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Brooks Bro's quality

linux_pro

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Was in Brooks Bro's yesterday to pick up my blazer and Martin Greenfeld suit (and ended up buying two more of them). I picked up a couple of shirts and repp ties while there. IMHO, you can't really have too much Brooks Bro's in your wardrobe, especially if you work in a fairly conservative environment. Brooks Brothers is safe. Anyway, I've been hearing a lot of talk on here and in Ask Andy about the quality at Brooks Bro's dropping off. Personally, I haven't seen it. I just bought three suits and a blazer, all of which are pretty great quality (especially for the price). The blazer is Loro Piana S120's. 2 suits are Loro Piana S120's and 1 is Zegna S120's (I think, it might be S130's tho). They are all excellent, a nice mix of "American Trad" and Napolean (??). Relaxed shoulders, agressive waist suppression, narrow lapels, etc. When I spoke with the manager, I asked about what I've been hearing about quality dropping off. He said, "We have a new owner who is dedicated to bringing Brooks Bro's to a higher level than you might have seen in the last 5-8 years, we are working now to bring Brooks Bro's to a level of quality which should exceed our traditional competitors by a fairly wide margin." (slightly paraphrased). He told me they are committed to the traditional clientele they have always catered to - the conservative business client. He also said they had no plans on marketing to urban youth or any market other than that which they have built their business on. He guaranteed the quality of my purchases, saying if I was unhappy in the next year I could return it with no questions asked. I don't think that will happen. Here is a pic of the blazer I picked up. It shows the styling of their new Loro Piana blazer line, which I like very much. Personally, I think it is a beautiful blazer, and the fit is stunning. Anyway... any opinions? Anyone wanna chip in and say why they think Brooks Brothers is falling off on quality?
 

linux_pro

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Doesn't anyone have any feedback?? I've heard a bit about it, but I'm really curious. I tend to buy a lot at Brooks Bro's, and now whenever I go in there I am wondering if I'm getting ripped off or something.
 

jerrysfriend

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It appears that Brooks is making some effort to improve with better Martin Greenfield suits and heavier ply cashmere sweaters.
However, it is also simultaneously going the other way.
I am talking about having most of it's Peal shoes made by Alfred Sargent, instead of C&J.
Furthermore, I would guess that 90% of the shirts it sells are "no-iron." When you stop to think about it, no other "good" store (Nieman's, Bergdorf's, Saks, J. Press, Louis, etc.) sells such shirts. Even Polo does not have them. No-iron is an effort to appeal to "middle America" which is too cheap to spend a couple of bucks at the laundry. Brooks can never be taken totally seriously while it continues to sell them.
 

linux_pro

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So, it's mainly shoes and shirts that are declining?

I don't buy shoes there, so that's no problem. I do buy their shirts, however. I have 2 of their no-iron shirts, and I think they're pretty nice for the price (they're only $70). I have about 4 or 5 shirts that are not the non-iron kind.

I always iron my non-iron shirts anyway (at least the collars, cuffs and front panels).

Why would selling a non-iron shirt lower the quality of their product line though? I thought many of the shirt makers were doing this now; Zegna, Behar, Facconable, etc.
 

NewYorkBuck

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Linux - I like the blazer. I would own and wear it myself.
 

demeis

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Heres my .02 on their shirts.  I picked up two shirts from them at their post christmas sale (the third was on back order so i just canceld it) any how one was the regual white french cuff shirt and after wearing it for the second time a collar say got lost in the collar.  I can feel but can't get it out and i'm gonna return it, then this happened to an identical shirt that i ordered around the 3rd wear.  Got home went to take the collar stay out before i threw it in to be laundered and what do you know the collar stay i caught in the collar.  They may have been from the same batch of shirts but there is definately a flaw there.  Their shirts also fit like tents and their slim fit fit me better but they lack decent styling as far as i've seen in the slim fit. As for their suits i have two 1818 suits, super 110's i believe, that i'm happy with after moderate tailoring and at the price i got them at, $175 each, i really can't complain.   These shirts worry me but i'm sure they are gonna be taken care of very easiely and like always they really never give you a problem returning stuff which i've always liked with BB.

my .02 cents
 

shoreman1782

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Try a search, I know the search has been screwy, but discussions of BB's quality are myriad and thorough.

The basic gist of it is: BB was pretty great, then got hammered by being staid in the era of business casual. THey committed to biz casual too late and poorly. Quality dropped, company changed hands a few times, now at least they're trying. I wouldn't say it's declining; it declined, and it's coming back. OF course, that's accompanied by some popularity, and many people (here) prefer something a little more esoteric/idiosyncratic than BB.

Personally, BB is a good fit for my business clothing. Styling can be interesting but isn't too forward or too musty - quality is alright long as you're not paying full retail, and some pieces are excellent.
 

linux_pro

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Try a search, I know the search has been screwy, but discussions of BB's quality are myriad and thorough.

