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On Sale at J. Crew: British Millerain Jacket, Harris Tweed Sport Coats

Use promo code TGIFALL for 25% off most full-priced merchandise and 30% off sale merchandise. Code expires Sunday, October 26th.

While J. Crew’s latest promo code  doesn’t work for their “In Good Company” stock from British makers like Barbour or Alfred Sargent, it does work for J. Crew merchandise made from British heritage textiles—Harris Tweed woven in Scotland’s Outer Hebrides and British Millerain waxed cotton.

J. Crew’s British Millerain field jacket represents the latter, and it sees a slightly better discount since the company lowered the price by $5 to drop it into their sale section, making it eligible for 30% off. That brings it from $228 retail down to $156 — not bad for a Barbour alternative that combines elements of an M-65 field jacket and traditional British countrywear.

I find J. Crew’s Harris Tweed sport coats especially intriguing. They’re made up in J. Crew’s Fielding fit—a variation introduced a few seasons ago that retains the slimmer fit of the company’s popular Ludlow while widening the lapels, lowering the lapel notch, and introducing flapped patch pockets at the waist. The first two changes moderate the styling a bit, inching it from “fashion-forward” to “classic”—a great call, if you ask me. The new pockets add a degree of informality.

The more casual appearance of the Fielding fit is well-suited to tweed odd jackets—a much better match than when J. Crew uses it for worsted suits. For this year’s batch of three Harris Tweed sport coats, they’ve made them even more casual—they’ve opted for a softer shoulder, with two jackets partially structured and partially lined, and the third completely unstructured and unlined (my favorite of the three, though it would probably be even better with the brass blazer buttons swapped for brown horn).  Along with the double vented backs, these are pretty good approximations of the the sort of tailored winter jackets #menswear fawns over from high-end Italian makers, at a fraction of the cost.

Personally, I might hold out for a better promo code before checking these out; say, in a few weeks around Black Friday. However, I wouldn’t advise waiting until the end of the season—while the discounts will be great, I’ve found that many of J. Crew’s Harris Tweed jackets sell out well before then. Check them out now while you can.

To see all of J. Crew’s Men’s merchandise, click here.

On Sale at Macy’s: Tommy Hilfiger “Made in Italy” Cerruti Blazer
$239.99, from $395 retail. Use promo code FALL for 20% off $299.99 sale price. Code expires today Monday, October 13th.
I briefly mentioned this blazer a month ago, and it has all the makings of a garment punching above its weight. It starts with the features you’d expect in a classic American blazer: gold buttons on a 3-roll-2 front, flapped patch pockets, and natural shoulders. But then you note the Italian details — a darted front, side vents instead of a single hook vent, and, of course, it’s made in Italy with wool sourced from the Lanificio Fratelli Cerruti mill in Biella.
The jacket’s nearly a hundred dollars off the retail price through Wednesday, and through today you can get another 20% off. Not bad.

On Sale at Macy’s: Tommy Hilfiger “Made in Italy” Cerruti Blazer

$239.99, from $395 retail. Use promo code FALL for 20% off $299.99 sale price. Code expires today Monday, October 13th.

I briefly mentioned this blazer a month ago, and it has all the makings of a garment punching above its weight. It starts with the features you’d expect in a classic American blazer: gold buttons on a 3-roll-2 front, flapped patch pockets, and natural shoulders. But then you note the Italian details — a darted front, side vents instead of a single hook vent, and, of course, it’s made in Italy with wool sourced from the Lanificio Fratelli Cerruti mill in Biella.

The jacket’s nearly a hundred dollars off the retail price through Wednesday, and through today you can get another 20% off. Not bad.

Four Mid-Grey Flannel Trousers under $150

cool-weather staple and a garment on almost every “essential wardrobe” list, the grey flannel trouser is the functional equivalent of jeans in a tailored wardrobe—you can wear them with almost anything.

