Photo by Salt Water New England

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Question: To Which Clothing Brands and Stores are You Loyal?

Photo from Salt Water New England
One measurement for the health of companies is their brand loyalty, that ineffable combination of consumer habit, trust, even enthusiasm and self-identity.  Companies that value brand loyalty re-invest in it through improving quality, as well as trying to better understand their customers' needs and wants, and then providing products that better meet these needs.  Their new products cause excitement.

However brand loyalty has frayed.  This may be in part to companies losing contact with their customers, as when box stores and now online stores know more about buyers than the vendors themselves.  But also many companies have used brand loyalty against their customers.  Apple continues to raise prices on new iPhones, just as Gillette has done for decades on razor blades.  Some clothing companies that grew based on their (loudly touted) "Made in America" production have shifted to low-cost/offshore mega-factories, hoping no one noticed, or in other ways undermined their own production standards.  Globalization has created markets, less for fabulous items and more for vast quantities of good enough products ruthlessly marketed, easily bought, cost effective, and quickly shipped.   And companies with vast PR budgets have been able to simulate the social media enthusiasm that was once the reward of actual great products.   And, some past great brands have simply petered out, often the cumulative effect of dozens of bad decisions.

However, their is still the opportunity for great companies to flourish.  Given that, a question for the community:
To which clothing brands and stores are you loyal?

Some brands mentioned (with links):


81 comments:

  1. I could recite a litany of disappointments with the established brands. My Bean boots that came apart at the stitching on a hunt after only two years of wear (during that short time when they were selling some as the Maine Hunting Shoe again). The Brooks OCBDs with too-small collars. The nightmare that was Land's End Canvas.

    I remain loyal to Bean. Discerning in my purchases and usually not straying from the tried and true staples (Bean boots, OCBD, occasionally khakis if the cut looks reasonable, polos). I find eBay and Poshmark for vintage Bean yields better results though.

    I remain loyal to Brooks and despite many misgivings that's not likely to change anytime soon.

    I gave up on Land's End several years ago. Couldn't even rely on a pair of chinos from them (so much shrinking, color fading, might as well have bought something from Target). However, the last two catalogs I've received show some promising changes (it will take a lot to get me back though).

    I'm loyal to Sperry's as well.

    I would like to be loyal tp Vineyard Vines but I can't figure out what they are doing sometimes.

    - DMD, first time comment, mid-30's professional

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    1. I've had good luck with Lands End. Maybe give them another try. I have many pairs of chinos from them without any shrinkage (cotton always stretches back out anyway). I like the color fading because it gives them a patina (Aiken are you reading?) There was an issue with flaring side pockets but they fixed that by making them more horizontal. I can't speak about the elastic waist chinos as I hope to never need to wear such a thing.

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    2. I got into thrifting about 15 years back. made it a weekly habit of stopping by 3 or 4 shops. and ebay. I have some amazing things. I gave up on all of the name brands a long time ago. Full retail prices are a joke. In the 80s in college Brooks button downs were a good price. None of this slim fit nonsense etc. And priced under 30 dollars. made in USA with flaws often, but if you inspected them you could find keepers. Joe Bank was not expensive then. Decent suits. But Brooks went to Hell. and the current prices are for stupid people. Polo has some good stuff at thrift stores if you are lucky. I find good Alden and Allen Edmunds shoes at ebay. for khakis I got to a outlet store that sells upscale things. I found great pants there. 30 dollars for all cotton Khakis. Wonderful quality. One pair lasted several years. But at thrift stores you have to go on a regular basis like a hobby. You can find amazing things there too. Usually men's pants are beat. But brand new shirts and Harris tweed jackets, and i have 4 navy blazers. All like new. One is cashmere. that's my suggestion depending on where you live. Make it a hobby and you will find great things and save a lot of money. I got an English Hawks and Gieves sp? suit at thrift. LIKE NEW. Marked 10 USD. It even fit. Like new. One Savile Row. when I got to the counter they said it was half price day. got it for 5 dollars. When I got home I googled it and the suit today is probably 2000 usd or more. but you have to be persistent and have fun with it. and the things I didn't buy!!!!! amazing. Good luck with all those Beans and Lands End and Brooks etc. They 've been taken over by younger types that don't even know how traditional clothes should fit. Trim fit, slim fit, monkey suit, boy suit, nonsense shit. You look like a porch monkey. With the nazi haircut and the beard. And a monkey suit. Maybe a tattoo on your neck. LOL. It was pass just as double knit suits and white belts did. I miss Hungtingon clothiers. they were selling great English shoes at the end. Got a great viyella shirt from them too. Miss them. Go thrifting. and ebay. good luck.

