Sunday, April 24, 2011

Recap of Last Week

Update (4/27) - Pics added below of some of the Conbipel and Alternative Apparel Merch.

Nothing of great interest came in last week, but here's the rundown from my visit to the Paramus, NJ store; didn't have a chance to take a look at the NYC stores other than 44th St. earlier in the week, as work's been brutal. Should have a few pics up soon.

Small selections of t-shirts, polos and some track-jacket-like things from Italian brand Conbipel. From what I can tell, Conbipel is like the Gap of Italy, with low-priced, somewhat-stylish goods. I mean you can tell these things aren't that expensive to begin with from the simple fact that the Euro price tags are still hanging from the garments. Nothing special here, but the prices are below $15 on almost every piece I saw, so worth a look. Not hideous, though the track jackets are verging there (pics to follow). Note: This stuff is NOT made in Italy; I believe I saw 'Made in Bangladesh' on one of the shirts.

A wider selection of shirts from Altenative Apparel, all at $7.99 or less -- t-shirts and a few 3/4 sleeve henleys. I picked up a 100% linen t-shirt for myself, though wish the henleys were smaller sizes, as they were all either L or XL. Great steals at this price, as original MSRP's are $30+ and other closeout stores would be nearly twice what Daffy's is asking. A great coup here if I may say so, and this is one of the few American brands I will actually give kudos to the Daffy's buyer for getting right. Now, just have to get the floor managers to move that merchandise to the front of the store...

The only other stuff which came in was a selection of Sandals/Flip-Flops. Levi's and Penguin branded flip-flops were available, but the nicer stuff was from J-Shoes ($30/pair), Donald Pliner (note: these are made in China, NOT Italy; I believe about $50/pair), Tretorn ($12/pair) and Fly London ($50/pair - don't know why these ones are so expensive -- good brand, but not worth that IMHO for some sandals). Now if Daffy's could just get in some Havianna's (currently $9.97 at Century 21 for a limited selection if anyone's interested).

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Spotted: Douglas Shoes

Haven't seen this brand at Daffy's in a few years, but spotted one lone pair of Douglas (made in Italy) shoes in a size 46 EU/13US at the 44th and Madison store this evening. These are way up there in terms of quality, and on par with the best of what Daffy's has recently been carrying for men - i.e., Tremp & Boemos. Sad to say this particular pair was quite atrocious - copper-colored and an extremely pointed toe; but I'm holding out hope that this brand landed at some other locations. Sadly, no pics, but you'll see Douglas written on the inside of the shoe in gold lettering, and the heels were one of the few pairs I've ever seen at Daffy's made by Vibram.

Bottom line -- quality stuff if you can find it, but I don't expect there to be much.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Huge Restock of Milena SpA Shirting

Just got back from a few shopping trips at Daffy's. Appears that all the stores got a huge restock of shirting from Milena SpA. Lots of new shirts from B>More, Delsiena, Milena, Marcus, Il Grancho, Mylord, Barbarigo, Renato Balestra and many more, all slim fitting and all made in Italy. Some of the best shirts Daffy's gets in, right up there w/Mastai Feretti nnd Alea. Everything is $29.99, though be aware that most stores will have these still in their boxes rather than out on the racks, and it may be a pain to try on -- Daffy's, PLEASE take your shirts OUT of the boxes :P

Other stuff -- a very limited selection (read: two or three per size) of t-shirts from Alternative Apparel came in to the East Hanover, NJ store at $7/shirt, which is a great buy - averages $15-$20 at Loehmann's, and even more at regular retail stores like Urban Outfitters.

East Hanover also got in a small selection of merchandise from Martin Gordon; I've seen from this label at places like TJMaxx before -- nothing special at all, but at least it's priced to move - shirts and bottoms from $13.99. Also, most stores got in hats from A. Kurtz -- I never really understood this brand, but it's a military-inspired look that some people like and Daffy's seems to get a small selection once each season.

