It seems more and more common in recent years that ultra-luxe suit makers like Brioni and Kiton are drifting into making ultra-luxe casual wear. The result is usually something like a bomber that's reversible from a silk side to a cashmere side, with lots of pick-stitching on both sides. There must be people out there willing to pay the multi-thousand dollar sticker price of these items since they keep getting made, but to me the construction and materials are a distraction from rather than an augmentation of the garment's purpose - like a pair of jeans with diamond-encrusted fly buttons. The styling is usually a little dumpy too, so the thing ends up looking like exactly what it is - something for a really rich, probably old, dude who wants to look cool. Valstar takes a different path to quality outerwear. They are best known for their rendition of the A-1 bomber, the Valstarino (somewhat confusingly, also the name of their line of more casual outwear), which they have been making since the thirties. But they began as an English maker of raincoats. Their (still revered today) early advertisements promised sturdy, durable, waterproof goods. You can find a Valstarino today in a variety of more luxurious materials, but it is not affected by the dainty loucheness of bombers that cost many times more. Likewise in the more formal jackets in the Valstar line, there is an attention to styling and design that in the hands of a big luxury brand might get lost in an avalanche of vicuna. I particularly admired the design of the collar on this grey wool and cashmere coat seen below. As you can see from the parka with the fur-lined hood, the firm isn't afraid to use expensive materials. But to my eye, the goal of the design is the comfort and satisfaction of the wearer, not the justification of a price tag. Valstar can be found at Styleforum affiliates No Man Walks Alone and Carson Street Clothiers.