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  2. I have zero loyalty to any of the established national and international brands and stores. However, I do have loyalty to independent businesses in my locality.

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  3. After 50 years of being a loyal customer I have given up on LLBean because of poor quality.
    I now look to Bills Khakis (chinos and polos), Orvis (sweaters, shirts and gifts), New Balance, Quoddy and Sperry for footwear (mostly made in US)..
    I am in my mid 70s and purchase much more on line than at retail stores now.

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  4. I remain loyal to Ralph Lauren, Lacoste and Brooks Brothers despite their declining quality and gaudy logos.

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    1. I have given up on both Ralph Lauren and Gant due to recurring quality problems - rapid fading and shrinking/stretching after washing. I used to buy their casual shirts, polos, chinos, shorts and beachwear in the summer sales but even that reduced prices, they're not worth the money. Only a few pairs of PRL's seersucker swim shorts in various colours remain in my wardrobe.

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  5. Admittedly, for better or for worse, Brooks Brothers.

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  6. Mercer Shirts without a doubt. LL Bean only for the tote bags. Alden shoes though I think the quality varies with the cordovan--in the future I want to purchase in person. Tervis Tumblers so long as they replace them when damaged. Pilot Varsity fountain pens. Forged Mizuno irons for golf. Fairway and Greene as well as Peter Millar make some commendable sweaters and other items. J Press for blazers and hangers(!). Minnesota Firewood for birch. Finally, Amazon for used books.
    I believe one thing that ruined Brooks was the internet and discounting. In the 80s it was perfect. A limited selection of just right items priced fairly. Today they have far too many things and appear to rely on constant sales on which I assume they have originally priced to make a serious profit. LL Bean is now the backwoods Forever 21. Local menswear stores suffer from the demise of the suppliers. The last one I shopped in had to call Corbin to determine whether they could even get a pair of grey slacks. Gant? That was 50 years ago. Lacoste the same. What I'd pay for a Gant shirt as they made in the sixties or a Lacoste shirt with a tennis tail.

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    1. Nails it. Old school. Been reading my mail. Right as rain about those Pilot Varsity Fountain Pens...beats the tar out of my ancient Diplomat pen.

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  7. LL Bean for Gum Shoes
    Brooks brothers for OCBD
    E marinaella ties
    Bills khakis for khakis and knit shirts
    Barbour coats and filson coats
    No Brand Labels

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  8. Places I will always shop and things I will always buy:
    L.L. Bean (apparel and gear)
    Blundstone Boots
    Brooks Running (sneakers and apparel)
    Skida Hats
    Lands End Swimwear
    Patagonia Outerwear
    Longchamp Totes
    F.L. Woods
    Tory's Jewelry
    Boden Dresses
    Dansko Clogs
    Swedish Clogs
    Title Nine (athletic apparel and bras - TMI)
    Bauer Mittens
    Smartwool Socks
    Uniqlo Cashmere
    Subaru Cars

    I'm sure I'm forgetting some things........

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  9. Hello,

    I’m not a shopper, I prefer that my clothes go unnoticed. I’m a city dweller, don’t go to an office, don’t follow trends, care about comfort, consider luxury in idiosyncratic small ways, insist on performance. Here’s the list:

    LLBean (winter coats); Orvis (winter t-neck tops, cotton-gauze summer scarfs); JJill (black, flat-cut “wearever” tops and pull-on slacks, sleepwear); Brooks Brothers (sweaters, coats, and Zac Posen designed dresses for events); Eileen Fisher (ballet-ballet-length dresses for anywhere); Longchamp (le pliage bags for almost anywhere); Eric Javits (winter berets and buckets, summer sun hats); AbeoBio and Arcopedico (shoes) because I value my feet and I’m old; Ferragamo (court shoes) because, despite my previous statement, this still matters for unexamined reasons; Wolford (hoisery); Porthault (handkerchiefs); which sounds ridiculously indulgent, but It’s not; Uniqulo (Heattech and AIRism undergarments). And I fill in with vintage Pringle cardigans.