As a quick sidenote, I also noticed shirts from U.S. Expedition in the young men's dept. -- selling for around $13.99/shirt. These can be had for $10 or less at tri-state area Payhalf stores. And believe me when I say, if Daffy's is carrying the same merchandise as Payhalf, there is a big problem. Payhalf is probably the lowest-end junk you will ever find at a closeout store -- jeans with all the tags and labels removed, lots of stuff from brands like Ron Cherskin and Eddie Domani - all brands you'll probably never see outside that store or other extremely low-end closeout stores. Please, Daffy's, up your game and stop buying this junk - I even provided a huge list of brands to look into in a prior post - stuff like U.S. Expedition, US Polo Association, Modern Culture and Counter Intelligence should be left to the low-end stores and not to sit on shelving which could be used for better merchandise.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Quick Comment

Haven't had a chance to visit Daffy's this week as of yet; been a busy week at work and have had to take care of something in preparation for the holiday next week. But Daffy's is now advertising 7 For All Mankind Jeans on its website for $99.00-$119.99. Honestly, this isn't really a great deal. You can find these at TJMaxx, Filene's and Century 21 for the same price or less. In fact Filene's had a number of 7's on clearance last Fall for less than $49.99; given they were on clearance, but you get my point. Nothing special here -- good stuff, but can be obtained at lower prices if you have some patience. Personally, my favorite jeans are J Brand which, while they retail for close to $200, can be had for $40 or less at stores like Loehmann's and Filene's or picked up on eBay. Wait til these things get marked down - I have a feeling they'll be sitting around for a while given the price-point.

UPDATE: Seems like this stuff is limited to the women's section. I had thought from the pics on the blog that there were men's versions, but that doesn't seem to be the case. But still, if you do see these things being sold anywhere for upwards of $90, don't bother buying them at that price.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Nanibon/Fiume Update

Was at the Paramus, NJ store tonight, and they had a vastly larger selection that what I saw at 34th St. on Thursday. This included lots of short sleeve knits, some awesome cardigans, and button-downs in linen and cotton, from both Nanibon and Fiume. These things are likely the best-made knits Daffy's gets in, and the pricing this season is pretty good - i.e., lower than I've seen in past seasons. Even saw a few pairs of shorts -- never seen any bottoms from these brands.

My favorite piece was this 100% Linen knitted henley shirt (pictured to the right) which came in beige and black for $50; sadly not my size, but I had to share this. I expect most stores to get at least some of this merchandise given the large amount the the Paramus store had in stock.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Pretty Humdrum Week...

Not much to mention right now, but here are the few bits and pieces that came in over the past week --

Shirting from a company called Gino Ricci (made in Italy) (not an actual shirt from Daffy's to the right, only used to show labels) -- some decent button down shirts, all marked at $19.99. Be aware, however, that for some reason the stores I visited (34th St. and Soho) decided to keep these folded up in their original packaging. So look for them in the shelving area with the folded up shirts. Though, as I've mentioned before, I don't know why they do this - no one has the time/patience to sift through all those shirts that are folded up, and then it's an extra hassle to take out all the pins and such to try it on...

Also, looks like Daffy's got in its seasonal shipment from Fuzzi SpA (made in Italy) which produces some awesome knits and a few buttondowns under the labels of Nanibon and Fiume. Century 21 often carries the Fiume line as well, and I believe had a very small selection of short sleeve shirts if that matters to you. The only problem here is that it doesn't appear much came in - only saw these at 34th St. thus far, and it was only a small handful of pieces mixed in with the other knits. If you can find them, they are extremely well made and worth every penny -- usually priced upwards of $40 per sweater. So far, I only saw items from Nannibon and not Fiume.

The only other piece of info worth mentioning is that it looks like there has been a small restock of sportscoats from Copen Group (made in Italy). This may have just been a consolidation of merchandise at 34th St., but I saw a number of pieces there which I've yet to have seen this season. These are the items with the hang-tag w/a little crest on it -- also any items marked Royal Hem which are probably the best items Copen Group produces in terms of quality and fit.