With a navy blazer, spread collar shirt, and striped tie you’ll be about as formal as you can get short of wearing a suit. Pair them with just about any sport coat in any color or pattern (except solid grey, of course) and they’ll go well together. Swap the sport coat for a navy chunky cardigan or suede A1 blouson and you’ve got a sophisticated casual look. They even look great with just a slim merino v-neck sweater in navy, burgundy or forest green for a reliable business casual outfit—though I recommend wearing that with interesting outerwear to keep it from looking too staid.

The catch? It’s incredibly hard to find affordable grey flannel trousers. I define “affordable” as under $150: a threshold that many readers will balk at, but consider that options from J. Crew, Brooks Brothers, and Ralph Lauren retail in the $200 to $400 range. Quality options from smaller brands like Howard Yount and Epaulet start at $195.

So I set off on a search for grey flannel trousers under $150. My criteria: light to mid-grey wool, flat front, and a cut that’s not too full.

What I learned: under $150, you’ll need to make some compromises. Three of the four options I found use wool-synthetic blends, and appear to have a lower rise than I’d prefer. The fourth is 100% wool in iGent-approved light grey with a higher rise—but it’s also the most expensive.

Banana Republic Tailored Slim Fit Flannel Dress Pants
95% wool, 5% spandex. $120 retail, but you can count on fairly frequent sales—for example, today they’re $84 shipped with code BRFORECAST. Much of #menswear is usually blasé about Banana Republic—they’re often considered overpriced at full retail, with reliable but not particularly exciting designs. However, I’ve read good things about their dress pants from those willing to give the brand a shot. The rise seems a bit short, and the tailored slim fit may be too tight for some, but these intrigued me enough to order a pair for myself.

J. Crew Factory Thompson Slim Flannel Suit Pant
Wool-viscose blend, with no indication on what what the specific make-up is. $178 retail…sort of. Again, you can count on fairly frequent promo codes, but there’s a gotcha—JCF often adjusts the “original” retail price of merchandise a bit higher before releasing promo codes, creating the illusion that you’re getting a bigger discount. Right now these are $83.20 with promo code MORE.

Lands’ End Tailored Fit Wool Flannel Trousers
70% wool, 30% polyester. $99 retail. Clearly, the lower retail price is made possible by the higher percentage of synthetic fibers. Currently $74.25 shipped free with promo code FALLGIFT (PIN 1387).

Linea Naturale Wool Flannel Trousers at Nordstrom
100% wool. $125 retail, shipped free. Made in Italy. The Bensol Group—the American company that manufactures Linea Naturale—tries to source fabrics near their factories, so it’s quite possible that the wool flannel is from an Italian mill. It’s got the higher rise I prefer for dress pants and a not-quite-full fit that looks like it drapes quite nicely. This is the star of the bunch, but here’s the down side—Nordstrom promo codes and discounts are much harder to come by, so you’re likely paying full retail. eBates is offering double cashback for the next few days, so you can get 6% off—not much, but it’s something. If you’re not yet a member of eBates, you can join by using my referral link here.

Updates to This Fits eBay and Yoox Searches for Quality Menswear

Just a quick note that I made a few updates to one of this site’s most popular pages—the list of eBay and Yoox searches preloaded with quality brands to make finding great deals even easier.

Specifically, I added some filtering to do a better job of avoiding false positives, and I fixed the Yoox shoe search, which appears to have been broken for some time.

As always, I encourage you to see this as a starting point. After finding something intriguing, it’s always a good idea to do some of your own research to make sure you know what you’re getting—it’s easy to be misled by lower-quality diffusion lines and knock-off brands, or outdate styling.

Also—especially on Yoox—it’s worth straying from this searches and checking out unknown brands. Quite often, the best deals are found when you see something that looks good, do some research, and find that it’s from an obscure but high-quality maker.

Pictured above, a lot of 3 Vass shoes from my eBay shoe search, and a Canali jacket from my Yoox sport coat search.

