Father’s Day possibilities:
Men’s dress shirts are plentiful at thrift stores, and it’s rare not to find a custom made version made from fine cotton, or a high end designer label. Come armed with your dad’s exact size (higher quality shirts use neck and sleeve sizes rather than the less precise small, medium and large), and you may find a shirt with his exact numbers. Think about having it monogrammed on the cuff or pocket, either with classic initials, or – with a phrase or picture. Digital embroidery shops have design catalogs that resemble phone books of old, with thousands of choices.
Most national embroidery franchises, such as Fully Promoted, primarily work on clothing and caps that you purchase from them. So you need to find a shop that will do custom embroidery on an item you supply. We used SassonScrubs.com, a brick and mortar business in the Los Angeles Fabric District that specializes in personalized medical scrubs. We had phrases embroidered on a blouse, a sweater, a blazer and a dress shirt, and the prices varied from $18 to $30 per item, depending on the number of setups and words.
Nothing could be more boring than a handkerchief, right? Wrong, if you look for vintage cotton handkerchiefs with crazy designs from the 1950s and 60s (see above). Probably designed for women to tuck in their purses, these colorful, one-of-a-kind handkerchiefs are inexpensive (we’ve found them for 25 cents to $5) and easily readied for gift-giving. Make sure they are unstained and without tears, machine wash and then iron, adding a light spray of starch if you’d like. A grouping of 4-5 in designs that will bring a smile to dad would make a fine gift. He can use them as intended, or as funky pocket squares.
Probably second on the boring Father’s Day gift meter would be a tie.
The absolute glut of ties in thrift stores attests to the truths that a) men aren’t wearing as many ties and b) they get a lot of ties they hate as gifts and then give them away. But amid those piles of certifiably ugly cravats are usually some gems – beautiful Italian silk ties, skinny ties from the 50s that a hipster dad would crave, novelty ties that might have a special meaning or be great for a costume party. Ties are often priced at $2 and under. Spend a few dollars more to get your find drycleaned and pressed.
Like clip earrings, cuff links and tie clasps had their glory days in the 1950s and 60s. Casual office wear has made both nearly extinct, which means you can find them for a song at thrift stores, garage sales and antique shops. What makes them ideal for Father’s Day gift-giving is that you can find ones in designs that spark a personal connection to dad. Allison found one tie clasp at a Cincinnati St. Vincent de Paul that was helpfully engraved “Dad,” and another that had a Knights of Columbus logo. They were $2 each.
At a Yucaipa, CA, antique store, she found gold plated cuff links monogrammed in Old English letters for $3, marked down from $5. If your Dad has the initials “BCC,” you would have been in luck! The cufflinks were marked “Krementz” on the back, and a quick Google search turned up interesting research on the firm, which began in 1866 in Newark, N.J., and remained in the family until 1997.
In Philadelphia, Allison found new cuff links made with old typewriter keys at an antique shop. Several other cuff link sets she’s found have a Rat Pack vibe. What better for a dad who appreciates Sinatra?
Cashmere, fine wool or silk scarves for men are no longer only for winter wear in chilly climes. Maybe thanks to hipsters, we see scarves knotted around necks in southern California all year round. Like women’s scarves, we often find luxury fabric scarves with hand-rolled edges for under $5 at thrift stores. True, you may have to wade through a mountain of poly-cotton scarves with serged edges first, but persevere. These two 100 percent silk scarves were $1 each at Central Thrift in Los Angeles. (The blue and white geometic scarf is Valentino Boutique, from Italy; the other one, featuring curling club logos from Canada, had no label.)
We topped our fully-thrifted outfit on Blake with a buttery cashmere scarf from Goodwill that we found for $4.99. (His other clothing: a brand new Land’s End cashmere sweater (with tags) for $10 from It’s a Bargain; unlabeled black pants for $3 from Santa Monica Ave. Goodwill, steel-toe work boots for $8.99 from Fontana Goodwill, leather jacket, $3 from Central Thrift and leather Bottega Veneta backpack, $3.99 Salvation Army.)
Give Dad some street cred: look for a scarf – and maybe a link to a YouTube video on how to wear it.