November has been a great month, especially when I had decided to really cut back on my spending and concentrate on looking for just the very best in each category I ran across. The comparison of my paid versus the retail turned out to be 148 times as much as my payout for the fifty-five items purchased. That is a pretty good achievement in meeting my triple digit goal but ranks as only the fourth best this year. It’s been a good year. This is one of the ways by which I measure making sure my continuing education is working on finding higher-end items.
Treasures – There are some really nice treasures to list for this month. To top this list is the brand new, never been worn, Kiton suit. Never would I have dreamed that something like this nine thousand dollar highest of the high end suits wind up in the Goodwill just down the road from where I live. It was one of those moments when you see the label inside the coat and have to bring yourself to realize that the record moment just arrived you had been waiting for but never dreamed would happen. Of course, I had to share the moment with the employee that always likes to know what I find since they seldom see the names of the product they place on the racks. It was indeed a treasure. Add to that the Kiton tie I located this month as well. See also the article with more in-depth description on this find “Buying a Jacket, Finding a Suit“.
A second treasure has to be the Chanel quilted lambskin signature purse well suited for a Christmas present for my mother next month. It is a rare time when you can offer something to a family member they would never purchase for themselves but receive with great excitement when offered as a present. I can’t wait to see her expression when she opens the package and this can be considered to be my treasure.
Another Christmas present that fell into the Goodwill buggy this month is the Burberry backpack that garnered so much attention according to the attendant. The price was marked accordingly but well worth paying less than forty dollars for the smile and hug afforded me when the Christmas package is opened.
A fourth treasure has to be the dark grey Ermenegildo Zegna Trofeo suit that fits me so well. The fit and color looks fantastic and even makes me look a little more tolerable to look at. That makes it fit into the treasures category if for no other reason. The three-thousand-dollar suit cost me a total of $7.98 and that was money well spent.
A final treasure would have to be the goose bump causing shirt made by Stefano Ricci. The shirt appears to have come straight from Neiman Marcus or Barney’s and is just my size. It might even look good with the Trofeo suit just mentioned. Actually, I have the pair set out for this coming Friday’s clothing to wear to work.
Suits – There were three suits with a retail total of $16,565 (my cost was $24.95) located and all three were lucky finds in that I found the trousers separate from the jackets. The first suit was a beautiful Ermenegildo Zegna Trofeo dark grey with a faint vertical blue stripe. The Trofeo warrants the name from using the trophy winning example of the Zegna Couture collection, “a worsted fabric made of prestige Australian Superfine merino wool with long fibers.” The $2,995 suit was purchased for a total of $7.98 and fits very well.
The second find, and another name I look for, is that of Oxxford Clothes or Oxxford Crest. This suit is made in Chicago by hand and has been described as the best of the “quiet American” market. There are several models to choose from and feature the highest level of handwork and start at $4,000.
The third suit that I was able to put together was the grand prize of which I have been in pursuit of. There is usually a name by which all brands are measured against as being the best and this company is recognized worldwide as being the very best, Kiton. I was able to find a beautiful Blanc Blu version that had not been worn due to seeing the tailor thread still attached to the jacket on the shoulders and sleeves and the pants cuffs were unhemmed. A fantastic find! The $8.48 suit retails for more than a thousand times that amount ($8,995) in Neiman Marcus.
Dress Jackets – Only two jackets caught my eye this month. I couldn’t pass up the heavy, dark grey Givenchy Monsieur that fit so well. With the dark brown thread, it will work well with either dark grey or dark brown pair of trousers. The other jacket was a beautiful Samuelsohn window pane light grey with darker grey thread for those more formal occasions. The suit jacket was made for Marvin Brown, a previous member of our local City Council.
Shirts – Fifteen beautiful shirts were picked out from the many thousands available. These were from Giorgio Armani, Borrelli Napoli, Burberry (3), Ermenegildo Zegna, Eton, Ike Behar, Marco Brunelli, Prada, Stefano Ricci, Turnbull & Asser, Valentino and two from Yves Saint Laurent. This was my first Stefano Ricci shirt which is a name very hard to find retailing for $750 followed closely by the $695 Valentino but surpassed by the $760 Prada. I paid a total of $95.49 for the fifteen shirts retailing for $6,683 which averaged $445 apiece.
Sweater – Most of the cold weather garments are being snapped up pretty quick this time of the year but I was able to find a lone red Ermenegildo Zegna crewneck for the low price of $3.49 on half-price day. The retail for this great Italian find is $445.
Pants – I cannot say that there have been many times when I found a pair of pants, then two more that I had to share my excitement with those around me but this happened in a very small, out-of-the-way Goodwill. I had already checked the area of pants with my waist size and decided to look to the next size larger and there they were, three pair of like new, dress trousers by Brioni! Each of these pair of pants retails for at least $850 and my price that day was only $5.59. The quality of this brand is of the best I have been able to find and high on my list of brands to look for. The fourth pair of pants did not have the name inside but were quickly recognized by their unique inside waist band as being from the company Burberry. I paid $22.36 for the $3,000 worth of four trousers.
Ties – Fourteen ties were picked up this month representing some of the more highly recognized high-end brands sought after. These included Bally, Charvet, Ermenegildo Zegna (2), Fendi, Hermès, Kiton, Lanvin, Salvatore Ferragamo, Santorelli, Stefano Ricci (3) and Tiffany and Company. This was only the second Kiton tie ($1.99) I have been able to find and was a great example of the Best of the Best Plus One. It had also been a while since I last was able to find a representative by the 99 cent Hermès and this one appeared like new. I always welcome any time from the French companies of Charvet and Lanvin as they are about as perfect as you can get. A surprise came in locating the three Stefano Ricco ties, the Salvatore Ferragamo (99 cents) and the Tiffany and Co. My price for the $3,130 ties was $25.97.
