October was a great month this year for finding some of the high-end brands that I seldom see, even within this metropolitan area. I call myself a brand buyer, that is, I look exclusively for the high-end brand labels when cruising through these oceans of cloth and wool. This month proved to be the worse this year in an attempt to meet the goal of having a triple digit value of the retail value being only sixty-seven times the amount I spent. On the brighter side, many of the items I found were great bargains despite the price paid and were worth picking up to pass along to family and friends.
Treasures – My idea of a treasure has been changing over the past few months as I educate myself to the value of certain items located in the realms of the isles of racks and shelves in the local Goodwill stores. Some of the items that come to mind this month are those that I can give my family they wouldn’t normally be able to choose for themselves.
Examples of items that come to mind are the Loro Piana sweater that offers fantastic quality and is so soft. The Burberry crossover purse and clutch my youngest will be so excited to carry. The Louis Vuitton wallet and belt that offer longevity in use and pride of ownership to my other daughter and the artist aluminum easel to show my son’s latest work. These are the items that I consider to be treasures now.
Names like those of the great Italian clothing designers also bring excitement when found represented by Versace, Canali, Armani, Brioni, Dolce & Gabbana, Loro Piana, Borrelli, Bottega Veneta, Gucci, Stefano Ricci, Valentino, and Salvatore Ferragamo. The French names like Hermès, Louis Vuitton, and Lanvin and the Swiss name of Bally and the British fashion house of Burberry denote the highest grade in quality. These are the treasures I like to find to share with those around me who can enjoy them as well.
Suits – Two very nice suits were located from a couple of the higher end quality clothing houses; Corneliani and Versace. The charcoal Corneliani has a light sheen with faint vertical stripes to slim up the wearer. The solid navy Versace Classic should go with any business or formal get-together. Both are very nice suits made in Italy but both are also a bit too small so they will be looking for a new home very shortly.
Dress Jackets – Dress jackets take up a bit of room but are the best buys at Goodwill in comparison to their suggested retail price averaging right at 212 times what I paid. I selected seven very nice jackets to add to my collection making sure they were from the better known clothing houses of Europe. They are as follows:
The name of Burberrys‘ is synonymous with English quality and the best of Burberry is their Prorsum line. The word Prorsum is Latin for forwards and signified with the Equestrian Knight logo. When you see a really nice navy jacket of this type for less than five dollars, it’s a no brainer whether you pick it up or not.
Another blue jacket, in this case a lighter shade of blue, came from Canali. The silk and wool blend resists wrinkling and is cooler to wear, and with a name like Canali, you know you have one of the best on the market. There is something about the way Canali fits in both their jackets, shirts and pants that I find to be more comfortable than any other brand. So when I find this brand in my size, it is a very good day indeed.
Christian Dior is known for higher-end clothing and when you can find an earlier example of one of their suits, you know you have a great item. I found a navy double-breasted CD jacket with brass buttons for one dollar and it was just my size. It found its way immediately into my buggy, of course.
Barney’s of New York sells a wide assortment of quality items and Corneliani of Italy created a very nice grey jacket for them. I also found a pair of pants that matches perfectly and now I can add one more suit to the closet.
I prefer to look for clothing made in countries like France, Italy, Spain, Switzerland and the good ole USA. It appears that Ermenegildo Zegna is now making one of their lower lines in Mexico and China, the line of Z Zegna. Were it not for the fact that the black jacket fit me perfectly and was on half price for $4.99, I would have passed it up since it has the phrase, “Made in Mexico” on the neck label.
Another somewhat worn, grey jacket was almost passed over until I looked inside the lining for the brand name and saw that it carried the label, Giorgio Armani Le Collezioni. The inside pocket tag showed it was just my size, a difficult size to find of 43 long. The jacket will look great with a pair of jeans and loafers.
A beautiful black jacket from the Versace Collection closes out this selection of dress jackets. Versace is known for its choice of oranges and yellows and wild ties but this jacket is very simple and very well made, what you expect from this design house.
Shirts – Two new fashion houses are represented here due to asking my daughter if I should look into these names even though they are not made in any European country. The first is from 7 for All Mankind. An interesting name but a nice looking shirt that is quite popular these days. The other brand is from True Religion and brings a good price on the secondary market.
Two additional shirts were picked out from the Giorgio Armani Collezioni line. One of these is a formal black shirt which will look great with most any occasion and the other is a nice quality blue shirt made in Hong Kong.