And finally, STAY AWAY from these nylon jackets from US Polo Association. These are extremely low-end closeouts which you'll find at any discounter, likely came from Kohl's or JCPenney's. If you want a deal, buy some stuff off the uber-clearance racks at 34th St. -- which reminds me - just about every store has Jey Cole Man (made in Italy) marked down by 30%; JCM is one of my favorite labels Daffy's carries and is worth picking up at these prices for sure.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Sizing up the Competition and Playing Daffy's Buyer

This has been a post I've been dying to write since I started the blog last November. Please bear with me, as it's going to be a long one. Basically, I was extremely frustrated all of last Fall and Winter when the men's sections at Daffy's were filled w/complete junk for the entire season, aside from a bit of decent shirting. Unfortunately, that seems to be the case again now that the three main staples (Jey Cole Man, Gazzarrini and Patrizia Pepe) have been picked over. So this post is about brands I would love to see in the store instead of some of the lower-end items they get in, and also a sort of expose about what Daffy's competition is right now in the market. 

A) Sizing up the Competition - I'm going to start with a laundry list of competitors that are impeding on the territory which Daffy's has occupied exclusively for a long time - i.e., selling Italian and high-end closeouts.

1. -- This is clearly Daffy's biggest threat. Yoox maintains a warehouse in Italy where they essentially buy up closeouts from every manufacturer they can find, and they overnight the merchandise to other countries once the items sell. They carry just about every brand Daffy's has, the good ones at least, and hundreds more. In fact, their US warehouse -- where they process shipments overnighted from Italy and accept returns, is based not too far from the Daffy's HQ -- Clifton, NJ. The only leg-up Daffy's has, aside from being an actual store where one can see and try on the actual merchandise, is that Daffy's prices are generally 2-3X's less expensive than the same exact items on Yoox. The problem for Daffy's is simply the fact that Yoox is centralized in Italy and has the buying power to empty out sources which might otherwise have been available for Daffy's buyers.

2. Century 21 -- Those not local to the NY/NJ area may not know about the company, but it advertises itself as 'New York's Best Kept Secret'. Century 21 and Daffy's have a lot of the same suppliers in Italy, one of which I've mentioned several times, ZeroSettanta. Century 21's prices are also usually well above what Daffy's would charge on its items, though certain things like ties are price relatively the same, or less at Century. Where Century 21 excels above Daffy's, however, is not its formal-wear -- though the European suits are good (small selection, mostly your basic closeouts from Macy's), you can't find better dress shirts at better prices anywhere other than Daffy's; but Century has the trendiest casual and sportswear you will ever find. Just about every label that is in style right now for men will be at Century 21. The prices may not be terrific, but the merchandise is there. Daffy's casual-wear and sportswear is awful -- basically it's relegated to the 'young men's' section and is shoved to the back or corner of every store. The merchandise is basically the same as you'd find at Burlington Coat Factory which is to say it's low-end garbage compared to everything else which is why I never mention it on this blog.

3. TJMaxx/Marshalls -- I honestly never thought TJX Stores would be a main competitor to Daffy's, but a recent visit this weekend proved me wrong. I stopped in at the 18th St. location, a few steps away from Daffy's 18th St. store, and was stunned to find the volume of high-end suiting I found at TJ and Marshalls (both in the same building). TJMaxx had suits from CNC Costume National, Dolce & Gabbana, Pal Zileri and Valentino - all of which I believe came from Ittiere SPA. The Marshalls downstairs had suits from Valentino, Ferre, Versace, and a new brand I'd never seen until that point, Imperatrice Sartoriale. While these stores are the exception to the usual fare you'd find at a local TJ's or Marshalls, as they're in an NYC hotspot, Daffy's should be very concerned -- TJX Stores is the world's largest discounter; they could buy up every bit of merchandise in Italy if they really wanted to. In fact I've seen them carry shoes from Boemos and shirts from Alea Fashion Industries over the years.

4. Loehmann's - Even with some financial troubles of late, Loehmann's is still a pretty substantial competitor in menswear. I was blown away when I went to the 'Loehmann's Mens Store' out in San Francisco a few months ago. Filled with high-end goods from Luciano Barbera, Belvest, Pal Zileri, Ferre, Dolce & Gabbana, Costume National -- you name it, they had it. However, I believe most of that was closeouts from a store in California called 'Wilkes Bashford', owned by Mitchell's out of Greenwich, CT. Still, that kind of merchandise would draw crowds at Daffy's -- in the meantime, Daffy's only gets trickles of it from Tyrone.

