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In praise of full retail shopping...

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by Artisan Fan, Sep 2, 2006.

  1. Artisan Fan

    Artisan Fan Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    32,345
    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2006
    I have been learning how to get great deals on things by lurking here and have put some ebay sellers to use, but I really have learned that there is a lot of value left in full retail price shopping.

    Here's why I like it:

    1. Selection, selection, selection. No more hunting for my size. I look at patterns and buy my size.

    2. No shortages in my size. Usually plenty in stock even in half sizes at the right store.

    3. Current season merchandise. Fewer trendy, already out of style in six months yesterday's "gotta have". In fact, a good rule for gentlemen is to avoid any clothing that the NY Times, GQ, or Esquire says is a must have piece.

    4. Best patterns/colors/etc. are not taken because a sale is on and some sales guy gave an early tip-off or hold to his regulars.

    5. No product sniping by ebay resellers at places like Filene's.

    6. More relaxed, less pressured buying experience.

    7. There is value in forming networks of friends at the better local and out of town stores.

    8. Trunk shows, artisan collaboratives, and receptions are just plain fun when done well. Meeting great people like Massimo, Fabio Borrelli, Olga Berluti and others creates more of a connection with the craftsmanship imho.

    9. Bespoke & MTM is loads of fun-fabric selection, fittings, your own "design" is really cool.

    10. Shoes are much easier to buy in person.

    Just my $0.02 on the subject...do you agree with me?

    How much full retail shopping do you do?
     
  2. kitonbrioni

    kitonbrioni Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    5,496
    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2004
    Right on, more power to you.
     
  3. LA Guy

    LA Guy Opposite Santa Staff Member

    Messages:
    33,307
    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2002
    Location:
    Moscow, Idaho
    At the beginning of a season, I'll get about three pieces that I really like and that I'm reasonably certain will not make it to sales. I've been wrong about this, but seldomly. A few times I held off because I thought that the piece was too dear, and I've always been disappointed when it sells out.

    I find that bargain shopping and beginning of season shopping are two different things altogether. In bargain shopping, you are digging through a bunch of left behinds looking for a gem. Beginning of the season shopping is more thrilling. You are in the race to identify and purchasethe best items before they are gone, gone, gone. I tend to like niche brands with limited distribution, so a lot of the stuff is tough to find to begin with.

    I have been learning how to get great deals on things by lurking here and have put some ebay sellers to use, but I really have learned that there is a lot of value left in full retail price shopping.

    Here's why I like it:

    1. Selection, selection, selection. No more hunting for my size. I look at patterns and buy my size.

    2. No shortages in my size. Usually plenty in stock even in half sizes at the right store.

    3. Current season merchandise. Fewer trendy, already out of style in six months yesterday's "gotta have". In fact, a good rule for gentlemen is to avoid any clothing that the NY Times, GQ, or Esquire says is a must have piece.

    4. Best patterns/colors/etc. are not taken because a sale is on and some sales guy gave an early tip-off or hold to his regulars.

    5. No product sniping by ebay resellers at places like Filene's.

    6. More relaxed, less pressured buying experience.

    7. There is value in forming networks of friends at the better local and out of town stores.

    8. Trunk shows, artisan collaboratives, and receptions are just plain fun when done well. Meeting great people like Massimo, Fabio Borrelli, Olga Berluti and others creates more of a connection with the craftsmanship imho.

    9. Bespoke & MTM is loads of fun-fabric selection, fittings, your own "design" is really cool.

    10. Shoes are much easier to buy in person.

    Just my $0.02 on the subject...do you agree with me?

    How much full retail shopping do you do?
     
  4. EL72

    EL72 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    6,860
    Joined:
    May 11, 2006
    Location:
    Toronto
    This is all very nice but really a moot point. If you can afford it, sure - who wouldn't buy under those conditions? The reality is that I could never buy the brands and quality I like and want if I cannot get them at a deep discount via sales, discounters and especially eBay. I am therefore perfectly willing to forego all the frills so that I can buy a $2,000 suit for $500 - even if it takes a while to find. My other option is to shop at full retail at JC Penney.

    Just my $0.02 on the subject...do you agree with me?
     
  5. drizzt3117

    drizzt3117 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    13,141
    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2004
    Location:
    Orange County, CA
    I tend to buy things on sale as a general rule. I could certainly afford to shop full retail but I'd rather increase my buying power by purchasing items on sale.
     
