Saving Bucks on an Elk Skin Jacket

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A few posts back, I talked about the vintage clothing store in Denton, Texas called Circa 77. We always find something without which we cannot live (That sentence seems stilted, but I had a high school English teacher who got furious if I put a preposition at the end of the sentence. It was something up with which she would not put.).

Where was I? Oh yes, Circa 77. We found a jacket for my husband there which turned out to be a fantastic deal. It was light tan leather, and it fit my husband amazingly well. I nearly passed on it because of the price. It was around $75, and Janie (the shopkeeper that day) couldn’t come down in the price because it was a consignment piece.

But, as he stood looking at himself in the mirror in that jacket, I just melted. My instincts told me that jacket was made for him. I couldn’t help myself and I bought it. That turned out to be a smart move.

A few days later, my husband was wearing that jacket when we exited a local coffee shop. An older gentleman at a table outside called out, “That’s a great jacket. It’s elk skin, you know.”

We didn’t know. The man asked if he could look at the jacket more closely. With an unkempt beard and several layers of clothing, he resembled one of the homeless folk who hang around downtown asking for handouts and we weren’t sure if that’s what he wanted. But, we let him examine it.

He pointed out the hand stitching, the elk horn buttons, and the fine craftsmanship. He told us how to care for the leather (we could hand wash the jacket if it got dirty). “I wouldn’t ask less than $1500 for that in my shop,” he said. He wasn’t homeless. He was just a “free spirit.”

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Jim Matheson was his name, and he gave us a card so we could visit his web site. He is a maker of â”leather hats, gloves, and more.”He’s also an author and quite a character.

We visited his website, and later that afternoon felt compelled to visit his “shop,” which is in a tiny booth at the Mini-Mall II on the Square. He showed us some amazing hand stitched hats that would sell for over $1000 in a high end shop. He doesn’t ask a third of that, but it was still out of our price range.

On New Year’s Eve, my husband wore his jacket to a party at a friend’s house. Two of the women there squealed when they looked at this jacket and they asked to touch it. For some reason they looked at me for permission. I shrugged and told them they could touch it if they could keep their hands off my husband. The women “oohed”and “aahed” over the workmanship and couldn’t believe I could ever have thought that $75 was too much to pay for it.

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Sometimes my instincts are right. My husband got an excellent addition to his wardrobe (which I might borrow now and again). We also got to meet an excellent craftsman we might never have discovered if my husband wasn’t wearing an elk skin jacket.