Bagpipes And Buttondowns: Brooks Celebrates Scotland

On Wednesday night the sound of bagpipes serenaded workers on Madison Avenue as they filtered out of their offices. Pipes are an acquired taste — best acquired by growing up in Scotland — and while some stopped to listen, others stayed glued to their iPods.

The kilts and argyle were part of a celebration of all things Scottish at Brooks HQ that drew several hundred people. Bottles of Macallan poured freely and an instructor from St. Andrews gave five-minute golf lessons on the simulator to a long line of eager students.

Managing the line was Mike from Golf Manhattan, who frequently runs the third-floor simulator. He taught me everything I know about slicing.

As for the guests, this amazing three-piece tweed suit was sported by Dougal Munro, president of Holland & Sherry:

The girlfriend introduced me to a large contingent of guys from Brooks Brothers’ Japanese division, as her company not only manufactures for Brooks, it also manages Brooks’ retail operations in Japan.

The guy on the right is wearing a sportcoat for the Japanese market called the “comfort sack.” It’s a lightly constructed jacket with 3/2 roll and lapped seams. Another example of the Japanese being way ahead of us when it comes to attention to Ivy details.

The GF is way more of an insider than I am. She just walked up to company president Claudio Del Vecchio and started talking shop. And when I asked to take his picture, he brought her into the shot:

She was prepped out in high school, but no more, alas. Save for this blue and pink belt she wears when golfing. It’s embroidered with pigs. Why pigs? I have no idea.

She likes being chic while I’m dandy-trad. “It’s not good for both man and woman to be preppy,” she says. Tell that to the preps.

As for me, I was clad in a herringbone jacket, argyle v-neck, pinned club collar, club tie and flannels. Pictured with me in the link above is the gent behind Brooks’ “Of Rogues and Gentlemen” blog, who looked the sharpest I’ve ever seen him in pinstriped suit, black knit tie and club-collared oxford from BB’s made-to-measure program. — CC

55 Comments on "Bagpipes And Buttondowns: Brooks Celebrates Scotland"

  1. Here’s question that has nothing to do with this post:

    I have noticed some other “fashion” blogs out there with highly censored comment sections. In fact, I was visiting one the other day where the blogger posted that he makes it a point to delete anything AT ALL that he deems over the line. In one particular case, he deleted a comment that stated, “I like the outfit, but the pocket square was a little too much.” Hmm.

    Here’s the question – good old CC doesn’t seem to be a big censor. He keeps his comments (as far as I can tell) out there on the site for all to see.

    What do you guys think about bloggers who “curate” their comment sections? Does it detract from the blog, or could you care less?

    Hopefully this post won’t be deleted.

  2. @Austin

    Or how about those massively insecure people who not only heavily censor, but they also CHANGE what commenters wrote, or just completely fabricate entirely fake comments using other people’s names.

    Creating an alternate fantasy world seems to be their agenda.
    Oh yes, quite psychotic they are…

  3. I have heard of this practice of editing comments and it’s something I find highly strange. Just delete it if you don’t think it’s appropriate. But change it? Weird.

    While we’re on the topic, a few months ago, in order to facilitate livelier and more timely discussion, I turned off comment moderation here so that they’re all approved automatically.

    I figured it was better for the health and interactivity of the site to risk that a few foul comments might be up for a few hours while I’m running around town than to put the entire discussion on hold until I’m back at my desk.

    Seems to be working.

  4. Drew Poling | November 4, 2011 at 3:28 pm |

    I’m sure it was a grand night, but, if this post was is indication, highly ironic, too.

    What Scottish goods does Brooks still carry that could be celebrated? The made-in-Scotland shetland sweaters have long gone the way of the dodo as have so many classics, which brings us to irony point #2: the golf collars. You two look great in yours (and they’re highly appreciated), but how sad that, any more, they’re only available through pains-taking special order (unless you count the one bone that Brooks throws out semi-annually).

    This party seems more a celebration of what Brooks _was_ rather than what it _is_.

  5. There’s a good, older article at Maosuit (3/29/11) regarding the difficulties RL has had in the Chinese market. One of the primary issues is that RL is not considered a top tier retailer because so many of his items are produced in China. The Chinese, apparently, do not believe items produced in China are the same quality as those produced in the EU or elsewhere. I wanted to know Christian, with your knowledge, how is Brooks Brothers perceived as a brand in China?

    Regarding bloggers, the sites are their creations, and they can do what they please. That said, it is disingenuous to delete well meant criticism, or worse, edit the criticism to praise. It would be better to either allow open discussion, or simply have no comments at all.

    Ivy Style is enjoyable because Christian allows the positive and negative comments, even the rants of LBF. Even Richard of Wasp 101 allows comments that completely skewer him.

    So yes, Austin, it does detract from the quality of the site.

  6. Dave, I recently interviewed Brooks for this article in Apparel Magazine about the Chinese market:

    http://apparel.edgl.com/case-studies/Selling-to-the-New-Chinese-Consumer76358

    @Drew

    Part of the theme of the evening was to celebrate Brooks’ made in Scotland items. Evidently there are more in the current collection than you’re aware of.

    As for the golf collars, while the BB employee is wearing a MTM shirt, mind is an off-the-rack offering from this past spring.