  6. Artisan Fan

    Artisan Fan Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    32,345
    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2006
    Well they do have Land's End now so life is not too harsh, [​IMG]
     
  7. Artisan Fan

    Artisan Fan Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    32,345
    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2006
    I agree to a point, but what happens if you don't find your size? Do you live with the compromises?
     
  8. AlanC

    AlanC Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    7,805
    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2003
    Location:
    Heart of America
    This is all very nice but really a moot point. If you can afford it, sure - who wouldn't buy under those conditions? The reality is that I could never buy the brands and quality I like and want if I cannot get them at a deep discount via sales, discounters and especially eBay. I am therefore perfectly willing to forego all the frills so that I can buy a $2,000 suit for $500 - even if it takes a while to find. My other option is to shop at full retail at JC Penney.

    Just my $0.02 on the subject...do you agree with me?


    Preach it, brother!
     
  9. A Harris

    A Harris Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    4,582
    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2003
    I agree that there is a lot of value to the retail experience. If I was loaded, then discount stores and sales would be for fun only, they would not be where I bought most of my wardrobe (you would most likely find me frequenting the shops of custom tailors and shoemakers.) But, unfortunately, I'm not loaded and I think my champagne taste/beer budget reality is probably shared by a good number of the members here.
     
  10. DocHolliday

    DocHolliday Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    16,118
    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2005
    Location:
    Tombstone
    Regardless of how much money I had, I can't see myself ever buying everything at full retail. I was raised to value thrift, and paying full retail, when I know I can get the same quality items for less, goes against that.
     
  11. odoreater

    odoreater Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    8,739
    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2005
    Location:
    Elizabethtown
    6. More relaxed, less pressured buying experience.

    Definitely cannot agree with this one. When you go to a discount store you can try on whatever you want and nobody is bothering you about buying anything. The salespeople at outlets and discounters are only there to unlock the door to the changing room for you. On the other hand, at regular "full retail" stores, some salesman leaches on to you, puts your shoes on for you, and basically kisses your ass to the point that it makes you feel very uncomfortable to forego buying anything. Basically, as a summary, I find the buying experience at a place like Neiman Marcus to be a lot less relaxed and the buying experience to be filled with more pressure than at a place like Last Call.

    As for always buying at full retail, well, I don't believe that a lof of the things I buy are worth what they are being sold for at full retail. Otherwise, the same things wouldn't be appearing at the discounters for pennies on the dollar. For example, a Corneliani suit is worth $600 (STP price) + waiting for the right suit to come along; a Corneliani suit is NOT worth $1400 + being able to find it right away at the store. Once you get a solid system down for discount shopping and you already have the basic pieces that you need, discount shopping becomes pretty easy.
     
  12. RJman

    RJman Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    18,647
    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2004
    Location:
    In the not too distant future
    What does Olga Berluti have to do with craftsmanship again? Berlutis are made in a factory by Stefanobi.

    Anyway, yes, full retail is nice, providing they actually have something worth buying. There's a difference in the full retail experience between a place like Wilkes Bashford, which always treats me very well no matter how much or little I've bought (and I recognize that others may not have had positive experiences) and the DC Neiman Marcus, which generally has wretched service. Moreover, in the DC area and a couple of smaller retailers aside, the discount stores likes FIlene's Basement often have better stuff (IMHO) than the Mazza Gallerie Neimans or Saks.

    I will agree with the OP that there is a great benefit to having the range of sizes or colors that you may actually want. One pitfall of discount shopping is making do, buying something that isn't actually what you really want but doing it because it's there and at a discount.
     
  13. Dragon

    Dragon Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    3,186
    Joined:
    May 29, 2006
    I think he`s talking about the atmosphere of the shopping experience.

    When shopping retail, you can sit down in a quiet area over a cup of coffee/tea, and choose what you want in a relaxed atmosphere, with no pressure of competing with herds of people to buy something at discount.
     
  14. odoreater

    odoreater Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    8,739
    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2005
    Location:
    Elizabethtown
    I think he`s talking about the atmosphere of the shopping experience.

    When shopping retail, you can sit down in a quiet area over a cup of coffee/tea, and choose what you want in a relaxed atmosphere, with no pressure of competing with herds of people to buy something at discount.


    Can you really?
     
  15. lakewolf

    lakewolf Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    5,166
    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2006
    Location:
    Zurich, Switzerland
    agreed !

    I am a classic dresser not a follower of trends and my closet is almost set with everything I need ( or would in the next 2 lifes [​IMG] )

    So as I don't really "have to" buy something, I do it for the fun of it... I have the cash to go and blow it at full retail, but I like better the joy of hunting and having found the right thing, right size at 75% off... And for me that I wear a European 48 suits, 15 1/2 shirts and Size 9 shoes it is indeed not easy as those sizes are the most common and you don't find too much on sale for those sizes....

