December is always a good month to locate Christmas gifts for family and friends. Luckily, I was able to find some great items the past few months that I held in reserve for just such this occasion. Knowing that I didn’t have to try and find as much money to purchase these gifts this month was a great stress relief. There is joy in finding hidden treasures for myself, but I find it much more satisfying to see the delight in others faces when they are suddenly presented with something very nice that I would not otherwise be able to afford. Only forty-five items were purchased for just over two hundred dollars and netted the lowest monthly retail price this year of just $12,432.22. This was still a good figure but fell well short of the triple digit goal with retail being only 57 times as much as I spent.
Treasures – Some of the nicest items this month must start out with the Canali 100% cashmere dark blue window pane suit jacket. The $4.79 spent on this item fell far less than the retail price of $2,795 retail price at Neiman Marcus. Canali is one of my very favorites but this jacket was just too small and will find it’s way to a friend or relative.
It is rare that I find so many great names in shirts but the like new, light yellow Brioni with contrasting collar and French cuffs was a definite find. Burberry was the next find with two identical blue hay market plaid long sleeve shirts and a grey crew neck. The check pattern Luciano Barbera Club was the second I have in my closet from this brand and is a great example of preferred quality.
In a most likely out-of-the-way place, I ran across a dark blue light sweater from Brioni. There were a couple of threads pulled loose which is probably why this item found it’s way to a charitable location. A couple of minutes with a bright light and a spoon full of patience had the sweater back in great shape. My $3.49 was well worth the purchase of this $875 excellence in winter wear.
The number of silk neck wear has exceeded the proper placement of such high-quality items, but I had to pick up the one Gucci, four Hermès and the Ralph Lauren Purple Label knitted ties. These names are always a must have but especially at the price they were listed at and the fact that each looked as though it had never been worn.
One of the better-quality names in footwear is that of Bally. They are made in Switzerland and do the people of that country proud with the quality that is always found with this name. They are light on the feet and glove soft. They are made for those special occasions when you want to “put your best foot forward” and not made to run through the rain in.
Last on this treasured list is an item at the top of my head; a Stetson felt cowboy hat. The chocolate brown 5X Open Road was just what I was looking for and my luck proved out in finding it on half-price day at an affordable $19.96. I have a black felt Stetson as well as a straw Gunslinger Stetson now to meet most any occasion I run into. I wear the Stetson brand with pride carrying on a family tradition my grandfather held firmly to.
Dress Jacket – As mentioned above, a beautiful, super soft Canali cashmere dress jacket was picket up on half-price day for less than a Starbuck’s coffee and more than worth it. The retail on this certain jacket alone, without pants is $2,795.
Shirts – Eight high quality shirts were located. The name of Brioni always brings on the chill bumps when I see the name, especially on a beautiful item that is just my size and works well with much of what I wear. The like new shirt cost $6.99 and retails for $620. Three shirts from Burberry London were picked up, two being identical with the blue hay market plaid and the other being a solid grey crew neck. Charles Tywhitt has a great way of showing their size right inside the neck area tag and I know that when I see a certain combination of neck circumference and sleeve length that it will fit me perfectly. This celery colored shirt should look good with any brown or grey suit. Only one Ermenegildo Zegna shirt was found this month and as usual has the quality you expect to find from this company that caters mainly toward the needs of men. Neiman Marcus carries the brand Ike Behar and though they do not fit as snugly as the Italian shirts, they are still great dress shirts. There are certain brands that you do not see many times unless you are in Barney’s or Neiman Marcus and are usually well out of your budget. One of these I was lucky to find for only $7.50 was from Luciano Barbera. The check pattern brown will look great as a dress shirt with a dark brown suit.
Sweater – Typically, this time of the year is a good time when the snow birds come to our area to permanently roost and we are able to find winter clothing such as heavy cashmere full length overcoats, trench coats, sweaters and gloves. Perhaps they will begin to show up soon but only one sweater made the list this month, but it was a beauty. The name of Brioni showed large and clear against the white label inside the dark blue sweater. Brioni makes some of the best clothing in the world and charges accordingly due to the painstakingly attention to detail by hand on each and every article they create. I could not believe my great luck in finding this Bluette crew-neck sweater late in the afternoon on half-off day but there it was waiting its place on the rack between two shirts. It pays to look in some of the Goodwill stores that are not in areas of affluence since most of the patrons are not aware of the names of some of the “out-of-reach” brands they may not be as familiar with. As an example, that same day, I was told by one gentleman that the best he ever found was J-Crew.
Pants – It appears that the Italians were the favored in this category with four pair of very nice dress trousers. The first was a great pair of Canali charcoal window pane twill flannel pants well suited for a contrasting dress shirt in most any shade of grey. I then found a light wool pair of navy pants made from Ermenegildo Zegna by Cantara. These should go great for the upcoming summer months. The last two were from Santorelli in navy and a light brown. I have been looking for another pair of quality navy pants to go with a couple of navy dress jackets and these should meet the requirements.
