My Favorite Old Pieces – Clothes & Accessories That Have Really Lasted
Today, I’ll share some of my favorite old stuff with you. By that, I mean things I’ve had for 10 years or more that have stood the test of time, that have aged well, and that I’m really glad I invested money in.
Fashion moves quickly these days; within a time span of five years, you may have rotated your entire wardrobe! For me, I don’t buy something that I just intend to wear for a season or two and then throw it away or donate it–because I have a style that is classic and timeless, so I can buy a tie and wear it for 20 years down the line, at least, that’s my approach.
My Favorite Old Pieces
One of the reasons I want to share this list with you is to show you how good things age and that you, too, can invest in items that are not subject to trends, but simply part of your own unique style. It may not be the same as my style but it should be a style that works for you not just now, but in five or ten years, or even more down the line.
Personally, I don’t care if an item is vintage, used, or new. All that I care about is that it has quality and character, and that it works for me. So, for each item on this list, I’ll talk about when I bought it, how it has aged, its details, the maker, and everything else of interest.
1. Chalk Stripe Overcoat (16 Years)
First on my list is a single-breasted chalk stripe overcoat. I bought it in about 2004 or 2005, used. It’s from Bally and it has a very nice silhouette. It doesn’t have much shoulder padding, and it’s very flattering. It’s what I wore when I met my wife, and I still have it to this day.
I just recently had all the buttons replaced because they were coming off, but I can still wear it. It’s just a nice overcoat and I have a lot of memories attached to it. If you look at it, it isn’t really worn out yet. The lapels might be a little slim but overall, and it has side vents (which is unusual). It’s just a timeless garment that looks stylish even today.
2. Ralph Lauren Striped Suit (16 Years)
I bought this Ralph Lauren Purple Label on eBay in 2004 or 2005, for $300 or $400. It was one of my first suits that cost some money, and it was just wonderful; it was soft, had soft interlining, soft shoulders, and it had this kind of 1930s-inspired cut with wider lapels, which I really appreciated. It also had inward-facing pleats in the pants, which weren’t something I had up until then. Pleats act as a really great way to maintain your weight, because if your old stuff doesn’t fit you anymore, you have to get rid of it–but if you hate the idea of that, you’ll always make an effort to be able to fit into those garments!
To this day it’s my wife’s favorite suit, even though I have other bespoke suits; she just likes the look of it and the way it feels. She’s just very attracted to it, and I still love that piece. At the time I purchased it, Purple Label suits were still made in Crewe, England by Chester Barrie. Today, they have moved production to Italy–but every once in a while on eBay, you can still find those old pieces which I think are quintessentially British. They’re very soft, more like an Anderson & Sheppard silhouette, for example. At the same time, the cut is a little different, and so I liked this about those old Ralph Lauren Purple Label pieces.
3. Fort Belvedere Prototype Wallet (10 Years)
This next one is the original prototype wallet from Fort Belvedere. It was made around 2010-2011 and I’ve been carrying it ever since. It’s a deerskin wallet, kind of a really dark chocolate brown with a more like sunflower yellow lining. It has the signature Fort Belvedere folded edges and at the time, I just wanted to make sure that if we sold a wallet, it would hold up. Therefore, I carried it every day, and you can still see, it looks pretty good for being that old and used every day!
To learn about the other hallmarks of a quality wallet, please check out this guide here, and if you’re interested in the wallets we sell today, please check them out here.
4. Augusto Caraceni Suits (17 Years)
I bought these suits used in about 2003 to 2005, and it all started with eBay. Someone had just listed one of them as a bespoke suit and I bought it for 30 euros, which is about $35-40. I just saw a picture of the label and realized that it was a high-end suit. Since most people who have bespoke suits don’t just buy one, I asked them if they had more! The first one was this kind of pale green fresco suit that I got, it had a wonderful color depth, single-breasted with two buttons, with a wider notched lapel. It was just a beautiful garment, and a great summer suit.
Fortunately, the lady who sold it got me in touch with the owner of the suits, and he had a bunch more. His son lived in the city I was studying in (Hamburg, Germany), and so he would come there every once in a while to drop off a whole suitcase with ties and shirts and suits. He had my height and weight and overall, the suits had a pretty nice fit and were pretty comfortable. They’re not perfect, but really, hardly anything is.
Other suits from that lot included my double-breasted petrol blue suit, also in a fresco fabric; my charcoal brown pinpoint suit, three-piece with a double-breasted waistcoat and peak lapels; and also my brown double-breasted Prince of Wales check or Glen check suit with an over pane in a light blue. You can see I’ve worn them gently, so they’re by no means worn out. I bought them used, so they’re probably about 30 or 40 years old, but they still look great. They’re in a timeless shape, and it’s just something that I can always pull off. People always compliment me on them, simply because most men do not have suits in such unusual colors and patterns.
Last but not least, I also have a green worsted suit from Caraceni that I also got in that lot. It came as a three-piece with a single-breasted vest and notch lapels, and it’s also nice to combine it as a sport coat with different colored pants.
5. Ludwig Reiter Shoes (17 Years)
This pair is from an Austrian shoemaker of Goodyear welted shoes, and I have it’s a full-brogue derby, which has an unusual last form and an unusual cognac color. I bought it, I think, for 100 euros, new and unworn at a vintage shop in Munich in about 2003. The shoes have a few scratches these days, and they’ve been resoled, but I still enjoy wearing them. I think they’re a cool pair of shoes that have stood the test of time.
At around the same time, I bought some vintage Church’s shoes in black and brown. One pair of these has already worn out, with a big gaping hole in the uppers, so I had to just throw them away. The others are clearly worn out as well, and I don’t wear them as often anymore, simply because I have many other shoes now.
