April 14, 2010

Slacking Off

It has been a little while since my last entry, but this is not the slacking off to which I refer. In my defence, I have been on the road. There is no more ceremonial way to mark the end of winter than to pack up one’s winter clothing, take it all to another country and leave it there, and come back bearing linen jackets and straw hats. This was my mission. I am pleased to report that I have been met on my return by blue skies and clement temperatures. Who says rituals are empty gestures?

Now, the slacking in question rather concerns my dear old nether man (the legs, to mere mortals). After the last post on shorts, I thought quite hard about what to do, and in the end invested in a couple of pairs of slacks. These items are difficult to find at a reasonable price, but a man must be prepared to turn over stones. I came away with some 100% cotton Calvin Klein Dylan cut slacks in navy, with grey pinstripe, and some linen and cotton eggshell slacks by Bosco Uomo. Both elegantly break on the shoe, and have a European style fit. No billowing trousers for this fine fellow! To combat foot fatigue and Italian cobblestones, I bought some medium blue Italian loafers with a curious rubber soul. Having decided against shorts, shoe shopping was something of a breeze. Some socks in pastel blue and pastel pink completed the shopping spree, before all of it was put away ready for May. $150 the lot ($460 value).

Meanwhile, I am pleased to report the successful purchase of a Tim Farah suit from Club Monaco: retail $519 (already a bargain), I paid $58, plus $5 shipping. For anyone who has never given Club Monaco a try, know this: their sale prices are on a precise schedule, and everything ends up going for a song. Better yet, if your local store no longer has that item upon which you had set your heart, they can find it for you in one of their other stores and mail it anywhere in America for $5. So, I bought the suit pants for $9 in Cambridge, MA., and had the jacket, $49, shipped from New York. It took three days to arrive. This suit, with working cuff buttons and detailing way beyond its original price point, is my bargain of eternity.

I report these stories of sartorial thrift not to gloat, but to present to you the possibilities. Looking fine need not cost a king’s ransom. Thrift is a virtue often forgotten in these plasticated times. Retailers, especially in times like these, can be persuaded to slack off the price.


  1. How do you find bargains like that? That is amazing. I have always liked Club Monaco.

  2. One needs to cultivate the eye. Most stores have odd sections where things look unseasonable or simply out of place. Don't be frightened to rummage! It does help of course to live in a sizeable and somewhat culturally dynamic city. Then one must acquire the knowledge of where (and when) things go cheap. Also don't be afraid of places like TJ Maxx (US) and Winners (Canada). They're awful stores to spend time in, but I've found a $700 Boss velvet jacket for $70, and a $500 Joseph Abboud silk and wool blazer for $10. No need to buy second-hand (although I do on occasion). And I don't compromise on fit.


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