Shoes – I have since discovered that shoes take up a lot of space on the floor and require a more discerning eye when looking for a pair that warrant placing in the Goodwill buggy, after proper inspection. One of my favorite brands for quality and comfort carries the name Allen Edmonds. This is the brand I look for when I know I will have a long day at work and want to be able to kick up my less than sore feet at the end of the day. A pair of beautiful $395 Sanfords were located and found the shoe polish and leather conditioner first thing when brought into the house. As usual, they now look like a new pair.
As I was ready to check out at the register, I noticed a pair of small kid’s sized Coach sneakers atop the “no, I guess I really don’t want these” last minute place to put items before the purchase. It was half-off day and the tagged price made these worth the $3.99 gamble that I might get my money back on a later sale.
Another first name to purchase was that of Donald J. Pliner. I had heard this brand was top notch and quite affordable. Although the $295 pair of shoes were too small for my big feet, they were worth another gamble of paying $4.79 for these obvious quality pair of shoes.
Hangers – Always on the lookout for a good set of cedar or maple hangers is usually my last place to haunt before exiting the store. Not only did I find a nice Setwell suit hanger and Hangerworld 24-tie holder but I also found a neat black plastic suit hanger with the name of Burberry London on it.
Accessories – In the accessories segment of this haul, four much needed garment bags were located, two from Men’s Warehouse, and one apiece from Andrisen Morton and Pathfinder. These help keep the dust off and moths at bay of my better quality suits. Another item to keep the suits and shirts in better shape was a Steamfast upright garment steamer that works great in delivering a steady fog of hot steam to kill those pesky moths and smooth out any wrinkles without having to take any of my finer clothing to the expensive dry cleaners.
Of a lesser need than the garment bags and steamer were a couple of scarves that appeared very much like the pattern of the Burberry Haymarket pattern but were clearly not of the same quality. The two were well worth the little more than two dollars out-of-pocket expense to keep my neck warm while wearing one of my Burberry trench coats on those wet wintry days.
To top this list of accessories were the two lady’s items well suited for Christmas presents. The first was the like new $1,200 Burberry backpack I was able to have the lady pull out of the jewelry cabinet she had just placed an hour earlier. It makes a difference when you arrive at the Goodwill stores sometimes. She said it had already garnered a lot of attention in that short time it was on display.
This second item requires a quick story. I walked into a local Goodwill store immediately behind a short stocky woman and we both made a bee line to the jewelry cabinet to see what “expensive” items were to be seen. I was looking through the glass cabinet and the lady asked the attendant to see three purses hanging from the wall. I couldn’t help but notice that the white bag had the appearance of a Chanel quilted pattern and then the gold double C really grabbed my attention. Lucky for me that she said she thought the bag was dirty and went on to the next purse. After close inspection when my turn came, I found a viable serial number inside and the high quality was definitely not typical of any run of the mill knock off bag you usually see. I told the lady my name and she put it behind the counter for me to ask for when I checked out. With my Sunday senior discount, the $6,650 Chanel lambskin signature bag was purchased for $26.21. It may not be this year’s current item but that definitely should not matter for that low price. What a nice, long lasting Christmas present this will make!
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.
|Oxxford Clothes||Chocolate stripe||8.48||16.98||4,575.00||Brown||USA|
|Ike Behar||New York||6.38||7.99||265.00||Blue||Peru|
|Turnbull & Asser||Basketweave||6.99||6.99||395.00||White||England|
|Yves Saint Laurent||–||5.59||6.99||525.00||Yellow||Malaysia|
|Yves Saint Laurent||–||6.48||12.99||531.00||Blue||Maurituis|
|Brioni||Pleated Classic Fit||5.59||6.99||850.00||Black||Italy|
|Ermenegildo Zegna||Disegno Esclusivo||1.59||1.99||195.00||Green||Italy|
|Tiffany & Co.||Scarf||1.49||1.99||250.00||Black||Italy|
|Donald J. Pliner||Rush 120||4.79||5.99||295.00||Brown||Italy|
|Setwell||Maple finish suit||0.99||1.99||28.99||Maple||USA|
|Woodlore 40-tie holder||Tie hanger||1.59||1.99||70.15||Wood/metal||USA|
|7,980||Andrisen Morton||Garment bag||1.00||2.99||16.65||Yellow||Taiwan|
|Chanel||lambskin quilted dbl flap||26.21||34.99||6,650.00||White||France|
|Men’s Warehouse||Garment bag||1.00||2.99||16.65||Black||Taiwan|
|Men’s Warehouse||Garment bag||1.00||2.99||16.65||Black||Taiwan|
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: Allen Edmonds, Andrisen Morton, Armani, Bally, Borrelli, Brioni, Burberry, Chanel, Charvet, Coach, Donald J. Pliner, Ermenegildo Zegna, Eton, Fendi, Hermès, Ike Behar, Givenchy, Kiton, Lanvin, Marco Bruenlli, Oxxford Clothes, Pathfinder, Prada, Salvatore Ferragamo, Samuelsohn, Santorelli, Setwell, Steamfast, Stefano Ricci, Tiffany & Co., Turnbull & Asser, Valentino, Woodlore, Yves Saint Laurent