Any time I see the name of Brioni, it reminds me of one of the primary reasons I continue to shop the Goodwill stores in this location. Brioni is known for being at the top of their market in quality and the price the clothing sells for reflects this with the time and material they put into their products. The two shirts I found were white tuxedo style, very formal shirts with a retail price of right at a whopping $850 and I was able to shell out only $5.98 for each. One of these shirts will definitely be on my first pick for the next black-tie event I am asked to attend.
The Goodwill regularly places a slightly higher price on certain labels they call Better Quality and one of these is from Burberry. Even at the Goodwill price of ten dollars, the shirt is a great buy and hangs with the best of my other brands for those occasions when you want to look and feel your best.
Charles Tyrwhitt is not a high priced company in comparison but is one of your better buys for new shirts, in my opinion. They look great and feel good when you wear a shirt from this company. If the shirt is located in my size, it automatically walks toward the cash register with me.
Ermenegildo Zegna produces some really nice items with an emphasis on designing for men. They have a wide range of styles and quality of shirts with one of their more expensive being the Su Misura. I was lucky to find one of these my size and the quality is clearly evident. Three other shirts from this company were purchased this month ranging from a polo style to the more streamlined business shirts.
John Varvatos is beginning to show up in the area Goodwill stores with a more formal style in addition to their “cowboy” plaid shirts. One of the stores had a large selection of new shirts from a variety of brands and this brand was among them. I picked out a nice looking white business shirt made in China to see how well it performed.
A friend at work loves to wear polo shirts made by Lacoste. The French company is making their shirts in a variety of countries these days and this solid black piqué polo shirt comes from Peru.
At least once a month, I like to visit the local Neiman Marcus just down the street from where I work to see what brands they carry and the price tag they show as well. One of these brands is from Lorenzini, made in Italy. I have yet to try it on but the quality shows in how the cloth drapes and the attention to reinforcing the seams in certain stress areas.
The company Turnbull & Asser was founded in 1885 in London and is known as being a favorite of Prince Charles, Sir Winston Churchill, Ronald Reagan, George Bush, Charlie Chaplin and even Picasso. The two shirts I picked up for six dollars each are like-new and have a retail price of $365.
The last shirt on this list is from Yves Saint Laurent and, speaking of price, is second only to the Brioni shirts I found carrying a price tag of $550 which I was able to pick up for $6.99. It came as quite a surprise to find that it was made in Taiwan and I will have to look more closely the next time I see this brand as to where it was made.
Sweaters – I always look to the sweater section when in the thrift stores and most of the time these are mixed in with the men’s long sleeve shirts. It is quite a shock to see how much some of these nice winter items bring in retail. I located a strange but large, black sweater with large letters of “D&G Jeans” at the bottom. I knew right of that Dolce & Gabbana had their name on this one and the price of $7.99 was a great price to pay out for a sweater that retails for almost seven hundred dollars.
Another high priced sweater that I found later this month had the much coveted name tag showing Loro Piana. The peach colored half zippered super soft sweater shirt was grabbed for only $5.24 and retails for almost nine hundred dollars. You will not find this name very often in this area and is the first time in almost five years I was able to put my hands on one of their items. It will make for a very nice Christmas present in a couple of months.
The third sweater I found is a very colorful 100% alpaca item made in Peru from the Peruvian Connection. This company makes all kind of wearable clothing with the sheared fur from these beautiful South American alpaca camelids.
Pants – It has been unusual to find a good pair of pants but I was able to locate nine great examples, eight of these from Italy.
Two pair of pants from Giorgio Armani were located, one was a nice black pair of Collezioni tuxedo that will go great with the Armani tuxedo jacket I found a while back. The other is a tan pair of Le Collezioni with a ridiculous retail price of around $1,200. They are very nice and are certainly top notch, what you would expect from a name like Armani.
The company Britches makes a very wide range of trousers and are well made with some colors that match many of the dress jackets I am able to come across. This pair of brown pants match a Canali jacket I’ve been looking for a pair of pants for.
Speaking of Canali, two pair of these in navy and brown have the quality you expect from the Italian company. I often receive a nice compliment from the ladies when I wear this brand.
Pazoni is another Italian brand that looks nice and wears well. You can generally find a color that works well with some of those special events or just going to town for groceries.
