Thrifty Thursday: Varsity jacket

Ever since my friend Daniel told me that he and Ryan Plett picked up the Gant Rugger Homerun jacket, I’ve wanted to get my hands on one. (Red option or blue option, either would do.)

But Jeff, didn’t you have a varsity jacket in high school?
The answer: No, I didn’t. I didn’t take myself seriously in high school athletics to merit awards that could be worn on my jacket at Friday night football games. Womp, womp. When the Jostens mafia came to my school to sell class rings, I opted for a class ring like any other kid who hated the weight room, lacked any athletic finesse or “swagger.”

Moving forward, I finally got my varsity jacket in Lawrence after a tip from Katy of Kansas Couture at Wild Man Vintage. I walked in and went straight to the jacket rack and found this beaut sitting right at the end beckoning my name.

$18 for a size 36, wool and leather varsity jacket. No tag. It fits so damn well, and it’s in fairly good shape. A little short, but hey, I’m 6’2.

I haven’t taken it to the dry cleaner yet, although I probably should before I skip town…
Oh, and get this: It was 50 percent off jackets that day since they are trying to flush through their overstock of winter apparel, so I picked this guy up for 9 bones. That’s just more than a Chipotle burrito, friends. The jacket boasts a slim cut made of wool and leather, much like the Gant Rugger.

I wanted to mix up the look and throw on my chambray pants instead of a chino or denim. I’ve also been trying to find a way to wear these pants differently. My chambray pants are my dress-up sweat pants: They feel comfortable but look sharp. The sizing is a little off since they are from American Apparel with one inseam (31) and have a high rise, which is surprisingly flattering, gentlemen.
Wool and leather varsity jacket (thrifted, $9); White oxford button-down (retail, $50) by American Apparel, size small; Blue and yellow repp tie (thrifted, $1); Chambray Welt Pocket Pant (retail, $69) by American Apparel, size 31; Cap-toe shoes size 11 (thrifted, $5.99) by Bass; Women’s “Boyfriend” gold watch (Target, $30?) by Merona.
Oh yeah, and then there was that one time I came home with a gold watch from Target only to discover that my dear friends Emily and Molly had purchased the same “boyfriend” watch the week before. Whatever.
Photography by Jarred Donalson

gcuprogrammingfundamentals - I’m enligtened about something new every time I come here. look into your gorgeous brand name promotion

Charles - just came across this website,

there varsity jackets look awesome!!!

Marta - i’ve been noticing a lot of guys and gals in london wearing letterman jackets lately. probably saw it on here first and then followed suit.

mamacita - The jacket makes this guy look so dapper, but the fact you gauge frugality in terms of burritos and not dollars and cents is even better.

James - Obessessed with this jacket! My actual varisty jacket is waaaayyy too big for me now, and I’m looking to find one like that.

What’s on the back? Is it an actual varsity jacket or just stylized?

Think Twice Style - The length of these pants is genius! I love the no socks look too. Dressy, but still keeping it casual.

Seth J. Putnam - Mr. Andy —

Thanks, my friend. That means a lot. Have enjoyed keeping up with your traveling adventures. Hope all’s well.

patton.andy - I think this blog is so cool—love that its for men. Linds and I are reading from Paris and cheering you guys on! -Lindsey and Andy

corkgrips - for some reason every time i find a nice varsity jacket in a thrift/vintage store everything fits perfect but the length, don’t know what it is- i’m only 5’9″!

Cindy - Great jacket. Can you tell us what’s on the back of it? Any sport listed or decals? I also found a great looking one but it had the varsity debate team across the back of it, I decided against it in fear someone might approach me to debate…

David - Awesome, the provenance and price make it about a thousand times better than the Rugger version.

Jeff - 3 Column Grid – Actually, I snagged for 9, but I was planning on paying 18 for it. Good story. The watch is womens, so I’m not above wearing something if it fits well, regardless of the item’s “intended” gender.

Jeff - Clotheshunger – Agreed, I’m pretty stoked about, along with being able to wear it year round hence the Midwest weather changes every 5 minutes.

