14 October 2012

The Man From Brooks Brothers

Brooks Brothers isn't what it used to be. There was a time when you could tell a guy was wearing Brooks Brothers from half a block down the street. A certain combination of subtle but distinct details in cut, styling and fit was a clear signal. These days, its hard to know what that means, or meant, especially for younger guys who never saw it first hand. But when you see it all together, it still makes sense.
The high buttoning 3/2 roll...the undarted front...the natural barely padded shoulders. Combined with flat front, slightly high waisted pants with a conservative cut through the legs and cuffed hems. Behold the now iconic #1 sack suit. Acquired in trade some months ago from Newton Street Vintage, I've been waiting for a nice chilly day to wear it. On the feet, double soled shell cordovan longwings by Allen Edmonds. What else?
Given this suits late 1950s/early 1960s provenance, a narrow repp striped bow tie of similar vintage seemed the perfect choice. A soft rolling unlined button collar was also a given. Now usually I'm not one to go full blast vintage, preferring instead to mix older pieces with well made modern things, but in this case the combination picked itself.

All of it vintage,all of it made in USA, all of it Brooks Brothers. It's hard to argue with that.

p.s. there are some photos of what to expect from Eddigan's, a furniture consignment shop and Top Shelf rookie, over at the TSFM blog. Check it out.


Dane said...

Trousers are puddling a little in photo...in keeping with the classic BB look, you might consider hemming to give them less break.

Gates said...

"rustled" sheets??? Giddiyup.

Nathanael said...

It's a nice look, Mr G, but I wish you weren't so down on Brooks Brothers as it exists now. The company still makes a lot of great clothing, much of it in the US or elsewhere in the first world (Italy, the UK, etc...). Yes, the nice stuff is expensive, but that was true even in the good old days, and not all of the imported products are junk. As for their down-market stuff, it's certainly a step down, but it compares well to the competition (you'll appreciate the Brooks Brothers outlets more if you compare them to the stores around them).
As for their non-iron shirts, which you've complained about before, that's what people want. I own both BB iron and non-iron, and they look and feel very similar--and a lot of people don't like ironing.
Given the money, you could easily put together an outfit similar to the one pictured using current BB products made in the US. There are legitimate criticisms of BB, but I think you're too hard on them. I know you're not slagging them all the time, but it seems that all positive references to BB are about its past, and those about its present are regularly negative, which is much harsher than they deserve, in my opinion.

Georgia Coal said...

I agree that it seems BB is taking some pretty hard shots. While things like the Black Fleece make me nauseous there is still a lot to love. I do prefer the all cotton shirts it is nice to have some non-irons as well. I think that all the mens clothing blogs and those who love to read them should start a petiton to have BB restore the OCBDs to unlined collars/cuffs. It would create quite a buzz and everyone would go nuts if they actually changed them back to their original perfection. Good publicity for Brooks and happy clothing nerds.....just a thought. I love your blog and have turned into a thirft junkie myself.

WorkForClothes said...

Great classic BB look...Timeless and Traditional.
However, BB is following the retail "herd" in order to appeal to a younger, hipper crowd. It's not your grandfather's BB anymore.

Bill said...

Google Image searching for tie hangers and found your Affordable Wardrobe blog. You hang your ties on a wood pants hanger from your high-school years. Me too, except that I finished high-school before you were born. Thanks for your opinion that the wood pants hangers are just fine for ties. I have three of those hangers straining under the weight my collection of ties, mostly high end and Talbot mostly for the last the thirty years. One hanger (red enamel) is from Campbell’s in East Lansing, MI (Michigan State) circa 1956, the other two are from my store of the last 45 years, The Claymore Shop in Birmingham, Michigan. http://www.claymoreshop.com/

Great blog. Yellow socks and penny loafers – fantastic. I still have a few pair of yellow socks. Brooks Brothers is no more. Name was bought and the new owners immediately changed the fabrics and tailoring. They changed the fit of the famous Brooks Brothers Oxford Cloth button down shirts by tapering the waist. Terrible. That’s not what they are supposed to look like. Personally, I have worn Gitman Bros. blue button downs for the last 40 years, though they usually had the store’s label, sometimes Gitman. Bought them by the box, two or three in a box. Have three boxes still unopened in my closet.

As for khakis today - Bill’s Khakis, great stuff.
Pocket squares – YES.

Long winded, sorry.

Will be following your blog.

Ann Arbor, MI

g said...

@bill this will sound like I work for Brokks but I have several of the classic "makers" OCBD's and as far as cut is concerned its the same. Maybe even a little fuller. I do hate the damn collars/cuffs but I want to state some facts. Everything seems better in the good old days but that is fact....the fact is that no one even has to dress like an adult anymore. We should be glad Brooks even inspires people to look half way decent. Don't we have to factor that the majority of people wear sweatpants to eat meals? I think that Brooks and others are at least trying to appeal to people who in whatever way want to look nice. I wish it was 1962 I really do.....but we have to be realistic.....

Anonymous said...

You have outdone yourself! Brooks Brothers, in my opinion, is the pinnacle of upper echelon in men's fine clothing (1818 speaks for itself!), and AMERICAN made...sigh! If I were your twin brother we would be in serious negotiation for putting that whole suit combo into my personal weekly rotation!
No matter what, I still love Brooks Brothers and have been a staunch supporter since my father bought my first suit from Brooks Brothers. They are a great American company and they still make a great, timeless product.