5. Filene's Basement -- Filene's used to be a much bigger competitor for Daffy's, that was until they were sold to Syms (I believe only the ones in the northern part of the US had that fate). Filene's always had some great high-end stuff including a few racks of suits from Calvin Klein Collection and Oxxford (out of London). They also had a relationship w/Barneys, getting leftovers from the Warehouse sale, and more recently had shipments of closeouts from Fred Segal. However, the previous buyer that had these relationships appears to have been fired and the stores are being stocked with the same garbage that appears in Syms. It's only saving grace when I last visited was a tiny amount of items which were leftovers from (hint, hint Daffy's).

6. Online 'Flash Shopping' Websites -- Gilt, Rue La La, Hautelook and more recent incarnations -- Envite, Prive and Jackthreads -- All these websites, especially Gilt, are getting in some phenomenal merchandise and are getting in things which have never before been seen at discounters. Daffy's prices are still better, but all these little flash shopping sites are eating away at the ever-decreasing pie of high-end closeouts available for purchase. What Daffy's needs to do is start buying leftovers from these companies -- will be discussed below.

7. eBay -- Believe it or not, there are dozens if not hundreds of small-time sellers on eBay that are selling a lot of the same merchandise Daffy's would sell. One of my favorites happens to be a user called beverlyhillsbazaar. I don't know where the sources for some of these things come from, but I've seen items from Messagerie, Gazzarrini, Paolo Pecora, Cycle, Andrea Palombini and dozens of other well-known and obscure Italian brands.

B) Brands I'd Like to See at Daffy's/Where They Should Buy From -- Given this vast array of ever-growing competition in the closeout market, especially the high-end and Italian closeout market, I've amassed below some brands and purchasing strategies that I think would be great additions to Daffy's and help avoid many of the low-end items that just sit on shelves the entire season -- quick examples -- a Geoffrey Beene shirt in Soho marked at $.50; racks of tuxedo shirts from 'Fumagalli' in just about every store - I could go on forever, but below is the more important info.

1. Casualwear/Sportswear/'Young Mens' -- In this area in particular, Daffy's needs to really branch out. The stuff they get in - i.e., Company 81, Counter Intelligence, Modern Culture, US Expedition, etc... can be found in just about every discounter -- Burlington Coat Factory, TJMaxx, Syms, and, dare I say, Pay Half -- often for less than what Daffy's is charging. Daffy's needs to distinguish itself in this area, and I would suggest focusing on lesser known American designers, as well as a number of British companies.

- American Labels -- Life After Denim (carried sparsely at TJMaxx and, Modern Amusement (carried sparsely at TJMaxx and Burlington), Cohesive & Co. (carried at Neiman Marcus Last Call), G-Star Raw

- British Labels -- Full Circle (carried at Yoox and lots of it on eBay), Firetrap (carried at Yoox and lots of it on eBay), All Saints -- they just opened a number of retail stores in the US and are now being carried at Bloomingdales

I would also point out that retail closeouts here would be particularly useful - for example, some cheap merchandise should be easily attainable from the likes of Urban Outfitters -- I know that a store in San Francisco called 'Jeremy's' has a relationship w/them.

2. Italian Closeouts - It's time to drop the low-end merchandise such as Sottotono, Eugenio Sorrentino, Kemitch and FB. There's a reason a company like isn't carrying much from these labels, if at all, and I don't believe it's because Daffy's is buying all the merchandise. Here's a short list of labels/companies I've gotten to like over the past number of months, many of which are sold on, some of which are not, at least not yet.

- Sportswear and Formalwear: Paolo Pecora; Mario Matteo (often sold at Century 21); DNL/Discrminationless; Carlo Pignatelli Outside (NOT the other lines under that label); Les Hommes; Imperatrice Sartoriale (Marshalls was selling some suits from them for $199; beautifully made -- best I could find is a company called 'Imperatrice Sartoria' in Napoli); Danielle Alessandrini -- Can't say enough good things about this label; Brian Dales -- very similar to Messagerie and Bryan Husky; Piombo; Paoloni; Master Coat -- again some great things, I believe this was sold in Daffy's circa 2007, don't know why it disappeared; Orlando; Mauro Grifoni (exclusive to from what I've seen); Ermanno Scervino; Manuel Ritz Pipo; Cycle -- awesome sportswear, picked up a few pieces on eBay;; Sand (small amount of it at Century 21); Suits from Ittiere SpA (this is where TJMaxx got its suits from); Krizia Uomo (Filene's has a very small amount of this stuff); Pal Zileri (incl. the LAB line, but not the Cerimonia line); Pino Lerario (some great suits/sportcoats carried by Bloomingdales at the moment)