3 Column Grid - $18! What a find. I bought a vintage varsity jacket a few years back which fit me perfectly. I was ecstatic, you don’t find gems like that too often. It was only a few days later that I noticed the patch on the arm said “Denise”, which to be honest made me love the jacket even more.

clotheshunger - great find with the jacket. it’s good you found one that was fitted, any bigger and it would’ve looked too high school.


midweSTYLE: Logan Square

Seeing as this is my visual debut, I should probably explain a bit about my life as a reporter-at-large. It’s pretty much the best life ever: I’m my own boss, I only work on Pulitzer-worthy stories that I’m passionate about, editors of national magazines are constantly banging down my door, and the money is rolling in. (Pick which one of those things is true). Actually, this article sums it up pretty well, especially the bit about “mostly spending my days watching television, napping, noshing, strolling around, seeing matinees, playing The Sims”…except sub in FIFA for The Sims. Jarred once told me he envisions me sitting around smoking cheap cigarettes and not shaving very much.

Because my office is about 3.281 feet from my bedroom, it can, however, be a struggle sometimes to put pants on in the morning (a confession that once almost got me booted from this site.) Being a freelancer has its perks…namely the flexibility to work from home or pack up the computer and take it to an interview/café/coffee shop/bar/house party. I try to dress accordingly.
Wearing a tie, believe it or not, actually increases my productivity and results in better work. I know, I know—I scoffed, too, when Coach Musgrave made us wear ties on gamedays during high school soccer. But I started wearing them on test days in college, and much to my surprise, I actually did better on exams. So we’ll see how they serve me in my post-collegiate years.
As for the loafers, they’ve pretty much become my go-to slip-ons, so they’ll probably be appearing quite a bit.
Tweed blazer (thrifted, $6) , size “fits-like-a-glove” 36R; grid oxford button-down (gift) by J.CREW; “The Henley” (borrowed from Jeff) by Baldwin Denim, size 30; brown and blue-striped socks (Target, $2.50); woven and stitched loafers (thrifted, $3).

Photography by Jeff Kieslich

The Thriftaholic (Leilani) - Hey Seth, I definitely like the idea of a thrift summit– it would be fun to round up some of the Chicago area bloggers. I’m over at and my email is thriftaholic (at)

Seth J. Putnam - Ha thanks, Jena…that would be nuts.

Leilani — Agree. Summit when Jeff gets into town? - Love this blog. Obsessed with this post. The first photo needs to be in a magazine…asap :)

glenmcmurry - hot. hot was the word I was going to use too.

mallory wiegers - so. hot.

The Thriftaholic (Leilani) - Ah yes, the life of a journalist. I too have a journalism degree (from USC) but do more copy editing than writing as of late.

Your blazer is sharp and I’ve always liked the jeans/tie/blazer combo on gentlemen. Great thrifted finds as well, we should share thrift store tips (I live in Ukrainian Village so I’m on the west side too).

Seth J. Putnam - Thanks, Gina!

@lferguson — the tie clip was thrifted for $6.

lferguson - where is the tie clip from?

Gina - Love it.

midweSTYLE: Springtime catch

It was 81º in Columbia, Mo. yesterday when I passed through on my way back to Chicago. Fitting for it being the first weekday of spring. Also fitting that when I drove by, the gentlemen who live at one of my old East Campus hangouts were out throwing the ball around after class.
When I look at this picture of Cam, I get this iconic, 1950s image of a dad playing catch with the ankle-biters after a tough day at work. An escape from the seriousness of adult life—or in this case, class in a stuffy lecture hall—and a way to return to carefree boyhood distractions. (Not that he has any idea what what the real world is like—he’s still living in a college dreamland. Which reminds me: Cam, you’re kicked off the site.)

Untuck that classic white oxford, roll up the sleeves, and pound the glove.
Spring’s here. And soon, summer. Time to open the windows, air out the house, and let the breeze rustle the curtains.
Vintage, U.S.-made oxford (free, from dad’s closet) by Gant, size 15-33; Broken-in chinos (retail, $65) by J. Crew, size 31; braided belt (thrifted, $3); laceless Top-Siders (retail, $70) by Sperry, size 10.

Photos by Seth Putnam.

Lily - Love the chinos, so pretty

Lily @ wear with chinos

nancerthedancer07 - I came across your blog recently, and I just wanted to tell you guys how much I enjoy it. Especially all the Mizzou references…I live on College Ave (only for a few more months though!) Keep it up.

