Italian Incentive

The best days to shop for the unexpected are the days you unexpectedly have time to shop. Try saying that again without messing up. This past week found an extra twenty dollars for food I didn’t expect to see in my wallet so after work, the car pointed to one of the favorite haunts for locating higher end clothing. Not the place you would expect to find such clothing but nonetheless, historically a good location. As a label looker, Italian names are typically the best overall to browse for in my case.

Italian Incentive
Click to enlarge.

Within this metropolitan area, the Goodwill stores will change their managers periodically and at times you can find some good deals on names they may not be familiar with when marking prices before hanging out for purchase. Seems the Goodwill management in this particular location discovered Ermenegildo Zegna shirts to be quite expensive when purchased new and the typical price of $5.99 jumped to $39.99 each for eight or so like-new Zegna shirts located on the Better Quality shirt rack. That was ten dollars more than a nice Armani jacket hanging nearby. Ironically, I did find a black Better Quality Zegna shirt my size for $7.98 with my 20% coupon discount and snagged it.

This was the first item located that started a high-end Italian shopping day. Cruising through the rows of men’s long sleeve shirts yielded another Zegna shirt priced at $4.79. It was just getting better. A little further, the tie rack yielded a gold mine with prices of $1.59 each for a Gianni Versace (Millennium version), two Gucci ties, two Ermenegildo Zegna ties and a beautiful brown and gray Canali. The price went down a little further at $1.49 for a nice, current brown Burberrys of London.

There were a few other items located at another Goodwill and it turned out to be a good day with an Italian flair.

P.S. – A word of caution. Just because the manufacturer’s name ends in a vowel doesn’t make it Italian. It may sound Italian but make sure the clothing has “made in Italy” and not “designed in Italy” as you may find in smaller lettering elsewhere on the garment the phrase “made in China” or “made in Vietnam” or some other country. Happy hunting!

Following is a spreadsheet to show the corresponding price I paid for the used items and a suggested retail price for comparison. Links provide pricing examples to the same or similar items when located. Suggested average retail price for this days work came to just over 90 times as much as was paid.  Photos will follow soon.

$18.21 $22.41 $1,640.00 90.1x
Company Description Paid Tagged Retail Color Origin
Ermenegildo Zegna Z 4.79 5.99 245.00 Yellow Italy
Ermenegildo Zegna 7.98 9.99 375.00 Black Italy
Vera Wang SimplyVera 4.79 5.99 48.00 Black China
Burberrys of London 1.49 1.49 190.00 Brown USA
Canali 1.59 1.99 160.00 Brown Italy
Ermenegildo Zegna Z 2.39 2.99 205.00 Purple Italy
Ermenegildo Zegna Z 1.59 1.99 205.00 Green Italy
Ermenegildo Zegna Vintage 1.59 1.99 205.00 Gray Italy
Gucci 1.59 1.99 200.00 Blue Italy
Gucci 1.59 1.99 200.00 Black Italy
Versace, Gianni 2000 1.59 1.99 275.00 Black Italy



February 2016 Summary

Logo smallAs with every one of the previous months, this month of February reflects a lot of fun in locating the ever elusive high-end clothing at the local Goodwill stores. My younger daughter has attended two such outings lately and was able to find a few items that peaked her interest and put back a few she learned were not of the higher quality she expected. Most of what she found made it’s way into the buggy so she has become a quick study.

A recent working realization is to visit your local Goodwill stores periodically varying your shopping days during the week and you should find some really nice items that you had not counted on locating. You do have competition whether you know it or not. Educate yourself with some of the finer brands as they typically cost the same as off the shelf low cost companies you find in your local Wal-mart. The higher end clothes you can find in Goodwill are typically better made by some of the world’s best craftsmen and well worth learning their names. The following are some I was able to find just this last month.

As with this past month of January, there were some definite gems located in the recent haul. I was not able to find a suit from one of my favorite vendors but was able to locate two like-new dress jackets by Oxxford Clothes (Oxxford Press) for $7.98 each that if purchased new would total $10,400. Remember that company’s name with two x’s. These jackets are made in Chicago by one of the best clothiers in the US. I also found a really nice jacket by Canali and another from the Armani Collezioni.
2016 Feb rightThe shirts, fifteen of them, came in with some really nice finds. The least expensive were the two Armani Exchange, new for $98 each, and the most expensive being the two from Brioni at $595 and $650. There were three from Burberry, two from Canali, two from Ermenegildo Zegna, two from Ike Behar finishing up with one each from Valentino and Zanella.