    However I have bought superb things on sales that fits me as MTM...

    my $ 0.005 ( that is the 25% of 0.02 [​IMG] )
     
  16. Rolo

    Rolo Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    464
    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2006
    Location:
    Raleigh, NC, USA

    1. Selection, selection, selection. No more hunting for my size. I look at patterns and buy my size.

    2. No shortages in my size. Usually plenty in stock even in half sizes at the right store.


    When you're small these don't hold true. Good luck finding a selection of pants at W30 and smaller. Some stores have stopped stocking smalls and shoes smaller than size 8. Some manufacturers have even stop making size small. Things are better in large cities, but not invariably I'll find tons of things that I like in that aren't in my size. One quickly starts cringing at the familiar refrain of 'Oh. We can order it for you."

    For me, online shopping is not just about price, it's about choice.
     
  17. BrooklynMike

    BrooklynMike Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    48
    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2006
    If I had the money I would certainly be buying at full retail just to save time. I could easily drop 100K at Bergdorf Goodman in 20 minutes, but that's strictly a dream for now. But I can dress just fine without that.
     
  18. Steve B.

    Steve B. Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    10,272
    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2002
    Location:
    San Antonio
    Why am I not surprised to see your sarcastic replies not limited to the CE Forum?
     
  19. horton

    horton Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    654
    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2006
    Location:
    Boston
    I agree with all of the points by AF and LA guy. I still thinks there's tremendous value and some recreation in full retail. Great retailers IMO are the ones who will tell you not to buy something, e.g., not right for you (or perhaps to tell you that you might get this on sale because it's not flying out of the store). They'll also introduce you to new labels that you may not have known or may not have known they would suit your tastes or fit.

    One thing I've observed though is that as my wardrobe gets more complete with the classic pieces, there seems to be less that I'm willing to pay full retail for. It's usually things like the classic pieces (e.g., fabulous cashmere gray/navy) that I'd pay full retail for (because I'd never expect a significant discount on those). Now that I have most of those basics (my wife would say I had them long ago) I'm more content being picky and waiting for a piece to really appeal to me, and a lot of those are the kind of less-than-cornerstone pieces that will appear on sale.

    Here are some of the things that I would expect to pay full retail for (or bespoke) and that I would be pumped if I actually got on a great sale (which sometimes happens):

    • navy and gray suits (plain worsted no funky cut or stripes)
    • navy and gray high end sweaters, e.g., tight v-neck
    • classic blue and white shirts or those with very classic stripes, e.g., bengal stripe
    • navy/gray trousers, e.g., Incotex or Brioni
    • navy blazer
    • bedrock core dress shoes

    Great thread
     
  20. Leslierc

    Leslierc Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    315
    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2006
    I have been learning how to get great deals on things by lurking here and have put some ebay sellers to use, but I really have learned that there is a lot of value left in full retail price shopping.

    Here's why I like it:

    1. Selection, selection, selection. No more hunting for my size. I look at patterns and buy my size.

    2. No shortages in my size. Usually plenty in stock even in half sizes at the right store.

    3. Current season merchandise. Fewer trendy, already out of style in six months yesterday's "gotta have". In fact, a good rule for gentlemen is to avoid any clothing that the NY Times, GQ, or Esquire says is a must have piece.

    4. Best patterns/colors/etc. are not taken because a sale is on and some sales guy gave an early tip-off or hold to his regulars.

    5. No product sniping by ebay resellers at places like Filene's.

    6. More relaxed, less pressured buying experience.

    7. There is value in forming networks of friends at the better local and out of town stores.

    8. Trunk shows, artisan collaboratives, and receptions are just plain fun when done well. Meeting great people like Massimo, Fabio Borrelli, Olga Berluti and others creates more of a connection with the craftsmanship imho.

    9. Bespoke & MTM is loads of fun-fabric selection, fittings, your own "design" is really cool.

    10. Shoes are much easier to buy in person.

    Just my $0.02 on the subject...do you agree with me?

    How much full retail shopping do you do?


    I agree with all that you have stated. In fact, I recently purchased two "fall" Armani suits, six Bulgari (Bvlgari) ties, a Loius Vuitton tie, and a piece of Louis Vuitton luggage at retail. For me, finding the perfect item on-sale is nothing short of pure excitement and satisfaction. However, I hate seeing something marked-down that I purchased at retail.
     

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