As predicted, the month of March has turned out to be an excellent time for a number of unexpected surprises. It is these little surprises that keep the spark going in the weekly treasure hunts.
The first treasure showed up in the Better Quality rack as a suit from Gucci. Of course, it was just my size and fit nicely in the buggy before someone else’s hands found it. Though the tag showed a price was a bit more than usual, it was certainly worth that suggested by Goodwill standards.
The second treasure came in as two separate pieces. The first was a like-new Ermenegilo Zegna tuxedo coat just my size. I looked around the pants section and found the matching pair easily recognized by the shiny tuxedo side stripe. Total cost for the two pieces was $8.48 ($4.99 + $3.49). Neiman Marcus sells that exact suit combination for $3,095. This was a fantastic find. Also, located on the same coat rack was a navy Burberry’s jacket ($4.99) and an Ermenegildo Zegna Su Misura jacket ($4.99) made in Switzerland. The Su Misura (made to measure) was too small for me but I wasn’t going to let a top quality jacket like that get away for less than 1/100th the cost.
A third great surprise was a bit off the cuff. Actually, you would more than likely find them holding the cuffs together since they were cufflinks. I picked up a set of twenty one individual pieces of these gems created by Ermenegildo Zegna and Canali. None of these had a matching pair but no one would know the difference unless I had both sleeve cuffs showing together. My $69 purchase of this group of little pieces of Sterling silver would have cost more than $4,400 if purchased without the matching cufflink. Who would have known two little bits of shiny metal could cost so much if purchased new. I’ll make it a point to find all of the French cuff shirts so I can sport these new found treasures this next week.
One other jewel was a hard-to-find jacket with the red label Bianco Brioni. It was obviously a new item but the buttons had been removed as if stolen while in the local Neiman Marcus. Brioni buttons are difficult to find and this jacket requires two large and ten smaller ones. The jacket was well worth the $4.99 paid, even without the buttons.
The month’s surprises will finish with Louis Vuitton. I was unaware that this company made large bags for men, not just women. I paid $56 for a brand new Christopher Messenger bag. Just hope I don’t have to explain to everyone that it’s not a woman’s purse. It appears as though is it brand new and I’m trying to decide whether to keep it, sell it or give it as a present. March has been a banner month with the average amount, if paid new, would be a record 95.4 times a much.
My education of recognizing labels is still being worked on as there is much more to learn. The higher end clothing lines typically lend themselves to being better made and well worth the few dollars more paid at the Goodwill stores. March found only two suits purchased but they were definitely top of the line from Gucci and Ermenegildo Zegna. The irony is that they fit very well. Only a little tailoring in the pants will make these two complete.
Six dress jackets were found with labels from Armani, Brioni, Burberry, Ermenegildo Zegna and Gucci. These are names that will put goose bumps up and down your arms when you see them hanging on the racks. Almost every one fit nicely but the Gucci Uomo is just way too large.
Only eleven shirts were purchased but each was a great representative of the manufacturer found. Two Armani from the Collezioni category were found as very nice quality. Two from Burberry fit nicely and were well worth the extra for the Better Quality designation. I’m always looking the brand Canali and was able to locate a great shirt from this company. Of course, Dolce & Gabbana is always a welcome name and very hard to fine. Three shirts from Ermenegildo Zegna were located and are becoming much harder to find. These were exceptional as they looked as if they came directly from the store, new. Ike Behar and Yves Saint Laurent make up the last two.
I’m always on the lookout for a good pair of high-end pants that fit well and was able to locate a great pair from Giorgio Armani. The texture is typically Armani and look as if they were made just my size. It is a rare occurrence to find a pair from Canali but a nice pair of black Super 120’s, soft and sleek were located. Of course, it wouldn’t be a satisfying treasure hunt without finding at least one pair of Ermenegildo Zegna but three were found and matched three Zegna jackets very well to complete a suit of each.
