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A brooks brothers question

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by JohnMS, Jul 26, 2004.

  1. Urbane

    Urbane Member

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    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.
     
  2. Nick M

    Nick M Senior member

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    Melbourne, Australia
    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?
     
  3. proxy1

    proxy1 Member

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    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.
     
  4. JohnMS

    JohnMS Senior member

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    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.
     
  5. Comolli

    Comolli Member

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    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.
     
  6. Urbane

    Urbane Member

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    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.
     
  7. housemaidsknee

    housemaidsknee Senior member

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    does anybody know when brooks brothers will have their next 25% off Friends and Family event?
     
  8. brescd01

    brescd01 Senior member

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    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.
     
  9. kabert

    kabert Senior member

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    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.
     
  10. JLibourel

    JLibourel Senior member

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    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.
     
  11. johnnynorman3

    johnnynorman3 Senior member

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    I've gotten worse info re: the Peales. I was told, "Well, Peale makes them of course." I didn't have the heart to tell him that Peale doesn't really exist anymore.
     
  12. ROI

    ROI Well-Known Member

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    I agree that we should do our best to support Alden.  When you think of all the established apparel companies that have closed up shop in America, supporting the few remaining is in the best interest of anyone who likes clothing.  Thinking only of Brooks' traditional suppliers, Pincus Brothers Maxwell, the Philadelphia-based tailored clothing company, recently departed for Mexico.  PBM made many of Brooks' "luxury" sportcoats, camel hair, etc.  Norman Hilton, the century-old suitmaker in New Jersey, outright folded (though Nick Hilton carries on with some goods made in Italy).  Majer trousers has moved offshore.  Hell, you can't buy a pair of Levis that was made in America.

    Another note on Alden and Brooks:  The shell cordovan penny loafer sold by Brooks is a design exclusive to Brooks.  While there is an externally similar penny loafer in the Alden-branded line, it differs in one large and at least one small way.  Only the Brooks version is unlined.  In addition, the Brooks version has heel foxing unique to Brooks' shoes.  It is also found on the tassel loafer.
     
  13. Markus

    Markus Member

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    Brooks Brothers Alden shell cord penny loafers and no iron shirts OK. Â The other day I was in BB and was told that what is done to make the cotton shirts no-iron is that something is "baked" into the fabric. Â I don't know what that means but I can confirm that it works. Â Sort of like dipping a shirt in starch and then ironing it. The two shirts I have are quite well made. Â I like the roominess and have become accustomed to it. Â Other shirts feel too snug. Â I agree that $75 is kind of high but these shirts should last at least, what, 5 years? Â or more? Â With a little ingenuity discounts can be had. I've always eyed the BB/Alden shell cordovan penny loafers and appreciated them. Â In 1989 I bought a pair of the Aldens in calf and wore them for about 10 years. Â Have had them re-soled about 3 or four times. Â Still have them but a full rebuild would cost half the price of a new pair... Back to the cordovans--yes the BB's are unlined and the Aldens are lined. Â The lining of the Aldens would seem to make them more comfortable and longer lasting and hence better value, though something about the Brooks just makes them so... attractive. Â What do you think? Â Anyone out there wearing a pair? Markus
     
  14. ROI

    ROI Well-Known Member

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    The lined Alden shell cordovan penny loafer and Brooks' unlined version are different enough that a guy owning both would not view them as redundant.

    Back to the early comment about shirring the cuffs of shirts: I suspect the new owners received a load of unpleasant mail when they introduced the higher end shirts with a pleated sleeve and a two-button cuff. Both are anathema to Brooks purists. Recently, the catalogue has begun making a point of describing shirts as having shirred sleeves, possibly a gesture to recover lost credibility.
     
  15. Super Fly

    Super Fly Well-Known Member

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    The Brooks cordovans last a long time and can be refurbished by Alden. I think it's a style preference.
     
  16. jasonpraxis

    jasonpraxis Well-Known Member

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    Sep 11, 2004
    Location:
    Brooklyn, NY
    I bought a couple of these no-iron shirts two or three years ago, and I can confirm that they hardly ever require ironing or steaming. The downside is that the treatment given to the fabric significantly reduces the material's ability to breathe. This has made wearing the shirts less than enjoyable at times. Based on this I would not buy the shirt again, as useful as the no-iron fabric is.
     
  17. Markus

    Markus Member

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    So, 'Fly,

    Which ones do you have ? Why did you make that choice? Not trying to be nosy, just curious.

    Markus
     
  18. Super Fly

    Super Fly Well-Known Member

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    Jul 17, 2004
    Note other post on the cordovan subject. I have loafers in black and burgundy and the plain lace up blucher.
     

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