    Do I long for worn khakis, moccasins, button downs and a barn jacket? Yes, along with an ocean, a forest, a potting shed and a pitcher of sun tea. (Sobs.)

    Thank you. That was kinda fun.

    Best,

    P.S. Your website is one of my guilty pleasures.

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    Replies
    1. I love this answer. Classic style, after all, should be comfortable , unpretentious and unassuming.

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  10. Lacoste for polo shirts
    LL Bean for short sleeve casual shirts
    Orvis for Long Sleeeve casusl shirts
    Brooks Bros. and Mercer for dress shirts
    Bills and Polo for Khakis

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  11. Mercer & Sons for their OCBDs
    J. Press for their MTM dress shirts, blazers/suits, dress trousers, and sweaters
    LL Bean for boots & totes
    Brooks Brothers for their Made in America ties and suits
    Bills Khakis for casual trousers
    O'Connells for sweaters
    Barbour for wax jackets
    Sperry for deck shoes (the quality isn't there but I put mine through a lot and get new ones each year)
    Murray's for ACK Reds (even if the quality isn't what it once was, it’s still small enough for me to support them and better than the big brand imitators)
    Oak Street Bootmakers, Alden, and Allen Edmunds for leather shoes... haven’t tried Quoddy yet but will.

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  12. Thank you for this list, Muffy. I dislike shopping on line as I like to feel and see quality (or lack of) up close. Alas, so many retailers have poor quality offerings these days. I miss the days when I could buy all of my casual "play clothes" from LL Bean and everything else from Talbot's and Lord & Taylor. I continue to rely on my ever-growing-older wardrobe...

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  13. Boden - their women’s line is well made and their choldren’s Line must be woven with Teflon, my son couldn’t wear the stuff out and most is now on its third and fourth child.

    Everlane - new for me last year and so far all items purchased are classic, well made and comfortable

    Xtratuf - outfitted my family on a lark after seeing what seemed like every dock and boat worker in Alaska wearing the boots. The first pair of boots my 13 yo actually wants to wear. Fingers crossed.

    I may be done with Lands End.

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  14. In no particular order-

    Bean
    Brooks
    Orvis
    Barbour
    Lands' End
    Allen Edmonds
    Ben Silver

    and my local hardware store for everything else

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  15. I lean toward sheaths when dresses are required. J. McLaughlin was recommended to me and I bought 2 of theirs. They are a poly knit, but that's the way of the world. They get points for being classic and washable and if they stay that way, I will be loyal.

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  16. Mercer shirts
    Stormy Kromer or Carhartt hats
    Rancourt, Quoddy, Red Wing Heritage, Alan Edmonds
    Bills Khakis and polos
    Flint and Tinder (all garments)
    Diamond Gusset jeans
    Darn Tough socks, LL Bean Bean boot
    Filson
    New Balance running shoe
    From abroad: Norlender sweaters, Meindl and Alico hiking boots, Omega watches, Tilley hats, Sole orthotic inserts

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  17. These are all great brands, and I have several items from many of them. I'll add Alden to the list, and specifically, The Shoemart in Norwalk, CT which carries all of Alden's shoes. For years, part of my vacation routine when returning home from Nantucket was a stop in the shop to check out their wares.

    I'll also add a relative newcomer: Kamakura Shirts. The Japanese have long adopted classic American preppy style, and I think Kamakura's OCBDs are some of the highest quality on the market today. I can see myself being loyal to these shirts for years to come.

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    1. Anonymous 9:17 PM; Off topic, but I agree wholeheartedly that the Japanese interpret US Preppy style beautifully. I took photos of shop windows there and used the images to freshen up my wardrobe.

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  18. I like Orvis for khakis. I can get them cuffed. If you order them online, their lengths are in 1/4 inches.

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  19. I would be loyal to anyone who would make a dress with sleeves, at least to the knee, with no blends of poly, viscose, etc.

    Boden was mentioned- they used to be better-- I wish I had bought up all of the dresses and skirts that I liked from them about ten years ago with the colors/patterns from then, and the better quality.

    --EM

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  20. My loyalty list has got a lot shorter in recent years. Over 90% is made in the UK.