- Shoes: Doucal's; Maldini; Pia Mia (Daffy's had these circa 2009, don't know what happened); Fabi; Bait; Brumas; Carlo Ventura; Dino Bigioni; Due Elle; Franco Ballin; Igi & Co; Mac Dugan; Manas Design; Vittorio Virgili
+ the dozens of other brands not mentioned here that are all over yet somehow never make their ways into Daffy's stores.

3. Closeouts from Flash-Sale sites -- both Century 21 and Filene's have so far gotten in on this action. Century 21 got a huge amount of Brunello Cuccinelli items from earlier this season, and Filene's had a small amount of items from There's no reason Daffy's shouldn't be able to get a piece of this action. has some awesome things, but other sites may be more accessible -- Rue La La, Hautelook, Envite, Prive and Jackthreads (for streetwear items), and possibly even which is a more traditional closeout retailer. I'd stay away from sites like Beyond the Rack which peddle in lower-end items, at least for men anyway.

4. Retail closeouts -- As far as I know, the only retail closeout Daffy's gets is once a season from Tyrone. That should change. I can't imagine how many boutiques there are across this country and all over Europe and Canada that have merchandise they can't move. The other discounters mentioned above have gotten stuff for a long time from Mitchells and Wilkes-Bashford, and Century 21 is moving into even smaller retailers - I've seen suits marked with labels from stores all over the US at C21. And online retailers for sure should be another target -- say for example,, based out of the UK - there are already several eBay sellers in the UK selling their closeouts, I can't imagine Daffy's couldn't get in there

5. Last but certainly not least -- Italian Leather Bags!!! -- The 'man bag', as it were, is not going anywhere -- there is a desperate need for good quality leather bags for men -- messenger bags, duffle bags, etc... at decent prices. No discounter that I know of sells anything of this sort aside from, and Daffy's should be the first to break stride in this area. I know there were a few random items from Patrizia Pepe this season, and in past seasons from Gazzarrini, but this needs to be ramped up to an entirely new addition in each store. Get rid of the bikini bottom underwear section, and replace it with loads of leather bags. I promise you these will sell like hot cakes if the right merchandise comes in. The only Italian manufacturer I know of with which Daffy's has a relationship is Alex & Co., as in I know they make leather bags, but I'm sure there are plenty of others out there to choose from -- take a look at and go from there - Doucal's would be another great one. 

IN SUMMARY: This is really just a short list of the things I'd like to see at Daffy's; the sky's the limit. The major problem right now is that there needs to be a taste level when purchases are made, not just getting something to fill up the racks. I've provided some suggestions which I hope can steer my favorite store towards the right direction and hopefully come out better for it in the end.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Sottotono...A Big No-No

Quick end of the week update before I write some interesting posts this weekend which I hope the folks over at Daffy's corporate will take note of. Anyhow, here's what came in at the end of this week:

About every Daffy's location got in a large selection of pants and sportcoats from Sottotono (made in Italy). The problem with this stuff is simply construction, which is pretty bad. The cut is decent in the sense that it's slim-fitting, but the materials used and the quality of the garments are on the cheap side. I would personally stay away from this stuff, but if you pick something up and it fits, the prices are generally lower than most of the other merchandise. Just realize it will likely only last you one season.

Not much else to report - those linen shirts I saw last weekend from Visitor have now invaded every Daffy's location, unfortunately.

Update (4/2) -- Perhaps I was too nice to Sottotono above. Stopped in at the Paramus, NJ store, and they had a huge selection of the stuff including shirts. Lots more synthetics and cheaply made stuff than I had seen at the other store I had visited which only had a limited selection. To top it all off, I noticed these gauzy-cotton henley-like shirts in a levender color which Daffy's carried literally a year ago and never sold. On top of being cheaply made the Sottotono merchandise is just pretty darn ugly. Steer clear.