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Hello all,

I recently made a trip to Potomac Mills in Woodbridge, VA and dropped inside of the Brooks Brothers Factory Store there. I took the opportunity to try on a "346" navy blazer (for $250), a "346" charcoal overcoat (for $450), and some beautiful merino wool sweater vests (2 for $110). All of the above seemed to be of fairly decent quality, and they all fit me very well.

I'm still somewhat of a "newbie" when it comes to being able to identify good clothing, and I'm in the process of trying to build a quality wardrobe. I've done a lot of searching on the forums here and haven't really found too much "recent" information on the BB Factory Stores or their "346" line of clothing - most of the posts seem to be from a couple years back at least. Has anyone had any recent experience with the factory stores, and can anyone speak to the quality and value of the "346" line at the prices I mentioned above? Is it worth the extra money to shop at the retail stores instead (the Connecticut Ave. store for example), or would my time be better spent finding deals at Filene's (although I haven't had much luck so far)?

Thank you in advance for any advice you may offer!
 

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In my opinion, if you're expecting mainline Brooks Brothers quality at the outlet 345 stores, then you'll be disappointed. However, compared to other major retail stores, such as Macy's, J.C. Penney, Jos. A. Bank, etc. BB 346 items are a good value for their price point.

If you remember you're buying an average to above-average item and not a top-grade item at BB Outlets, then you'll do fine.

Cheers.
 

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I have often found BB mainline merchandise at the outlet stores. At the 346 stores, however, the merchandise is exclusively labeled 346. Having said that, I have a number of 346 items that I have found to be good quality and an excellent value.
 

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You can find good value at BB's outlet stores but, as with everything else, the key is to shop carefully. More often than not, my purchases at the BB outlet stores are made during advertised sales and include retail store merchandise, frequently purchased for pennies on the dollar!
 

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I've got a 346 store near me that recently opened up. At first I though it was great being as there are no BB anywhere else near me but after going there several times throughout the year I've become disapointed. The selection is really limited, especially for shoes and the sales are sporadic. The sales staff are nice enough but not very helpfull. I went in to try shoes on recently and when I asked the guy what last the shoe was on he had no idea what a last was and he also told me Peal & Co was an Italian company...That being said it's better than nothing, sort of.
 

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You can often find some main line retail store stuff if you carefully troll through the outlet store (I've gone to Jersey Gardens and the Woodbury Commons stores). When you find that item, you can often snag a good deal. Just today I got a $228 saxon cable knit wool cardigan for $35. Great buy if I do say so myself.
 

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Outlet

Agreed with above. The sales staff is much less knowledgeable about the products at the outlets, although I have even found the same problem with some of the younger staff at the Madison Ave flagship.

I went in for a pair of Peal captoes and asked if they were made by AS, which they appeared to be. The salesman told me he had no idea what I was talking about -- "they're made by Peal."
 

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It seems that few retail salesmen know their merchandise these days ....

JAB, BB, and even the venerable Ben Silver do not know their merchandise. They are all order takers these days, not salesmen. In JAB he other day, I overhead a salesman telling a customer that black wing tip shoes would be fine with his tuxedo. When I hear conversations like this, I take no action. It's not my business. Let the guy discover AAAC or wear wing tips with his tux.

I called Ben silver the other day to see if their formal silk hose were OTC, since it didn't say so on line or in their catalog. The person I talked to didn't know what OTC meant. When I explained, he said, "No, they're not over the calf. They're higher than that."
 
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