Thursday, August 2, 2012

Paper trail

Earlier this summer, I was scanning some ebay searches while rocking my daughter to sleep one night. I ran across a seller who had obviously come into a good-sized stock of Brooks Brothers sport coats that were new with original tags. I could tell that they were older (given the script on the tags) and although there weren't exact measurements in the listings, I could also tell that they were completely unfinished, most with original basting through the sleeves (and later found the small paper packets of mother-of-pearl buttons in the breast pockets).

Brooks Brothers arms

Even though I typically wear a 42xl in Brooks Brothers, I took a chance and pulled the trigger on a couple of them in size 42l, as they were only $24 each, plus a total of $12 shipping (the seller kindly combined charges). They shipped quickly, and after I'd received them and determined that there was indeed enough extra fabric in the sleeves for my ape-arms, I quickly purchased the final one in my size and had it sent my way as well.

Brooks Brothers 2

They instantly became some of the most peacock-esque things in my entire wardrobe, and I took the one I thought I'd wear most to my tailor and had him finish it up for me (before he left town for an extended vacation). While it's certainly on the bright side, the deep teal has become a favorite, as it goes especially well with anything blue (even seersucker, as seen in this picture).

The others still need to be finished, and I'm honestly fluctuating back and forth on whether I even have enough swagger to pull off the bright peach number. Heck, it could probably even become it's own Yay or Nay post.

Filenes tag

As someone interested in provenance, one of the most interesting things about the sport coats were their original tags, including this one from Filene's Basement with an original price of $48.00 (twice what I paid for it). One can even make out the date on the small sticker attached to the tag (May 6th, 1989), placing the pieces right about where I figured (I had guessed mid 80s in my head).

A true warehouse find, with a decent bit of history. Oh, and I even got the 20-year discount price.


  1. Brilliant find! I recently scored a pair of deadstock yellow BB shorts with a very similar tag and script. I have been trying to figure out how old they are, so your image helps!

    BTW, I recently stumbled onto your website, and it has become one of my favorite blogs to follow. Cheers!

  2. That's really great! I love making incredible finds like this. The off-white/pale yellow jacket looks the most versatile, but if you like the teal, you like the teal.

    My most recent (today) Brooks Brothers find: a black bow tie to go with my tuxedo. Set me back a whopping one dollar.

  3. Wow that's incredible, I want to see these things in action!

  4. Depending on when they were bought, the original purchaser could have paid much less than the $48.00 sticker price. They're from the old Filene's Basement in downtown Boston, now sadly departed, never to return. That store had an innovative pricing system, based on the date on that sticker on the tag--the legendary "Automatic Mark Down System." The longer an item remained unsold, the more the price would automatically be reduced: after two weeks, by 25%; a week later to 50%; and finally to 75% off. If it wasn't sold within a week, it was given to charity. My guess--since the buyer clearly stocked up--was that he found a bunch that had been in the store for a while and bought them all for a song, and then (as is the way with so many bargains) forgot them in the attic. Nicely done!