Santorelli is another Italian brand to look for as they offer pants in around the two-hundred-dollar range as well.
My daughter told me that I couldn’t go wrong if I found a nice pair of True Religion Ricky Straight pants so I paid eleven dollars for this three hundred and fifty-dollar pair of black jeans made in China. We’ll see how well they do on eBay.
One other pair of Italian trousers I found comes from Zanella. The tan pair should go well with most of my dress jackets of a similar shade of brown.
Ties – Once again, this category came in with the greatest number of items; twenty-two. These are represented by some of the better quality producers; Allen Edmonds, Aurelia, Luigi Borelli, Bottega Veneta (2), Brioni, Canali, Christopher Chronis, Ermenegildo Zegna (4), Gianni Versace, Gucci (2), J. Hilburn, Lanvin, Museum Artifacts, Stefano Ricci, Ted Baker, Tufelo Staufluimi and Valentino.
I always welcome the names of Brioni, Canali, Gucci and Stefano Ricci. There were a few new brands I thought I would try out, namely Aurelia, Luigi Borelli, Bottega Veneta, J. Hilburn, and Tufelo Staufluimi. I was aware of the hard to find Bottega Veneta and did not know they made ties and it was a nice surprise to find a tie from Borelli.
Shoes – This month has to be a record in the number of high-end shoes I was able to find. Allen Edmonds was represented by three pair with their styles of Cameron, Clipper and the Wilbert versions. This brand is by far the most comfortable example of shoes I own, is of high quality and the company stands behind their product to the point of even restoring the shoe to like new if it can be done so.
Another surprise was the fact that I was able to find four pair from Bally. These shoes, made in Switzerland, ranged in retail price from $495 to $650 and wear well, look well and are light on your feet.
On a different search, I have a friend that I was able to find a size 17 for him in a shoe from Mezlan. This pair of shoes are quite different in that they are open weave and have a cap toe made from crocodile. The shoes were picked up for only a dollar but show an incredible retail price of $1,295. A fantastic find and they look great, especially for someone who wears a size that is that hard to find.
A new brand for me is that of Santoni. I found a pair of these at a discount store with a retail of over six hundred dollars. This alone caught my attention. A week later I located a used pair at a Goodwill for only eight dollars and found the quality to be superb. The retail of this certain pair was $810. Another great find.
Several matching pair of shoe trees were picked up for the new shoes and were welcome for prolonging the life of these expensive shoes.
Hangers – I have a good number of wooden shirt hangers and am always on the lookout for some nice large maple suit hangers when they can be found, especially those from the company Setwell. I was able to find a good variety of these and others including a much needed Woodlore 40-tie holder to better view my growing collection of colorful silk.
Accessories – Here is where it gets interesting in the variety of items that can be found for not just myself but for family members and friends as well.
It is always a good day when I can find an item for one of my daughters they will hopefully cherish or at least show a great big smile when they see what I was able to find for them. Burberry came to the rescue in this regard for my youngest when she celebrated a birthday lately. The like-new Burberrys’ crossbody Haymarket purse was just the size she wanted and the patented plaid pattern shows it is from Burberry. Shortly after her birthday, I found, on a half-price day, a very nice Burberry blue label Peyton clutch that will nicely match her purse.
When you have a lot of clothes, you tend to run out of places to hang them. A gold colored clothes stand came to the rescue and is also used to hang wet clothes on the porch to dry.
My son has shown his talent in the field of art and I was able to find a large aluminum Freedman easel to show his nicer pieces or I might keep it to place a large framed piece of my own artwork. I was also able to find a neat wooden articulated mannequin he can use to pose for drawing figures. His birthday is coming up in a few months so he might find it in his room rather my mine.
One of the brands that always carries a high price is from Hermès. Anything from them is typically of great quality and usually of a hard to find material. When I saw five cloth drawstring bags for less than a ten-dollar bill, I knew it was a good price as well as being very difficult to locate. The retail price for all five is about three hundred dollars. A ridiculous price for some cloth bags but they have that coveted logo on them.
Another name on the same scale is that of Louis Vuitton. There are a lot of fakes of this company’s products but when you find an original for a great price, it is what keeps you scouring the thrift stores for even more. I was lucky when I found not only a ladies long Sarah monogram wallet, like new, but also a man’s Damier 40mm belt. The wallet had a price tag of $79.99 with a retail of $1,000 and the belt was purchased for only $7.98 and retails for $415. Isn’t it nice that Christmas is just around the corner?
