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Thoughts on BB "Suiting Essentials"?

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 
Brooks Brothers is having a "sale event" on their Suiting Essential line. Two suits for $800. The suits are described as being a wool and DOW XLA (which I guess is some kind of synthetic). The cuts look fine, and BB generally gets my ridiculous size (40L with extra arm and less waist) as well or better as any of the other manufacturers in my price range that I've tried.

So - I know that this forum tends to be much higher-end than stuff than what amounts to the Brooks Brothers economy lines, but it's more or less the market I find myself in at the moment. Two basic but respectable suits for $800 would get me to a good level of rotation - 4 suits - assuming they actually are a good value. I just don't have the knowledge or understanding of suit quality the way that this forum does. These suits are for work - I won't dress up at all on my off-time except for special events.

I'm curious as to whether anyone has any experience or thoughts on this line in general or deal in particular, or in anyone has any ideas for competing values in the same price range?
post #2 of 22
Suiting Essentials are a slimmer cut of the same line as BrooksEase. As you mentioned it is their economy retail line.
The suits have a partial canvass and are made of super 100s with a strech material (Lastol, aka DOW XLA) to prevent wrinkles. If I recall, the blend is 97% wool, 3% XLA. Considering that a jacket alone normally goes for above $400, I would say it is quite a deal. The outlet suit seperates line normally runs just shy of $400, but the quality of the Suiting Essentials is a good step better. All pieces of the suit, i.e. fabric, canvass, buttons, lining, etc. are manufactured in Italy, while the suit itself is esembled in a lesser country.
I think you would be hard pressed to find a better value at that price.

Best Regards,
B. Miller
post #3 of 22
Thread Starter 
Thanks very much bmiller! The attitudes towards BB on this forum seem to range from gentle condescension to outright contempt, but they seem to be a decent value at their price point in general. I know it's not of interest to people with very refined taste to discuss mid-range values, but it would be nice if there was a little more discussion of such things - especially given that dropping $400 on a suit is kind of a big deal to at least 95% of the population!
post #4 of 22
I'm not sure if the 1818 line is still on sale, but recently they had the 1818 Suits (Madison, Fitzgerald and Regent) on sale two for $998. I know that it's a couple hundred bucks more, and I know that is nothing to sneeze at, but IMO, that would be the better value of the two purchases. If you're going to do anything, I'd wait until the day after Christmas when the semi-annual sale starts.
post #5 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Irond Will View Post
Thanks very much bmiller! The attitudes towards BB on this forum seem to range from gentle condescension to outright contempt, but they seem to be a decent value at their price point in general. I know it's not of interest to people with very refined taste to discuss mid-range values, but it would be nice if there was a little more discussion of such things - especially given that dropping $400 on a suit is kind of a big deal to at least 95% of the population!

Not sure where you get that from.
post #6 of 22
Thread Starter 
Maybe I'm wrong. It does seem to be considered fairly low-end around here but doesn't earn the same level of scorn as, say, Jos Banks or Stacy Allen. I think that maybe there just isn't much interest in stuff that comes in around that price point.
post #7 of 22
I think there are a few here who will partake in a good Brooks bashing session, but for the most part, people will acknowledge it for what it is.

I would say that all of their product lines are a good value given the prices, especially if they are on sale. They may not be Savile Row bespoke in H. Lesser cashmere 150s or a Raphael from NYC, but if you have a knowledgeable salesman Brooks can do quite well.

I think there are three main sources of the contempt for Brooks that comes out at times.

The first is their horrible decline in the late 80's and most of the 90's under the brand Marks and Spencer. The brand brought Brooks from its former owner and decided that with casual Fridays and all that there was n o market for the current brooks product. They down graded and casual-ized most of the product, as well as stripping away Brook's former "club-like" feel. They wanted to bring in a new market. One that wasn't solely comprised of politicians and executives. That failed. They did not bring in new customers and the lower quality drove off its current customers.
\tBrooks was purchased from M&S in the late 90's by an Italian billionaire named Claudio del'Vechio. His father owns Lens Crafters, The Sunglass Hut, and Pearl Vision. Del'Vechio bought the company because he had shopped there in its golden years and was disgusted with the direction it had taken. He has been upgrading the product continuously since, but many people either do not know this, or are still too disgusted from the &S years to consider Brooks as a good brand.

