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What happened to Brooks Brothers?

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by jshastings, Jul 11, 2012.

  1. New Shoes1

    New Shoes1 Well-Known Member

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    I have two 1818 Fitzgerald suits that differ in jacket length by a full inch. One Lardini, one Southwick.
     
  2. GusW

    GusW Well-Known Member

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    At the SF BB store, I was informed that the try on shirts had been laundered so that you could find your ideal size.
     
  3. urfloormatt

    urfloormatt Well-Known Member

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    Say what? This isn't marketed as office wear. It's marketed primarily to college students, same as Ralph Lauren. It's casual wear. Last year they did a whole Back to School thing on the website and in stores, which they will probably run again after the clearance is over.

    Ralph Lauren has been selling casual wear like this for years, and that's clearly the target market BB is after. BB has been trying to make their brand more youthful. They've taken some good steps, and generally I like the direction they're taking, though I too am not a fan of the garish logos that seem to be on a lot of this fall's new items. Too RL for my taste, which is one of the reasons I stopped buying RL casual wear.
     
  4. jshastings

    jshastings Well-Known Member

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    It's changed significantly from last year, though. They filmed their campaign on my school's campus (BB is pretty popular there) and it was stuff I can imagine people wearing... but this new stuff is pretty far removed from what "young people" (at least where I go to school) are looking for. IMO, they've missed the mark, unless they're hoping to market to a substantially different audience.
     
  5. urfloormatt

    urfloormatt Well-Known Member

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    I think it would be more accurate to say they've broadened the mark than missed it. You can add hoodies and t-shirts to the line without substantially changing the look.

    I liked what I saw when they did their fall preview a few months ago, especially the chinos and socks with rep highlights/styling. (Link here: http://www.ivy-style.com/brooks-brothers-fallwinter-2012-preview.html).
     
  6. Archivist

    Archivist Well-Known Member

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    That's a cheerful thought.
     
  7. porcelain monkey

    porcelain monkey Well-Known Member

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    I think BB has consistently missed the mark whenever they have gone too far outside of their traditional suit and blazer comfort zone. Much of the preppy / business casual stuff is OK, if a bit oversized, but try to find anyone under 40 wearing their golf and tennis sportswear. I'm too old for the Brooks Brothers U (or whatever they are calling it) line directed at the college crowd, but I just can't see it selling. Again, I am not the demographic, but it strikes me as so un-hip as to be laughable.
     
    1 person likes this.
  8. StephenJB

    StephenJB Member

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    Oh change they did. In the early 1990s they sold clothes predominantly made in the UK of natural fibres. The profits were spectacular. The customers were a classic example of a set who bought as much as they could in one place. The old stuff went out in favour of imported badly cut polyester-rich crap. The customers trusted the brand for a while and then took their business elsewhere.
     
  9. comrade

    comrade Well-Known Member

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    Right on! I have woolen socks from M&S that are about 30 years old.
    went to the UK and later France, I' d buy their socks and other
    basics. Exceptional quality.
     
  10. Cambel

    Cambel Active Member

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    Speaking of the SF store, are they selling non non-iron (i.e. regular cotton) shirts again? Last time I went there they only had non-iron dress shirt offerings on the shelves. I feel like trying on already laundered shirts would be useful for, say, the OCBDs but not really an issue when it comes to the non-iron stuff. Isn't that fabric already crazily pre-treated?
     
  11. Nicola

    Nicola Well-Known Member

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    Long ago wasn't Brooks Brothers a more general mens wear shop? The place a man could buy virtually everything.

    I get the impression from some of the posts that people think they used to be a work wear only place.
     
  12. sportin_life

    sportin_life Well-Known Member

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    I think this is true. I feel like they should focus more on developing modernized versions of classics (Milano suits, pants, ESF sportshirts, etc.) rather than tossing out these gaudish sweatshirts/shirts too. Right now it feels like they have lost their identity to a certain extent, trying to appeal to the corporate world (with their traditional cut suits) all the way to the abercrombie crowd. It might just be me, but I feel like having those horrible sweatshirts degrades the brand.

    Interestingly, most of my friends still think BB is an old man's store, so I'm not sure how effective their campaign has been. For trad preppy, most of my former college friends still turn to J Press rather than BB.
     
  13. jshastings

    jshastings Well-Known Member

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    Princeton, NJ
    I agree. The abercrombie-style sweatshirts significantly devalues the brand for me. I realize that selling the sweatshirt should not necessarily diminish the quality of, say, their OCBD's, but nonetheless, I feel less inclined to shop there. Likewise, I suspect abercrombie makes some products that are of decent enough quality, but I cannot imagine myself ever buying something there. I realize that this seems fickle, but I would venture to guess that lots of people here on SF put stock in brand integrity.
     
  14. DocHolliday

    DocHolliday Well-Known Member

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    Is there any other brand people like to damn with nostalgia as Brooks? Either it's too old and stuffy -- no longer the preppy college tastemaker of yesteryear -- or it's compromising its gravitas to chase after college students.

    There's a reason so many of Brooks' mid-century contemporaries are long gone. That it exists at all is a minor miracle in my mind. If it thinks it can get some younger customers with garish sweatshirts, so be it. That's no more vulgar than the logo'd ties it's been selling for years.
     
  15. urfloormatt

    urfloormatt Well-Known Member

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    Maybe it's just me, but I think this trend has retreated from its apex in the last year or two. Madras, seersucker, linen, and (on the casual side) raw selvedge denim--all fabrics characteristic for their distinct texture and wrinkles--seem to be rising in popularity. Oxford cotton seems to be on the verge of gaining similar appeal, perhaps in part thanks to websites like Style Forum.

    On a similar note, I actually just gave up trying to buy some BB chinos because they were all non-iron and felt cheap and processed. Granted, they also fit like crap and that was key to my decision as well. If there's one thing that BB has failed to sufficiently modernize in their lineup, it's their chinos. All of their fits are terrible.

    It seems like they have a bunch of new, more modern takes in their fall lineup, but the color selection looks too seasonal for my taste.
     
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2012
  16. F. Corbera

    F. Corbera Well-Known Member

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    Well, there's AAAC.
     
  17. DocHolliday

    DocHolliday Well-Known Member

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    At least most of the people complaining about Andy's were there for the glory days.

    But hey, now the Brooks-that-was can be all things to all people. Ironically egalitarian, that.
     
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2012

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