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Quality vs. price question

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by RIDER, May 29, 2004.

  1. RIDER

    RIDER Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,357
    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2004
    Location:
    RVA - NYC
    Since most, I assume, cannot afford the 'best' of a category, I was wondering which (common) brands quality are most accurately reflected in their 'everyday' price. Also, what is most overpriced?

    My feelings:
    Tailored Clothing:
    Best value - Hickey-Freeman
    Worst Value - Zegna

    Dress Shirts:
    Best Value - Kenneth Gordon
    Worst Value - Brioni

    Dress Shoes:
    Best Value - Gravati
    Worst Value - (tie) Ferragamo & Cole Haan

    Neckties:
    Best Value - Talbott
    Worst Value - Burberry

    Socks:
    Best Value - Byford
    Worst Value - Pantherella

    Any opinions? Other best/worst items?
     
  2. rayk

    rayk Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    167
    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2003
    Location:
    Inferno: Circle 5
    Tailored Clothing:
    Best Value - Oxxford
    Worst Value - Armani

    Dress Shirts:
    Best Value - Lorenzini
    Worst Value - Thomas Pink

    Dress Shoes:
    Best Value - C&J
    Worst Value - Cole Haan

    Neckties:
    Best Value - Marinella
    Worst Value - The list is long and distinguished

    Socks:
    Best Value - Dore Dore
    Worst Value - Calvin Klein
     
  3. norcaltransplant

    norcaltransplant Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,408
    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2003
    Location:
    NYC/Brooklyn
    Tailored Clothing: Best Value - Canali, Hickey-Freeman Worst Value - Armani Dress Shirts: Best Value - Hilditch & Key, Ascot Chang Worst Value - Thomas Pink, Gucci Dress Shoes: Best Value - Gravati, Edward Green Worst Value - Cole Haan Neckties: Best Value - Dunhill, Bizzochi Worst Value - Most fashion houses (e.g. Armani, Calvin Klein, Donna Karan, etc.) Slacks: Best Value: [​IMG] I finally broke down, and bought a pair of Incotex cords which are heavenly. Worst Value: Hugo Boss
     
  4. bigbadbuff

    bigbadbuff Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,742
    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2002
    Tailored

    Best: Canali, Corneliani, Hickey
    Worst: Armani, Dior

    Dress Shirt:

    Best: Purple Label, Lorenzini, Jantzen
    Worst: Kiton, Thomas Pink

    Dress Shoes:

    Best: AE
    Worst: Bruno Magli, Kenneth Cole, Cole Haan

    Slacks of any kind:

    Best: J Crew, Polo Blue Label
    Worst: Armani, Incotex


    Keep in mind I really like and purchase things from some designers in the worst category, but we're talking retail VALUE here.
     
  5. T4phage

    T4phage Well-Known Member

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    sage
    Okay, keep in mind that I am in Europe (I will limit my suggestions to brands that are available there in the States), and that this is not the "best", but "best bang for the buck": Suits/Sportscoats: Best: toss up between Ravazzolo, R. Caruso, and Belvest Worst: most designer Unlimited funds: Bespokes plus bespoke Brioni in their Roman headquarters Dress Shirts: Best: (although I haven't tried it nor seen any) Janztzen (beats everyone because you get a shirt that FITS PROPERLY, and very well priced), another would be Millerighe (Rome) just for the colours.... Worst: most designer Unlimited funds: bespoke Battistoni (really the ultimate, trust me). Trousers: Best: Incotex, Reporter Worst: most designers, Zanella Unlimited funds: bespokes, Kiton, Rota, Incotex satoriale (make sure it is satoriale: ONLY has buttons, absolutley NO ZIPPERS) Shoes: Best: Santoni (tan serrated sock, fatte a mano, andrea santoni in script going around the heel) Worst: Prada Unlimited funds: Bespokes: Lattanzzi, Lobb Paris, Cleverley Socks: Best: Dore Dore Worst: most designer  [​IMG] Ties: Best: Villa Bolgheri (makers of Zegna) Worst: all machine stitched ties. Unlimited: bespoke with your own choice of fabrics and construction.
     
