My Smartest Sartorial Investment Was…

— Fri, 27th May 2011 —

(No multiple choice this week — Please use the comments section… and enjoy the holiday!)

  1. A. Testoni Black Label black cap toes. Wear them all the time and will last me a lifetime (assuming proper resoling). Paid $400 (down from $800) in 2007. Shame they closed the 59th st. store.

  2. SOOOO many to choose from…but best?
    RL Purple Label tux-$240 at Century 21 in 2009…retail? over $3600!


  3. A few on top of my list… a Thom Browne for Brooks Brothers Classic Wool Grey Suit + Tuxedo for $150 each at Fashion for Action at Housing Works… retail $1,600 suit and $3,000 tux… And a great John Varvatos Leather jacket for $200… form $1,800!

  4. 2 pairs of helmut lang black cotton trousers. paid $59 each down from like $300. love them b/c theyre light, comfortable, and have 2 loops on the inside waistband to hang on a hanger. i’d buy 10 more if given the chance.

  5. Martin Margiela black overcoat from Yoox, $700 ($1600 retail) in 2006, still wear it most days in the winter.

  6. Or Simon Miller M001 jeans from Bergdorfs, $200 March 2010. I wear these almost every day, they are the best jeans I ever bought. Just found out that the brand is no more, either went out of business or sold to NSF. Anyone know about his or where I can get another pair?

  7. I bought a pair of Vince jeans this year on Gilt for $40, don’t know what they retail for ($150-$200)? Fit like a glove.

  8. Tan cotton sportcoat purchased from J Press, paid 395, 2010.

  9. Yuketan boots for $240 on sale at Bergdorf. I’ve had them for 3 years and every winter I wear the hell out of them. Each year they feel more and more comfortable.

    Also, my Breitling Superocean watch. Paid $1300, this watch is indestructible.

  10. apc petite standard jeans for $175.
    i love a good discount as much as the next guy on here – and the overwhelming majority of my pricey wardrobe was purchased at over 50% off retail – but these jeans are the still the best bang for the buck.
    i learned a lot about shopping with this purchase.

  11. No question all of the things I bought during the Saks great thanksgiving meltdown.

  12. my 6 pairs of Lattanzi shoes (paid between $350 – $500, down from ~$3500-$5000 per pair for them), and my berlutis (paid $350 down from ~$1600)

  13. my belstaff brad elephant grey jacket. 1400 down to 175 at barney’s warehouse sale. beyond crazy.


  14. tough…

    V&R suit for $300, Black Fleece suit for $250, Junya coat for $400

    best overall would be Dior jeans from Yoox for $80

  15. A new pair of A.P.C. petit standards every 9-12 months. Aside from the days I wear a suit, I live in them. I never wash them, and when its time to replace them it is the hardest moment to hand over the credit card.

  16. i got a pair of mason martin margiela suede boots in 2010 at scoop for $250 original price $1100 sometimes great finds arent always at sample sales

  17. Smartest: Navy Helmut Lang overcoat. Bought for $400 at Wilkes-Bashford’s crazy end-of-season sale in San Francisco way back in 1998! Back when Helmut Lang made the most stylish clothes on the planet. Still going strong in its 13th year.

    Best: Ralph Lauren Garrison sport jacket at last fall’s sample sale. Original price $1400. I paid $25. That’s right. 25 Dollars. It still had all the tags and basting stitches on it. Everytime I pull it out of my closet I burst out in maniacal laughter.


  18. 1. Gorgeous pair of Persol 714 (Steve McQueen) at Loehmanns. Retail: $360. I paid $24 after markdown, extra % off, and coupon.

    2. Filson zip-top tote in Tan. Retail: $135. I paid $15 at Bloomingdale’s. On sale, then extra % off.

    3. PRPS Barracuda jeans. Retail $366. I paid $35 in Nordstrom Rack.

    I love sales…I will never pay retail…I love Choosy Beggar.

  19. Without a doubt my Persol 714 folding sunglasses- tortoise frame/polarized Havana lenses. Paid $260 for them at my optometrist’s in Chicago and have seen them for as much as $420. Never skimp on eyewear.


  20. jj–All the department stores mark down heavily at the end of the season–at least 60%, often 70%. You can find a lot, especially if you near (or even just before) the beginning of the sale. Barneys Warehouse marks down even more, up to around 90% off. Sample sales, particularly near the end, are also useful. Century 21 and Gilt usually start around 60% off, but then have further sales. Be patient, keep checking these different sources, and you’ll find similar deals.

  21. I’ve been thrifting since grade school. When I lived in Cambridge, MA we’d get up — or stay up until — Saturdays for the 7am opening of RAGS, which charged a dollar a pound for clothing destined to be wiping cloths. That price was regardless of fabric, item, or condition. I learned that a price tag had little to do with the innate qualities of a garment. And I also recognized that if I paid $3.90 for a cashmere peacoat, that I could occasionally splurge on a pair of Church suede loafers.

    My favorite items are too numerous to mention. My philosophy has always been to create a wardrobe so that every item is both prized but not precious. As a writer, I have latitude on my appearance, but I believe that good tailoring is the one thing that elevates one’s style.

    After reading John Seabrook’s New Yorker piece on Helmut Lang I found an interpretation of minimalism that wasn’t austere, but one that could be innovative or under the radar. I proceeded to collect HL pieces — mostly from eBay — over the next 8 years. At last count, I might have 35 pieces. The overcoats and suits are remarkably luxurious in their understatement. The pants fit as though they were made to measure.

    Since I live in a modest one-bedroom I operate under (physics precept) The Conservation of Mass: “Matter cannot be created nor destroyed.” Anything I buy must necessitate me tossing a garment. It keeps me honest, and helps me decide if the item should be added to the collection.


  22. Best Purchase/most use……….got a Michael Bastian wool blazer in grey from Filene’s, back in the good old filenes days before syms took them over and they had borrelli and brioni shirts going for $50 (which I got as well), but Im still going with the Bastia Blazer, it was $200 (I have no idea what original retail is but I can guess it was upwards of $2000), it fits great, it looks great, and it will last a very long time.

  23. I have been pretty lucky with a girlfriend in fashion and a friend in retail and a serious eBay habit.
    Prorsum peacoat 120 pounds -MSRP 1,200 pounds
    Prorsum Trousers – 35 pounds – MSRP 350 pounds
    Prorsum Cardigan – 45 pounds – MSRP 450 pounds
    Purple Label Cord Jacket – $200 – MSRP $1,500
    Purple Label Double Breasted Wool Winter Coat – $500 – MSRP $4,000
    A. Testoni Amadeo Monks – $300 – MSRP $1,500
    A. Testoni Black Label short wings- $175 – MSRP $900
    Jean Shop Leather Jacket – $200 – MSRP $1,300
    Brooks Black Fleece Trouser – $90 – MSRP $450

  24. Seize sur Vingt blue flannel blazer, down from $950 to $300. Not the largest discount relative to others marked here–but I’ve gotten far more use out of the thing in 4 months than I’ve gotten out of any of my other jackets individually…in all the years since I started wearing jackets.

    I will never willingly miss one of their samples sales again.

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