Fairly quickly after you start researching designer clothing — actually within the first page of Google results — you find out about designer outlets.
Designer outlets are shops run by the brands in off-the-beaten-track locations. They offer what are basically remnants — over-runs, defects or out-of-season stock — at knock-down prices. The attraction for the shopper is the high discount to full retail to get branded products, which can be as much as 70%.
Although these shops provide a useful commercial function for the brands, the problem for someone trying to build a completely new wardrobe is that these shops have a reputation for being tourist zoos, and they tend not to have the sizes or items you would select if you had a full selection and time to choose.
The cognitive dissonance of this approach is that I believe part of the experience of becoming Armani Man is to enjoy the elegance and attentiveness of the shopping experience as intended by the designer, which is built into the high price, and to build a solid new wardrobe based on careful, thoughtful selection of the right pieces.
Hence the use of outlets, while attractive from an economic point of view, is in conflict with the aims of this project, and although I may visit one or two at Montevarchi and Barberino near Florence, just to see what they look like and report back, they will not be my staple source of Giorgio Armani or Prada clothing.
Instead I will be buying from the high-end Giorgio Armani boutiques, and writing about my experiences as I visit them on various trips around the planet.
I will still look for good deals, but based on seasonality, from the best locations.
This is how Armani Man shops.