Christina - I love it when men wear rolled chinos. This is such a great look.

Seth J. Putnam - I have old-man strength.

Cameron - I swear, Seth, if you try and kick me off the blog one more time…

Just remember, I’m bigger than you. Way bigger than you.


They usually don’t call you “The King of Cool” without good reason. McQueen’s life reads a little bit like your favorite novel. Here are the Sparknotes for McQueen’s journey into stardom:

Father abandons mother and son when he’s six months old, mother is unable to raise son alone so she sends him to his grandparent’s farm (which, in this case, was in Slater, Missouri), son is in and out of trouble, moves back in with mom, goes back to farm, joins the circus (no, I’m not kidding), reunites with his mother in the big city (Los Angeles), joins a gang, commits petty crime, gets sent to a boys reform school in Chico, graduates and eventually joins the Marines, receives an honorable discharge 3 years later, uses the money from his G.I. Bill to study acting, begins to race motorcycles on the weekend to make ends meet while playing small roles in play productions, works his way into bigger parts, gets launched into limelight after acting alongside Frank Sinatra in Never So Few, earns and executes an exceptional performance in his first starring role in The Magnificent Seven, the legacy begins, and boom goes the dynamite.

Note: McQueen used to demand bulk goods (jeans, electric razors, etc.) from the studios he did work for. It was later discovered that he would donate these items to the boys at the reform school he attended as a kid.

FAVORITE: Filson Tote

In my undergraduate years, I often carried a North Face backpack like any public university student. It was practical: It held my Nalgene bottle, protected my laptop and hauled my books. It was “normal” to have one. However, when I was pretending to be important in my liberal arts classes, I often carried a briefcase, tote or leather bag.
 Once I graduated, I knew I wasn’t going to carry around my beloved North Face backpack to coffee shops and travel, let alone to job interviews and formal outings. I needed a new bag that spoke to my “not-so-professional-but-I-want-to-be-a-young-professional” stage of life.
Filson tote provided that transition. Practical, functional, and it looks sharp. I can carry it to coffee shop and pretend to look important. I can carry it to a less formal job interview to house my portfolio and laptop. Or even throw some clothes in it and jetset. It’s one of my favorites.
Small tote bag ($90 retail, $45 on eBay) by Filson; Salmon puff “lifejacket” vest (thrift store, $4); “The Henley” 14-ounce Karabo dry selvedge (Standard Style, $200) by Baldwin Denim;

Xiao - Really like the Filson bag. How long is the drop of the leather handle.

Jeff - David – Haha, I’ll send Papa Filson and email from his boys at the Midwestyle. They also have a Log Carrier, that I know I would probably use to hold toilet paper.

Lisa – Thanks friend! We’re working on those features. I’m working full-time, Seth does freelance full-time and Cam is in school full-time….but we’re making time!

Nils – I checked out Beckel, it was a little too modern & sterile for my likings. Great price points & crisp though! Thanks for the suggestion, perhaps I’ll do a bag/tote round up.

APR – Many thanks, APR! We’re glad that so many women are enjoying it, along with men. We’re flattered for all the great feedback & praises.

APR♥ - Like Lisa, I am an early twentys female, but totally fell in love with this blog as soon as I started reading. It’s so refreshing to see guys that give a damn about their appearance and dress smart!!!!

Nils - Don’t get me wrong – I love Filson, spent $$ on a work bag I use everyday and am from the PNW, but their totes are totally overrated. You need to check out Beckel Canvas for the understated, cool and functional – . Eena is where it’s at.

Lisa - Love the vest! I’m not a guy (I’m a mid 20′s female), but I have to say that I love, LOVE your guys’ blog. As an avid reader of female fashion blogs, this is the first male blog I’ve read that shows young men who are into both fashion and thrifting, and doing so in a way that is current and wearable. I love reading it! Keep up the great work and I’m waiting to see you guys expand your tab on thrifting!

David - Wickedly cool look man, very at home there in the tall grass. The tote looks good too, carried by the handles as it was meant to be. I’ve seen some guys try to rock the tote and wind up looking effeminate enough to be on their way to the salon instead of the pub. You should email Filson and make them include that last photo in their next ad campaign, it looks that badass.