Monthly Archives: March 2015

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Weekend Wealth or Weakness?

This past week was quite exceptional in that I found many of the items I always look for (i.e. – Ermenegildo Zegna, Armani, Brioni) and then some I didn’t expect to find (Bally, Prada) which is the other half of the addictive excitement. I spent much more than the projected budget but somehow was able to dig up the money by promising myself to use the next paycheck to take care of the usual monthly bills. There is something wrong with wearing Armani and having to eat rice and beans.

The following chart shows what I bought, how much I paid with coupons and daily discounts, the tagged price and then the suggested retail if found with a link to the item or one similar to it. I was amazed how much the retail totaled than what I paid, 56 times as much, but I have been refining my taste toward the higher end of clothing knowing that in most cases that for the same price or a little more you typically get an article of superior quality and style. Here is what I found on a week of purchases half way through the month of March with subtotals included for each category:

Last Week’s Discoveries
March 12-18
$284.31 $445.48 $15,929.12
Category Manufacturer Description Paid Tagged Retail
Coats
$3,615.00 Ermenegildo Zegna Z – Italy 7.98 9.99 1,495.00
Armani, Giorgio MANI – Italy 4.99 9.99 1,225.00
Jack Victor Lucawood SPJ – Canada 4.99 9.99 895.00
Shirts
$4,346.55 Armani, Giorgio A|X – Portugal 4.79 5.99 44.50
Armani, Giorgio Collezioni – Tunisia 7.98 9.99 325.00
Armani, Giorgio Le Collezioni – Italy 8.98 17.99 375.00
Canali Italy 7.98 9.99 295.00
Canali Italy 4.49 5.99 295.00
Ermenegildo Zegna Z – Italy 10.38 12.99 385.00
Ermenegildo Zegna Z – Spain 6.38 7.99 445.00
Ermenegildo Zegna Z – Italy 7.18 8.99 375.00
Ermenegildo Zegna Z – Spain 6.38 7.99 445.00
Ermenegildo Zegna Z – Spain 4.99 5.99 445.00
Ermenegildo Zegna Z – Spain, linen 5.98 7.99 375.00
Givenchy Monsieur 6.38 7.99 443.26
Michael Kors Polo – Northern Mariana Islands 3.49 6.99 98.79
Sweaters
$890.00 Ermenegildo Zegna Z Pullover – Italy 4.49 5.99 695.00
Michael Kors Pullover – China 6.38 7.99 195.00
Pants
$3,156.00 Armani, Giorgio Collezioni – Italy 7.98 9.99 395.00
Armani, Giorgio le Collezioni – linen – Italy 9.73 12.99 395.00
Brioni Tan – Italy 5.59 6.99 695.00
Britches USA 5.59 6.99 155.00
Cavalier Tuxedo 3.49 6.99 18.00
Hickey Freeman 5.59 6.99 200.00
Hugo Boss James Brown US 5.59 6.99 255.00
John Varvatos U.S.A. 4.99 9.99 398.00
Pazoni Italy 3.49 6.99 195.00
Yves Saint Laurent Canada 5.24 6.99 450.00
Neck ties
$1,742.19 Armani, Giorgio Cravatte – Italy 3.19 3.99 150.00
Armani, Giorgio Collezioni – Italy 3.19 3.99 150.00
Bert Pulitzer Collections Edition – USA 0.99 1.99 15.00
Brioni Bandiera’s Dallas – Italy 3.19 3.99 230.00
English Laundry By Roffe – China 2.49 4.99 69.00
Ermenegildo Zegna Z – Italy 0.99 1.99 205.00
Ermenegildo Zegna Z – Italy 0.99 1.99 205.00
Ermenegildo Zegna Z – Italy 0.99 1.99 205.00
Ermenegildo Zegna Z – Italy 1.49 2.99 205.00
Graham & Lockwood London 1.48 2.99 13.19
Gucci Paolo Gucci – Italy 3.19 3.99 50.00
John Varvatos U.S.A. 1.49 2.99 95.00
Valentino Cravatte – Italy 1.48 2.99 150.00
Shoes
$1,745.00 Bally Rivera – Switzerland 6.48 12.99 495.00
Bally Berido Continentals – Switzerland 11.98 14.99 450.00
Calvin Klein Eric Tuxedo – China 12.47 24.99 150.00
Prada Vero Cuoio high heels – Italy 34.93 69.99 650.00
Accessories
$434.38 Timberland Reversible belt 2.49 4.99 48.00
Shoe tree Cedar set of two 3.18 3.98 20.00
Shoe tree Cedar set of two 3.18 3.98 20.00
Cufflinks CP, Sterling silver oval 6.48 12.99 200.00
Cufflinks Swank, Sterling silver square 6.48 12.99 146.38

 

weekend-wealth

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There are several things to consider and a good lesson to learn when hunting for Goodwill wealth.   Do I need all of the items listed above? Of course not! Can you get caught up in this type of rabbit chase? Definitely. Rabbits are cute and cuddly but have you ever tried to catch a rabbit in a field? The idea of finding an affordable treasure is quite alluring. I am always amazed at the retail prices some of these items command. I knew Zegna dress shirts cost between 350 to 500 dollars but did not know the Sterling silver cufflinks I picked up for less than six and a half dollars each might sell for as much as two hundred. By educating myself as the brands to look for, I am able to walk into a store, spend time going through all the racks of interest and walk out if I don’t find 1) a certain name brand worth buying, 2) an item I need in my size, 3) a proper place to put it and/or 4) something I can afford and make a profit by selling quickly.

