Def could be fit/style. You may have gotten cooler, more unique garments from these makers. A lot of the 'better makers' are also more conservative in cut and style. This allows you to get more wear out of the garment, but may mean that it is less likely to attract notice. In terms of the comments you get once the brand is revealed, I'd surmise that people know brands like BR and Boss much better than the typical forum fare. Zegna is considered by many to be a bit recherche, Brioni more so and Kiton is almost unknown. I challenge you to find one person in 20 who has heard of Edward Green. With the mainstream label styles (and BR is basically a cheaper version of a lot of those looks), you get up-to-the-minute looks that are often distinctive in shade of shirt or last of shoe. With forum faves, you get styles that we call 'timeless', but those timeless styles are often available at a variety of prices - often all the way down to Bostonian. If someone isn't paying close attention, they are more likely to be beguiled by a distinctive last on a KC than a subtle variation on the balmoral. Many compliments come from someone noticing a more extreme style decision - they see a large difference, and feel obligated to remark on it. The ones that I value most come much less often, and are of the 'you always dress well' variety. Not so much a reaction to a piece, but to the overall care taken with one's appearance.