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How to shop for quaility used goods

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 
I have debated for a good while on posting this but decided -  what the Brell. I realize many people feel this is secret or priveleged information, especially with all the competiton on Ebay. But then I will also  bet the "competition" uses many of the same sources as well. I also realize there are 100 plus books for sale on "How To".  I just always found it better to take the advice of someone who has actually ACCOMPLISHED what one is looking to do, not take the advice of someone who probalby never actually done anything the book is about or did so under completely different circumstances in a different decade. May I respectfully ask where people find the Oxxford and Zegna and Brioni etc  suits  and the C & J and Alden and Churches etc. shoes and all the other high end clothing that many sell on Ebay? I ( and I am betting more than a few others on these forums) live in a small  ( Ohio in my case ) town. The closest "cities" of any type are 40-50 miles away. If one wants a metropolis like Columbus, Ohio or Indianapolis, Indiana or Cincinnatti, Ohio -  you drive over 120 miles one way at the minimum. The higher end department stores close to me only carry Aboud or H.S.&M. for their "top-of-the-line" . Even Lazarus-Macys  that is "only" 40 miles away is such a small store it doesn't carry the Lauren or H.S.M. lines let alone the higher end clothing that most of the other Lazarus stores do. We have tried going to the good will stores etc. There are no decent consignment shops or second hand stores we have found. ( well if you want a wedding dress priced cheap or kids clothes there are plenty of shops). The only decent men's clothing sotre I have found charges premium prices for intermediate clothing lines and really crusifies you when you , as I do, wear a longer or not average size.  An example of a 2 ply no name cashmere sweater in  large extra long  "special ordered" being the price of a 4 ply cashemre sweater and as expensive as I have seen Lauren Blue label on sale for. I have to order all my shirts online or buy them when traveling.That is why I wear so many Paul Fredrick shirts. I found a fair shirt at decent sale prices and have stuck with it until I find a god outlet for the better quaility ones. It isnt feasable to travel to the larger metro areas regularly. The one time we tried it was  when I was recoouping from a surgery. We went 5 times in a 2 week period and never found anything of value hitting the thrift stores and sales. Plenty of Jos Bank, Hart Marx , Abboud etc but nothing of higher end.  The one Fillene's Basement I know of, like any other store of it's type, is hit or miss. Of all the times we have stopped there ( We make a habit of it every time we go through Columbus, Ohio) , I have never found anything over the quaility of Hickey Freeman other than a few odd sized Zegna Soft and a couple very small sized Canali jackets and or suits. I would be happy just to  see an oxxford suit there, in my size or not, that some of  you post aobut regularly seeing at Fillene's We do not have the time to run back and forth at this point in our lives on a gamble. But if we had some better ideas on possibly how when and where to look i wouldnt mind taking a day every so often to do so. It would be a nice way to spend the day together "treasure huntng" if there was a slight chance the map might be the real thing. I do not want to buy items for Ebay. It might actually be easier if I did. I would not be so locked in on sizes. I just would like to find some of the values others offer On Ebay for my wife and myself. I am not asking for the secret of the meaning to life. I do not want ot step on anyone's online business. I just would like to be able to augment my wardrobe and I know my wife loves nice clothese and shoes too. IS the only way to really do this by setting up deals with certain second hand shops- good will stores- estate buyers and the like? I see Sartorial Solutions- World*Class*Consignments nad some others from the forums offering fantastic items. I cant imagine finding that many offerings from Oxxford, Kiton,Zegna, Barbera etc in a lifetime that they sell in a few months to a year. I understand that living in a large metro area such as NYC or Dallas or L.A. and even being in clothing retail will give one a leg up. But surely there are some opportunities for the person who just wants to cloth themselfs. How can one in a small urban area realistically have a chance to find items. IS there a "best day" to check at T.J. Max ( the one 47 miles away doesnt even carry mens suits or mens shoes)  or a good day to drop into Fiullene's Basement ? Are ther ANY suggestions you experienced experts can offer please? I am not asking you nor would I expect you to offer up the holy grail of used clothing, but I would be happy to get a sip in my size now and then   I truly dont expect many, if any,  replies. I am not being flip.Nor am I trying to be challenging or confrontational nor insulting to anyone. I am being honest and a realist. It has been  my personal experience and my experience  observing others in life that  leads  me to not  have much hope of many, if any, replies. I have a great respect for most of the posters here on the  forum.  Many of you have taught me more than I would have  KNOWN to even hope for. But it is human nature that many times people guard closely the "secrets" even if 1000 others know the same secret. Many times we subconsciously think..."if I give that info away I may miss out on that........<fill in the blank>" . I will be honest and admit I have been guilty of doing the same thing myself at times over the years.    I am not trying to get into a philosophical or psychological debate over man's subconscious or survival instinct or what ever you want to call it. Perhaps I should have not even included the preceding paragraph. I just believe in being straightforward. I also wanted to state I can understand IF there are no replies. BUT ...... I HAD to try asking. Respectfully,    John P.S>  My apology I wrote this then copied it into the new post  and lost all  of my italics and bold type.