The little silk ties are always a lot of fun to find, especially the well-made high end examples. One each was found representing Armani, Canali, Dolce & Gabbana, Gucci and the elusive Hermes while four were located from Ermenegildo Zegna. One of these ties is the top of the line Zegna Couture version. It’s good to sort your ties into certain colors to make it that much easier to select what you are looking for when matching to a suit for work. I have mine sorted in black/gray, blue, red and misc.
The shoe department was a lot of fun with a set of drivers from 14th & Union but the real finds were the Lake Bluff Weave loafers from Allen Edmonds and the Steve Suede Derbys from Bally. Both of these last two looked as if they were pulled right out of the shoe box.
In the accessories area, Allen Edmonds showed itself again with a beautiful, soft belt. This is a name I automatically look for now due to the high quality and comfort in not just the shoes but also the belts. Speaking of belts, a black Versace segmented with gold metal connections of lions and medusas was found for a ridiculously low price. Also located was a treasure trove of twenty one individual cufflinks from Ermenegildo Zegna and Canali. There are enough of them to find one of similar shape and color that no one would even notice. One item that quickly caught my eye was a Hummel figurine. I collected those years ago when a German girlfriend introduced me to them. These little pieces of porcelain have retained their value over time and are well known around the world. This one from the late 1960s with a trademark IV is known as “Be Patient” and is in mint condition without even a scratch. Not a bad find for less than $20. I was told they do not stay very long in the Goodwill as they are picked up almost as soon as they are put out on display. Lastly, the Louis Vuitton men’s messenger bag was a fairly expensive purchase at $56 but well worth the risk when I found that it sells new for almost two thousand dollars.
Since I own so much wool, it is always a good idea to pick up a few items with cedar since wool moths hate the smell. It is much safer for your health than moth balls and adds a nice woodsy smell to your closet. I found two cedar blocks and nice two sets of shoe trees to fit this bill.
This post is a bit lengthy but so were the number of purchases. The number of items purchased this past month was quite a bit more with 70 as compared to 48 in February but the average item retail price was also more than 95.4 times vs 92 times the previous month. I look forward to the month when this number goes over 100 times as much as the average. Now, to sell off what I can’t wear and don’t need any longer. That’s going to be the hard part.
Following is the listing for the items purchased this past month in March. They are categorized and alphabetized within each category. The total for each category is shown to the left and the total price paid, price suggested and price new is provided above the respective columns. A link is provided to the place on the web where I found an item similar to or the same as the one listed for comparison. Good luck with your hunting!
|18,535.00||Armani, Giorgio||Giorgio Armani||6.48||12.99||2,795.00||Green||Italy|
|Ermenegildo Zegna||Su Misura||4.99||9.99||4,175.00||Black||Switzerland|
|Dolce & Gabbana||–||8.98||17.99||385.00||White||Italy|
|Ike Behar||New York||2.99||5.99||245.00||Yellow||Peru|
|Yves Saint Laurent||–||2.99||5.99||295.00||Purple||England|
|Pazoni||Como 2 1800||7.48||9.99||195.00||Charcoal||Italy|
|Dolce & Gabbana||Floral||2.39||2.99||275.00||Black||Italy|
|Ermenegildo Zegna||couture collection||1.59||1.99||205.00||Brown||Italy|
|Ermenegildo Zegna||Disegno Esclusivo||5.00||5.00||205.00||Gray||Italy|
|Ermenegildo Zegna||Disegno Esclusivo||1.99||3.99||205.00||Blue||Italy|
|1,044.97||14th & Union||Driver||7.18||8.99||59.97||Navy||USA|
|Allen Edmonds||Lake Bluff Weave Dress loafer||3.99||4.99||395.00||Walnut||USA|
|Rochester Shoe Tree||Shoe tree||1.99||3.99||20.00||Cedar||USA|
|Donald J. Pliner||Shoe tote bag||0.99||0.99||13.00||Brown||USA|
|Hummel||Be Patient figurine||19.97||24.99||155.00||–||Germany|
|Louis Vuitton||Christopher Messenger||55.92||69.99||1,970.00||Brown||France|