Old Brooks Brothers

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by CrimsonSox, Nov 9, 2013.

  1. Mark Seitelman

    Mark Seitelman Senior member

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    To follow-up on Shirtmaven's excellent post:

    Brooks had three levels of quality in tailored clothing:

    1. "Own Make" was made in Brooks's factory in Long Island City. It was its top of the line suit. This is the Brooks suit that the bank manager or the law partners wore. Essentially, it was a handmade suit. These were the classic, full-cut, sack suit, Brooks suits of old in heavy wools and with vests. Brooks closed the factory when it decided that it was more economical to have outside contractors make the suits rather than its own in-house factory. Under this thinking Martin Greenfield made Brooks's RTW and MTM Golden Fleece lines. However, the wheel has turned in that under its current owners Brooks decided to manufacture again. Brooks bought Southwick and and did a major revamping of the factory to make its better suits.

    2. "346" was a lower level of quality-manufacture. There was less handwork, and the cloths were of a lesser quality. Hence, it carried a slightly lower price than "Own Make." However, this was not a discount or schlock line. It was a good, working executive and middle-level executive's suit. It was made by outside contractors, such as Norman Hilton.

    3. "Brooksgate" was the "university shop which catered to young men in college and in their early career. This was lower priced than "346". The sizing tended to be smaller. Some older men continued to shop there especially if they were slim or short. This line was discontinued in the 1980's when the idea of a "university shop" became extinct.

    On the shirts, I believe that the shirts on the main floor were all made by Brooks's factory, and they all the same level of manufacture. The Brooksgate shirts were made by an outside vendor.

    It is interesting that the tie factory in Long Island City is the one factory that Brooks had kept running through the years.
     
  2. Trompe le Monde

    Trompe le Monde Senior member

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    You didn't have cashmere sweaters flown in from Scotland when you were young? (would they have been flown or freighted in 1950)

    Back to the chimney sweep you go.
     
  3. mebiuspower

    mebiuspower Senior member

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    Quote:Toronto has a BB Flatiron Shop that sells mainly Red Fleece stuff and it's right in campus area of the city.
     
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2013
  4. YRR92

    YRR92 Senior member

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  5. CrimsonSox

    CrimsonSox Senior member

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    Vogue, 1934, in the article "Campus Leaders." The tailcoat, shirt, and bow tie are all from Brooks Brothers, with the tailcoat having the classic Brooks rounded shoulder. The young woman to our left is a freshman, to our right a sophomore.

    [​IMG]
     
  6. CrimsonSox

    CrimsonSox Senior member

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    Has anyone ever seen this type of cufflink? The only other example I've come across is in a photo of the Baron Nicolas de Gunzburg, featured in Flusser's Dressing the Man (below).

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    The picture reminds me that one of my favorite neckties is a shepherd's check wedding tie.
     
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2013
  7. HonoraNobilis

    HonoraNobilis New Member

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    O tempora, o mores! Thinking of the glories of university shops of yore is rather depressing. Although given the prevalence on my own campus of sweatpants, hoodies, skinny jeans, I can't say I'm surprised.
     
  8. comrade

    comrade Senior member

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    Not quite correct, young man. Brooksgate was launched in 1976, not long before the beginning of the
    "Death Spiral" that has resulted in the present Brooks brothers. By the mid 70s I had abandoned BB for
    Chipp- mainly because Chipp RTW fit me better than the cut offered by the BB 346 shop.

    http://sartoriallyinclined.blogspot.com/2009/11/diffusion-lines-of-past-brooksgate-by.html
     
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2013
  9. ChetB

    ChetB Senior member

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    Great thread. When I was big into thrift shopping, I assembled a wardrobe of 1960s–70s Brooks Brothers suits and sport coats (which I no longer have due to weight loss). I still have a 1940s or 50s Brooks Brothers tuxedo hanging in the closet that I'll try to post pictures of soon.
     
  10. CrimsonSox

    CrimsonSox Senior member

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    Thanks ChetB -- I'd love to see the tailoring of Brooks Brothers from that era.
     
  11. CrimsonSox

    CrimsonSox Senior member

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    The Kennedy influence on Brooks: the two button suit, 1962.

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    White linen coat from Brooks, 1954, in Vogue:

    [​IMG]
     
  12. CrimsonSox

    CrimsonSox Senior member

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    On the gentleman to our left, the Brooks Brothers natural shouldered overcoat. Vogue, 1934 describes him as "impeccably turned out by Brooks."

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    There was a time when Brooks was a fashion leader for women, who would buy shirts from the men's department. Here is a model in a Brooks Brothers white linen tuxedo shirt, 1950:

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    Brooks used to make all of its own suits, at least in 1934:

    [​IMG]
     
  13. CrimsonSox

    CrimsonSox Senior member

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    Brooks Brothers summer suiting from Vogue, 1955:

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    Shoe porn avant la lettre. Peal cap-toes ($52), by Brooks Brothers, 1954:

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    Not Brooks, but couldn't resist including this striking image from 1954 in Vogue. The look that would challenge Brooks Brothers -- custom-made by Dunhill tailors ($225) in Hunt & Winterbotham worsted flannel. Just when you whippersnappers in RLBL thought you were doing everything for the first time:

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    The Brooks Brothers shirt for women, Vogue, 1949:

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    What will the children wear? Brooks Brothers in Vogue 1935 suggests a double-breasted overcoat in "navy-blue chinchilla, with a warm plaid wool lining."

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2013
  14. CrimsonSox

    CrimsonSox Senior member

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    What should I get for Christmas? Brooks Brothers has these suggestions from 1915 (click to enlarge). Opera pumps are only $6. Note that the velvet smoking jacket with silk lapels is called a "house coat." Because you'd never wear something so informal in public:

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    Why go to Huntsman when you can go to Brooks? 1925:
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    Brooks, 1905:
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    Last edited: Nov 23, 2013
  15. SpooPoker

    SpooPoker Internet Bigtimer and Most Popular Man on Campus Dubiously Honored Affiliate Vendor

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    just added this to my collection....


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