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A brooks brothers question

JohnMS

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I need to understand the Brooks Brothers mentality, not of those buying BB, but of those that work for the company and set prices.

Do they actually think I'm going to pay $378 for their Alden-made penny loafers that can be purchased at any Alden shop for $325?  What drives their steady increase in prices other than perhaps people actually buy their clothing and shoes?

Seems each time they have one of their semi-annual sales they drive their prices up on select items 5 to 10 percent.

Now a question about their dress shirts.  I would be interested in knowing how a couple of features of their basic dress shirts started.  Why no sleeve placket button and why their "signature shirring at the cuffs"?
 

proxy1

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What is signature shirring at the cuffs?

Also, why is there a pocket on (almost?) every shirt? I guess this has been a feature of theirs forever.

Sorry, no answers, only more questions.
 

acole

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Now a question about their dress shirts.  I would be interested in knowing how a couple of features of their basic dress shirts started.  Why no sleeve placket button and why their "signature shirring at the cuffs"?
Well, if you will look at a typical billowing sail, you'll notice a similar shirring pattern at each corner, especially when luffing at irons.  Also note the lack of buttons along the edges of the canvas.  The Brooks Bros. dress shirt thus reflects its ancestral origins in this regard, though its seaworthiness is much diminished.
 

johnnynorman3

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You are correct that the shoes are slightly overpriced. But if you wait for friends and family week (25% discount) and you use a gift card that is purchased on Ebay (usually can get for 80% of face value), you are buying Alden shoes for well under $250. You can't do that at the Alden Shop.
 

JohnMS

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johnnynorman3,

True that. I suppose was should have clarified in that I was referring to those full-retail characters I know that don't shop the discounts.

Good heads up on the gift certificates on eBay. I have not dared to bid on one of those up to now.
 

johnnynorman3

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I've gotten BB and Tiffany gift cards on Ebay for significant discounts (the BB for 72% of face value and the Tiffany for 81%). People are trustworthy on Ebay -- the feedback proves it. I am waiting on my LL Bean gift card that I got for just over 60% of face value.
 

Dan G

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I'm not sure sure why they price their Aldens so high to begin with, but I know that they can usually be had at 40-50% off during their clearance sale. I picked up a pair of black oxfords for about $175 (50% off) last week.

-Dan
 

bengal-stripe

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What is signature shirring at the cuffs?
The bottom end of a shirtsleeve is always wider than the cuff it goes into. Most designs use pleats, usually two, to reduce the width without reducing the fullness.

Brooks Brother uses "shirring" or gathers: tiny little pleatlets, instead of big pleats,;just a design choice.
 

Comolli

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Yes, the Alden cordovan (or other) penny loafer is made specially for Brooks Brothers and is not the same shoe in the Alden catalogue. There are some design differences. I paid full price for a pair recently and have a pair on as I write this. Part of the price is attributable to the recent shortage of cordovan. I have no problem with the price. (I am assuming you are referring to the cordovans.)

I think we should do all we can to support Alden, either directly or through Brooks Brothers or other retailers. Alden continues to be one of the most popular shoe in Europe, commanding prices far in excess of those here in the US. Along with Allen Edmonds, Alden is our finest shoemaker, and I would hope we prevent it from going the way of Johnson & Murphy. Why quibble about the price of these fine shoes? I've been wearing them for 40 years without complaint, paying only $32.50 for my first pair of pebble grains.
 

STYLESTUDENT

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 Why quibble about the price of these fine shoes?  I've been wearing them for 40 years without complaint, paying only $32.50 for my first pair of pebble grains.
I can corroborate the price 40 years ago, sad to say. These were expensive shoes at the time (Brooks sold the Peals for about $2.50 more). I'd guess, though, that the $32.50 then represents about $325 in today's money. At that time, Brooks oxford shirts sold for about $8.50 and ties for about $4.50.
 

jerrysfriend

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I do not know why Brooks is so in love with the number $358.00. It uses that price on all ot its Peal by C&J, all of its Peal by AS, and most of its calfskin Aldens. Cordovans are more. It seems to be a fair price for the Peal by C&J, but the number is too high for the others. You need to wait for the sales. Lots of places used to sell the calfskin Aldens in the $290-295 range just a few months ago, but most are charging about $30 more than that now. One of the best places to get Aldens at a good price is at http://www.josephshoes.com/shopsite/alden.html It has those same Alden penny-loafers that you like for $274.99, some $103 less than the price you mentioned. Free shipping too.
 

STYLESTUDENT

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 I've been wearing them for 40 years without complaint, paying only $32.50 for my first pair of pebble grains.
You might also want to see the picture of the factory refurbishment of the Alden cordovan penny loafer that was posted on the recent "Shoe Refurbishing" thread by "Superfly". Welcome to the forum.
 

Comolli

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Stylestudent:  Many thanks.  I've been over at AskAndy for a while but found Style Forum more to my taste.  Too many contentious characters over there.

I checked out the shoe refurbishing topic and the entry of Superfly, and the Aldens are the penny loafer cordovans which from all appearances are the model sold by Brooks Brothers.  They did a good job on them and I may try that out on some of my older models.

I can remember when I first started buying Aldens at Stevens Shepherd in Charlottesville, at the Univ. of Virginia, it would take six months to break them in and about ten blisters to boot.  But they would last forever.  I wore one pair through five years in the Navy, and then the pair still had more years on them.  

In the Sixties and the Seventies the hippie crowd did great harm to our great shoe manufacturers, and now popular culture is full of the same "casual" crowd.  Mr. Ken Pollock once told me less than 20% of men in America and Great Britain wear a coat and tie to work each day.   We need to be concerned that we do not allow Alden and Allen Edmonds go the way of Johnson & Murphy.   I wonder if anyone could now possibly write "The Art of Wearing Clothes" as Frazier did some years ago.

I also think that the Aldens are equal in quality to any of the Crockett & Jones shoes jerrysfriend mentioned in these pages, certainly superior to the Peal Alfred Sargents sold at Brooks.
 

STYLESTUDENT

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 We need to be concerned that we do not allow Alden and Allen Edmonds go the way of Johnson & Murphy. Â
My father, brother and I are all Alden wearers, primarily because there hasn't been any deterioration in quality or catering to "fashion" since the '60s. Perhaps because of the Brooks connection or increasing e-trade, Alden may survive as an American manufacturer. Here's an article on Alden and on their tassel loafers in particular. http://<a href="http://www.cigarafic......00.html</a> I also understand your views on the deterioration of dress standards. If you can wear boat shoes to work every day, you don't need Aldens.
 

Comolli

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Thanks, Stylestudent. I think I've found a kindred spirit.

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.
 

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