post #2 of 6
Know your measurements, that is the first key. Second key is going to reputable sellers for used goods -- world*class*consignment being the best, followed by sartorialsolutions. Those are Ebay seller names BTW. Third key is, if you can't find good used stuff in your size from these high rep sellers, spend a little more and buy used. I now know my measurements like the back of my hand -- I have about .25 inches in the shoulder and 1 inch or so in the chest to work with -- and as a result have picked up some high quality new suits on Ebay for about 20 percent of retail price. If you know your measurements, you can easily get a Purple Label, St. Andrews, Oxxford, Canali, etc. for $500 or thereabouts.
post #3 of 6
Check often. That is the best advice I can give. Thrift stores, TJ Maxx, outlets, etc will always be hit-or-miss. I typically go home empty-handed, maybe finding a few things each time (Hugo Boss/Burberry to flip on ebay, maybe some lower priced trendy items from Express or Banana Republic for myself). When you do hit a good find, it makes all the previous trips worth it. Also, with thrift stores, good items tend to arrive in bunches. When you find a Talbott tie, you will typically find several donated by the same person. Same with shirts and suits/sport coats. Make friendly conversation with a salesperson at a thrift store and find out which day of the week they put new merchandise out. If they say 'we put out new things every day', that's just BS. Thrift stores typically have tags in four colors. Every week, they have a day where they remove all items of a certain color tag, and replace them with a batch of newer items of the same color tag. The bargain seekers will wait outside of the store before it opens on that day, in order to grab the new items first. Same with Marshalls/TJ Maxx. They'll typically get shipments of higher-end items from department store closeouts at the same time. Not too often, either. Try asking a manager when they expect their next shipment of high-end things, but don't be surprised if they don't know. Don't doubt the items that may be found in smaller stores away from major cities. I've found this tiny, dirty, hole-in-the-wall place that has held an Oxxford every time I've gone (3-4 times). As long as there are a few wealthy people in your town, they probably aquire clothes from other cities, perhaps on shopping or business trips, and most likely donate them while still in good condition. Be persistant and good luck. PS: you'll pay more on ebay, but the time you save and the selection of sizes/patterns/colors is worth it.
post #4 of 6
Personally I've simply sifted through the ebay items and purchased reasonably priced Oxxford, Brioni, etc... from ebay sellers, although I've found some decent deals at discounters in my area, I simply don't have the time/energy to go to thrift shops, etc... If you know your measurements and look on ebay, you can find deals that are probably close to thrift shop level anyways. I've bought Oxxford suits in my size that appear to be worn once or twice at the most for $20-30 before.
post #5 of 6
You may be stuck with the Internet. The next time you're in a big city, go to a few department stores and try on as many brands as possible. This will help you determine which brands look best on you, and help with sizing.
post #6 of 6
Scope out the wealthier churches in your area and find out if they have jumble sales. Ditto for historical societies and junior league type orgs. You might do well at estate auctions, who knows?
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