CALIFORNIA BIG & TALL
625 Howard Street (at New Montgomery), San Francisco.
(415) 495-4484. T-Sat 9-5:30. MC, VISA. Parking: Fifth and Mission Oarage (pay).
Everything sent to California Big & Tall from the 17 Rochester Big & Tall stores is initially marked down at least 20-40% off retail; some racks add up to 60% and more. The bargains are usually past-season styles and include suits, sportcoats, sportshirts, sweaters, wool and poly/wool slacks for workday and weekend clothing. Some basics like underwear and belts are not discounted. Sizes: suits 46-60 Reg, Long, and Extra Long; shirts to 20-inch neck, 38-inch sleeve. A small shoe selection to 17 Medium, 15 Wide. As at most clearance centers, not everything is wonderful, but there are many good-quality buys. Alterations extra.
Great Mall of the Bay Area, Milpitas.
(408) 263-8571. Daily. MC, VISA, AE. Parking: lot.
Part showcase for its current collections and part clearance center for its eight Southern California stores, G.Hq. is popular with twenty-somethings and men who are not afraid to be on the forefront of fashion trends. Most of the selection is geared toward "dress casual"—shirts, sweaters, slacks, sportcoats, and suits that fit right into the Saturday night club scene, have a little extra pizzazz for dates and restaurant dining, or are more relaxed for Friday casual days at the office. The clearance inventory in the back half of the store is marked down 25-50% off original retail, because this merchandise is slightly past season. Sizes in European-styled sportcoats are S-XL; pants from waist sizes 29-38.
Prime Outlets at Gilroy, Gilroy.
(408) 848-8835. Daily. MC, VISA, AE, DIS. Parking: lot.
Maybe Greg Norman finds winning the "big one" elusive, but he's got a winner with his collection of sport and golf apparel. Watch any tournament he's playing in, and you've got a preview of what you'll find in this outlet (attached to the Rockport/ Reebok Outlets). There's some pretty classy duds with a masculine design sense so guys can play like a gentleman, but dress to kill. Count on some golf shirts in the softest, smoothest mercerized cotton knit priced at $94 ($125 retail); classic cotton polos at $51 (retail $65 to $70); GQ-standard print sportshirts in soft tencel fabrics at $98 (retail $130); and anyone-can-afford T-shirts at $15. Also shorts, slacks, swimwear, jackets, and accessories. Look for the super deals on special markdown displays.
HAGGAR CLOTHING CO.
Prime Outlets at Gilroy, Gilroy.
(408) 842-4983. Daily. MC, VISA, AE, DIS. Parking: lot.
(Other outlet: Vacaville center.)
Taking the coordinate concept used in selling women's clothing, Haggar sells suit jackets and suit pants separately. The pants are sold in finished lengths in waist sizes 30-44; jackets sizes 38-44 in Short, Medium, and Long. Some suit fabrics are labeled "washable." This is a moderately priced line sold in many major national chain stores. Prices are reduced 25-50% off major store retails. There's also a nice selection of casual sportswear and pants (waist sizes 30-44) in a variety of styles and fabrics that he can wear while he's doing whatever!
IZOD FACTORY STORE
Prime Outlets at Gilroy, Gilroy. (408) 842-3696. Daily. MC, VISA, AE, DIS. Parking: lot. (Other outlets: Truckee, Vacaville centers.) It's been years since the Izod logo set you apart, but the line is still appealing and much desired. Golfers in particular love the Izod Factory Store, where I spotted the classic "links" cardigan and many styles of pullovers, twill and cotton/linen slacks, shorts, shirts for any weate a ride out to the Robert Talbott Factory Outlet. You'll save 50-80% on fine ties that typically retail for $42 to $100. Many have minute to major flaws like slubs in the fabric, wrinkles, and pulled threads. Prices are discounted accordingly. Frequent in-store specials feature ties as low as $5. Also, fabulous buys on elegant discontinued fabrics such as silks (all types), wool challis, and fine cottons. The shirt selection has been expanded. Both the shirts and shirt fabrics are in demand because of the superior quality of the cotton fabric and the high thread count. Don't overlook the good deals on bow ties, cummer-bunds, and pocket squares. Quilters make the pilgrimage just to pick up the special grab bags of silk remnants. Directions: From Highway 1, take Carmel Valley Road 13 miles to the Village Center; turn right at the Texaco station.
TOMMY HILFIGER OUTLET STORE
Napa Premium Outlets, Napa.
(707) 224-4299. Daily. MC, VISA, AE. Parking: lot.
Mailing-list customers get cards three to four times a year offering additional discounts during extra special sales. Altogether, the savings reach sublime levels ($65 sportshirts reduced to $24.99). At any other time, the savings are modest— 25-35% off retail on average. Even so, business is brisk, as fans of this line relish the opportunity to buy current and past-season overruns. Tourists can load up and have the sportswear shipped home via UPS.
VAN HEUSEN DIRECT
601 Mission Street, San Francisco.
(415) 243-0750, M-Sat 9-6, Sun 11-5. MC, VISA, DIS. Parking: street.
(Other outlets; Folsom, Gilroy, Milpitas, Vacaville centers.)
The Van Heusen Factory
Group comprises over 400 off-price stores selling Van Heusen and other
labels directly to the consumer. You can always find dress shirts in dozens
of fabrications in regular and European (slim) fits, sizes 15-18 1/2.
You'll also want to browse through racks of casual sportswear for both
men and women, geared for traditional tastes.
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