midweSTYLE: West Bottoms

January 24, 2012
Every now and again, I’ll do a round of thrifting in my home neighborhood in Kansas City. If I’ve recently gotten a paycheck, I get a little chance-y and pick up pieces that I know I’ll probably never wear. Some of them are ill-fitting, others are just ridiculous, and more than not, they end up in my closet unworn. If you thrift with any regularity, you’ve been there. You know that feeling. You don’t need it, and you don’t really even want it that badly, but you grab it just in case. After all, it only costs ¢50 or a few bucks. If worse comes to worst, it would make for a good Halloween costume at some point in the future.
Anyway, that was the story behind this blazer, initially. I didn’t have a go-to blue blazer at the time, so I bought it, even though it didn’t really fit. The shoulders framed me well enough and the chest wasn’t bad, but it had a huge waist measurement. The gentleman that owned it before definitely had a belly. Seriously, Santa Claus status. Regardless, I bought it for a staggering $4.50. A navy blue, American-made, hopsack blazer for under $5? Sure.
After a few lonely months in the closet, I finally took it to get tailored. Tailoring thrifted clothing sounds and feels a little unnatural. Taking something that you bought dirt cheap and investing another $25 to $75 seems wrong at first. But, if the piece is of high enough quality, the investment is well worth the fit and wearability that comes with tailored clothing. I’ve gotten a jacket or two fitted, some legs of old trousers tapered, waists taken in. It can turn a forgotten thrift store purchase into one of your wardrobe favorites. In this case, the arms ride up a bit, making them appear a little shorter, but hey, it’s perfect everywhere else.
Clarks, beat to death.
On Cameron: hopsack blazer, thrifted ($4.50), tailored for $45; patchwork button-down by Gitman Vintage; cream sweatshirt by Todd Snyder; the Henley in California wash by Baldwin Denim; beeswax desert boots by Clarks; WWII-era Russian watch (Etsy, $30) by Vostok; leather wrap (gift) by Tanner Goods; recycled cotton socks (Christmas gift purchased from Hickoree’s), by Solmate Socks.

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  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/02226729469158042579 KyleB

    Very nice. What’s the name of the shop where you picked up the blazer? Any others in KC you’d recommend?


  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/04632300820910031353 Landon

    awesome awesome watch. also, great location for the photos, love that minted rust in the background

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/00575135147863008648 Liz

    Speaking of Santa Claus belly…

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/18196701027745525124 Unknown

    So, where in chicago is a good tailor to make diamond in the rough into gems like that jacket. Looking to get pants tapered.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/05341951262271384712 dani

    Looks fantastic! The hidden magic in tailoring does wonders! :)

    <3 The Daily Dani

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/07521908385026885699 Jennifer Fabulous

    I’m not gonna lie, in the decade I’ve lived in KC I can count on my hand how many men with impeccable style (and thrifting skills) I’ve seen. This city needs more of you (or, at least I need to know where to find them, haha). :P

    The blazer, the shoes, the watch. Brilliant. Love this whole look.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/15801497180145616739 Claire

    Love it. Perfect fit now. : )

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/17995548801071260519 Chris

    Awesome post, per usual! I’m getting married in the West Bottoms at The Hobbs building in October. We are doing a very industrial style wedding. If you guys want some good shots… yeah… anyways… I love your site… it’s been a daily check on my list!


  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/02755574467460850446 Jessy Diamond

    I would love to be able to thrift, but since my size is not even common in regular stores, chances to find one while thrifting are really low.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/16460365546511648793 Kyle

    Sorry but that jacket is way too short. Kind of looks like you went thrifting in your mother’s closet.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/00165257615168669558 Seth J. Putnam



    Can definitely see your point…in fact someone called out Jeff for his Harris Tweed being too short. However, I’m not sure I see it as a hard-and-fast rule. For short guys like me, a blazer that hits higher than my fingertips is beneficial because it at least gives me the (illusion) of looking taller. Obviously Cam and Jeff don’t have this problem, so it’s sort of up to their personal style.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/10173775845177201996 Cameron


    I suppose that that may be true, if I were a strict traditionalist. Unfortunately, I’m not, so I disagree. Although, my mother does have dashing style. The compliment is well appreciated.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/09991730005057721620 ALEX

    Not to troll–to enlighten–but the suit coat doesn’t fit you; it doesn’t go over your ass, the sleeves are too short and the button point too high. If that is a medium, go for a large. The cut and material look quite nice, though (for cotton–I presume). If it fit you, it’d be a nice, casual jacket.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/03323245603506513991 RandaLea

    Why, thank you, son.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/16460365546511648793 Kyle

    Did not mean to come off as a dick. I am definitely one for Thome Browne proportions being that I am a short guy. However, I think the beauty of tailored clothing lies in the proportions. I’m fine with a short jacket that doesn’t cover your ass, but I think it should at least get half way there. I believe Christopher Bastin does the look great: http://rosecallahan.blogspot.com/2010/04/christopher-bastin-of-gant-rugger.html

    When it sits too high it elongates your legs and shortens your torso making you look a little uneven. Just my opinion though. Anyway, I enjoy your site keep doing what you do.

    • http://www.blogger.com/profile/00165257615168669558 Seth J. Putnam

      Meant to respond earlier…sorry to revive this thread after so many days. Just wanted to say we appreciate your comments, Kyle. You didn’t come off as a dick. We actually welcome the debate, and we want to make sure this is a place where people feel free to describe how they’d make different choices. So: thanks.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/12102216901074248622 David D Hall

    I wouldn’t wear the jacket as it fits. But that doesn’t mean they can’t or shouldn’t style themselves in a way they prefer. I’m a little burnt out on barking traditionalism in the comment section of blogs. It’s a style blog about three young dudes, not just a regurgitation of traditional menswear rules (they didn’t say you had to wear jackets like this). I wouldn’t read it if I didn’t see anything new or different, and I doubt anyone else would either. Plenty of resources out there for rules. And besides, the point of the post remains the same regardless of whether you like this particular outcome. He took a thrifted piece to a tailor and ended up with an end product he enjoys more than before.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/14169934945628133136 Funmilayo

    i love the look :)

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/17760986403688460099 Sarah Ann

    My boyfriend needs to invest in some new shoes, like yesterday! That being said, I’ve got a handle on casual boots, but if I see him pull his old Puma or Adidas (and not “old” in a good way) out of the closet one more time, I might freak out. Suggestions for some classic, athletic styled shoes?

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