    Outerwear - Cordings, Barbour
    Tweed and suits- Cordings
    Casual trousers - Cordings, Oliver Brown
    Polo shirts - Cordings and Sunspot
    Shirts, ties and underwear - Turnbull & Asser, Charles Tyrwhitt (tattersalls only)
    Knitwear - John Smedley
    Socks - Cordings, Corgi and Pantherella
    Footwear - Tricker's, Crockett & Jones
    Shaving and grooming - Taylor's of Old Bond Street, Geo. Trumper, DR Harris

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    1. The earlier reply post in which I corrected Sunspot to Sunspel was approved but now it has mysteriously disappeared. It included some additional comments on my favourite hat brands.

      Can you please provide an explanation for the deletion? Did I break any rules or upset any brands that I mentioned? It would be useful to know for future reference.

      Delete
    2. I apologize and have absolutely no clue what happened to your comment. Periodically comments do disappear and I have yet to figure out why. Please feel free to re-post it. I am always so grateful for all of your comments.

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    3. Many thanks for the reply. I'll blame Google again. I recommended Olney hats and Lawrence & Foster for a wide range of tweed and linen caps.

      Olney supplies Bates and James Lock in St James's (who apply huge mark-ups) plus numerous retailers. L&F makes caps for Cordings, Oliver Brown and other retailers. They offer a MTO service if you ask them.

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  21. L L Bean, Barbour, Sperry,Tilley,Breitling, just to name a few.

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  22. Faherty has been really impressing me lately. Their polos and sport shirts are extremely comfortable and stylish without being very trendy. Their social media presence is also very smart and has a personal feels, since the owners are constantly present

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  23. Allen Edmonds, J. Press, Southwick, Dale of Norway, and a smattering of others are on my mental list. However, there are quite a few different additional 'labels' in my dresser and closet. It really depends on quality and apparent longevity of an item. I have a lot of vintage items too, which have been just fine with a few alterations, dry-cleaning now and then, and routine maintenance..

    Best Regards,

    Heinz-Ulrich

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  24. I’m not loyal to brands as much of an idea of how my clothes are made. Materials, quality, construction, fit, and location are all taken into consideration.

    ATC

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  25. Bean, pretty much, but some Bauer and others. And mostly from online because the retail stores nearby don't often have what I want.

    Actually, it's somewhat hybrid: if I find something I like in a store — slacks for example — I'll buy one from the store, then go online and order four more of the same thing, so I have enough to rotate them for a year or more.

    Luckily, I'm at a point where business casual from Bean etc. is fine for both office use and away. And frankly, as the earlier thread on sloppy public dress pointed out, it's sartorially trivial to put yourself way ahead of the ordinary scene all around you.

    No, the Bean etc. stuff doesn't last as long as it used to, but then what does? And I tend to be hard on clothing anyway, so I'm not going to spend a lot on it — at Brooks or Orvis, for example.

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  26. No particular order:
    Bean
    Barbour
    Lands End
    Bass
    Eddie Bauer
    Orvis
    Patsy Kane

    Nothing (except Patsy) is as good as it used to be, but its better than going to the mall.

    MaryAnne

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    1. Awwww, so sweet (as always) MaryAnne - thank you!

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  27. Isn't there a difference between what brands we "like" or "prefer" as opposed to which we are truly loyal to? In the sense of forgiving mistakes, giving them first shot at our business, not shopping around for like items, etc.? By that definition I am loyal only to J. Press and O'Connell's. And Mercer for shirts.

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    1. I'm with you Sartresky.

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    2. Interesting that you like O'Connells. I so want to love them but their service is average at best and their products are overpriced given the quality. And they simply cannot measure garments for alterations. I don't get anything altered with them anymore, even though the store is local. I really don't understand the fuss about the place.

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    3. O'Connell's has been my source for vintage (old stock) Sero business shirts. They are well-priced but not renewable stock. I cannot comment about in-store experience, but O'Connell's has always been fast and friendly via Internet and mail.

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  28. So many interesting responses.

    I love my Subaru Outback ( 4th one) and it sparks joy and love anytime I look at it or drive it. However, I'm not a fan of all the technology on cars now.

    I haven't been happy with fashion for many years so I wouldn't describe myself as being loyal to any particular clothing brand but I do shop at Orvis more often than any other company and I enjoy their class trips and catalogs. Orvis has wonderful customer service and they offer a more sophisticated or mature line of sportswear than LL Bean or Eddie Bauer.

