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In praise of full retail shopping...

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

  1. chrisc

    chrisc Well-Known Member

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    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.


    I completely agree. I'm a W30 and whenever I find a good pair of pants in my size I scream with joy (okay, maybe not scream.) I can't even buy Medium anymore because manufacturers think everybody has a potbelly and make shirts blow outward at the bottom. It looks like I'm wearing a shirt-parachute.

    What I'm finding out is that buying from the internet makes things cheaper and more accessible. Let's face it, our taste in clothing is very expensive and a lot of the times we simply must scavenge. The clothes that we like weren't meant for a lot of us, they were meant for people with loads of money and who can afford to buy everything from retail. I can't do that or I'll be in debt in no time. I have to buy Borrelli online. I have to buy Charvet online. I have no choice or I'll go broke.
     
  2. AlanC

    AlanC Senior member

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    I've always felt that, given a certain level of income, most men would be best served by developing a relationship with a salesman at a top store and aquiring most of his clothing that way.
    I have no argument with that.
     
  3. Soph

    Soph Senior member

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    I've always felt that, given a certain level of income, most men would be best served by developing a relationship with a salesman at a top store and aquiring most of his clothing that way. As Gary says, time is money.

    -- I'd say he'd be best served by a bespoke tailor for most of his items rather than a salesman.
     
  4. lakewolf

    lakewolf Senior member

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    I'm a bargain shopper, but I don't mind buying a few things at full price - especially if I can support a local retailer. If I ever get to Boston, I'll go visit Drinkwaters.

    However, I just don't see the value proposition of paying $750 at Nordstroms for the same suit I can find online for $180. I suppose if I won the lottery or something, this would not be an issue. But for those of us who want to look good, without breaking the bank, bargain shopping is a necessity.

    As an example - for my recent job interview I wore a Hart Schaffner & Marx suit that retails for $695 (I paid $120 at the Dillard's outlet), a blue Nordstrom's dress shirt that I got for $10 at Last Chance, a gold tie by Robert Talbot for Nordstrom's ($2 at the Junior League Rummage Sale) and a pair of black Allen Edmonds Park Avenues for which I paid $39.95 ($305 new).

    So basically, I was able to wear an outfit that would have cost anywhere from $1,100-1,200 full retail for under $200.

    Saving nearly $1,000 on this outfit makes me feel much better than any salesperson ever could.


    [​IMG] well done !

    Today I bought a pair of burgundy shoes down from $250 to $60 ...
     
  5. A Harris

    A Harris Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    Yes and no. Definnitely yes for men with a true appreciation of clothing and style. But buying bespoke requires a certain amount of vision that a lot of guys (perhaps most) do not have. And it requires a higher level of commitment and time. Allowing a custom tailors to make most of your wardrobe decisions is riskier than entrusting the decisions to a salesman, because you don't see the custom goods until they are at least partially made. Find the right tailor though, and I agree with you.
     
  6. Soph

    Soph Senior member

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    Yes and no. Definnitely yes for men with a true appreciation of clothing and style. But buying bespoke requires a certain amount of vision that a lot of guys (perhaps most) do not have. And it requires a higher level of commitment and time. Allowing a custom tailors to make most of your wardrobe decisions is riskier than entrusting the decisions to a salesman, because you don't see the custom goods until they are at least partially made. Find the right tailor though, and I agree with you.
    --
    Good point, and to get the most out of bespoke you have to have a certain level of knowledge and experience.
     
  7. Artisan Fan

    Artisan Fan Senior member

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    This is probably worth another thread but the London store manager told me that it is as fine as Lobb as St. James's and traditional bespoke in process-in fact. There are two fittings. I think they use a special sole on the first fitting that molds to the feet so they can make fine adjustments. It's been a while so I forget what material he said it was.

    Do really think they could get away promoting $4K bespoke shoes using StefanoBi manufacture?
     
  8. DocHolliday

    DocHolliday Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    Agreed, I have assume that a vast majority of individuals who shop online or aimlessly shop the sale rack have not the savy that you evidently do and will inevitably acquire a product that does not fit correctly, made of inferior quality and has no relationship with what already exists in their wardrobe.
    For most, time equals dollars and that being said, where is the value when inappropriate purchases are made.


    Gary, I think what you're talking about is a problem unrelated to where people shop. It's a matter of taste and style. There's plenty of ghastly stuff at Neiman, for example; just look at the dreck that makes up most of their shoe stock. Most salesmen know little about fit and less about quality, in my experience. I don't think paying more changes that, at least in terms of RTW. Some of the worst-dressed people I know are those that pay the most for their clothes.
     
  9. Soph

    Soph Senior member

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    This is probably worth another thread but the London store manager told me that it is as fine as Lobb as St. James's and traditional bespoke in process-in fact. There are two fittings. I think they use a special sole on the first fitting that molds to the feet so they can make fine adjustments. It's been a while so I forget what material he said it was.

    Do really think they could get away promoting $4K bespoke shoes using StefanoBi manufacture?


    -Yes, I believe they can and are. Armani, Gucci, LV all charge ridiculous prices due to advertising perceived "quality". I consider Berluti in the same boat of stye over substance. I think their classic shoes look very nice/refined BUT they are ridiculously overpriced for the quality you are receiving. I'm sure their bespoke fits great, but the materials and construction are what I question. I think there are better options for your money.

    I firmly believe Lobb to make a superior shoe quality wise: Leather and Welting. Blake stitched is a weak construction relative to the competition. However Berluti 'classic' shoes are amazing to look at from a patina and style viewpoint.

