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The New Brooks Brothers

Bavo

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This has been an interesting thread. I find myself needing to spend my last BB rewards (earned buying all of the good stuff on sale last summer at 70% off) before they expire at the end of the month. After exhausting them on the last appealing Garland OBCDs in my size, I really doubt that I will buy anything from Brooks in the future. This makes me feel somewhat sad. I recall my great memories of the past, similar to what so many others have written about. But I will not miss what Brooks has been becoming over the past few years. I suspect that when I see it in the mall, the feeling will be similar to seeing a Joseph A. Bank store, remembering some ancient warm memories but otherwise only entering if I was traveling and suddenly needed a belt or tie due to a packing error. I will happily go to the stores mentioned in this thread and the other lesser known menswear stores that one can still find in most cities and which sell many of the products and provide much of the same excellent service and shopping experience as Brooks did in the past. What I will miss is the extremely discounted prices that none of these other places can match, but which Brooks could not continue to provide and remain the same place.
 

comrade

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The Palo Alto store is open with regular inventory.
(See above)
You might spend your rewards there.
 
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upsett1_spaghett1

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Is there any word on the status of the Southwick factory in Massachusetts? I had heard it closed down.
I bought an OTR Southwick suit from J Helmer here in PDX a couple months ago. Southwick is one of the companies they used for MTO suiting up till last year. The SA and I had a really sobering discussion about how bad the last few years has been for classic menswear, especially Made in USA. He confirmed that he'd spoken with several people from the union at Southwick and the brand is essentially dead. That factory may produce clothing again someday, but it is unlikely and it is highly unlikely that it will be quality suiting.

Anyway, I have read through just about all of this thread and it was extraordinarily interesting, but also somewhat sad. I've rarely bought anything from Brooks Brothers because I'm someone who values good customer service in a retail store environment, and the store in Portland had abysmal customer service for years. This is something I do feel reflects strongly on a brand, especially one that is legitimately a huge piece of American and menswear history. I suspect my treatment may partially have been my age (I am going to be 30 this year) and the perception that I wasn't a "serious" buyer, but honestly if I had received good customer service I would have happily bought many overpriced OCBDs and been quite happy.

That being said I do think that @dieworkwear may have the right idea with BB going forward: they should rebrand as a luxury house. It might not really be that hard, they have Michael Bastian as Creative Director now and in average America's mind they have the connotation of quality. They just need to not necessarily be so stuffy, and actually meet the expectation of quality.

Another option for BB is they could just become the trad SuitSupply. Pick your Ivy, plant it, grow WASPY as hell.
 

radicaldog

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Setting aside some of the more ceremonial garb, other others would fit perfectly with “Ivy Style”.
I don't see it: like most old-school British people he never wears a BD collar. His trousers tend to be pleated, his shoulders not natural. He's always properly attired, never exhibits a FU attitude (bright colours, go to hell garments, etc). Of course prep/Ivy has a heavy English aristo influence, but that's all we're seeing here.
 
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Phileas Fogg

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I don't see it: like most old-school British people he never wears a BD collar. His trousers tend to be pleated. He's always properly attired, never exhibits a FU attitude (bright colours, go to hell garments, etc). Of course prep/Ivy has a heavy English aristo influence, but that's all we're seeing here.
The ivy style is certainly informed by it.

I think we’re looking at it from the perspective of people who notice these details. To the untrained eye, and at first glance, there are many similarities.

1618488169714.jpeg


This could easily pass for a Princeton man.
 

radicaldog

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The ivy style is certainly informed by it.

I think we’re looking at it from the perspective of people who notice these details. To the untrained eye, and at first glance, there are many similarities.

View attachment 1593573

This could easily pass for a Princeton man.
Yes but this is a forum for people who are discerning about clothes. So: padded shoulders, darted jacket, probably doesn't have a centre hook vent (my guess: unvented, given the era). Trousers almost certainly double-pleated. Point collar. It's just not Ivy, and not even the mid-Atlantic style Kennedy wore. It's English trad, if there is such a thing. And sure, English trad is an older cousin of Ivy, but no more than that.
 

Southwick

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I bought an OTR Southwick suit from J Helmer here in PDX a couple months ago. Southwick is one of the companies they used for MTO suiting up till last year. The SA and I had a really sobering discussion about how bad the last few years has been for classic menswear, especially Made in USA. He confirmed that he'd spoken with several people from the union at Southwick and the brand is essentially dead. That factory may produce clothing again someday, but it is unlikely and it is highly unlikely that it will be quality suiting.

Anyway, I have read through just about all of this thread and it was extraordinarily interesting, but also somewhat sad. I've rarely bought anything from Brooks Brothers because I'm someone who values good customer service in a retail store environment, and the store in Portland had abysmal customer service for years. This is something I do feel reflects strongly on a brand, especially one that is legitimately a huge piece of American and menswear history. I suspect my treatment may partially have been my age (I am going to be 30 this year) and the perception that I wasn't a "serious" buyer, but honestly if I had received good customer service I would have happily bought many overpriced OCBDs and been quite happy.

