RCS Tricks of the Trade: Shorts

A couple themes that this blog is all about include good style, and good value proposition.  I have a few tricks that me keep my closet lined up with those themes.  As most of you know, I frequent thrift stores quite a bit.  While I don’t buy a ton of stuff, there are some great finds that help offset larger purchases.  I practice what I preach, and thought I’d pass one of these tricks on to the readers.

I’m a stickler for shorts.  First: I can’t stand long inseams.  This is the main reason I don’t play in the NBA.  Second: I’m a 5″-6″ inseam guy (depending on the rise), which is actually really tough to find these days.  Shorts that work for me are usually pretty pricy ($50+ per pair).  My favorite shorts are Sid’s canvas shorts.  I have a few pairs of these…the fit is spot on.  Beyond these, Patagonia Stand Ups get some good traction, but mostly for weekend wear (more on this later).

I’ve come up with a really good trick that keeps my shorts drawer, and my wallet full.  Since most shorts at thrift stores are of the 9″+ variety, I don’t pay too much attention, unless they are an interesting pattern or a great fabric.  Instead, I find my shorts in the pants section.

When looking in the pants section, I look for waist size only.  Inseam doesn’t matter.  While there are a ton of pants that might be my size, I’m able to be very picky in what I buy.  Not to mention that pants from Goodwill usually cost around $5.  My process of elimination-  Pants don’t get picked if they are (in no particular order): dirty/stained beyond tolerance, in need of serious repair (from the knee up), bad fit, or that weird really thin cotton material.  Examples of what I do like are above.  Details:

These shorts from Banana Republic are a really nice duck canvas, which wear very well.  They were pants with a seriously long inseam.

These green gingham shorts from Polo had an 11″ inseam.  I had to double-check to ensure that they weren’t women’s capris.  Apparently some men do wear shorts that fall below the knee.

The cost of these shorts was $5 each.  I brought them both to my tailors and had them cut to the right inseam for $8 each, and I’m in business.  Think about that: I got a couple pairs of great shorts for under $15 each.  Not only is this easy on the wallet, but it also allows a sort of laissez faire attitude when wearing them.  If they get ruined, who cares?  I’m only out a few bucks.

These are the latest pair that are lined up to head to the tailors:

These are a GREAT pair of nantucket red canvas shorts from Murray’s (retail: $79.50). Again with the long inseam…it seems like we need an intervention.  Anyway, I found these a couple weeks ago at the Junior League store for $4.  They’ll make a visit to the tailors this week and be brought to an acceptable inseam for $8.  Then they’ll be ready to beat up.

More tricks to come, but I thought I’d get us going with something pretty seasonal-appropriate.  Your thoughts?

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3 Comments

  1. Pete
    07/14/2015 / 3:20 PM

    Excellent post. Been doing this process for years! Found some Southern Tide and Polo shorts at the Buckhead Goodwill this spring and tailored to 6″ inseam. My tailor charges a bit more than $8 though 🙁

  2. MPR
    07/15/2015 / 5:31 PM

    Great tip. I never really thought of doing it that way. My problem with shorts these days is that the leg openings are so narrow. I don’t have really think legs, but they are ridiculously narrow it seems. Plus, I think spending more than $20 for short pants is just plain stupid.

  3. BJH
    07/17/2015 / 2:20 PM

    I’ve got a great pair of Lucky denims that I want to get to an acceptable inseam. How do you feel about doing that with one of those industrial paper cutters like you see in an office mail room?

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