In my nearly 30 years of observing trends in menswear, I will never stop searching for the best of bargains. Whether I find them during seasonal sales or at outlet stores, there's always the thrill of pursuing quality items for the best price.
Shoes are my primary interest in getting great deals. The last time I closed in on such a deal was in 2005 at a small shoe store in Newport, RI, which had a 75 percent-off sale on select high-end footwear. Usually, these sale shoes will fit those with really small feet or really large feet. Having an average foot (9 to 10 US depending on the last), I was lucky enough to find a pair of Paraboot shoes that fit like a glove. They retailed at $260 at the time. I corralled them for about $70.
Fast forward to Sunday, Jan. 17, in San Marcos, TX ... At Off 5th, the outlet store of Saks Fifth Avenue, I came across a pair of Edward Green derby shoes. Founded in 1890, EG is steeped in tradition and is the shoemaker that Ralph Lauren has used for some of its shoe lines.
I was doubly excited to see that this particular pair of shoes fit really well. They retailed for nearly $1,200 and were now down to $400. I had the salesman hold the shoes for me until I got through the entire shopping center.
I power-walked through the outlet stores for Neiman Marcus, Zegna, Polo, Brooks Brothers, Cole Haan and many others. After about two miles' worth of walking, I decided these shoes were the only item I would buy today.
So back to the Off 5th store I returned, with a coupon for 20 percent off, thanks to my AAA membership discount. After tax, I got a pair of Edward Green shoes (orig. $1,195) for less than $350.
That's about a 70 percent savings. And I'm well aware of the Edward Green reputation for making "the finest shoes in England for the discerning few," according to its Web site. I visited the Jermyn Street store a few years back. The salespeople are more concerned about getting you the shoe that fits rather than just sell you a shoe.
Back to my purchase ... I probably won't be shopping for anything else any time soon. But if there's a bargain out there, I'm always in the hunt.