The sweaters and jackets yielded a really nice surprise with a Marc by Marc Jacobs purchased for $2.99 that retails for $495. That one opened my eyes and provided goose bumps (not goose down) up and down both arms. The three others were also well worth picking up with a Burberry Brit brown pullover, a Christian Dior wind breaker and a Lanart baby alpaca pullover.

The next category of pants also brought in a nice surprise with one of the best made from Brioni that was picked up for $5.59 and retails for $925. This is another company name you need to learn! Another surprise was a seldom seen Dolce & Gabbana pair of jeans that sells for $645, two pair of identical Ermenegildo Zegna black jeans and a nice pair of black slacks from Armani Exchange.

I can’t go into a Goodwill without hitting the tie section and there were some really nice items found starting with a rare Ralph Lauren, purple label, a Gucci, four Fendi, two from Valentino, and one each from Armani Collezioni, Canali, Ermenegildo Zegna, and Lanvin.

I didn’t find any shoes for myself but rather found three pair for my daughters from Savatore Ferragamo, two drivers and one flat. I find it hard to believe that a pair of driver shoes would go for $560 and there were two identical pair of the same size.

The last category, accessories, yielded a Louis Vuitton Chic Neo Speedy purse I picked up for less than $40 but sells new for $1,690.

In picking up the Brioni shirt with French cuffs, it also had attached a pair of really nice Tatessian London cufflinks. There was no extra charge for them and they priced out at $185 for the pair. My daughter looked these up on her phone and her eyes got big when she saw how much the two little bits of rhodium cost. Information is your tool for making a good decision as to what to choose to take out the door with you. As always, more information on each item can be found in the following spreadsheet with links to individual items that are the same or similar to the piece purchased to help you find where the retail price is located.

The number of items purchased this past month was only 48 versus 55 in January but the average item retail price was more than 92 times as much vs 77 times as much in January. I spent nine dollars less but the retail value was about four thousand dollars more. Those are some good numbers to indicate my purchases were of a better quality. I’m looking forward to doing the same thing in March.

February 2016 Take

$294.23 $402.53 $27,106.90 92.1X
Company Description Paid Tagged Retail Color Origin
Dress Jackets
12,990.00 Armani, Giorgio Collezioni 7.98 9.99 1,225.00 Brown Italy
Canali 7.98 9.99 1,295.00 Gray Italy
Oxxford Clothes Gibbons 2Btn Notch 7.98 9.99 4,575.00 Black USA
Oxxford Crest Nathan N2 7.98 9.99 5,895.00 Black USA
5,222.00 Armani, Giorgio A|X 3.99 4.99 98.00 Black India
Armani, Giorgio A|X 7.18 8.99 98.00 Tan China
Brioni Formal Shirt 19.97 24.99 650.00 Blue Italy
Brioni Tonal-Stripe 4.79 5.99 595.00 White Italy
Burberry London 7.98 9.99 425.00 Gray Italy
Burberry London 4.79 5.99 425.00 Brown USA
Burberrys Check cotton 10.38 12.99 495.00 Plaid USA
Canali Sportswear 4.79 5.99 295.00 Red Italy
Canali 6.48 12.99 295.00 Plum Italy
Ermenegildo Zegna 4.79 5.99 445.00 Red Italy
Ermenegildo Zegna 19.96 39.99 445.00 Silver Romania
Ike Behar New York 4.79 5.99 245.00 Gray USA
Ike Behar New York 1.00 5.99 245.00 Brown Peru
Valentino Aurelio 2.99 5.99 277.00 White Italy
Zanella 4.79 5.99 189.00 Gray Italy
1,019.00 Burberry Brit 4.79 5.99 295.00 Brown England
Christian Dior Monsieur 4.99 9.99 30.00 Red Macau
Lanart Baby Alpaca 4.79 5.99 199.00 Brown Peru
Marc Jacobs Marc 2.99 5.99 495.00 Black Italy
2,339.50 Armani, Giorgio A|X 5.59 6.99 79.50 Black China
Brioni Sport 5.59 6.99 925.00 Black Italy
Dolce & Gabbana 14.37 17.99 645.00 Gray Italy
Ermenegildo Zegna 5.59 6.99 345.00 Black Romania
Ermenegildo Zegna 5.59 6.99 345.00 Black Romania
1,901.40 Armani, Giorgio Collezioni 1.99 3.99 150.00 Gray Italy
Canali 3.99 4.99 200.00 Blue Italy
Ermenegildo Zegna Disegno Esclusivo 1.59 1.99 205.00 Orange Italy
Fendi 3.19 3.99 111.60 Brown Italy
Fendi 3.19 3.99 111.60 Black Italy
Fendi 3.19 3.99 111.60 Black Italy
Fendi 3.19 3.99 111.60 Black Italy
Gucci 1.59 1.99 200.00 Green Italy
Lanvin 1.59 1.99 165.00 Blue France
Ralph Lauren Purple label 2.39 2.99 235.00 Brown Italy
Valentino DIS. N. 63116 1.59 1.99 150.00 Gray Italy
Valentino DIS. N. 63143 1.59 1.99 150.00 Gray Italy
1,645.00 Salvatore Ferragamo drivers 3.99 4.99 560.00 Tan Italy
Salvatore Ferragamo drivers 3.99 4.99 560.00 Tan Italy
Salvatore Ferragamo flats 5.59 6.99 525.00 Tan Italy
1,990.00 Louis Vuitton Chic Neo Speedy 39.94 49.99 1,690.00 Blue France
Tateossian London 0.00 0.00 185.00 Silver England
Vera Bradley Preppy Poly Belt Bag 5.59 6.99 54.00 Brown USA
Victoria’s Secret Pajamas 7.98 9.99 49.00 Black USA
Sport 3.19 3.99 12.00 Blue ?