  1. Is it Worth Buying?     Learn the brands that are both popular and worth your purchase. I grew up learning that any brand with the labels Giorgio Armani, Yves Saint Laurent and Oscar del la Renta were well out of my reach at the time. Never would I have realized just last year that I could own as many items as I have of these that both fit and are still in style. There are other Italian brands I have learned to pronounce with names like Ermenegildo Zegna, Hermes, Brioni, Isaia and Kiton I had never heard of until recently but now own. These are some of the highest quality in the world and are sought out by those who recognize their value even if the price is outrageous. Goodwill stores can be a great place to compare quality of the best to merchandise found in local chain stores costing many times more. In many cases, they hang on the rack together side by side.
  2. Does It Fit? My daughter claimed the Prada high heels until she found out how much they hurt since they were half a size too small. The same was true for me with a set of Bally shoes when I was reminded half way through the work day that they were made for someone with more narrow feet and that my toe nails needed a quick trimming due to the pain they soon inflicted. The shoes that had me walking straight and tall earlier in the day now had me limping. I have purchased way too many “quality” items that would have otherwise cost as much as one hundred times as much if purchased new but they didn’t fit like they should have.
  3. Do You Have a Place For It?     Purchase only what you have room for. You quickly become a prisoner of your belongings when you are suddenly reminded that you have more than you need. The key word there is need. I should have learned this lesson from my parents who tried to teach me, by example, the value of conservatism. Only by getting rid of everything they did not need did they find the freedom and happiness they had been looking for.
  4. Can Someone Else Use It? Not everyone has the same taste in clothing that I do. That is good in one respect as I am able to find items of value that others may overlook. One man’s trash is another man’s treasure. As an example of some treasures, I purchased eleven almost new Jos. A Bank suits that were a certain color tag selling for a dollar each that Thursday. The suits hung in the Goodwill for over a month and were slated for removal if they did not sell by the end of that day. Eleven suits for eleven dollars. I turned around and put them on eBay and sold one of them for $40. There were a few people that wanted some of the others paying the shipping costs and made it well worth my time. This is out of the ordinary but I took advantage of a situation and in this case it worked for not only myself but others as well. I am much more selective these days as to what I buy keeping in mind that it takes time to place each one on eBay and you may or may not recover your investment in money and time.

weekend-wealth-2Goodwillitis     This brings me to the last thing to consider. After a while, if you are not careful, you may succumb to what someone came up with that describes an uncontrollable impulse to buy from the Goodwill stores something you don’t need, you probably already have at least five of in the bottom of the closet, you broke your promise to not buy any more wooden hangers because there is no more room to hang anything, and you spend the money budgeted for food at the Goodwill. As it turns out, the term Goodwillitis is just a specific type of hoarding. Good luck Goodwilling.

 

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A Cool Find – Burberry style

Burberry Prorsum trenchcoatWhat a great way to start the day’s hunt than to find a fantastic article of winter clothing you would not normally be able to purchase due to the extreme cost or even be able to find in your high-end clothing stores. The item I’m referring to is the cool Burberry trench coat which included all of the supplemental items not usually found such as the belt and detachable lining to make it the whole package. This wasn’t your ordinary Burberry brand though, but this was the more desirable hand-crafted cotton Gabardine Prorsum version and it fit perfectly, of course. It appeared as new without a single mark or tear or stain on it and I found it in the women’s section hidden between some other less desirable coats. A good reason to check other sections out of the ordinary. The best part was that it was priced at one of my favorite Goodwill stores with the low price of $49.99. I knew this was a great deal so I grabbed it and made it a new home in my buggy until I could get to the cash register. Of course, I pulled out the monthly 20% off coupon at the end of the search and this brought it down to the more affordable price of $39.99.  I figured the price for a new one would be a few hundred dollars and was very surprised to see that the price on their website of a new one was quite a bit higher; $2,095.00 that is. My case of Goodwillitis has just become much worse. I now have to face the fact that it may be a while before I find another great item that will meet or surpass this cool find.

 

Wikipedia defines Burberry Prorsum – “The most fashion forward collection, centered around runway shows, providing the design inspiration for the brand”.