See all of my eBay and Yoox searches here.

On Sale at Lands’ End: Stacked Discounts for Fall

Use promo code FAMILYTIME (PIN 1799) for 30% off through Monday, September 29th.

Lands’ End’s Friends & Family sale runs through Monday, and while the 30% promo code is good for their current batch of fall new arrivals, you can get a lot more mileage out of it by stacking it on already-discounted fall merchandise from last year.

Tailored Fit Twill Shirts, $19.58 ($49)
Available in season-appropriate plaids and tattersalls, including the ivory pictured above.

Waxed Canvas Work Bag, $52.49 ($99)
Okay, not strictly a fall item, but waxed canvas seems like the perfect complement to tweeds and wool sweaters and corduroy pants and chunky work boots. Don’t expect a Filson 256—one of the reviews suggests using graphite to smooth out the zipper pull—but this is a functional alternative if you’re on a budget.

Update: albuhhh offers this assessment in the comments:

"Fair warning, I bought a version of the same brief from a couple seasons ago, and the quality left a lot to be desired. Every button fastener ripped out of the thin cloth lining, every bit of leather either tore or had its stitching detach itself completely from the bag, and every brass component failed. I’ve never had an item that failed in so many different places."

Since that was a few seasons ago, it’s possible this brief is made with better construction and materials, but perhaps it’s best to be ready to use Lands’ End’s return policy on this one.

Striped Silk Wool Tie, $20.99 ($49)
Offered in olive-navy and burgundy-navy. I reviewed the solid version of this tie a year ago, which is also available on sale, but I prefer the striped ties for their versatility.

Archer Suede Footwear, $55.99-$69.30 ($99)
Available as wingtips, desert boots, penny loafers, and bucks. While I firmly believe you get what you pay for when it comes to shoes, I also think there’s merit in buying cheaper alternatives to see if a certain style works for you. Don’t expect these shoes to be great—I wouldn’t be surprised if they don’t last more than a season or two—but they’ll be just fine if you’re looking to mix things up a bit over the next few months.  

Suede is great for the fall, and the difference between high and low-end suede is harder to discern than other types of leather. If you find these work out great for you, then go ahead and consider splurging on a pair of Aldens that will cost you 10 times as much. And if they don’t work out — they probably cost you less than a dinner out. 

To see all Men’s sale merchandise at Lands’ End, click here.

On Sale at Brooks Brothers: An Extra 25% Off Sale Merchandise

Use promo code FF25 for 25% off. Code expires tonight, Monday September 22nd.

Brooks Brothers’ Friends & Family sale started last Friday and ends today, offering 25% off almost everything they carry. The most notable inclusion here is sale merchandise. If you’re interested in anything that’s currently full price, it may be worth holding out until the next Corporate Members sale (rumored to be in mid-October), which likely will raise the discount to 30%, but typically excludes sale and clearance.

With that in mind, I spent some time poking around the Brooks Brothers sale section to see if I could find anything interesting beyond the usual dress shoes and shirts that I typically write about.

Some of the deepest discounts are from two collections at the opposite ends of the price spectrum: youth-oriented Red Fleece and Thom Browne-designed Black Fleece. There’s a lot from both lines that’s  70% off retail after applying the promo code.

I particularly liked this color-block coat from Red Fleece—it’s just over 60% off and available in tan/navy and red/navy.

Black Fleece shirts are still pricey but deeply discounted—about $10 cheaper than the Black Fleece shirts on sale at MyHabit that I wrote about last week. Black Fleece accessories are also worth a look, such as this Mackintosh briefcase.

Over in main line Brooks Brothers, there are dozens of suits that are over 60% off. Most retail north of $1000, are made in Italy or the United States, and now go for just over $400. While no single style is available in all sizes, there are still plenty of sizes available in office-friendly navys and greys, and across all of Brooks Brothers’ fits, from the fuller Madison to the very slim Milano. You can see all the Brooks Brothers suits on sale here.

