Old Money Essential: L.L. Bean

We promised to spotlight a few worthy vendors whose products and services are in line with Old Money Values. With that in mind, every OMG (Old Money Guy/Old Money Gal) should be familiar with L.L. Bean.

In business for more than 100 years, the Freeport, Maine, based company sells quality apparel for men and women at strong prices, including outdoor wear and clothing for hunting and fishing.

They have a number of retail outlets, but much of their business is now done online (the print catalog was a staple on many OMG coffee tables in decades past.) Their loyal customer base keeps warm with the company’s great sweaters and flannel-lined chinos year in and year out, in a style that’s more New England than preppy.

The Signature Product: the L.L. Bean boot.

Other Go-To Items: their crew-neck sweaters and chinos.

The Scenario: Aunt Edna is feeling generous now that you’re going off for your first year of college, but, being the ultimate OMG, she hasn’t been to a shopping mall in the last half century. She has no idea what clothing costs. She thinks you’ll be able to buy everything you need with $1000.00. If you shop at L.L. Bean, she might be right. Damn it.

Gentlemen, here’s your list:

5 Oxford Cloth Button Down Shirts – 50 bucks each – $250.00

5 Cotton Polo Shirts – 30 bucks each – $150.00

2 Crew Neck Sweaters, Cotton or Wool – 50 bucks each – $100.00

3 Pair of Double L Chinos – 50 bucks each – $150.00

3 Pair of Double L Jeans – 50 bucks each – $150.00

1 Town & Field Blue Blazer, Wool or Cotton – $125.00

1 Pair LL Bean Penny Loafers – $100.00

1 Pair LL Bean Chukkas or 8 inch boots – $125.00

Ladies, L.L. Bean has these same products for women in a variety of styles and colors, so feel free to allocate likewise.

With this arsenal in your dorm closet, you’ll hit campus with a low-profile, low-maintenance wardrobe that will last–with a few additions–til your senior year.  No one will know how much money you have (or don’t have), but a discerning few will suspect that you’ve shopped wisely, with good taste.

And as Mark Twain once said, don’t let your schooling interfere with your education. (Wink, nod.)


6 thoughts on “Old Money Essential: L.L. Bean

  1. Great article; just hoping I can find an equivalent on continental Europe. Most shops here follow the ‘expensive trendy style, low quality’ business model.

    1. You’ll be fine. You’ll probably find traditional, quality clothing in smaller, family run shops rather than in big department stores. Enjoy! And thanks for the comment. – BGT

  2. My dear son went off to college this fall as freshman. He brought much of the list you have posted…except his blue blazer and a tie. It was requested and brought for parent weekend when he realized that he will probably need it after all.

    I appreciate your book and this site. We have had a bit of a financial reversal, but our life is pretty much the same regardless. Never dip into the capital even if it means cutting to the bone. Nice to have support here.

    1. Thank you so much for the comment. And congratulations to the college freshman! I’m sure the reversal is temporary. It’s great to hear the values are rock solid and permanent. Best – BGT

  3. We live in Maine about 1 hour from Freeport and although we are not OMG, we do try to make wise purchases using those principles, so I couldn’t help but get a chuckle at the prices you listed. For anyone who lives or vacations regularly here, the best kept non-secret is the LLBean OUTLET store. We get our son’s school wardrobe there. I’ve listed some of the prices. Now, it sometimes takes us more than one trip to get these prices, but it is worth it.

    5 Oxford Cloth Button Down Shirts – 50 bucks each – $250.00 ($9.99 each on clearance 50% off)

    5 Cotton Polo Shirts – 30 bucks each – $150.00 ($15.00 each marked down. Sometimes we get them cheaper during the summer clearance)

    2 Crew Neck Sweaters, Cotton or Wool – 50 bucks each – $100.00 (Cotton ones usually priced at $25-$30 and we wait for the clearance to get them at 50% off)

    3 Pair of Double L Chinos – 50 bucks each – $150.00 (3 pairs for $6.00 each, purchased 50% off the clearance price of $12.00)

    3 Pair of Double L Jeans – 50 bucks each – $150.00 (Just bought him two pairs, $6 each, 50% off the clearance price.)

    And the one item missing – the LLBean stormchaser parka. They must sell thousands of them every year. Usually it is priced at $119 at the retail store, but we have found it for between $35 and $65 depending on what day we go.

    And the best part, everything is 100% guaranteed and LLBean stands by their product. My son’s LLBean backpack strap broke two months ago and they exchanged it for brand new one of the same kind, no questions asked, no receipt needed.

    Thanks so much for your blog and your book. They are both excellent.

    1. Thank you, Kellie! Good to know about the prices, and LL Bean’s ‘no questions asked’ policy on returns. I’m glad you enjoy the blog and the book. – BGT

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