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A brooks brothers question - Page 2

post #16 of 38
Quote:
What is your overall opinion about the attempts of the Italians to revitalize Brooks Brothers?  For Alden to do well, Brooks must return to prominence as well.
I haven't been a Brooks customer myself since the early '70s. Before that I bought everything from either Brooks or Chipp across the street in New York. My father still shops at either Brooks or J Press and I accompany him when I'm in New York. My brother buys American-made Aldens and oxford shirts there. Both of them complain about quality or price at Brooks. I was impressed on my last trip with the top-end suits ("Golden Fleece"?), but they were more expensive than, say, Hickey-Freeman next door. The early '60s prep culture and the Brooks button-down "uniform" did not survive the hippie culture of the late '60s. Now Brooks has to appeal to young and old, traditional and modern. It seems a difficult task.
post #17 of 38
Quote:
What is your overall opinion about the attempts of the Italians to revitalize Brooks Brothers? For Alden to do well, Brooks must return to prominence as well.
I'd be very interested to see Alden's books, but I'd be willing to bet that Alden's ability to sell at very good markups in Japan and Germany is more essential to its survival than its Brooks Brothers business. But I could very easily have no idea what I'm talking about. In any event, I think that it's too soon to tell about the Italian owners. I welcome the wider availability of the Golden Fleece line of suits and the greater selection of quality shoes than in recent years, but other innovations (especially the omnipresent wrinkle-free shirts) leave me a bit cold. I doubt that Brooks will ever return to what it once was (or, at least, to what we perceive it once was) -- it's too committed to the mass market now. I just want it to have interesting stuff every once in a while.
post #18 of 38
Thread Starter 
jcusey, I think you have a point here.  Seems the markup in Germany and especially Japan would greatly contribute to their bottom line. As to their wrinkle-free shirts, I'm in a transition period of my life where I have four very young children and the wrinkle-free shirts are saving my life at the moment.  No more having to worry about the kids wrinkling me to death in the morning before setting off to work.  I think BB wrinkle-free shirts are way overpriced at $75 a pop, but for $20 or so on eBay luckily I can buy them until the young 'uns get a bit older and don't want to wrestle before I go to work. The wrinkle-free numbers, just like many if not all of their other shirts, look like a balloon on me because of their generous measurements. Hopefully I'm just making the best of my situation at the moment. Hopefully in a few years down the line I can go back to the nicer stuff.  I've been itching to try some Jantzen shirts, but can't at the moment.  I just don't want to iron for now.
post #19 of 38
Quote:
As to their wrinkle-free shirts, I'm in a transition period of my life where I have four very young children and the wrinkle-free shirts are saving my life at the moment. No more having to worry about the kids wrinkling me to death in the morning before setting off to work. I think BB wrinkle-free shirts are way overpriced at $75 a pop, but for $20 or so on eBay luckily I can buy them until the young 'uns get a bit older and don't want to wrestle before I go to work.
The thing that makes me uneasy about wrinkle-free shirts is that I can't imagine what you'd have to do to get them to be that way. Maybe it's just a lack of imagination on my part. Anyway, I find ironing every morning strangely theraputic. I imagine that would change, however, if I had four young children.
post #20 of 38
Well said Comolli. I agree with you about Alden. They are an excellent U.S. company that should be supported. Only a few classic items remain at Brooks Brothers, cordovans by Alden, and oxford shirts in particular stand out. I prefer the style of the BB cordovans to the Alden branded product. The plain Blucher and wing tip models have eyelets which I find appealing. They also wear like iron. And as you noticed in my post on refurbishing they do an amazing job.
post #21 of 38
Digressing a little - back to the wrinkle-free shirts - are they really wrinkle-free? I sort of dismissed that as a bit of hype, and figured what they really mean to say is easy-iron. But no iron? They sound great. Can anyone elaborate. Thank you.
post #22 of 38
Even more digression... I'm sure I've asked this before, but has anyone recently read the history of Brooks Brothers, Generations of Style? I've contemplated buying it in the past, but I've never seen any more than the cover. Does it feature a good selection of period photos, or possibly any 1930s Fellows illustrations?
post #23 of 38
On the Brooks Non-Iron shirts... Call me mass market market, but I'm with John MS. I love my finer shirtings, but I'm pretty lazy about ironing sometimes (I generally do all my shirts at once, and wait until most are worn until I wash/iron again - I do some about every two weeks - I know this is bad for the shirts). The Brooks non-irons really need NO CARE. I wear em, they don't wrinkle. I leave em in the hamper til they're ready to wash, I can wash and dry on the regular cycle, then hang em up. They do have the unfortunate spinnaker fit, but they're 100% cotton (or claim to be) and look a lot better than older, mass marketed blend shirts - though they do look different than a freshly ironed normal shirt. Since Brooks has been marketing to a younger crowd, they also come in increasing varieties of colors/patterns and collar/cuff styles. The 3-fer deals have been worth it for me. I dunno if they're genetically engineering the cotton or something else frightening, but I'll take it until I hear otherwise. My next order will likely be some slim-fit versions, if they're available. I don't work for BB.