The second is that people walk into the store looking for a fully canvassed suit, pick up the first suit they see, a suiting essentials or brooks ease, and assume that is what all their product is like and walk out. Then they tell all their friends "Brooks Brothers is no better than J.A.B." A lot of people don't realize that their suits range from the BrooksEase, all the way up to a fully canvassed, hand tailored suit from Martin Greenfield (the Golden Fleece).

The third is actually Brooks' own fault. Like every store, sometimes you get a bad salesman. It happens. They fall through the cracks. I personally know what an impact a bad salesman can have on a first or even subsequent impression of a store. One bad sales man and some people wont go back.

All and all, I think Brooks had re-established itself as a solid company. I think the people who give it a chance normally find that out.
post #8 of 22
Also, as phillyesq points out, There is an amazing sale on the 1818 suits right now. Essentially two for one. The 1818 collection is also in my opinion a better value and a far superior suit.
It is half-canvassed and made out of much better wool with no XLA. They are made in the USA by Southwick (Which brooks recently purchased, but thats another story. You can PM me if you want the details). Though they are a chunck of change more, they will undoubtedly last longer, look better, and wear more comfortably.
post #9 of 22
I think some people here perceive Brooks Bros. as rather staid and stuffy i.e. a very "safe" choice to buy a suit from. However, Black Fleece (co-designed by Thom Browne) is very fashion forward (often times too much so.) I agree that Brooks has been really turning itself around lately, I love to shop at the Madison Ave. store.

And Golden Fleece suits are exceptional quality.
post #10 of 22
Isn't Brooks Brothers the one that started mass producing suits? In my opinion, this has led to the decline in mens clothing.
post #11 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Xiaogou View Post
Isn't Brooks Brothers the one that started mass producing suits? In my opinion, this has led to the decline in mens clothing.

Lots of men need suits, and they can't all be Kiton.
post #12 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Xiaogou View Post
Isn't Brooks Brothers the one that started mass producing suits? In my opinion, this has led to the decline in mens clothing.

No it was an English company.
post #13 of 22
I don't think Brooks was the first to mass produce. Henry Brooks (the original) was one of the founders of RTW, but in no greater production that Savile Row when he started...
post #14 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Xiaogou View Post
Isn't Brooks Brothers the one that started mass producing suits? In my opinion, this has led to the decline in mens clothing.

God forbid the industrial revolution (and thereby mass production) ever occured.

Most things that are mass produced are argueably better than custom made, to a certain degree. I mean of course there are exceptions, but you pay an extreme premium for it. Honestly it all depends on whose making the product.


Brooks Brothers is an alright company, my only issue is it's difficult to find pieces that I can make somewhat "hip" for someone my age (19); this is in regards to fit, colors, etc.
post #15 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by unicornwarrior View Post
God forbid the industrial revolution (and thereby mass production) ever occured.

Most things that are mass produced are argueably better than custom made, to a certain degree. I mean of course there are exceptions, but you pay an extreme premium for it. Honestly it all depends on whose making the product.


Brooks Brothers is an alright company, my only issue is it's difficult to find pieces that I can make somewhat "hip" for someone my age (19); this is in regards to fit, colors, etc.

Don't get me wrong- I am not complaining about the industrial revolution. Nobody can convince me that a mass produced suit is better than a handmade suit. Back when my great grandfather graced the earth, suits were not mass-produced. While I cannot be 100% sure, I am willing to bet that suits were not all that expensive back in the day, before mass production happened.

Mass produced suits have in fact increased the price of hand made suits- because it seems like you are getting something rare- that used to be quite normal.

For lack of a better comparison, think about food. 100 years ago there were no chemicals, pesticides and preservatives in food nor was there any processed food. Now, in order to eat organic food like my great grandparents did, I have to go to an Organic market; where the food is expensive as hell. All to get food that hasn't been f$%^ed with or altered-- to get it in its natural form.

One last point- I understand your comment about age appropriate wear. The flip side of that coin is that if it is too fashionable, it will soon be out of style. My first Oxxford suit from 1992 looks in place on me- and not out of style.
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