips! Love the Red Blazer! I now visit the Thrift store once a week and have almost stopped shopping in the mall :-)

Fabulously Average said...

I totally agree with that entire first paragraph, lol. I talk a lot of smack on Twitter, thrifted blazers are my favorite (def. don't make em' like they used to) AND because the Hills is no more, I don't care about those ppl either, lol.

seekingstyleblog said...

Great tips! My cousins and I went thrifting on Black Friday and they both found great blazers!

http://seekingstyleblog.wordpress.com

Larissa said...

what a great post! You've definitely inspired me to make sure I thrift more. I love blazers, and I'd rather buy vintage than newer ones that aren't as good quality!!

xoxo,
Larissa

http://www.livingincolorstyle.blogspot.com

Abby said...

Great advice! I just thrifted a red wool blazer with elbow patches that I am so in love with I want to marry it! lol Nothing beats good thrift store finds :)

www.socalsophisticate.blogspot.com

April said...

Great tips! I'm always on the look out for blazers when I go thrifting. Sometimes I check out the boys section too, but their blazers aren't always the best quality.

kelsey williams said...

thank you! considering i currently want an orange blazer but don't have any money, i will be using these tips. you have another post about thrifting silk blouses, yes? i need to go find it.

Anonymous said...

I LOVE blazers! It's a great way for me to "expand" my wardrobe.
Yesterday I scored a beautiful Pendleton wool blazer. It was a bit pricey for thrift standards at $12.99 but it is Pendleton. I almost didn't get it when I say the size and thought. It will never fit. I'm tall, long armgs. Figured what the heck? I'm glad I tried it on. Perfect fit. :)
Happy Thrifting! Thank you for keeping me inspired!

-ella
Texas

Meg said...

Thanks for the great tips! I love blazers on fashion bloggers, but I either forget to look for them while thrifting or have trouble finding un-boring ones. This list will definitely help.

Shug in Boots said...

Ahhh! Thanks for the tips! I've been wanting a good red blazer for ages!! MADLY in love with those shorts, too, btw. :)

Anonymous said...

That red blazer is beyond fantastic. I need to thrift one ASAP.

.Candy. said...

all my nice blazers have been thrifted and i am happy as happy can be! it saves me money and doesn't make me feel like im in a uniform just like the rest of the population. gives me a sense of pride knowing that i'm wearing a unique piece and helps me save some moolah! ;)



http://intoxicatedchameleon.blogspot.com

askirtwithpockets said...

Excellent post! I've started my own little collection of thrifted blazers. I'll likely never buy one in a department store ever again!

Chelsea said...

I just thrifted a fantastic wool blazer, and all while trying it on and making my husband admire it I was thinking back to this post :)