This was an especially great month for brand names! I wasn’t able to meet the triple digit goal this time hitting only 87 times what the retail would have been but this month was the third largest retail grab this year with $53,730.80 and surpassed all but one from last year. The total retail for this year alone has already matched the 2016 total for the entire year and we are only 3/4ths the way through the year. The spreadsheet follows the list below.
Treasures – How do you select a treasure when there are so many to choose from? I guess the one item that put the biggest smile on my face, gave me the most goose bumps and got my heart to racing was a ladies silk jacket from the French fashion house of Balenciaga. This was the first time I had seen this name on an item in the Goodwill and had been watching for it for a few weeks when it hung on the rack for $395. Ironically, it hung with the men’s dress coats and not with the women’s. I found it again a couple of weeks later in the glass case at the front door and asked to look at it because it was just a bundle of dark brown cloth stuck on the lower shelf in the corner. The price had been marked down to $149.99 and the color of purple for that week meant it was half price. Still a bargain but too hefty for my pocket book. I had looked it up previously just out of curiosity and found one similar to it with a retail suggested price going for $2,100. Just per chance this past weekend, I saw what looked like it again tucked away in the corner of the glass case and asked to see it. Sure enough, a week past the half off week for it’s color meant I could get this $2,100 item for only one dollar. Now, that’s what I call a treasure and if it is my youngest daughter’s size on her upcoming birthday, it’ll put just as big a smile on her face as well.
Before this month, I was able to find only two Ralph Lauren brand of his highest offering in the Purple Label. This month yielded this label in a suit jacket, sweater, shirt and tie in three separate Goodwill stores. The color this month is obviously purple.
Suits – Only one suit was purchased this month but it falls into a category few other companies can boast about. I was able to locate a nice fitting Gieves & Hawkes grey formal suit. The company has been in business since 1771 and has dressed leaders and known patrons such as Winston Churchill, Admiral Lord Nelson, The Duke of Wellington, Charlie Chaplin, Michael Jackson, Mikhail Gorbachev, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, Sean Connery and Diana, Princess of Wales. With an address of No. 1 Savile Row, London, you know that it has to be at the top of it’s game.
Dress Jackets – I am trying to cut down on the number of dress jackets I purchase as they are harder to sell but at the same time offer the best buy for the money when you find a high-end quality suit jacket. This month brought in some exceptional brands as I am sure you will recognize some of the names.
The lady’s silk Balenciaga Le Dix was a fantastic bargain I was very fortunate to find and to be at the right place at the right time. This jacket will receive the respect the name demands and will have a special place for the care it deserves.
Another very nice jacket was the cream colored corduroy Dolce & Gabbana sport jacket. This looks great with a dress shirt and khakis. Another was the recent purchase of an Ermenegildo Zegna High Performance silk and wool jacket and a small design hounds-tooth wool jacket from Gucci. Both of these jackets retail for around $2,800 each. What is a collection of super suits without the name of Giorgio Armani showing? A beautiful dark grey silk suit jacket was picked up from this fashion house and fits like an Italian suit jacket should. Two other suit jackets I located well above even this price were from the makers at Oxxford Clothes located in Chicago averaging around $4,000 between the two. I especially like the blue with the striped dark and light blue silk lining. A 100% cashmere brown coat from Ralph Lauren with the Purple Label found it’s way into my Goodwill buggy and will look great with a pair of dark brown slacks. The final coat was a dark blue from Versace Classic V2 purchased for less than a five dollar bill. Who says you can’t afford to dress in the finest?
Overcoats – When one thinks of overcoats, you normally think of the cold winter wind of Ontario, Canada or the wet cold of England. I was able to locate a Burberry’s Long Heritage trench coat purchased in England at the Baron of Piccadilly. it turns out to be just my size and will be worn this coming Winter in the style it demands. The overcoat shows no signs of wear and was a great value at any price.
Shirts – There were 27 very nice shirts selected with some very notable names. It is unbelievable how much the retail price can be for some of these top of the line items of clothing. Here they are listed in alphabetical order. Astor & Black, Borelli, Brioni (3), Burberry (2), Canali (3), Coogi, Corneliani, Ermenegildo Zegna (4), Eton (4), Givenchy, Ike Behar, Louis Vuitton, Prada, Ralph Lauren Purple Label, Tiglio, and Yves Saint Laurent. I was quite surprised to find not just one but three Brioni shirts. These are the one brand I always have the most excitement in finding. I was also quite surprised to find a Ralph Lauren Purple Label shirt my size as well as one by Prada and Louis Vuitton. The black tuxedo Givenchy comes in with the second highest retail price of $685 just behind tan Prada sporting a price of $740. The two of these shirts were purchased for less than seven dollars each. Needless to say that these shirts do command a second glance from the ladies where I work but are worn only on certain occasions.