January 2016 Summary

Logo smallA New Year resolution didn’t flow over into this year very well, at least for the first month of the year. I had resolved to not spend so much this year as before but the Goodwillitis bug just wouldn’t leave me alone. At least that is the best excuse one could conjure up at a moment’s notice. However, another resolution I was able to keep was to be more selective in the items I placed on the checkout counter. After grabbing what appears to be a decent high-end item, it is worth the few extra minutes it takes to find a tall rack or shelf to hang the items on one at a time for closer inspection. Inevitably, I was able to find those evasive moth holes in the merino wool sweaters or the tears at the end of the shirt sleeves that made the wonderful find a definite “put back”. One must keep in mind that there is a reason these fine items you spend time searching for make their way to the Goodwill stores.

On this page is the month of January 2016 haul of 55 “high end” items. The total expenditure of $303 came as a surprise to myself as I wasn’t aware I had spent that much, almost twice as much as the previous month and about the same value if purchased new. Not a good month if viewed in that perspective. However, there were some definite gems as you will see.

I located a fantastic gray Emporio Armani suit by Giorgio Armani for less than sixteen dollars. It fits like it was tailor-made for you know who. The dress coats produced a nice surprise when a navy Oxxford Clothes Diplomat was located. This company makes some of the best if not the finest American made clothing. The other two were a black Giorgio Armani Collezioni and a gray John Varvatos Dwell. Two overcoats were found; a very nice chocolate brown Armani which I had to sell to a co-worker to get him to leave me alone and then a tan St John’s Bay. The shirts totaled a great number of twenty-three purchases, specifically four from Armani, a Brioni, two Burberry’s, seven of my favorite brand of Ermenegildo Zegna, one Hugo Boss, one TailorByrd, three from Versace and a few others. Two sweaters, one from Armani Exchange and another from Giorgiolini made it into the house. The pants delivered some amazing examples from Armani Collezioni, Armani MANI, Burberry London, Christian Dior Monsieur and a Versace Jeans Couture ($8 vs $850). Lastly, the tie. What would a visit to Goodwill be without finding some great examples of the slivers of silk men tie around their necks (cravette) and I found eighteen of these. The ties came from Allen Edmonds, Armani, Brioni, Burberry, Canali, Croft & Barrow, Ermenegildo Zegna, Givenchy, Gucci, J. Ferrar, Lanvin and Valentino. A nice collection from some nice brands.

The store coupons and the special color tag discounts saved $130 from what the suggested price was listed as on each garment in total. It is even more surprising when you consider the comparison of what shirt you can buy for $5.99 such as a $995 Brioni top of the line or an $8 Wal-Mart special. It is worth the hour spent in each store just to find that one single item each month. The value becomes ever more apparent when worn to work and the ladies know you are wearing something special from their positive compliments. That’ll put a grin on any well-dressed fella’s face.