  6. LA Guy

    LA Guy Opposite Santa Staff Member

    Messages:
    33,277
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    Mar 8, 2002
    Location:
    Moscow, Idaho
    Before responding, let me state up fron that I think that this type of comparison is best made between brands of similar *styles*, at similar pricepoints. Comparing Dior Homme (Cheaper, and designer) to Kiton (traditional tailor, and more expensive) gives an indication of the posters tastes rather than giving a good guide. With this is mind, I consider only "traditional" clothiers.

    Tailored:
    Best Value (In order of descending price): Belvest, Canali, Corneliani
    Worst Value: Brioni, Hickey-Freeman (I have no idea why you guys would consider that stuff value for money), Zegna

    Shirts:
    Best value: Any MTM service with access to good fabrics. Barba
    Worst value: Kiton, Borrelli, Attolini, Brioni - I love all these makers, but $350+ for a RTW dress shirt? Come back to earth people.

    Trousers:
    Best value: Incotex
    Worst value: Hugo Boss - not really a "traditional" clothier, I know, but the prices these days are similar ($175+ for wool), and the quality is pretty bad.

    Leather belts:
    Best value: Martin Dingman (sp?)
    Worst value: Ferragamo - nice styles, but really.

    Neckties:
    Best Value: Bizzochi, Robert Talbott (though I hate his patterns with a passion)
    Worst value: Hugo Boss - seriously some of the worst ties, for any money, that I have seen.

    Socks: Seriously guys, buy reasonable socks, but don't spend more that 10 bucks a pair, tops. They are socks. They get holes, you toss them. No one scrutinizes them (unless they are truly atrocious.)
     
  7. brescd01

    brescd01 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    543
    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2004
    My objection to the lists is that they exclude origin, vis Pantherella is bad value if purchased in a high-priced department store, but at 12 bucks per at Sierra Trading Post, I think it is fine. All my "worst"s are excellent choices, but are overpriced. A lot of my choices are based on careful reading of the forums, not personal experience.

    outerwear-
    best: Barbour, particularly from the discount site I recommended
    worst: Burberry, Loro Piana

    tailored-
    best: Castangia
    worst: Brioni or Kiton
    unlmited money: fly to Sardinia and get fitted at Castangia

    shirts-
    best: Land's End, Mr Harris (Philadelphia), Jantzen
    worst: Borelli. Battistoni.
    unlimited funds: Charvet bespoke, because what the Hell

    trousers:
    best: Land's End, any good local bespoke tailor with the best fabrics
    worst: Mr Bill's khkakis, because in the end, I think they are overpriced for what they are
    unlimited funds: why do I even have to get dressed?

    leather belts:
    best: Alden
    worst: anything over 100 dollars, anything Hermes, anything "custom"
    unlimited funds: I am sure there are lots of great belts, but I was just so impressed by the quality of the Alden

    neckties:
    best: Seigo Katsuragawa and Duchamps from Tiedeals
    worst: anything over 80 dollars, anything "custom"
    unlimited funds: I don't know, its just a tie....those Duchamps look mighty nice...

    socks:
    best: Pantherella from Sierra Trading Post and Shipton and Heneage, Eddie Bauer (for boot socks)
    worst: anything over 15 dollars per
    unlimited funds: Paul Smith

    shoes-
    best: Alfred Sargent premier, Knightsbridge and country, Crockett and Jones hand grade, Albaladejo
    worst: Lattanzi or Santoni RTW, any bespoke shoe unless necessary
    unlimited: Edward Green RTW or Green, Lobb or Cleverly bespoke

    But the initial question raised was, what is the best value, and MY answer is that the best value is the item that eliminates your particular weakness and hides it. I, for example, have a short rise and a thick neck. These two facts, plus my overweight of now 25 pounds, have collectively made me dress dumpier than I am. My custom shirts from Harris and Land's End were well worth the effort and expense, as will my Land's End pants be when they are finished. I also think that if one puts on TOO many fine showy items, one makes the unattractive impression of a dandy rather than someone who is stylish. So one expensive item that looks fabulous, a stunning coat or a fabulous pair of shoes for example, represents excellent value I think.
     