Sweaters – When you think of what some of the best sweaters are made of, you normally think of wool or cashmere. Rarely do I ever think of combining silk with cashmere to make the sweater light and comfortable. The attention to the detail on the Ralph Lauren Purple Label sweater and hand sewn seams are probably what make this sweater worth the retail price of $1,300. I was more than happy to find it for a total of $5.59, more of a price that I could afford and will wear with pride for many years to come. Many thanks to the person who took the time to donate it to the local Goodwill store.
One other sweater worth selecting was from Ermenegildo Zegna, the Zegna Sport with a 1/3rd zipper front. I have always found the quality of Zegna sweaters to be top notch.
Pants – It may appear that pants/trousers/slacks are less abundant than most of the other categories listed here. Possibly due to wearing out in the seat, spilling something on them or wearing them more often than the matching suit jacket. Who knows. I was able to locate three great names at some fantastic prices. If you know what the waist band on the inside of a pair of pants looks like from a manufacturer, it helps to identify certain brands. I have found that most suit manufacturers do not place their name inside a matching pair of pants when purchased with a suit jacket. This makes it difficult to identify the brand when separated. I was able to find a nice pair of Brioni slacks for a dollar as no one was able to identify it without the name inside but I recognized the striping that is the trademark of this name. The $695 pants were worth the effort to identify in this case.
Another great brand I look for is from Burberry. They have fantastic cloth for pants and wear nicely all during the day.
Another brand I look for is from Ermenegildo Zegna and located a pair for $5.59 which also retails for $695.
Ties – One of my favorite categories is that of the ties. I located 28 for my cost of $72 which retailed for $5,500 if purchased at one of town’s local Neiman Marcus, Barney’s or Saks Fifth Avenue stores. Some of the best names are represented here with Oxxford Crest at $295 and Stefano Ricci at $260 coming in at the highest retail prices. The twenty-eight ties that were picked up this month have the names of Brioni (4), Broletto, Burberrys, Campagnia della Seta, Canali, Charvet (3), Ermenegildo Zegna (6), Givenchy, Gucci (2), Isaia, Oxxford Crest, Paul Smith (3), Ralph Lauren Purple Label, Santorelli and Stefano Ricci. Seventeen of these were found in one store at one time. I hate to say it but it looked like either some gentleman with money died or the wife sought revenge and found it. I prefer to think the last idea was what happened.
Shoes – It’s hard to pass up a great pair of shoes made from one of the best fashion houses. I’m talking about Bally from Switzerland, Johnston & Murphy from the US, the Italian Salvatore Ferragamo Studio, Gucci from Italy and another great US made brand from Allen Edmonds.
I just happened to be speaking with one of the Goodwill staff in one of my favorite stores and he said he was in charge of the shoe department. He knew I was looking for top end shoes and suggested that I come with him and see what he had in the ladies section. He pulled out two bright yellow platform shoes which immediately garnered the attention of one of the ladies standing nearby. She quickly asked if she could look at them and the Goodwill gentleman who had them in hand said she could if I decided not to buy them. I decided to buy them and she expressed a very sour face in return. My oldest daughter tried them on later that day and immediately claimed them even though they appeared to be a bit too tight. She didn’t care, they were GUCCI! Nothing else needed to be said and I knew better than to argue with her.
Hangers – When I find large wooden suit hangers made of maple for less than a dollar each, it’s a good shopping day. I found nine such hangers and didn’t mind paying 79 cents apiece for these great additions for properly hanging the best of my suits. There are some very good articles on why you should hang your clothing on hangers made for that certain type of suit, pants, shirt or tie. Plastic is cheap but wood is typically a better choice for a variety of reasons.
Check out these two great references for additional information: Why to Buy Better Hangers by Men’s Journal and The Best Hangers by SweetHome.com.
Accessories – This is another area for great monthly surprises and this month was certainly no exception. Even though I didn’t find this first certain item at a Goodwill, I was in need of another leather watch strap for my high-end gentleman’s watch by Audemars Piguet and located a $650 item with that name for only one dollar and a quarter. My other watch band broke from sweat and needed replacing. What a great price!
