I was about to give up on finding anything in the area of high-end clothing when this past week made up for this shortfall. It turns out that my return on investment approached a record for this year of the retail being almost ninety times as much as I spent. It wasn’t my target of the three-digit number of 100 times, but it came close. This is also the month where people go crazy looking for Halloween costumes and where better to find the best ideas than the place with the greatest variety; Goodwill of course. They even help you look for that certain theme that fits you best. My costume you may ask? A wealthy Wall Street business man, of course. That should scare everyone!
Treasures – The treasures located were quite nice even though the total number of items was one of the lowest, with only 32 this month. My closet space overflow is quickly disappearing so my taste for the finer things is sharpening in relative proportion. I’d like to think so anyway. Research is showing the one item that loses the greatest percentage against the initial cost in my collection is that of men’s suits. As an example, a barely worn, six thousand five hundred dollar Brioni tuxedo from Neiman Marcus was purchased for less than thirteen dollars (See last month). I just picked up one of Ermenegildo Zegna’s more expensive like-new suit jackets for one dollar this month as another example. A rare label with the name Isaia had my heart racing as I checked the size to make sure the beautiful shirt would fit, and it does! A different kind of personal treasure was the large print, very large King James Bible. It will serve me well. Additional treasures worth mentioning would be the two original water colored paintings, one of which brings our family closer to their six hundred year old English roots. The following provides more details and photographs which can be clicked for enlargement.
Suits – Ermenegildo Zegna came in with two very nice suits with my expenditure of $28.49 for the $6,400 retail value of this collection on the last Sunday afternoon of the month. One of the suits is a very nice medium grey in color two-button “Trofeo” while the other is a grayish dark brown “High Performance”. The jackets fit very well and all I had to do was let the pants cuff out for the required extra length. Ermenegildo Zegna sells very well in this area and the number of suits located at Goodwill in comparison to other brands reflects this. As an example, I have as many Ermenegildo Zegna suits as the next two brands put together; Armani and Burberry. The Trofeo (trophy) wool is described as the “superfine Australian Merino wool characterized by longer and more elastic fibers that make garments smoother and more comfortable” (Zegna.us). This also allows for less wrinkling, softer and longer wearing, thus a better buy for the money in my opinion.
Dress Jackets – Ermenegildo Zegna shows up again with two more items in this category. A very lucky find was a light brown “15milmil15” made in Switzerland on the higher scale of the Zegna brand that I was able to walk away with for only one dollar! Thursday is “Dollar Day” for the tag of a certain color for that week and blue was that color. It is hard to believe that no one picked this one up for the 35 days it was hanging on the rack. What a beautiful and super soft coat this one is to have found its way into my buggy. On the opposite end of the scale of the Zegna brand is the Z style with the price tag of $7.99. This one is made in Mexico but adheres to the stringent refinements of the brand headquartered in Italy.
Shirts – Six very nice shirts were located with two of them sporting name brands that are new to my collection. These new brands are the very respectable Marc Jacobs and Lubiam. It was quite a surprise to find the Marc Jacobs with the tag showing “Made in Sri Lanka” but the Lubiam was “Made in Italy”. The other four that were also made in Italy were a cream colored Canali, a seldom seen plaid Isaia Napoli and two other white and blue dress shirts from a much sought after Ralph Lauren Purple Label. My cost for the six shirts was less than $10 per item netting a total retail of an impressive $2,256.
Pants – Now that I basically have a matched pair of trousers for each of the dress jackets, I am very selective as to what brand and color to pick up these days. The only pair of trousers selected this month was a tan Canali Pantalone, just my waist size and the length, so it automatically made its way into my collection. This company is top notch in both design, fashion and quality in all their mens wear. The attention to detail and fit make their name one to keep on your list to look for.
Ties – One of the managers of a frequented Goodwill store reminded me that I now have stiff competition from a young man he referred to as the “new” tie guy. He said he sees him almost daily which probably explains why I found the racks deficient of the name brands I usually come across from week to week. You have to wonder where he gets his information. I was able to locate four very nice pieces of silk from Ermenegildo Zegna and Gianni Versace. I was not aware that Zegna carried the more personal line of the “Su Misura” in ties and also located a five-star version (*****), their top of the line for neck-wear. These were located in a less effluent area where the typical customer may not be as familiar with the higher-end name brands. These stores are always worth checking at least every couple of weeks.
Accessories – The library of books found on my shelves quickly shows an interest in what I like to research. Three such books are new to the shelves with one of the topics intended to revive my ability to have an intelligent conversation in the German language. The other two are very nice leather bound King James Version Bibles, one of which I was surprised to find with a list price of $229. My home church always has someone who appreciates a beautiful leather bound Bible.
In the category of accessory clothing, four sets of cedar shoe trees will find good homes stuffed in the empty leather shoes that are looking to be properly stretched. A very nice leather Gucci belt found its way into my collection to be hung on the inside of the closet door, although there is some speculation to its authenticity. With the large number of high-end neckties growing weekly, some of the very expensive ones require a specialized storage container and the two small Lane cedar boxes are just the right size for such items.