Finally, I really liked this casual Irish linen sport coat. With minimal structure, flapped, pleated patch pockets (both inside and out!) and a zippered interior pocket, it’s a great candidate for a travel jacket. Especially if you’re going on safari.

To see all Brooks Brother’s Men’s Sale merchandise, click here.

Blue Blazer
Full-canvas construction by Caruso, in a Loro Piana Zelander wool hopsack a shade lighter than true navy. 3-roll-2, classic lapel width, shoulder height gorge, moderate button stance, double vents, minimally-lined. The shoulders have more padding than I expected, but are still soft.
I’m not sure how I feel about the black buttons—a tad more formal than the brown horn I’d prefer. My instincts would also go for patch pockets, but the flaps are a better choice for a first navy jacket, as Mr. Newton assures us.
This isn’t my first navy jacket. But it’s as close as I’ve gotten yet to the ideal.

Blue Blazer

Full-canvas construction by Caruso, in a Loro Piana Zelander wool hopsack a shade lighter than true navy. 3-roll-2, classic lapel width, shoulder height gorge, moderate button stance, double vents, minimally-lined. The shoulders have more padding than I expected, but are still soft.

I’m not sure how I feel about the black buttons—a tad more formal than the brown horn I’d prefer. My instincts would also go for patch pockets, but the flaps are a better choice for a first navy jacket, as Mr. Newton assures us.

This isn’t my first navy jacket. But it’s as close as I’ve gotten yet to the ideal.

On Sale at MyHabit: Black Fleece, Holland & Sherry Flannel Trousers, Carlos Santos Shoes

Often, the lifecycle for flash sale sites follows the same narrative:

  1. Site launches with fanfare, rewarding early adopters with sometimes unbelievable prices on great products.

  2. Site’s user base grows, and bulk of product moves from high-end to mid-tier. Deals don’t seem so great.

MyHabit, Amazon’s entry in the flash sale space, seems to have followed this pattern lately, as it’s been a while since I’ve been compelled to write anything about the site. While they’ve held events for some higher-end brands recently (such as Brunello Cucinelli), generally you have to hunt a bit and put in some research to really come away with something great.

So that’s the spirit of today’s post. Here are a few things I’ve been checking out on MyHabit:

Brooks Brothers Black Fleece
Frankly, you can find Black Fleece for a better price if you’re resourceful (check eBay) or patient (wait for Brooks Brothers flash sales or clearance). However, this is still a pretty good sale for Black Fleece, and likely the best around right now when you consider selection, price, and availability. For example, the soccer bag pictured above went for slightly less on sale at Brooks Brothers, but is also currently sold out. And at $85, the Black Fleece oxfords at MyHabit are still hugely discounted from the $195 retail price, and only a few dollars more than the Brooks Brothers clearance price.

Corbin Flannel Trousers, made with Holland & Sherry Wool
Holland & Sherry is a 178 year-old British cloth merchant that specializes in wool suiting—their fabric books are well-known in bespoke circles, and quality ranges from top-tier to mid-range.

Corbin is an American brand, founded in 1947 and best known for their trousers, which can often be found at independent menswear shops. In 2003, they were purchased by IAG, which (probably not coincidentally) also owns Holland & Sherry, along with Oxxford, Gitman Bros. and a handful of other brands. IAG shifted some of Corbin’s production to South America after the acquisition, and some say there was a subsequent decline in product quality.

For what it’s worth, I think the first two Corbin flannel trousers pictured above—one in a tan houndstooth and the other in charcoal gray—are reasonably priced at $105, given that they’re made in America using Holland & Sherry fabric. Just note that these are high-rise (12”) with what appears to be a fuller fit (9” leg opening). The third pair of trousers pictured above is also made in America, but since the much more versatile mid-gray flannel is not from Holland & Sherry, it’s going for a relative steal at $79.