That being said I do think that @dieworkwear may have the right idea with BB going forward: they should rebrand as a luxury house. It might not really be that hard, they have Michael Bastian as Creative Director now and in average America's mind they have the connotation of quality. They just need to not necessarily be so stuffy, and actually meet the expectation of quality.

Another option for BB is they could just become the trad SuitSupply. Pick your Ivy, plant it, grow WASPY as hell.
Sad news indeed. For 30 years I wore nothing but Southwick suits five days a week. They were indestructible, beautiful, timeless, and the fabrics were first rate.
 

comrade

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A lot has already been written about Ivy and trad, so I won't repeat it. But it's not the same style as what Prince Phillip wore, even if some things in that genre originated in Britain.

People on Ivy campuses don't dress like that anymore, partly because the world has moved on and become much more casual. The campus demographics have also dramatically changed in the last fifty or sixty years. Only 40% of Harvard is white, and many students come from other countries. Not all come from the feeder schools, although many do. Student bodies today are more diverse in terms of socio-economic and racial background, and so people bring their own dress habits to these campuses. Ivy style was a real thing, however. And it still somewhat exists today, although it's a much smaller circle. Robert Mueller, for example, still dresses very trad.
Also, Robert Muller is approaching 80.
 

comrade

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Another option for BB is they could just become the trad SuitSupply. Pick your Ivy, plant it, grow WASPY as hell.

LIKE QUOTE REPLY
Report

Thirty years ago Joseph A Bank was the" trad Suit Supply" or rather a relatively low priced version of BB, Press, et al.
 

Viral

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I bought an OTR Southwick suit from J Helmer here in PDX a couple months ago. Southwick is one of the companies they used for MTO suiting up till last year. The SA and I had a really sobering discussion about how bad the last few years has been for classic menswear, especially Made in USA. He confirmed that he'd spoken with several people from the union at Southwick and the brand is essentially dead. That factory may produce clothing again someday, but it is unlikely and it is highly unlikely that it will be quality suiting.

Anyway, I have read through just about all of this thread and it was extraordinarily interesting, but also somewhat sad. I've rarely bought anything from Brooks Brothers because I'm someone who values good customer service in a retail store environment, and the store in Portland had abysmal customer service for years. This is something I do feel reflects strongly on a brand, especially one that is legitimately a huge piece of American and menswear history. I suspect my treatment may partially have been my age (I am going to be 30 this year) and the perception that I wasn't a "serious" buyer, but honestly if I had received good customer service I would have happily bought many overpriced OCBDs and been quite happy.

That being said I do think that @dieworkwear may have the right idea with BB going forward: they should rebrand as a luxury house. It might not really be that hard, they have Michael Bastian as Creative Director now and in average America's mind they have the connotation of quality. They just need to not necessarily be so stuffy, and actually meet the expectation of quality.

Another option for BB is they could just become the trad SuitSupply. Pick your Ivy, plant it, grow WASPY as hell.
I’ll prolly regret opening this can of worms, but what do you consider “good customer service”?
 

Bavo

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Another option for BB is they could just become the trad SuitSupply. Pick your Ivy, plant it, grow WASPY as hell.

LIKE QUOTE REPLY
Report

Thirty years ago Joseph A Bank was the" trad Suit Supply" or rather a relatively low priced version of BB, Press, et al.
Joseph A Bank was a solid, reliable place 35-40 years ago, and it took a while to sink to where it did (has?). Brooks had a significantly higher and broader peak, and it‘s not really fair to compare those periods. But, it does look like they are following the same downward trajectory as JAB and are just earlier on the same descending curve. I don’t see how the mall company that owns them will change that, unless they morph into a completely different business. I wonder if it’s like when you see an old brand name being used for something only loosely related to its original form.
 

Southwick

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Joseph A Bank was a solid, reliable place 35-40 years ago, and it took a while to sink to where it did (has?). Brooks had a significantly higher and broader peak, and it‘s not really fair to compare those periods. But, it does look like they are following the same downward trajectory as JAB and are just earlier on the same descending curve. I don’t see how the mall company that owns them will change that, unless they morph into a completely different business. I wonder if it’s like when you see an old brand name being used for something only loosely related to its original form.
I know this is way off topic, but Walmart actually carries stuff labeled “Botany 500.”
 

sid11111

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This has been an interesting thread. I find myself needing to spend my last BB rewards (earned buying all of the good stuff on sale last summer at 70% off) before they expire at the end of the month. After exhausting them on the last appealing Garland OBCDs in my size, I really doubt that I will buy anything from Brooks in the future. This makes me feel somewhat sad. I recall my great memories of the past, similar to what so many others have written about. But I will not miss what Brooks has been becoming over the past few years. I suspect that when I see it in the mall, the feeling will be similar to seeing a Joseph A. Bank store, remembering some ancient warm memories but otherwise only entering if I was traveling and suddenly needed a belt or tie due to a packing error. I will happily go to the stores mentioned in this thread and the other lesser known menswear stores that one can still find in most cities and which sell many of the products and provide much of the same excellent service and shopping experience as Brooks did in the past. What I will miss is the extremely discounted prices that none of these other places can match, but which Brooks could not continue to provide and remain the same place.
What really killed it for me is when they started darting their MiUSA shirts in the milano fit. That turned me off from the shirts completely.
 

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