With the cold weather pushing its way across the country this time of year, a great item for keeping the chill off the rooms was located with the circulating oil Pelonis heater. This great little portable radiator filled with a viscous oil gives off a constant controlled radiant temperature with very little use of electricity. It has a thermostat and a heat control to maintain a constant, comfortable atmosphere within a large room. The $13.49 spent on this item will more than make up for the difference it makes this winter provided it works properly. There is always a reason things show up in the Goodwill stores and I checked to make sure it worked before it made its way to the cashier. The large picture in the black frame was purchased to frame a pen and ink drawing I did years ago that is gathering dust. It is time to put it on the wall behind glass now.
The kitchen will become more efficient with the three Pampered Chef stoneware pieces located for making the pizza and bean dip as well as countless other recipes that are made that much more tasty. A great collection of plastic measuring cups and spoons was found in a plastic bag for a great price compared to what I would have had to pay at our local grocery store. My youngest daughter borrowed my old set and “forgot” to return them. She can keep them now that I have a more complete set. That worked out well for both of us.
Last on the list are two spectacular water color originals that the Goodwill stores are well known for carrying in my metropolitian area. It helps to know your local artists or perhaps just appreciate a beautiful piece of artwork that fits well within your home color scheme. I actually won an auction as the only bidder at ShopGoodwill.com with a five dollar bill for an original of the “The Ostrich Inn, Wherstead” located just outside of Ipswich, Suffolk, England. Geoff Pleasance painted this in great detail in 1976 and I am the very fortunate person to now be able to pass it on through the line of our family to come. The Inn was built in 1612 just down the road from where our paternal family lived before they removed to the New World in 1635. Chances are pretty good that they were very familiar with what was on the menu at that time since it was within a mile of where they lived on the main road to the city of Ipswich.
The other water color, from Hugh Riker, is a much larger rendering of a Western stage coach heading across a sparse barren desert in the direction of a local storm. The artist evokes a sense of future action if the slow moving transport is to follow the faint path shown in the picture. The painting works great in my office against a complimentary colored wall just above my computer. It’s a great way of removing myself for a moment from the technology of today to that of yesterday when a cool storm revived the travelers from the hot summer desert heat. You can click on the photograph for a closer view of the stage coach.
The following chart shows how much was paid for each item, the tagged price before my discount and a link to the retail price of that article or one similar to it if I could not find the exact item. Use this as an aid in looking up the prices you may find on a similar item.
|6,390||Ermenegildo Zegna||High Performance||18.74||24.99||2,995.00||Brown||Italy|
|Marc Jacobs||Marc||10.39||12.99||386.00||Blue||Sri Lanka|
|Ralph Lauren||Purple Label||12.99||12.99||450.00||White||Italy|
|Ralph Lauren||Purple Label||10.39||12.99||450.00||Blue||Italy|
|Ermenegildo Zegna||Su Misura||2.39||2.99||245.00||Blue||Italy|
|1,650||G.E.M. Publishing||King James Ver. Large Print||3.99||3.99||299.00||Purple||USA|
|Harris||Cedar shoe trees||2.00||2.00||20.00||Cedar||USA|
|Hugh Riker||water color||19.19||23.99||125.00||Tan||USA|
|Lane||small cedar box||1.99||1.99||89.00||Tan||USA|
|Lane||small cedar box||1.99||1.99||89.00||Tan||USA|
|Measuring cups||Measuring cups||0.01||1.49||5.00||White||USA|
|Necklace cabinet||Necklace box||3.74||4.99||62.80||Brown||USA|
|No name||Cedar shoe trees||2.24||2.99||20.00||Cedar||USA|
|no name||Large black frame with glass||3.74||4.99||19.25||Black||USA|
|Nordstrom||Cedar shoe trees||2.00||2.00||20.00||Cedar||USA|
|Pampered Chef||Large Round Stone Pizza||2.99||2.99||35.00||Tan||USA|
|Pampered Chef||Large Round Stone Pizza||2.49||2.49||35.00||Tan||USA|
|Pampered Chef||Rectangle stone||2.99||2.99||31.00||Tan||USA|
|Thomas Nelson||King James Ver. Giant Print||2.24||2.99||29.99||Red||USA|
|Wie geht’s 7th Edition||German introduction||2.99||2.99||249.95||Black||USA|
You find the best examples when you least expect it and it is great fun to share with others much like yourself. Thank you for reading and good luck with your own search. I hope these posts help you in finding that little gem just waiting to be pulled out from the rest.
Key words: Canali, Ermenegildo Zegna, G.E.M Publishing, Gianni Versace, Gucci, Harris, Hugh Riker, Isaia, Lane, Lubiam, Marc Jacobs, Nordstrom, Pampered Chef, Pelonis, Ralph Lauren, Thomas Nelson