Made in America. It’s a simple concept, but an expensive one. According to radio co-host Mike Catherwood, who spent a year purchasing only American made goods, it’s a road only the rich can travel. Take an outfit made in the U.S.A. as opposed to imported; for $421 you can buy all American made items: Levi’s 50's for $178; an American Apparel t-shirt for $18; Red Wing boots for $225. Purchasing all imported items, such as boots from Walmart ($33), a t-shirt from Hanes ($6) and jeans from Gap ($60) will get you the same outfit, but for less than $100. Since the median income of American households is $50,000, imported goods are more practical to purchase than not.
That being said, purchasing made in America items can feel good. To buy from local markets, local farmers, local boutiques, helps us feel connected to one another. “You can get [economic] utility from where [goods] are coming from,” said economic historian at Central Michigan University Jason Taylor. “You can get a warm glow from buying local produce and you believe you were helping a local farmer. It’s almost like a new charity.” Other reasons to purchase American made? According to YouGov, 42% of people surveyed said they believed they'd get a higher-quality of item, purchasing American made, and 38% said they did it for patriotic reasons.
Whatever the reason may be, the following are some of the most expensive items made in America. Some companies are household brands like All-Clad and L.L. Bean, who may manufacture in America, but also produce products across the globe; others create on a smaller, yet no less impressive, scale, offering consumers more of a sense of community than the rest. However, whichever the company, each product is made with remarkable quality, unique design, and a whole lot of pride. From shoes, jewelry, and denim to cars, furniture, and appliances, these items, while pricey, will give buyers a sense of localism, a sense of patriotism, and a sense of good. Who can put a price on that?
10 3Sixteen Heavyweight Indigo Denim: $270
Starting off the list is a pair of denim jeans. Specifically, the SL-130x jean by 3Sixteen, a Los Angeles and New York based company who gets its inspiration from all over, including great coffee from San Francisco. Local manufacturers give 3Sixteen a helpful edge in having full control over production and allows them to produce one-of-a-kind, USA-made items. The Sl-130x jean has its raw indigo selvedge woven in Okayama, Japan and features custom gunmetal shanks and rivets; all put together in Los Angeles, California.
9 Alden Waxed Longwing Bluchers: $555
These pricey Waxed Longwing Bluchers were made by the oldest shoemaker in New England, the Alden Shoe Company. Everything here is handcrafted, hand stained, hand shined; all in the U.S.A. Founded by Charles H. Alden in 1884, the Alden Shoe Company creates timeless, sophisticated shoes that last. To prove it, they'll re-sole your shoe at anytime. However, let’s focus on these Bluchers. All of Alden’s “hallmark details” are here, “including its famed Goodyear welt, full leather lining and dovetail heel reinforcement.” In a beautiful, rich tobacco, these shoes will stand out for more than its price tag.
8 All-Clad Copper Core Set: $899
Established in 1971, All-Clad Metalcrafters strives to provide customers (whether world known chefs or home cooks) with the highest quality products around. This starts in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania, where each product is handcrafted like it was four decades ago. Starting at $899, their Copper Core 7-14 piece cookware set combines the best of what both copper and stainless steel have to offer. Pieces include 10 and 12 inch frying pans, 2 and 3 quart saucepans with lids, 3 and 6 quart saute pans with lids, 12 inch chef’s pan with lid, and 8 quart stockpot with lid.
7 L.L. Bean’s Penobscot Canoe by Old Town: $1,899
This sleek Penobscot canoe by Old Town is not only made in America, but it’s also designed to be the fastest in its class. With a “straight keel line, sharp V-entry bow and shallow-arch bottom,” this 17’ canoe is extremely efficient and quick in the water, no matter the conditions. Founded in 1912 by Leon Leonwood Bean, L.L. Bean is headquartered in Freeport Maine where the company creates quality apparel and outdoor equipment for customers around the globe. L.L. Bean is privately held, family-owned, and manufactures many of its staples right in Brunswick and Lewiston, Main.
6 Rolling Duffle Bag by J.W. Hulme Co.: $2,600
J.W. Hulme Co. was founded in 1905 by John Willis Hulme in St. Paul, Minnesota. Since then, they've been handcrafting American made briefcases, luggage bags, backpacks, purses, and accessories for women and men alike. All leather is selected from “small craft tanneries” in Minnesota, Maine, Illinois, and Tennessee and then specially tanned to bring out the natural details of the leather. Their classic? The American Heritage leather. Specifically, this roomy leather wheeled duffle bag, handcrafted in the U.S.A., is guaranteed for a lifetime. Now that’s quality.
5 Organic Oval Band with Pave: $4,800
Handmade in Los Angeles, California, this 14k yellow gold organic oval band features diamond pave across the width of the ring. In other words, it’s a beautiful stunner. The one-of-a-kind, American made piece was created by Kathryn Bentley, a Los Angeles based jewelry and accessories designer. All of her designs, from rings and earrings to necklaces and bracelets, can be found at her flagship store, Dream Collective, in Silver Lake, California.
4 Frank Clegg American Alligator Duffle: $9,000
Handcrafted in Fall River, Massachusetts, Frank Clegg leather products are created with the highest quality in mind. All items are created in-house. So every piece isn’t only designed in America, it’s also made here too. Which is why prices easily soar into the thousands. For instance, the American Alligator Duffle for $9,000. The luxury leather bag is made of alligator and vegetable-tanned leather in a black matte finish. Brass hardware and durable waterproof lining complete the bag.
3 James DeWulf Inwards Fibonacci Ping Pong Dining Table: $12,320
What will a piece of furniture made in America cost you? Ask Viesso, a modern furniture company based in Los Angeles, where every piece is built in America. Like their James DeWulf Inwards Fibonacci Ping Pong Dining Table for a cool $12,320. That’s right. This 108” unique concrete table was created by designer James DeWulf, who’s “known for his ability to fuse the most advanced concrete technology with beautiful, modern, and natural forms to create functional art.” Talk about sporty chic.
2 Tesla Model S: $95,400
The Model S, manufactured in Fremont, California by Tesla Motors, is Tesla’s full-sized electric five-door luxury automobile, and already it’s receiving accolades. In 2013, it won the World Green Car of the Year, the Motor Trend Car of the Year, and Automobile Magazine’s Car of the Year, along with Time Magazine’s Best 25 Inventions of 2012 and Consumer Reports’ top-scoring car ever. The car was first launched on June 22, 2012 at the Fremont Factory and ten customers were lucky enough to receive one.
1 Saleen S7: $550,000
Take that Germany, America’s got some auto game. This sleek super car boasts a V8 engine, between 550 hp and 1000 hp (depending on the package you purchase), and the ability to go 260 mph. The Saleen S7‘s got power. The “limited-production, hand-built, high-performance American sports car” is built with a carbon fiber body, leather interior with aluminum accents, two trunks (front and back), an LCD monitor, rear-view camera, and the driver sits in the middle of the cabin.