Kids talked me into going to their favorite Children's Museum today, which doesn't take much, because while it's an hour drive, it's a few minutes from an outlet mall that has Orvis, BB, PRL and Hickey-Freeman, ha! A couple discussion points to follow...but here we go: Left column is all Orvis. Right, from top, H-F, H-F and...BB mainline wool cardigan sweater vest I was unnaturally attracted to (guess I want to get my Ward Cleaver on). $180 total on that, although the retail was over $1,000 (which leads to one of my discussion points). Went to a usually solid goodwill, and I found this curiosity for which they stung me $5.99 but I bought it so that I could talk about it here: Spoiler: Warning: Spoiler! Discussion points: 1) Who makes Coach ties, and do you guys see them? Seems fairly average to above average to me -- as in, nothing special, about as good as a BB Makers, worth keeping but not one I'd show off or brag about like Kiton or Marinella -- although they are way better than the Beene/Hilfiger/Van Heusen/DKNY stuff that I pass on. Label sez made in USA, by hand. 2) I am curious: Describe your tolerance/pain threshold, costwise, at outlet stores. Those H-F shirts retail $245 with an outlet price of $175. They were 70% off on sale, and today they were 20% off that, bringing the NWT price to $33. I was in for two at that price, which filled a couple gaps/upgrades I was looking for. When you're buying for yourself, what will you pay for various items (shirts, pants, etc) at outlets or Last Call/Rack type places? I feel I should be more thrifty, but OTOH that's a hell of a deal and I do treat myself once in a while. I could not bring myself to purchase the $1,295 blue wool cashmere blend SC 60% off + 20 more percent even though I wanted it on me more than I do Kate Upton. That definitely had a too-high pain threshold. 3) So, I was shocked to learn that, sometimes, BB mainline and "346" are one and the same. I had a long discussion with a clerk (oh my goodness, one of those 40-something smokeshows with whom I prolonged the conversation just to hang out with for a couple more minutes!) and she said most of the time BB main line is better fabric, better construction, etc...and price 3x "346." Then I showed her two purple cardigans that were identical in price, buttons, construction and everything: Except one was BB mainline, labeled "Extra FIne Merino" and had a little drawstring bag with extra buttons. The other was "346" and just marked "100% Merino wool" and she admitted they were identical. So that BB main line label means nothing, I guess, unless it's also accompanied by "made in Italy" or some such (both of these identical sweaters were made in China -- the tipoff -- as well as identical starting retail prices and buttons). Is this a new trend, or am I just slow on the uptake and it's been going on a while? ------------------- Is the BB mainline vest I got one of those "346" jobs? No. It has a 346 tag, but the original was lost, it must have been a return. The outlet store threw on a 346 tag and hand-wrote price and SKU#. I put back the BB mainline sweater that was identical to the 346, ugh, even at 70% off I had to pass after realizing it was a bait-and-switch deal. It was the principle of the thing. I have confessed before that I have two 346 suits I use for business travel and am perfectly comfortable with them and blend in fine in a CBD environment. But today, buying that sweater, woulda felt duped. In the same vein, for $337, I also could have gotten a fused suit at H-F, marked way down from not quite 3x that (wow, H-F sells fused suits for that kind of cake???)...my lesson learned was: Chat with clerks before stepping into the NWT world. Losing $6.99 at SA on spec and finding out what you bought is a piece of shit is one thing. $337 is quite another. At least for me.