    I have a closet full of traditional and timeless clothing so I don't feel the need to purchase clothing very often unless it's a unique well-made timeless piece. Two years ago I discovered Scottish-made lambswool cardigans on Amazon from the Great and British Knitwear company and I gobbled up several crew neck sweaters at a super price. They will last the rest of my life. I also enjoy the recommendations on this blog. My husband loves F.L Woods and vintage LL Bean on Ebay and Etsy. I once loved LL Bean but there isn't anything I would purchase from them today except the canvas tote and I have plenty of them that will last the rest of my life.

    My husband buys Kmart's Basic Edition 100 percent cotton button-down shirts to wear casually. They are well-made. We laughed so hard watching a recent interview with Ralph Lauren who was wearing a Kmart Basic Editions shirt! Ralph said it was his favorite all-time shirt.

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    1. I’m with you. I love my 1999 Subaru Forester! Best car I’ve ever had and still going strong. Other brands: Lands End, LL Bean, Twinings and Apple. (I also have oodles of canvas totes and have started filling them up at Christmas and using them as gift bags.)

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  29. Chewing broken glass is better than enduring the mall! Well, maybe not, but you get the idea.

    Best Regards,

    Heinz-Ulrich

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    1. I would certainly agree with that!

      Jacqueline

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  30. New Canaan Thrift Shop.

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  31. I'm loyal to Bean, but once removed. My clothes have to be functional, but I REFUSE to pay $65 or more for a flannel workshirt that's going to get muddy and snagged on barbed-wire. Fortunately, God or someone brought us E-bay where I mop up good Bean things I consider "regifters!" ;-)

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  32. J. Press is the only clothier I can rely on to sell trousers that I can have finished to 36", while not being baggy and on the trim side. The life of a tall person is an unending struggle...

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  33. Brooks Brothers. JCrew (Unpopular opinion? I find their clothes to be higher quality for a reasonable price). LLBean. Barbour. Bills Khaki. R Lauren/Polo. Sperry. Bass.

    I live near O'Connell's and I've tried to like it but its just not that great. Service is average at best and the place looks like a Goodwill. So much for shopping local! Sperry. And finally....Volvo. Honorable mentions to Orvis and Vineyard Vines. What has become of you Lands End?



















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  34. Sebago (over Sperry)
    Lincoln Cars
    Buick
    Chris Craft
    Evinrude
    Lawn Boy (older, up to mid 90's 2-cycle mowers)
    Land's End
    LL Bean
    Douglas Gill
    Old Spice Original
    Log Cabin Syrup (No High Fructose Junk!)
    Cross Pens

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    1. Yes, Old Spice! J Press and Subaru. My vintage other stuff will last my lifetime.

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  35. O'Connells! I'm very surprised to read a complaint about in store service. They are very easy to deal with via phone and email.If only they were located in NYC, and not Buffalo.

    The Huber's are the last of a dying breed, so I try support them whenever possible, even though the last thing I really need is another Shetland or pair of khakis.

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  36. I was amused to read of those who are nabbing older good stuff via Ebay and Etsy. I have about a dozen viyella and tattersall shirts I got through ebay. They're terrific!

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  37. Interesting lists, and interesting omissions. Didn't see any references to blue jeans (I favor Levi 501s, but don't wear jeans nearly as often as I used to), or Rolex watches (well-made and very reliable, but too expensive and too much of a statement, although one of the strongest brands in the world). Thought I would have seen mentions of Land Rovers/Range Rovers and Volvos, given all the photos Muffy posts of them on this site. It's hard to be loyal to many brands these days since the brands are disloyal to their customers by lowering quality and raising prices.

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  38. Recently, Mercer shirts, which are, literally, perfect, and Jack Donnelly khakis—the latter because I'd given up on ever seeing that classic men's full-cut American khaki cut again. As long as they keep making 'em, I'll keep buying 'em.

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  39. I finally retired last year (at age 71) and so no longer dress up that much. Much new clothing for men is cut for younger men but that's okay. People my age probably have enough to last the rest of their lives anyway. I certainly do. It includes L.L. Bean, Brooks Brothers, Ralph Lauren and lots of Filson. I also have Sperry, Sebago and Clarks shoes, since I now wear more casual outfits. Chippewa and Hathorn for boots. All of those things wear well, are reasonably priced and won't make anyone stare at you. The rest of the time, especially when doing actual work around the house, I wear ordinary workwear like Key and Dickies.