    Here's the thread of many:

    http://new.styleforum.net/showthread.php?t=10587

    Also, if I was the Berluti store manager I would tell you the same thing as 99.8% of people don't frequent boards such as this nor do they question store managers who are biased as hell and hardly ever called out on their supposed expertise.
     
  10. whoopee

    whoopee Senior member

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    The bespoke Berluti I've seen are not blake-stitched. The skins, finish, and construction is clearly much better than their RTW offerings, which indeed are overpriced.
     
  11. The Grapist

    The Grapist Senior member

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    From my experience I find shopping during sales time to be the best time to shop.

    I'm at the point that I know when all of the sales start, and I have a pretty good idea of what will be on sale, and I've established relationships with the clerks at many of the big stores. Right before or right when the sales starts, I'm able to pick out exactly what I'm looking for, in the sizes I need, and get a price adjustment to reflect the sale price (if I buy right before the start of the sale).

    The whole "out of season" arguement never made sense to me. Most of the big sales start in the beginning of December for the Fall/Winter merchandise, and middle of May for Spring/Summer, which is about when I'd start wearing Winter and Summer stuff anyway.

    I'd much rather be patient and let my dollar take me further than buy at the beginning of the season.

    And I'm a size 36, so my size is traditionally hard to find, but I usually don't have a problem for most of the stuff I want.
     
  12. Artisan Fan

    Artisan Fan Senior member

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    Soph, I'm almost 100% certain you have this wrong. My understanding is that Berluti does its bespoke in full Lobb-like fashion, Lobb of St. James's. I'll call my guy in London on Monday and get more details.

    Berluti is a fine shoe. Lobb is better built true but Berluti makes good quality shoes in my experience. I've never had any trouble with mine, they are durable, they are comfortable, and several pairs get the most positive reaction of any of my shoes.

    I have a good relationship with the store manager. He came from a prominent bespoke maker and he would have nothing to gain by lying about the shoe's construction. He's always been the perfect trustworthy gentlemen to me over the course of many sales with complex overseas shipping options.
     
  13. Tomasso

    Tomasso Senior member

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    he would have nothing to gain by lying about the shoe's construction.

    [​IMG] $$$$$$$$$
     
  14. A Harris

    A Harris Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    Berluti bespoke shoes are a truly bespoke, handmade shoe - a totally different animal from the RTW. They are not made by Stefanobi. If I had the cash I would have to try at least one pair.
     
  15. Soph

    Soph Senior member

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    Berluti bespoke shoes are a truly bespoke, handmade shoe - a totally different animal from the RTW. They are not made by Stefanobi. If I had the cash I would have to try at least one pair.

    Artisan, that settles it then. RTW[​IMG] Bespoke[​IMG] [​IMG]
    A Harris knows shoes, thanks for the clarification.
     
  16. Artisan Fan

    Artisan Fan Senior member

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  17. Soph

    Soph Senior member

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    Soph, I'm almost 100% certain you have this wrong. My understanding is that Berluti does its bespoke in full Lobb-like fashion, Lobb of St. James's. I'll call my guy in London on Monday and get more details.

    Berluti is a fine shoe. Lobb is better built true but Berluti makes good quality shoes in my experience. I've never had any trouble with mine, they are durable, they are comfortable, and several pairs get the most positive reaction of any of my shoes.

    I have a good relationship with the store manager. He came from a prominent bespoke maker and he would have nothing to gain by lying about the shoe's construction. He's always been the perfect trustworthy gentlemen to me over the course of many sales with complex overseas shipping options.


    -Don't get me wrong. I'm not saying they are bad shoes at all. Just that they are Overpriced for what you are getting relative to the competition in the RTW market.

    They are comfortable and they do look unlike anything typically seen in the US, absolutely beautiful. And I've owned a pair of Berluti's myself so I know the love of the patina etc. etc.

    A Harris speaks highly of the bespoke and that they are truly handmade, then that's good enough for me. Sounds like BESPOKE BERLUTI is GREAT, RTW not so much. I can see owning a pair of the classic wholecut.[​IMG]
     
  18. Artisan Fan

    Artisan Fan Senior member

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    Honestly, I think you are underselling the StefanoBi production. It's a good shoe.

    I do agree some of the designs can be fugly but that is probably a sympton of Olga pushing the envelope. The Club and Olga III lines are very elegant in my opinion.

    I also give Olga credit for pioneering much of the antiquing we see today. She was a real pioneer and leader in this area. I also appreciate the art of the scalpel leathers, a very cool technique in my opinion.

    I think of them as the ultimate lounge/clubbing/resort fun shoe...I prefer Amesbury & EG for my business meetings.
     
  19. Artisan Fan

    Artisan Fan Senior member

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    They are priced at the Lobb Prestige level I believe so above EG as well. EG & Lobb are better made but Berluti has the edge on finish and style in some ways. I think of them as having different purposes but I do like the design style the Berlutis add to my closet.

    Shoes are very personal but one thing is for sure: Berlutis have a huge and loyal following.
     
  20. Soph

    Soph Senior member

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    Honestly, I think you are underselling the StefanoBi production. It's a good shoe.

    I do agree some of the designs can be fugly but that is probably a sympton of Olga pushing the envelope. The Club and Olga III lines are very elegant in my opinion.

    I also give Olga credit for pioneering much of the antiquing we see today. She was a real pioneer and leader in this area. I also appreciate the art of the scalpel leathers, a very cool technique in my opinion.

    I think of them as the ultimate lounge/clubbing/resort fun shoe...I prefer Amesbury & EG for my business meetings.


    --- I'm just giving the pros and cons. I never said they were not a good shoe. They have their merits and they have their faults too.
     

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