My grandfather always wore a Stetson hat to cover his head. He believed in having less but what he had was the best. I was able to find not just one but two Stetson hats for those sunny days when the sun is just a bit too bright and hot. One is a black wool felt Bozeman, not an expensive hat but one that was needed. The other is a Stetson Gunfighter 5X straw hat to go with my brown outfits.
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.
|Canali||Silk 2-button plaid||7.99||9.99||1,595.00||Blue||Italy|
|Christian Dior||Le Connaisseur||1.00||9.99||925.00||Black||USA|
|Corneliani||Barney’s New York||4.99||9.99||1,745.00||Grey||Italy|
|Ermenegildo Zegna||Z Zegna||4.99||9.99||895.00||Black||Mexico|
|Giorgio Armani||Le Collezioni||7.98||9.99||1,595.00||Grey||Italy|
|6,811||7 for All Mankind||The Slimmy||4.99||9.99||169.00||Grey||China|
|Armani, Giorgio||Collezioni||6.73||8.99||295.00||Blue||Hong Kong|
|Charles Tyrwhitt||Slim fit||6.99||6.99||110.00||Silver||England|
|Ermenegildo Zegna||Slim fit||5.59||6.99||450.00||Red||Italy|
|Ermenegildo Zegna||Su Misura||6.73||8.99||510.00||Purple||Turkey|
|John Varvatos||Slim Fit||5.98||7.99||228.00||White||China|
|LaCoste||Piqué Polo Shirt||5.98||7.99||99.50||Black||Peru|
|Rag & Bone||Beach shirt||5.24||6.99||225.00||Red||China|
|Turnbull & Asser||Turnbuline||5.98||7.99||365.00||Green||England|
|Turnbull & Asser||–||5.98||7.99||365.00||Blue||England|
|Yves Saint Laurent||–||6.99||6.99||550.00||Olive||Taiwan|
|1,839||Dolce & Gabbana||D&G Jeans||7.99||7.99||695.00||Black||Italy|
|Loro Piana||Roadster half-zip||5.24||6.99||895.00||Peach||Italy|
|The Peruvian Connection||Painted Desert Pullover||5.59||6.99||249.00||Black||Peru|
|4,229||Armani, Giorgio||Collezioni tuxedo||5.24||6.99||675.00||Black||Italy|
|Armani, Giorgio||Le Collezioni||5.59||6.99||1,195.00||Tan||Italy|
|True Religion||Ricky Straight||11.23||14.99||349.00||Black||China|
|3,575||Allen Edmonds||Neat medallion||3.99||4.99||95.00||Red||Germany|
|Museum Artifacts||Astronomy map||2.99||2.99||34.99||Navy||USA|
|Setwell||Maple finish suit||1.59||1.99||28.99||Wood/metal||USA|
|Setwell||Maple finish suit||0.55||0.69||28.99||Wood/metal||USA|
|Setwell||Maple finish suit||1.49||1.99||28.99||Wood/metal||USA|
|Woodlore 40-tie holder||Tie hanger||2.39||2.99||45.53||Wood/metal||USA|
|1,785||Buberry||Blue label Peyton clutch||17.49||34.99||625.00||Brown||England|
|Coat Rack||clothes stand||1.99||3.99||34.99||Gold||China|
|Louis Vuitton||Damier 40mm belt||7.98||9.99||415.00||White||France|
|Louis Vuitton||Sarah Monogram||63.99||79.99||1,000.00||Brown||France|
|US Art Supply||mannequin||4.79||5.99||24.96||Brown||USA|
Key words: Allen Edmonds, Armani, Aurelia, Bally, Benedetti, Borelli, Bottega Veneta, Brioni, Britches, Burberrys, Canali, Charles Tywhitt, Christian Dior, Christopher Chronis, Corneliani, Dolce & Gabbana, Ermenegildo Zegna, Gianni Versace, Giorgio, Gucci, J. Hermes, Hilburn, John Varvatos, LaCoste, Lanvin, Lorenzini, Louis Vuitton, Mezlan, Pazoni, Rag & Bone, Santoni, Santorelli, Setwell, Stefano Ricci, Stetson, Tom James, Ted Baker, True Religion, Tufelo Staufluimi, Turnbull & Asser, Valentino, Yves Saint Laurent, Zanella