The basic gist of it is: BB was pretty great, then got hammered by being staid in the era of business casual. THey committed to biz casual too late and poorly. Quality dropped, company changed hands a few times, now at least they're trying. I wouldn't say it's declining; it declined, and it's coming back. OF course, that's accompanied by some popularity, and many people (here) prefer something a little more esoteric/idiosyncratic than BB.

Personally, BB is a good fit for my business clothing. Styling can be interesting but isn't too forward or too musty - quality is alright long as you're not paying full retail, and some pieces are excellent.
Hmm. I paid full retail for the blazer above. It was $500. It is a fully-canvassed blazer made of Loro Piana S120. I'm not sure if that's a great deal or not. Did I pay too much?
 

j

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Sounds pretty reasonable to me, considering you got service you seemed to like, a jacket that fits right and looks good the first time you put it on after tailoring, and the "warranty" offered by buying at retail. It will last you a long time. You might have gotten a better deal by doing some research, but what is your billing rate? Â
 

linux_pro

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I get ya, J. That's kind of how I felt. I charge $150/hr. generally for my time, so taking 4 hours to go look at bargain clothes ends up costing me much more than I save (even if I chop it in half). Of course, I've spent a huge amount of time on here lately, a ridiculous amount of time actually. Heh heh. I gotta go get some work done.
 

shoreman1782

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Hmm. Â I paid full retail for the blazer above. Â It was $500. Â It is a fully-canvassed blazer made of Loro Piana S120. Â I'm not sure if that's a great deal or not. Â Did I pay too much?
No, not necessarily, sounds like a sweet jacket, and value is in the eye of the wearer. However, walk into a mall BB store, you're just as likely to pay $700 for a boxy, fused suit and mediocre customer service. I think part of the decline of BB (in customers hearts and minds) is the decline in service as much as product. Keep in mind, I speak generally. I'm also poor, so paying full retail for almost anything is against my vow of poverty. EDIT: Also, don't take my word for it.
 

kabert

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I think Shoreman's got it right -- the quality seemed to decline several years back, in the late 1990s to early 2000s. The last couple years though, as ownership has again changed for the better, has seen an increase in quality from what I gather.
 

linux_pro

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Hmm. I paid full retail for the blazer above. It was $500. It is a fully-canvassed blazer made of Loro Piana S120. I'm not sure if that's a great deal or not. Did I pay too much?
No, not necessarily, sounds like a sweet jacket, and value is in the eye of the wearer. However, walk into a mall BB store, you're just as likely to pay $700 for a boxy, fused suit and mediocre customer service. I think part of the decline of BB (in customers hearts and minds) is the decline in service as much as product. Keep in mind, I speak generally. I'm also poor, so paying full retail for almost anything is against my vow of poverty.
Well, I generally only shop in the downtown BB store here in Seattle. It is well-stocked, large and friendly. Yesterday, I took a Scottish Terrier in with me, who one of the sales ladies took great care of while I was being fitted. The tailor there is a very friendly guy who seems quite experienced and has great taste (and gives excellent feedback - he seems almost as knowledgeable as Manton when it comes to "rules"). They always have great service when I'm in there, very friendly staff who go out of their way to help you out and offer suggestions and such. I would assume you might get better service at a traditional store than, say, one in a mall. The level of quality in employees is probably much greater, although I'm not sure. I did get a lot of compliments on my Carlo Franco tie while there, the tailor was really impressed with it.
 

JBZ

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I'm sure you find a great deal of difference between the larger, "stand alone" stores and the mall stores. The closest BB to me is at my local mall, and the service has always been atrocious. The sales people seem to go out of their way to avoid helping you. Thus, I only go in there if I know I can purchase something without help. The selection at my mall store is also severely limited.

My general take on the quality is that it depends on the piece. I would only buy their top end suits (i.e. Golden Fleece). I'm surprised you were able to get a fully canvassed blazer at BB, and for $500 no less (I would think it would be hard to get anything fully canvassed at that price, assuming full retail).

I do like their trousers very much. I have found the fit and quality to be very good (I have a couple of pairs that are going on 5 years with moderate wear - both have held up extremely well). I have also had good luck with their ties (although there are obviously better choices out there, but perhaps not at the BB price point at full retail). The only shoes I've ever purchased from BB were the Alden Leisure Hand Sewn, and the quality is (obviously) excellent.

I agree with the sentiments on the shirts. I'm full time business casual now, but if I ever have to buy dress shirts again, I would look elsewhere unless things change at BB.

Generally, I think you need to like the BB styling as well. It is conservative, and will most likely always be that way (which I think is a good thing). You're not going to walk out of BB looking like you're ready for the red carpet at the Academy Awards, but that's not what BB sees as its purpose.

Regards,

Jeff
 

JohnMS

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Don't be pursuaded to not buy from Brooks Brothers because of their non-iron shirts. Some of us in middle America have little children who wrinkle us to death before work if we didn't have these types of shirts. Perhaps as they get older some of us can go back to using other than non-iron shirts, but in the long run, these types of shirts have saved me many hours of ironing and it's not an issue of not wanting to take the shirts to the cleaners.
 

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