Ties – Sixteen high-end items of neck wear were picked off the wall of only three Goodwill stores. Two new Giorgio Armani dark blue and black ties were found. I have a large collection of vintage to new examples of this brand and am much more selective as to which ones find their way home with me. Two from Canali were located earlier and placed back on the rack and selected on “Senior Day” when I had a 25% off their retail price. One is a newer seven-fold and the other is a great classic that will go with just about anything. Ermenegildo Zegna once again took the bulk with five great samples. There was one dark blue Gucci with its name in large letters on the reverse holder that instantly knew where it was going. It is always a lucky day when I find anything from Hermès, but this day brought in four such items, two which appeared to be of the newer logo. Then there was the silver seven-fold Ike Behar and ending with a very lucky find of a silk knit Ralph Lauren Purple Label. You know when you see the purple tag with Ralph Lauren printed on it that you are getting top notch quality.
Shoes – It always pays to look through the different sections of some of the Goodwill stores even when you rarely find anything worth putting into your buggy. Some of the stores are known for glassware or shirts or even electronics where others rarely offer anything of the higher end you might be interested in. This was the case with this pair of new Bally Hudson lace-up dress shoes. The price was $19.99 but I took the $525 pair of shoes home with my discount for only $14.97 and they fit perfectly.
Hangers – Having the supporting tools for your wardrobe is important as to the preservation and presentation of what you have in your closet. It is always a good thing to have enough fresh cedar wood for not only the pleasant smell but the fact that the same odor repels wool eating moth grub worms. I paid right at one dollar each for nine Woodlore cedar pants cuff hangers even though I have enough for each pair of high-end trousers already. I considered this a small investment in the future unholy circumstance that might occur should even one female wool moth make its way into my place. These hangers from Woodlore show that they take their business serious enough to offer a great hanger that I would not consider due to the retail price but is well worth what I was able to pay.
Accessories – A popular name in women’s clothing and accessories is that of Coach. A belt with this name had just been placed on the rack when I approached it and saw that it had a heavy brass buckle attached. There was not a price tag on the belt and the attendant said she had just priced it and someone had probably pulled it off hoping to reduce the price. The amount asked was on the higher side at $24.99 but since it was Senior Day and we were able to purchase anything for a discount of 25%, this made it a better but still high price of $19.97. It just happened to be just my size. Go figure.
A favorite place in the Goodwill and one of the last places to look in the store is the rack with the wooden items. This is usually where I find the cedar shoe trees but there were two small cedar jewelry boxes with brass hinges that caught my eye. The Lane boxes were picked up for $3.19 each and I later found out that they sell for right at $89 each. These two items will go great on Christmas Day for each of my two daughters.
With the purchase of so many great shoes, my floor space was dwindling down to a narrow path from the closet to the bed to the doorway. The purchase of a wooden shoe rack enabled me to place eight pair of shoes in the space where two pair had been before and brought them up where I could see them better. A good purchase for less than eight dollars.
The last item on the list this month was a much sought after brown Stetson hat. One was located in the outskirts of the metropolitan area where I live nearer to the ranches and was in great shape. The price tag showed $39.95 but it was half-off Saturday and it went out the door with me for less than a twenty-dollar bill. This is a good place to put in an advertisement plug for our local Boot Barn store in that they will steam and lightly stretch your hat so that it better fits your head better and straighten out the brim and now it looks like a new one. They do this all for free and have even added some extra foam padding inside the leather band to make my black Stetson hold to my head tighter since it was a quarter size too large. Again, for free. Thank you, Boot Barn!
As with previous months, the following chart is broken down into different categories with the subtotal for each, the amount paid, tagged amount and the retail price with a link, where available, as to where the retail price was located. I hope this chart becomes a valuable tool for you in making a choice when locating that high-end item you might run across.
Be sure to check out the page of comparison prices for categories such as pants, shirts, shoes, suits, sweaters and ties. This page offers many valuable tools that I find convenient when looking up a name as to whether it is worth purchasing or putting back on the rack.
|Ike Behar||Neiman Marcus||6.99||6.99||265.00||Grey||Peru|
|Ralph Lauren||Purple Label||1.99||1.99||235.00||Grey||Italy|
|525||Bally||Hudson 04 649||14.97||19.99||525.00||Black||Switzerland|
|No name||shoe rack||7.99||7.99||48.82||Wood||USA|
|Stetson||Open Road 5X||19.96||39.99||189.00||Brown||USA|
Knowing your brands, as to which command a greater return on your investment, is good business sense. Become familiar with the brands that sell well or have long lasting international respect and when you find them in good condition, they will bring you a good net satisfaction. Good luck with your Goodwill hunting.
Key words: Armani, Bally, Brioni, Burberry, Canali, Charles Tywhitt, Coach, Ermenegildo Zegna, Hermès, Ike Behar, Gucci, Luciano Barbera, Ralph Lauren, Santorelli, Stetson, Woodlore