6. Cufflinks (18 Years)
I’m really glad I invested in cufflinks. I used to have an extensive cufflink collection with gold that I usually purchased on eBay and other vintage places in Germany. I had to sell most of them in order to come to the US for good in 2009-2010, but I still have a few cufflinks that I originally bought.
One of them is the green enamel pair that I bought at a flea market in Budapest during my internship in 2006. It has some blemishes but it’s still nice-looking, it’s unusual, and it’s something I can still wear to this day. This kind of spirit inspired me to design my own collection of cufflinks which are all designed so you can hand them down to your children, to your sons, even to your daughters, and they can wear them and enjoy them for decades, maybe even centuries to come.
7. Siniscalchi Shirts (14 Years)
Next up are my Siniscalchi shirts, which came from the same guy who had those Caraceni suits, and I got a bunch of them, too! What I really liked about them was that they had very unusual high-end fabrics. Siniscalchi is a high-end shirt maker from Milan, Italy and usually, a shirt from him costs around 500 to 600 euros, which is quite pricey. This is because he has a very unique process in how you’re measured, the collars are all custom in their shape, and I really enjoy their fabric selection, because they have very breathable fabrics for summer, and just very beautiful fabrics that you won’t find elsewhere.
I’ve worn many of those shirts a lot and over time, you can see that the collars and cuffs are wearing out. I can either throw the whole shirt away, or I can just exchange the collars and the cuffs, which is probably what I’m going to do, simply because I appreciate those shirts for what they are.
8. Montblanc Fountain Pen (20 Years)
This fountain pen of mine has aged well and stood the test of time. My whole journey into classic menswear started with an OMAS fountain pen, which I bought on eBay and sold to make more money as a teenager, which then got me into collecting, buying and selling fountain pens (especially Montblanc fountain pens).
This was around 2002-2003, and while I sold most of my fountain pens, I still kept some of them. They still write well, they still look nice, and I particularly like them for signatures, because you can have a green ink with a wide O3B nib–so no one can really fake your signature, or if they try, you know that it’s not the right pen.
9. Burberry Trench Coat (13 Years)
Another item I’ve been wearing for years is my black trench coat from Burberry. I bought it used around 2007 at a vintage store in Hamburg called Rudolf Beaufays. He specialized in British vintage things, and it’s just an experience to go into that store because it’s full of old English stuff, memorabilia, and clothes. It’s just wonderful to be there!
At the time, I didn’t have much money, but I had sold a set of Goyard suitcases to round up some cash. The thing I bought together with my wife Teresa was this trench coat, because she really liked it on me and I liked it, too. The only thing I don’t like 100% is that it’s black. On the one hand, this makes it good for travel, because it doesn’t pick up dirt very easily (unlike, let’s say, the typical beige trench coat). On the other hand, if it would have been dark gray or navy, it would have the same benefits but it would be a little more versatile.
10. Cotton Polo Sweater
I really like cable knit tennis sweaters with a deep v-neck that shows off your tie and your shirt. It just makes me feel like I’m part of the 1930s, even though I don’t wear them to play tennis at all because I simply don’t play tennis, except maybe leisurely with my wife in the summer or when on vacation.
Even though they’re white (and as such, they stain very easily), I’ve managed to keep mine in good shape. Because it’s cotton, it can be washed. I also have others in wool which are nice. What I like about this particular sweater is that it has navy and light blue color accents around the collar, and also some navy blue around the sleeve. It’s just a very preppy look that is very distinguished and unique in this day and age.
11. Calvin Klein Underwear (14 Years)
Another thing that’s stood the test of time for me are a bunch of Calvin Klein underwear–and that may surprise you because it’s more of a pedestrian brand–but I remember when I came to the US for the first time in 2006 as an exchange student, Calvin Klein was the hot stuff. I bought a bunch of their underwear, and I kept wearing them and wearing them, and they haven’t really worn out. They are made out of polyester mostly, and they still look good.
These days. I have a bunch of different underwear, so I rarely wear them anymore–but overall, they’ve really held up superbly well and I was positively surprised by that.
12. Shadow Striped Socks (17 Years)
I was first introduced to shadow striped socks in around 2003 by my friend, Herbert Stricker, who is also known as Grimod de la Reynière, and he had these wonderful socks from Italy. I always wanted them because they had these two tones, and it was easy to combine them with other outfits. They were very different from the solid socks I had previously.
Those socks were also what inspired me to create our shadow-striped Fort Belvedere socks, which come in many different color combinations. They work with most solid, patterned, and striped pants. They’re very easy to combine, unlike a solid pair of socks, which is always slightly off. For an overview of the socks we offer now, you may check out our shop here.
13. Merkur Slant Razor (14 Years)
I got this razor in around 2006, when I switched from a Gillette Mach 3 system to a double edge safety razor. At first, I had a regular safety razor and someone told me to try a slanted model with Feather blades; for me, it was a revelation. I got a shave that was so smooth and soft, and I just had not known that before.
The razor cost me about $55, and it’s still in good use today. It works really well, and I think it will go for many more years, so it was a perfectly great investment.
14. Vintage Overcoats (14 Years)
Last but not least, one more thing I really appreciate about my wardrobe are my vintage overcoats. It’s not just one, because I have many of them. I bought them vintage, at prices all the way from five bucks up to maybe 200 bucks or a little more. They’re definitely something that most other people don’t have.
They are hard to find these days, but sometimes you can find them if you’re lucky. They often have beautiful, heavy fabrics that drape extremely well and keep you very warm. I particularly like double-breasted overcoats and the little details they have, such as back belts and pleats. You can see my entire collection of overcoats here.