    Although we liked our Volvos, the only cars I was ever deeply in love with were Rovers. Then I got married.

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  40. -L.L. Bean (even though some things aren't what they once were). I like their jeans, the Bean boots, wool socks, the totes, turtlenecks (although they should go back to their old cut/fabric quality), Double L sweaters, and several other things.

    -Lands End (same as L.L. Bean, although there has been some improvement since they cut the Italian CEO loose who wanted to turn them into a fashion brand). Side note: I wish they'd go back to 100% cotton in the Supima fine gauge garments! I live in Europe and appreciate their presence in the UK and Germany, even though they don't have as much of the selection as in the US.

    -Two British brands, Joules and Seasalt Cornwall, for their well-made Breton stripe tops, and great socks. Seasalt Cornwall also has some really lovely accessories. These brands are British-- I think they are also available to US-based customers.

    -Boden: Not what it once was but occasionally they will have something good. They seem to almost always have a sale/promo code. Their Breton material is thinner than it used to be, but for me it is ok to have some thinner ones as temps are also higher than they used to be.

    -Eddie Bauer- only for their great cotton socks. I used to shop a lot there for other things but sadly they are a shell of what they once were.

    -Angela Moore jewelry (sadly the company went out of business, but you can still find things pop up on sites such as Ebay).

    -Seidensticker (German brand), great blouses/shirts). I'm not sure if this brand is sold in any US stores but I believe some things are available via Amazon. Additionally they have a great outlet near Salzburg, if anyone is on that tourist route.(I usually am not a fan of outlet centers, but this one is exceptionally good.)

    -Longchamp for the classic Le Pliage bag.

    -EM

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    1. I discovered Seasalt last year when visiting relatives in Cornwall. Outdoor & Country's sale is offering discounts of 30-50% on a wide selection of Seasalt garments. O&C ships outside the EU and Non-EU customers benefit from VAT (20%) free prices.

      I also recommend Saltrock, a surf brand from Devon and Cornwall. The shorts (£27.50) and chinos (£30) are incredible value. They are well made and have a generous rise for the mature man. Joules is considerably more expensive, dearer than Jack Wills. Crew Clothing, from Devon, is worth checking out, especially for rugby shirts.

      Delete
  41. Muffy, thank you for the summary list to this article. It's most helpful.

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  42. I still have 3 Made in England Barbour jackets, still wear Sperry shoes, the wife drives a Subaru, but LL Bean, Land's End, Brooks Brothers are not what they once were....

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  43. Although I found the Volvo recommendations I missed the referrals for fleece vests.

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    1. The fleece vests and "sweaters" are from Cabela's and army surplus. Although I have several heavy sweaters, I wear fleece more because it wears better, washes more easily, is just as warm and I don't have to pull it on over my head. The chief disadvantage is that it is a high friction material. Quilted vests do not have that issue and I have a few of those, one of which I purchased on a trip to London. It is a Barbour.

      I'm not sure how much the brand matters but I see a lot of North Face fleece and jackets (don't have any myself), probably because of their high visibility labels. L.L. Bean has a variety of fleece and pile and I do have one of their retro-styled pile jackets.

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  44. I can't quit Ralph Lauren and find, oddly I suppose based on some comments I see, that they fit me very well. Personally, I have extraordinary luck with Florshiem shoes and have gotten at least 10 years out of every pair I own. True Story: There are few men I admired and respected more than my grandfather. He lived through the Great Depression and WORKED harder than any man I ever met. He worked 4 ten hour days a week on a bridge construction crew for the Missouri Pacific railroad. He got home on Friday about noon, had lunch and went back to work work doing doing handy man jobs all over the little town where we lived. After I had graduated college and gotten a job, I treated myself to a nice watch. (A Movado) When I showed it to him he said "That's nice son but a man that spends more money than a good Timex cost is a fool with his money." That was about 30 years ago. I still have the Movado that I wear on special occasions. Everyday however, I wear one of the other two watches I have owned since then. Both were Timex and neither cost over $50.

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    1. John, I agree with your father that it's terribly foolish to spend a lot of money on a watch. My father gave me a Rolex when I graduated and I never enjoyed it like my Timex Weekender watches. I realize he wanted me to have something special and I didn't want to hurt his feelings but I felt like he just wanted me to have something expensive instead of something more meaningful. Several years ago my home was burglarized and the Rolex was stolen and I didn't feel any significant loss but I panicked and began searching for the dainty and simple pendant he had given me. As luck would have it, the thieves didn't find it.