Santos by Carlos Santos Shoes
MyHabit added more footwear from this Portuguese maker last month. I picked up a pair of their double monks a while back, and I’m still very pleased with them—in fact, they’ve become my go-to shoes for tailored clothing. If you take the price of Allen Edmonds seconds and the price of Allen Edmonds full retail, you’ll find that MyHabit generally prices Carlos Santos shoes right smack dab in the middle for comparable models. I think that’s very fair. A case could be made that Allen Edmonds shoes have better leather, but Carlos Santos’ leather is still very good. The Portuguese shoes are also Goodyear-welted, and in my opinion have more elegant lasts, more interesting designs, and details often reserved for higher-end brands—note the beveled waist I highlighted above (more on beveled waists here).

The models I highlighted above are the Avante ankle boot and the Galiano wingtip oxford.

If you’re not yet a member of MyHabit, please consider joining through my referral link by clicking here.

Autumn Inspiration from Paul Stuart

I enjoyed flipping through the Fall 2014 catalog that came in the mail this past weekend from Paul Stuart, the venerable New York-based clothing brand. Working with the Smithsonian Institution, the company juxtaposed many of the lookbook’s shots with paintings from the National Portrait Gallery, with striking results.

Paul Stuart’s menswear best distinguishes itself from other storied American brands through its embrace of color, with the company’s catalogs assembling bold and sometimes unexpected combinations that still somehow harmonize. To be honest, in the past I’ve often found it a bit brash and over the top for my tastes.

But I really like what’s in this Fall’s catalog—and not just in the ensembles that stick to a safe blue, grey, and brown palette. And while I appreciate the green Loden coat and the brightly-accessorized tweed suit, when looking for inspiration over the next months I’ll likely return most often to the quilted jackets, textured sweaters, and colorful cords of the more casual outfits.

You can see the whole catalog by visiting PaulStuart.com.

On Sale at eHaberdasher: Ties from Kiton, Battisti, Borrelli…

Use promo code TIES20 for 20% off all ties. Code expires September 8th.

Through Monday, eHaberdasher is running a promo code for 20% off all their ties, which are already discounted as much as 70% off their retail prices. eHaberdasher has a great selection of neckwear, with most of their neckwear made in Italy by a number of venerable names, such as Kiton, Battisti, Borrelli, Drumohr, Corneliani, and Zegna.

A few I wanted to note:

  • There are a ton of Battisti ties, including a handful with a hidden pocket—sealed by mother-of-pearl buttons—large enough to hold a credit card or some cash. It’s a neat but wildly impractical design detail.

  • The Drumohr selection includes some really nice bicolor knit ties.

  • Possibly the best deal here are the ties by Benjamin, eHaberdasher’s in-house line. They’re made in Como, Italy using jobber fabric—leftover silks used for ties from bigger brand names. With the 20% discount, they’re just $32 a piece.

To see all the ties on sale at eHaberdasher, click here.

On Sale at Sierra Trading Post: Filson Natural Bridle Leather Belts

Use promo code SFB9114 for 25% off and free shipping, no minimum.

STP just got in a bunch of Filson belts in “Natural”. Made in the USA with durable yet flexible bridle leather, over time with use the belts should develop a nice patina—typically a deep, reddish tan. I own one of these belts myself (in Brown, not Natural), and am quite happy with it so far.

The belts at Sierra Trading Post are available in both 1.5” and 1” widths, with all sizes available from 28” up to 48”. As always with STP, the deals get especially good when you stack one of their promo codes on top of the sale price. The code above brings the 1.5” belt down to $30.45 and the 1” belt down to $27.30. That’s nearly half off the regular retail price.

This probably won’t last long, as I’m seeing sizes disappear as I write this.

To see the Filson bridle leather belts at STP, click here.

Kenton Suede Footwear at J. Crew

Goodyear-welted with suede uppers and red brick EVA soles, J. Crew’s “Kenton” line of suede shoes look like great options for fall, especially for anyone who’s not ready to shell out double the price for the Aldens that J. Crew also carries.