post #24 of 38
Thread Starter 
jcusey, I used to find ironing theraputic, but I'm so picky about my ironing that I literally would spend about 25 to 30 minutes a shirt.  It used to take me hours to iron and now I just can't do it any more.  That would change a bit if we had a decent dry cleaner around here that knew how to do shirts, but I have to take shirts 45 miles to the north of here to seriously get a good shirt presser. Urbane, Let me elaborate on my experience with the wrinkle-free shirts.  Mind if I go in a bit of detail? I held off for a long time before trying one of these wrinkle-free shirts, in any brand.  I too thought it was hype.  I was about to try the Eton brand at $165, but that was too steep so I have tried non-iron shirts from Nordstrom, Brooks Brothers, and Jos Bank (yes, Jos Bank). The best value in my opinion is Nordstrom since they use single-needle stitching, horizonal gauntlet buttons on sleeve plackets, etc. For some reason I've found that the patterned shirts seem to do better than the solids at Nordstrom.  Broadcloth take less care than their pinpoints, at least in the Nordstrom and Brooks models I have tried.  I have some Nordstrom patterned pinpoints that I can literally take out of the dryer and they're good to go. Some of the non-irons I have from Brooks require only a steam iron and take me literally about 3 to 4 minutes to iron, going as fast as I can move the iron...this from a person who takes 25 minutes to iron a shirt. Jos Bank shirts have been hit and miss.  Their patterned non-irons have been wonderful, and for some reason not so good for the solids. Remember this though.  Jos. Bank at least have a guarantee that if you don't like the shirt they will take them back. Also note, when the weather is cooler, I can wear these shirts two separate days and at the end of the second day they literally look like they were just ironed. A long answer, I know.
post #25 of 38
Superfly and Stylestudent:  I am in complete agreement with both of you.  It should be noted, and it may have been so before, that the only remaining American-made shirts at Brooks are the oxfords.  Because of this and what I perceive to be the lower quality of the foreign-made pinpoints, I wear only the oxfords, which I have been wearing in any event for the last 40 years.
post #26 of 38
Many thanks proxy1 and JohnMS. I will definitely give the non-iron shirts a go. I am too tight to have my shirts laundered and cannot, frankly, be bothered spending every other weekend going to the cleaners, but then again I abhor ironing. But I do like nicely pressed shirts. I think I have found the solution.
post #27 of 38
does anybody know when brooks brothers will have their next 25% off Friends and Family event?
post #28 of 38
I cannot agree that the Aldens are superior to the Brooks AS's. I think the Aldens are the same quality as the AS Knightsbridge and Exclusive lines, superior to the AS Classic. The BB AS's appear to come from the Knightsbridge line. The main failing in my eye of Alden's is their clunky design, and in this domain the AS's are better. So far as the Aldens wearing like iron, unlike most people on these fashion forums, I believe that lousy shoes last just as long as good shoes (assuming comparable constructions): they just look lousy longer, while the good shoes look good longer. I think people believe that fine shoes last longer because they do more to preserve them. I committed unspeakable crimes against a pair of Aldens and I did in fact ruin them. It can be done. Regarding the BB no-iron shirts, I owned several of these before my fashion jag and threw them out. Not only do they double as parachutes even in slim-fit, but the no-iron treatment makes them suffocating in the warm weather.
post #29 of 38
All this talk of hours spent on ironing and non-iron shirts.. I guess I'm spoiled having at least 3 dry cleaners w/in one mile of my house and the one I use (only one I've tried) has never broken a button, lost a shirt, etc. Actually, I've thought that the big heavy Borrelli-type bottons are probably more durable than the much thinner buttons used by most shirtmakers.
post #30 of 38
I have only begun visiting Brooks Brothers stores (Rodeo Drive and the just-opened store in South Coast Plaza, both in Southern California), and I have been very underwhelmed. When I asked about the vendors for their "Peale" line of shoes, I was solemnly and emphatically told that they owned the Peale factory in England, made their own shoes and had no vendors whatsoever. When I was trying on some of their sport coats and the lapels were popping about two inches off my chest, I was subjected to hard-sell tactics worthy of the Men's Wearhouse (where I heard the same thing) and was told that their tailors could fix that. A lot of the merchandise seemed overpriced relative to, say, Nordstroms, and most of the sport coats were of such heavy fabrics that they seemed better suited for New England than SoCal.
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