Monday was a good day to cruise around the racks and hangers at a couple of Goodwills in the area. I need a black dress belt and was looking in the women’s section where the selection is better and found this belt hanging toward the front. This usually means that it was a recent addition and hadn’t been looked over much. Sure enough, the tag showed that it had been hung the day before. It was a bit tattered on the end but something about it grabbed my attention. It was the opposing Gs that made up the buckle that was quite different. The belt had repeated Gs in a different configuration throughout the fabric portion from one end to the other. Then I noticed that the quality was above normal and worth further investigation. It was a few inches too short for me to wear so I put it back on the belt rack.
I walked out and forgot about it until the next afternoon when, after work, I decided to look up the unusual buckle design through the Google Images to see if it was what I suspected. It was! If it was an original, I just passed over a Gucci belt that I could get for 1/100th the price of a new one that is if you could find one. I found it in the same place I left it the day before and made sure it went out the store with me this time. Here it is.
The old saying that you cannot judge a book by its’ cover rings quite true when comparing cheap ties with the most expensive. I have so many ties now that when looking through the rows of colored silk at the Goodwill store I simply slide my hand behind the last ties on a rack and pull the group toward me so I can read their manufacturer label instead of looking at the tie itself.
Some of the ties I find are made of polyester, made in China, and look great but are not of the quality that will look that good this time next year. The stitches are of cheap material as well and the ties quickly fall apart after rough use when removing them from around your neck. So I look for the name brands made of 100% silk from Italy and know that they will be passed on to my grandchildren with pride instead of finding the garbage can or worse, make their way back to the nearest Goodwill bin.
Speaking of falling apart, I found a few of my better ties where the stitching knot at the end of the tie came loose and the tie began to become unraveled. Nothing else was wrong with the ties that a needle and five minutes didn’t fix.
One of these “needing to be fixed” ties this past weekend was a beautiful silver and gold Versace. I was fooled at first since the label said “GIANNI VERSACE” instead of the “Versace” I was used to seeing at the local Saks Fifth Avenue. I’ve been drooling over these ties for months but couldn’t justify spending the sale price of $80 for the solid color ties that “looked” a lot like the Bill Blass black labels I’ve been finding lately at Goodwill. I finally located a Versace I could afford and it was only $1.99. This was one of those finds that happens only once every blue moon, or in this case silver and gold. A little needle work and it was good as new. The very next day I found a solid light blue Giorgio Armani with the identical problem of a loose thread that had unraveled from the bottom and was easily fixed with the same needle and another five minutes of time.
In summary, I don’t mind spending a two dollar bill on a tie worth one hundred times that amount when all it takes is a few minutes of my time to hold one of the most desired ties of today. It isn’t the fact that anyone knows the difference between this and one you can buy at Wal-Mart but I know what I’m wearing and I love the expression when I let people know what I bought for $1.99 and then show them the name on the back. They always ask the same question, “Which Goodwill did you find that at?” They know me as the Goodwill Buyer.
(Photos to follow soon)
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This weekend turned out to be a great one for finding some quality gems I’m always searching for. Who would have known how exciting this weekend would be in that regard. An old haunt yielded two fantastic neckties I never dreamed of owning and a first visit to an out-of-the-way Goodwill produced some very nice products for both myself and one of my children’s birthday coming up just around the corner.
I am always asking questions as to how our local Goodwill stores work so I can try to find an edge over other customers to increase my chances of finding that certain treasure of the year. As it turns out, each store has a manager with different ideas when it comes down to small details but overall, the stores are pretty much run in the same way within this locality. I was interested in how and where they placed the new items if there was indeed any pattern to follow. Do they place the ties on the front of the hangers or hide them within and do they put the new stuff on the end or as some do, go to the trouble of placing the ties based on colors together. As luck would have it, in one certain store the last hanger of ties was the adrenaline rush I was seeking just as I was about to give up and move on.
There they were, right up front, one behind the other, two beautiful ties, a Burberry and a Brioni. Once again, my eyes glazed over trying to make sure what I was looking at was actually in my hands. In looking up prices for comparison to see which ties to search for, these two names always come up in the upper realm of expense at the few stores that sell these brands. During this search I also found several Christian Dior, a couple of Yves Saint Laurent, Bill Blass black label and Valentino ties each and a beautiful Giorgio Armani Cravatte that I wore to church the next day.
I’ve been looking for a set of cedar shoe trees (shaped cedar blocks that fit within your good shoes) and found a pair from Nordstrom at one store. It didn’t have a price on it but the attendant answered my question by quickly taking them in the back room and had the manager place a price of $1.99 on the pair. Sold! A sheet of sandpaper run across the surface and they looked and smelled like new! I also found three solid blocks of cedar with brass hangers to place in amongst my suits and wool coats to keep the moths away. Got them for half price of their original $2.99.
This was the start of the weekend cruise around the valley. I visited seven Goodwill stores in the vicinity and picked up wooden hangers in almost every one of them. Saturday was half-off day so most of the hangers were 49 cents each, even the suit/pants combination hangers.
But this wasn’t all that was half the price. I found a double-breasted Burberry suit that had been marked as $19.99 but paid half of that; $9.98. Looked it up on the Burberry site and found that it sold new for $2,295.00. I’m not into double-breasted suits but I learned that I had no problem getting in to Burberry. I was about ready to call it a day as I was so excited over this last find but decided to continue looking through this new store that had not made it to my regular weekly route. Glad I did as there on the Better Quality rack in the center of the store was a shiny, black, pinstripe Ermenegildo Zegna jacket for $4.99, a dark grey alpaca Richard Tyler women’s jacket ($9.99) for my daughter, medium grey Hugo Boss wool dress coat for $4.99 and pants at $6.99 each from Hugo Boss, Pazoni, Ashbridge, Pronto-Uomo and Brooks Brothers.