J. Crew initially introduced the Kenton line a year or two ago with suede bucks, wingtips, and penny loafers. I kept an eye on the loafers in particular, hoping to see them drop into J. Crew’s sale section, but it seems they never did—the company seems intent on maintaining a premium on the shoes. They happen to be eligible for J. Crew’s current 25% off promotion (use code SHOPTIME), bringing them down to about $150—not bad for what you’re getting.

For this fall, they’ve introduced two handsome-looking boots to the Kenton line as well.

To see the whole Kenton line at J. Crew, click here.

On Sale at Lands’ End: An Extra 30% Off Sale Merchandise

Use promo code PUMPKIN (PIN 1606) for  30% off your entire order. Expires Monday, September 1st.

Maybe I’m just imagining this, but it seems in the past year or so Lands’ End reduced the volume of promo codes they’ve put out. And when they do release a code, it rarely stacks on top of already-discounted sale merchandise. I wonder if they came across this blog post from a couple years ago, in which a former Lands’ End employee—by way of a letter to the company’s late founder Gary Comer—cautions that inflated “retail” prices and constant discounts threaten to erode the long-term viability of the business (maybe someone should send that letter to J. Crew).

All that to say, this Labor Day discount code is a bit of a rare promotion, as Lands’ End is offering an additional 30% off almost everything, including sale merchandise. That makes for pretty good prices on the sort of well-made basics that Lands’ End built its reputation on—that much hasn’t changed since Gary Comer’s heyday.

A few picks, all of which should be great for the cooler weather in the coming months:

Tailored Fit Harris Tweed Sportcoat, $126 ($348)
I’ve written about this jacket a few times (see here and here), and this is the lowest I’ve seen it go.

Tailored Fit Doeskin Blazer, $62.99 ($198)
I own a similar vintage blazer from Gant—doeskin flannel is soft, warm, and hard-wearing. This jacket looks like a great pickup for fall.

Tailored Fit Cotton Linen Blazer, $69.99 ($188)
I wrote about this jacket a few months ago, noting that the half Norfolk design makes it an ideal cycling or travel jacket.

Lambswool Crewneck Sweater, $27.99 ($69)
Not bad for an entry-level sweater, with the heathered lambswool adding some visual interest.

Canvas Lands’ End Washed Oxford, $17.49 ($39)
To be honest, I find myself less drawn to these kinds of shirts lately—I prefer a more substantial collar and a slightly fuller fit. But Canvas OCBDs were some of my first pick-ups when I first started learning to dress well, replacing my collection of Shirt.Woot graphic tees and gaudy striped “dress” shirts. So I have a soft spot for these oxfords, and they still see occasional weekend wear.

Tailored Fit Hyde Park Striped Oxford, $17.49 ($49)
Lands’ End’s Hyde Park OCBDs are still well-regarded for their substantial fabric, solid construction and decent collar roll, and Land’s End finally has them in their Tailored Fit. $17.49 is a fantastic price for these.

Elston 628 Straight Fit Chinos, select colors $17.49 to $24.49 ($58)
I’ve found Canvas’s Slim fit is way too skinny on me, while their straight fit is a much nicer slim straight—the leg opening on the 33 is just under 15”Update: Oops, leg opening is actually 15.25”.

The extended tab closure is a great detail, and the colors on sale are surprisingly versatile, including khaki, olive, and grey.

Straight Fit 628 “Jeanos”, $17.49 ($58)
Curious that there are no reviews and lots of sizes still available, as they seem like sure-fire winner to me. Chino twill fabric cut like jeans in a slim straight fit. Maybe it’s the name?

"Made in USA" Jeans in Weathered Wash ($55.99) and Rinsed Wash ($41.99)
Even the cotton was grown in America. Original retail on these was $118 and $98, respectively.

To see all men’s sale merchandise at Lands’ End, click here.