I will be travelling to Italy soon, and would like to bring back something as a momento. I would have loved to have a suit made, but that's way beyond my budget right now, so that will have to wait for another time.
Within this price range, I was thinking
a) a few nice ties,
b) a unique cloth or two that I could have made into jackets or a suit a few months after I get back, or
c) one good pair of shoes.
If I go for cloth, which mill(s) should I visit? At this point I was considering VBC, E. Thomas, and Loro Piana. Will the mills even sell directly to someone who walks in off the street? Also, I'm not a fabric conneseur. I can't determine if a fabric will make a good garment by feeling a tiny swatch, so I would basically be relying on the mill's name to ensure quality.
Whatever I buy, I will be wearing it only occassionally, and I would hope to keep it for a long time. I would like it to be of high enough quality that I won't consider it to be cheap crap in a few years, as my sartorial standards increase.
What would you buy with $500, for something quintessentially Italian? Do any of you know of brands of shoes or ties that can only be bought in Italy that offer excellent bang for the buck?