  8. rayk

    rayk Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    167
    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2003
    Location:
    Inferno: Circle 5
    Doc, I respect your opinion, but after buying ties for 25 years I must disagree with your $80 price cap for a tie.  Your "just a tie" opinion suggests that there are items of a gentleman's dress that can be less considered than others.  No item of a gentleman's dress should be less considered because it's generally unseen or accessory.  The ritual of dress is a state of mind.  I dress for me.  Knowing that my collar stays are of the finest MoP and that my personal linens are Zimmerli and Dore Dore make my experience rewarding.  The fact that others may never see them is of no concern to me.  If you've found a tie that is worth putting around your neck that costs less than $80 MSRP, I'd like to hear about it.  Please don't consider the tone of my response aggressive, but I'm of firm opinion that the elegant dresser dresses for himself; his appeal to others is collateral.
     
  9. gqelements

    gqelements Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    123
    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2003
    just want to add a categoty: Luggage
    Best:
    Worst:
     
  10. brescd01

    brescd01 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    543
    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2004
    First of all, there is nothing aggressive about expressing your opinion. And I COMPLETELY understand where you are coming from. Since I purchased the nice shoes recommended on this forum (and shirts, etc), dressing is a joy in the morning, where as before it was a chore. I am sure my 80 dollar cap reflects my own lack of imagination, but for ME, the FINEST ties are WOVEN not printed and have a beautiful "hand," and above 80 bucks there are huge mark-ups by various middle men. Seigo, for example, sells his ties to other stores that charge a premium for them. Duchamps are more expensive normally than the prices on Tiedeals, but they SEEM so beautiful (I have not seen them in person but on-line they look beautiful). My FEELING is that ties are to clothing retail what concessions are to cinemas, they pay the rent, and not to be cruel, but I do not want to be the one paying the rent.

    My list is so littered with my ignorance that I thought not to respond, but even in criticisms I am learning a lot about clothing, so I figure what the hell. Do not take my list too seriously...

    The most educated remarks in my post were about shoes, socks, belts, and outerwear.
     
  11. bestmastertailor

    bestmastertailor Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    51
    Joined:
    May 17, 2004
    Location:
    Charleston, West Virginia
    From a pure technical (quality of tailoring/consistency of fit vs. price) point of view of R-T-W:

    Suits/Jackets-
    Best Value: Oxxford - Corneliani Sartoria - Samuelsohn
    Worst Value: Brioni - Hickey-Freeman (pure dreck) - Hugo Boss

    Trousers-
    Best Value: Zanella - Hartz & Co. (Tallia, Lebow, Hilton,etc.)
    Worst Value: Brioni - Hart Schafner & Marx - Bill's Khakis

    Dress Shirts-
    Best Value: Ike Behar - Robert Talbott - FA MacCluer
    Worst Value: Armani - Polo

    Shoes-
    Best Value: Alden
    Worst Value: Cole-Haan
     
  12. Alias

    Alias Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,536
    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2003
    Location:
    Washington DC
    Actually, I wouldn't pay over $60 for a tie, unless it was one of Chuck's. That's why I love eBay so much.

    You should read some of what Chuck posted a while ago on how much it actually costs to make a tie versus how much they sell for.
     
  13. rayk

    rayk Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    167
    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2003
    Location:
    Inferno: Circle 5
    I agree that great ties are to be had for very reasonable prices. I have eight R. Talbott Seven-folds in my collection, all bought on ebay from the same seller, and none over $105. This is about "everyday prices", however, which I took to mean what I'd expect to pay in a standard brick & mortor establishment. As for Chuck's ties, I have several and I agree that they are simply terrific. My understanding is that he has a new batch ready.
     
