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Styleforum › Forums › Men's Style › Classic Menswear › Beginner question here: Can someone explain why the RLPL shirt I thrifted today is a "better" shirt than my Brooks Brothers shirts?
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Beginner question here: Can someone explain why the RLPL shirt I thrifted today is a "better"...

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 

My closet is almost entirely full of BB shirts because it happens that the extra slim fit fits me very well off the rack and I like being able to stock up at sales without much hassle. However, I stumbled across a Ralph Lauren Purple Label shirt in my size at a thrift store today and obviously I bought it because, well, it was a RLPL shirt for $3. 

 

Since I'm trying to learn, I'm struggling to understand why RL can charge 400 or 500 bucks for this v.s. 180 for a BB luxury shirt (ignoring sale prices). To be honest, the BB luxury fabric is much thicker and softer. The RLPL fabric, on the other hand, is extremely thin. The label reads "100% cotton 200/2ply."

 

Can someone educate me: why is the RLPL shirt "better." I'm not some incredulous troll...I'm genuinely trying to learn what sort of construction detals, etc. I am overlooking. 

post #2 of 13
Thread Starter 

Oh. I forgot. The one thing that I did pick up on is that the RLPL shirt has mother of pearl buttons while none of my BB shirts do. Surely this isn't worth 2-300 dollars, however. 

post #3 of 13
Well first off, who makes RLPL shirts? Last I heard it was Lorenzini

Second, RL markets RLPL to a certain wealth of people, it doesn't necessarily mean that the shirts are really THAT much better than say Brioni's. Solid construction, great fabric, and fits a certain type of man.

In general, as quality increases, price does not necessarily increase at a linear rate. RLPL isn't stocked at the same level as BB or PRL is either. Whereas BB recycles clothing often, RLPL is producing new and unique designs per season, per year- to a certain degree it is nearly entirely different per year.

Third main item, the fact is RL does not necessarily do the best job at planning stock and price, that's why they have huge sales, to push out items and turn over inventory. When they put up their shirts at $400, it is made up of a lot of mark up, and meant for those who, frankly, can care less about price. People are paying for the 'design', 'exclusivity' and brand image associated with RLPL.

In the end it would probably cost less to have bespoke shirts made for you at your behest.

My current favorite example of this is their Duffle Coat, That's $3k for a duffle coat...one of the best duffle coats are made by Gloverall and are under $800 - another good one is 'Original Montgomery' and those can be found for even cheaper. RLPL is basically exploiting their ability to overcharge their customers for their 'style', 'exclusivity', 'brand image' and personal luxury - which they have every right to do, and they might as well keep doing it, especially if people keep buying it. (note: the Gloverall's and the RLPLs both share a similar ratio of Wool/Nylon, the Original Montgomery has a lower count of wool)

-This all coming from a RL fanboy, mind you...
post #4 of 13

materials: fabric, mother of pearl buttons

construction: maybe some hand stitching

branding branding branding

 

you know what RLPL is... that was not cheap to achieve.

post #5 of 13
They charge 500 because some people are willing to pay 500. It doesn't mean the shirt is necessarily worth 500.
post #6 of 13
Thread Starter 

Thank you for the responses. I agree that branding can have much to do with seemingly arbitrary gaps in price (although I question how many people outside of this forum know that RLPL is different than the RL products seen at TJ Maxx). However, I know that RLPL is a favorite on this forum while people here generally hate brands that have a "name" but low quality (e.g. Hugo Boss). Therefore, I'm assuming that there must be a list of things about RLPL shirts that are objectively good. So far I have good fabric, MOP buttons, possible hand-stitching. Anything else I'm missing? 

post #7 of 13
RLPL is a poor example - you are comparing two shirts which are effectively entirely machine made. One may have slightly better fabrics or MOP buttons, yet they are always going to be quite similar.

When you are comparing a BB shirt to a specialist shirt maker, however, the differences really begin to show and justify higher pricing.
post #8 of 13
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ich_Dien View Post

RLPL is a poor example - you are comparing two shirts which are effectively entirely machine made. One may have slightly better fabrics or MOP buttons, yet they are always going to be quite similar.

When you are comparing a BB shirt to a specialist shirt maker, however, the differences really begin to show and justify higher pricing.

 

Interesting. I always thought RLPL was one of the ready-to-wear brands more exalted on here, but perhaps that is just their shoes and suits?

post #9 of 13
It is a good RTW brand, but certainly not in the top tier. It is more lauded for its cut and style than construction.

As for shirts, if you do a little search on the forum you'll find the higher end shirt makers out there, usually Italian, where a shirt can be almost entirely constructed by hand etc.
post #10 of 13

I was looking for a Marcella shirt to wear with my tux.  I found two off the rack options after extensive searching - one online for under $50 (100% cotton, decent shirt), and the other Tom Ford at H&M for $1500.  It was all I could do not to laugh out loud when they told me the price of the Tom Ford shirt.  It was beautiful; definitely going to be nicer than the other one (which I bought, and quite like).  I had no idea there was anyone foolish enough to pay $1500 for a shirt in a store.  I would say the same of a $500 RLPL shirt, or any $500 shirt.  You'd need to have tons of money to throw away, and really, really, really like the material, and believe that a tailor could not find the same material.  This anecdote is to reiterate the previous post: you're paying for the label.

post #11 of 13
If Lorenzini makes RLPL, are the Lorenzini shirts made to the same standards? Or does RLPL have a few additional bells and whistles (e.g. MoP buttons, etc...)?
post #12 of 13
Lorenzini shirts are, in my experience, practically the same in everything construction wise except cut and style.
post #13 of 13
This is great news. If you can't tell the difference or don't care about the details (i really couldn't care less if the shirt is hand stitched), then you can live life knowing that you are fine with inexpensive BB shirts. I do the same with my CT shirts. I've purchased $300 shirts. Sure the fabric may feel a little nicer and the buttons are nicer, but it really has very little impact on my life and I can find much better things to spend the $250 difference on.
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Styleforum › Forums › Men's Style › Classic Menswear › Beginner question here: Can someone explain why the RLPL shirt I thrifted today is a "better" shirt than my Brooks Brothers shirts?