Another great item I was looking for was a set of headphones from Bose and I couldn’t pass up this set for $14.99.
I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw a dark blue and gold scarf and concluded that it would be worth the $6.38 I would have to pay even if it were not an original. My suspensions came true when I validated the authenticity from a knowledgeable friend that I had found a genuine Chanel scarf. The chance I took paid off for this $450 item. The hard part of this now will be to decide who to give it to as a present this Christmas.
One other item not found at a Goodwill but worth mentioning was a certain belt I’ve been wanting for the past few years but wasn’t able to afford one. This was an Hermès silver “H” with a reversible black and brown belt. My total cost was $34.55 for a ridiculously priced $1,095 item to hold up your pants. The belt came new, wrapped in plastic, inside a fancy cotton bag, in a recognizable orange Hermès box.
Another item I will enjoy and use for reference is a National Geographic leather bound book, “In The Footsteps of Jesus”. This is a great resource showing what was going on at the time of Christ.
I also found a much needed hat from Scala, their Classico, Zoot Fedora. My daughter took one look and said I looked ridiculous in it so I guess it will have to find another head to sit upon.
A nice set of British black silk suspenders will also help Hermès hold up my pants when the time permits. These will fit the bill when an occassion presents itself to reside beneath one of my formal tuxedos.
Finally, I found a nice little box with a war metal presented to a soldier as the Army Achievement award and it’s accompanying ribbons. It brings back stories I heard of my predecessors war stories during WW II.
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 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.
|Suits – 1
|1,224||Gieves & Hawkes||–||19.97||24.99||1,224.23||Charcoal||USA|
|Dress Jackets – 9|
|Dolce & Gabbana||–||7.98||9.99||2,000.00||Tan||Italy|
|Ermenegildo Zegna||High Performance||9.99||9.99||2,795.00||Black||Italy|
|Giorgio Armani||Le Collezioni||7.98||9.99||2,195.00||Grey||Italy|
|Oxxford Clothes||Kepp’s Men’s Shop||7.98||9.99||3,595.00||Navy||USA|
|Ralph Lauren||Purple Label||15.97||19.99||2,495.00||Brown||England|
|Overcoats – 1
|Shirts – 27
|10,913||Astor & Black||–||5.59||6.99||275.00||Purple||London|
|Ermenegildo Zegna||Z Zegna||5.59||6.99||895.00||Brown||Italy|
|Ike Behar||New York||5.59||6.99||265.00||Tan||USA|
|Ralph Lauren||Purple Label||7.18||8.99||450.00||Blue||Italy|
|Yves Saint Laurent||pour homme||6.99||6.99||570.00||Brown||France|
|Sweaters – 2
|2,290||Ermenegildo Zegna||Zegna Sport||5.59||6.99||995.00||Blue||China|
|Ralph Lauren||Purple Label||5.59||6.99||1,295.00||Tan||Italy|
|Pants – 3
|Ermenegildo Zegna||Z Soft||5.59||6.99||695.00||Black||Portugal|
|Ties – 28
|Campagnia della Seta||1.49||1.99||34.00||Charcoal||Italy|
|Ermenegildo Zegna||Disegno Esclusivo||2.24||2.99||195.00||Grey||Italy|
|Ralph Lauren||Purple Label||3.99||4.99||235.00||Grey||England|
|Stefano Ricci||Luxury Collection||2.24||2.99||260.00||Blue||France|
|Shoes – 8
|Johnston & Murphy||XC4 Stanton Moc Venetian||7.46||14.99||159.00||Black||China|
|Hangers – 9
|40||Natural||Suit x 9||0.79||0.99||39.60||Natural||USA|
|Accessories – 8
|2,515||Audemars Piguet||watch strap||1.25||1.25||650.00||Black||Switzerland|
|In The Footsteps of Jesus||National Graphics||1.49||2.99||40.00||Navy||USA|
|Scala||Classico Zoot Fedora||6.99||6.99||46.00||Grey||USA|
|US military||Army Achievement Metal||6.38||7.99||40.00||Blue||USA|
Knowing your brands, as to which command a greater return on your investment, is good business sense. A good example of this was the silk women’s jack by Balenciaga. Become familiar with the brands that sell well or have a long lasting international respect and when you find them in good condition, they may bring you an excellent net satisfaction. Until next month, good luck with your Goodwill hunting.