January 2016 Take

$303.07 $433.15 $23,283.96 76.8x
Company Description Paid Tagged Retail Color Origin
2,545.00 Armani, Giorgio Emporio 15.97 19.99 2,545.00 Gray
Dress Coats
4,645.00 Armani, Giorgio Collezioni 19.97 24.99 627.00 Black Turkey
John Varvatos Dwell 4.99 9.99 398.00 Gray China
Oxxford Clothes Diplomat 7.98 9.99 3,620.00 Navy USA
2,700.00 Armani, Giorgio Giorgio Armani 14.37 17.99 2,625.00 Brown Italy
St John’s Bay  – 8.98 17.99 75.00 Tan China
7,521.11 Armani, Giorgio A|X 2.99 5.99 98.00 Blue Hong Kong
Armani, Giorgio A|X 10.39 12.99 98.00 Gray Hong Kong
Armani, Giorgio Collezioni 4.79 5.99 245.00 Blue Tunisa
Armani, Giorgio Le Collezioni 7.48 14.99 375.00 Blue Italy
Brioni Neiman Marcus 11.47 22.99 645.00 Blue Italy
Burberry London 15.97 19.99 425.00 Blue USA
Burberry London 4.79 5.99 425.00 Blue USA
Ermenegildo Zegna Sport 2.99 5.99 385.00 Blue China
Ermenegildo Zegna Z 4.79 5.99 495.00 Blue Italy
Ermenegildo Zegna Z – Soft 4.49 5.99 385.00 Cream Italy
Ermenegildo Zegna Zegna S Sport 4.79 5.99 385.00 Black Turkey
Ermenegildo Zegna Zegna S Sport 4.79 5.99 385.00 Brown Turkey
Ermenegildo Zegna 4.79 5.99 375.00 Blue Italy
Ermenegildo Zegna 7.18 8.99 495.00 Aqua Turkey
Hugo Boss Boss 4.79 5.99 182.61 Black Portugal
Michael Kors  – 6.38 7.99 125.00 Gray China
Pierre Cardin  – 4.79 5.99 25.00 Brown India
Saks Fifth Avenue Black 2.99 5.99 245.00 Blue Sri Lanka
TailorByrd Collection 1930 4.79 5.99 99.50 Blue China
Versace Classic V2 5.99 5.99 795.00 Red Italy
Versace Jeans Couture 3.74 4.99 80.00 Yellow Italy
Versace Jeans Couture 4.79 5.99 675.00 Green Italy
Wild Fox White Label 3.19 3.99 78.00 Black China
449.87 Armani, Giorgio A|X 2.99 5.99 400.00 Gray Hong Kong
Giorgiolini  – 4.79 5.99 49.87 Black Italy
2,606.00 Armani, Giorgio Collezioni 3.49 6.99 425.00 Gray Italy
Armani, Giorgio MANI 1.00 6.99 395.00 Gray Italy
Burberry London (NWT) 19.97 24.99 475.00 Charcoal England
Christian Dior Monsieur 5.24 6.99 461.00 Charcoal
Versace Jeans Couture 7.98 9.99 850.00 Black Italy
2,796.99 Allen Edmonds John’s Collection 2.24 2.99 95.00 Blue Germany
Armani, Giorgio Giorgio Armani 4.99 9.99 150.00 Gray Italy
Arrow 1851 1.59 1.99 36.00 Black USA
Brioni  – 1.59 1.99 230.00 Red Italy
Brioni  – 1.49 1.99 230.00 Brown Italy
Burberry London 7.98 9.99 150.00 Brown Italy
Canali  – 2.39 2.99 160.00 Gray Italy
Canali  – 2.39 2.99 160.00 Brown Italy
Croft & Barrow  – 1.59 1.99 20.40 Black China
Ermenegildo Zegna ***** 3.49 6.99 275.00 Green Italy
Ermenegildo Zegna Z 1.99 3.99 205.00 Brown Italy
Ermenegildo Zegna Z 1.59 1.99 205.00 Gold Italy
Givenchy Monsieur 3.99 7.99 195.00 Blue Italy
Gucci  – 3.19 3.99 190.00 Red Italy
J. Ferrar  – 3.79 3.99 32.00 Black USA
Lanvin  – 1.59 1.99 165.00 Navy France
Valentino DIS. N. 66135 3.99 4.99 150.00 Brown Italy
Valentino  – 1.99 3.99 150.00 Red Italy
19.99 Natural 10-scarves hanger 0.34 0.69 19.99 Wood/metal