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  45. The Made in Maine Sperry Top Sider line produced a few years ago (By Highland Shoe Co) was a thing of beauty. The construction, dye color, glove-like fit, and durability showed me exactly why people grew to love the company. This version was the true “Authentic Original” that was made so many years ago. Their modern version is nothing more than an ersatz copy. I wish they would do this run again - I certainly don’t mind paying the hefty price tag for a quality item.

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  46. I like Mercer, but wonder does anyone wear Gitman shirts ?

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    1. Absolutely. Gitman is great.

      Delete
  47. A few things I’ve found that were good enough to be (somewhat) loyal to over the years:

    Belted Cow Company & Leatherman Ltd. Novelty Belts, Vilebrequin Moorea Swim Trunks, Sebago & Sperry Deck Shoes, Cordings Country Clothes and Field Accessories, Orvis Corduroys and Fly Fishing Attire, Alden Cordovans and Allen Edmunds Spectators, Lodenfrey Loden Coats, LL Bean Boots, socks and Lined Khakis, Burberry Trench Coats, Patagonia Down Jackets and Vests, JC Penney Cotton Polos, Murray’s Nantucket Reds, Brooks Brothers Country Club Blazers, Borsalino & Stetson Fedoras, Aran Sweater Market Fisherman’s, and Vermont Originals Earflap Wool Caps.

    There, now with this list in hand, I believe that Interpol, the CIA, the FBI, the Internal Revenue Service, the United Way, my Alma Maters, the Salvation Army, and every telemarketing firm on earth should have no trouble finding me.

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  48. While Mercer is certainly a favorite, I prefer Michael Spencer. Their new blue oxford is what I think of as a traditional blue oxford cloth color. They offer several other colors as well as customization not offered by Mercer.

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  49. I am loyal to every brand that doesn't lower the quality in combination with raising the prices.

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  50. My go to brands are LL Bean and J Jill. The quality is not what it once was, but I am still able to find functional clothing for work in an office casual environment. My new "go to" bag and tote brand is Andi Bags, independently owned and designed by a young woman in NYC. They are durable, waterproof, and look great. Perfect for commuters who want something light to carry a lunch, computer, and files when they hop on the train. I tend to go to Nordstrom for shoes because they carry Dansko, Born, and Sofft.

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  51. I'm still loyal to Lands End. There was a time when I was concerned about their quality and it seemed like I returned more than I kept. Apparently the powers that be started paying attention to what was happening because they have greatly improved and I've not returned anything in quite some time. Fingers crossed for the future for them.

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  52. Yesterday I received my order of Effie's Homemade tea biscuits. So, I wanted to add that I've been a loyal fan of Effie's for a number of years and highly recommend their biscuits to tea drinkers.

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  53. Jpress
    LL Bean
    Ben Silver
    Ralph Lauren
    Crockett & Jones
    Alden
    Brooks Brothers

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  54. Something about this post has made it stay in my head these past few weeks and that is because the list does not include J Crew. I have some J Crew basic pieces in my closet that I grab whenever I pack for an event that requires "business casual". I know J Crew is struggling, but I will do some struggling myself, if they fail. Whenever my husband and I have business travel ahead, I stop by for update pieces that I blend with some of my better clothes. I'm a woman in my 50's and anyone who knows me would describe my style as classic. J Crew always seems to have a couple of things on hand to help me mix comfortably with a wide age group no matter where the event is held.

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  55. Saw the comment for the New Canaan Thrift Shop. Thanks, and I also recommend the Greenwich Hospital Auxillary Thrift Shop ($750 Brooks Brothers cable knit cashmere sweaters for $25). It's hit or miss.

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  56. 1. Brooks Brothers: still a touchstone, despite the difficulties; the only American licensee of both Supima cotton and Merino Woolmark trademarks.
    2. Lands End: the budget alternative.
    3. Nordstrom: the best department store for me in the Pacific Northwest; my source for undies.
    4. Smartwool: classic hiking socks, merino baselayers.
    5. Patagonia: outerwear, sportswear, etc.
    Honorable mentions to two American-made boutique brands, Mercer & Sons and Bills Khakis.

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