  14. fopkid

    fopkid Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    45
    Joined:
    May 31, 2004
    someone earlier mentioned castangia. who carries this line in the states? thx.
     
  15. A Harris

    A Harris Well-Known Member

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    Jan 6, 2003
    I don't think that anybody carries Castangia under the "Sartoria Castangia" label anymore. But Bergdorf carries it as a private label MTM line, Barneys carries Battistoni suits made by Castangia, and Jay Kos carries Castangia suits under their own label. There could be more, but that is all I have come across.
     
  16. Steve B.

    Steve B. Well-Known Member

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    Location:
    San Antonio
    OK Chuck, can you post info on these ties?
     
  17. A Harris

    A Harris Well-Known Member

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    My list is focused on construction quality, includes different price points, and assumes you are paying retail [​IMG] Also, primarily RTW - I think that good bespoke is always the best value if yu can afford it: Suits/Sportcoats: Best - Oxxford, Castangia, Saint Andrews, Isaia, R. Caruso, Corneliani Worst - Armani, and any other high-priced fused suit Shirts: Best - Jantzen, Carlo Franco, Borrelli (you get a lot of shirt with Borrelli for not that much more than Lorenzini, and for a lot less than Kiton, Fray etc.) Worst -T&A, any designer Ties: Best - Carlo Franco, Robert Talbott Worst - regular Zegna, any designer Trousers: Best - Valentini Worst - no clear baddies here, there aren't such huge quality and price differences in the trouser category Shoes: Best - Alfred Sargent Premier and Premier Exclusive, Grenson Masterpieces, C&J Handgrade, Mantellassi, Vass Worst - Prada, Cole Haan, Hermes regular line, John Lobb, A. Testoni Luggage and leather goods: Best - Mulholland Brothers Worse - designer
     
  18. johnnynorman3

    johnnynorman3 Well-Known Member

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    Mar 3, 2004
    Bestmastertailor,

    I'm curious why you not only group Hickey as a worst value, but also label it "pure dreck." What don't you like about it in terms of construction? I have found that they have beautiful fabrics and they seem to be constructed nicely, and I just wonder what you are seeing that I'm not. You can regularly find HF for under $600, which is a great value for a canvas suit.
     
  19. A Harris

    A Harris Well-Known Member

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    I didn't enquire as to the exact method they use, but I would guess that they alter a stock pattern to your spec, as with most MTM suits. They do have some fitting samples there for you to try on though. I would ask if there are any other models - I did not like the model I tried on there as much as some of the models they have had in past seasons. It was a bit more generic.

    Castangia suits are extremely well made, as good as Brioni IMO. Canvas front, handpicked lapels, handsewn buttonholes, even handsewn working buttonholes on the sleeves if you prefer. I didn't look closely at the fabrics, but I don't think that finding what you require would be a problem. If I remember correctly, prices start at $2200. You also might want to check out Bergdorf's Loro Piana bespoke program. Although the quality isn't quite as good as Castangia IMO.
     
  20. HRHAndrew

    HRHAndrew Well-Known Member

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    Jul 18, 2003
    Location:
    Holland, MI (Most of the Time)
    I love these, because no matter what you write, 99% of everyone is going disagree with you. Â Here is my take, and I am going to list only one brand per catagory listing best and worst bang for the buck. Â Here we go: Suits: Best - Corneliani Worst - Armani Collezioni Shirts: Best - Jantzen Worst - Thomas Pink Pants: Best - Incotex Worst - Ballin Ties: Best - Carlo Franco Worst - Brioni Shoes: Best - Crockett and Jones Worst - Lattanzi Luggage: Best - TravelPro Worst - Tumi Now of course, I would love a few pairs of Lattanzi's and a complete Tumi luggage set, but as for bang for the buck, both are pretty bad.
     

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