  7. Good article, Christian. Thanks for providing the link. Brooks Brothers’ strategy of promoting its heritage, which the Chinese understand, seems more grounded than RL promoting the fuzzy lifestyle angle, which the Chinese don’t necessarily understand.

  8. If the Holland & Sherry president gets invited to a Brooks soirée, why does the Brooks Golden Fleece made-to-measure programme completely lack for H&S fabrics ??? It’s Loro Piana Loro Piana Loro Piana Loro Piana all the way. Well, there are some Italian-owned English mills thrown in too. Christian, can you ask your girlfriend this question. Well, I suppose the answer must have something to do with the Italianated ownership of Brooks Bros.

  9. David and Austin, why are you so coy about naming names about the psychotic blogger who not only edits but also CHANGES what people post. Does the name rhyme with Ted Thistleberry ?

  10. @bucephalus

    No, it doesn’t.

  11. Being a Chinese, I am confident to say that nowadays Italian brands are big in China, Armani, Zegna, to name just a few. Brooks Brothers is not a well-known brand. Small fraction of the newly rich will opt for British menswear like Burberry, or Gieves & Hawkes. Bespoke tailoring almost non-existent. Italian brands are successful largely due to their massive advertising and carefully constructed image of class, unlike RL, which appears to be everywhere(looking cheap and suspicious).

  12. The Chinese look even more ludicrous than the Japanese when they dress in what they think is Ivy style.

  13. @ Drew Poling & Christian – Obviously from reading the post & comments it would seem unclear as to what the purpose of the evening was. Since our dear blogger never made it past the open bar, I’ll fill you in. According to my invitation, the night was intended to promote Harris Tweed (Does this ring a bell). I had tickets to a performance elswhere that evening and have never developed a taste for Scotch. I’m sure it was fun.

  14. I started a day job last week and evidently the site is already suffering from shoddy writing.

  15. Christian – I do love bagpipes but what got my attention is the GF. She is lovely!

  16. I assume they rolled out the red carpet for Richard 101?

  17. So does your new significant other work for TAL Apparel, or another Chinese company further up the supply chain? I’ve been curious about their relationship with Brooks Brothers, and it’s so hard to get any reliable information.

  18. @Anonymous: Richard couldn’t make it. His private jet was in the shop.

  19. @katon, no she’s not with TAL Apparel, and she’s with a Japanese company, not a Chinese one (although they operate in China as well as Japan).

  20. Counting down to January 25… pipes, haggis, and links. Moderating comments is weak… “curating” comments is cowardly. Austin hit it right.

  21. Thanks for the clarification, Christian.

  22. Roy R. Platt | November 5, 2011 at 11:41 pm |

    Why “Counting down to January 25th” (Robert Burns birthday)?……What about November 30th (St. Andrew’s Day), a proper Scots holiday?

  23. Curated comments or not, I like the fact that CC is willing to actually let us see his face. I saw on my Blogger wall that Sir Richard accidentally posted a whole body shot, but the post was promptly deleted, with only a thumbnail left to show his face.

  24. Such is one of the many crucial differences, Ryan, between the professional and amateur.

  25. Speaking of the amateur Christian, one of the latest comments
    in the latest post over there, posted “anonymously”…..

    Answering the “flight to Rugby” inquiries, basically, his LYING is
    just to be accepted. So now even when exposed with no hope
    of recovery, no, he’s not the loser, you all are for not playing
    along and accepting him and the blog as it is.

    Hopefully its been a deliberate “spoof” since day one for
    one reason or another. If serious ,this WASP obsession
    of whomever “Richard” really is, he is truly losing himself
    to the obsession. In which case Christian you may
    seriously be dealing with a true mentally ill person.

    No joke if he cracks up some time soon. Ivy Style liable
    for pushing him over the edge?

    It can happen. Today just an “innocent” blogger,
    tomorrow…….just in case Christian.

    Sure ,the “nerd” who doesn’t have a healthy relationship
    to himself, and is a wiseacre on top of it, and arrogant
    about himself, thus inviting the ridicule instead of
    sympathy.See them come and go all the time.
    Yet among them there’s the one whose a time bomb
    waiting to go off. Nobody stays with the fantasy
    this long. Yeah he’s an irresistible target, but
    WHAT IF??

  26. I don’t speak Jinx.
    Anybody have a Rosetta Stone that can decipher it for me?

  27. “I Don’t speak Jinx. Anybody have a Rosetta Stone that
    can decipher it for me?” You’re another smart ass lib that
    can’t resist the opportunity to make a quick sarcastic
    remark. Easy enough Jack Ass?

  28. Nope. Still nothing. Just static.

  29. Ah. Forgot you already have/had a worst case scenario on
    your hands. Still, there’s got to be more to “101” then meets
    the eye, for better or for worse. Why chance it.

    DUHHHHH, “Nope. Still Nothing. Just Static” A – Duhhhhh…….

    Indeed David. It appears a programming error within the
    receiver and not from the transmitter. Easy pickins.
    Sit down kid, you’re an amateur.

  30. There are a number of things that distinguish the professional from the amateur in every field, chief among them is making money. I suppose one could be a professional Internet troll or comment-leaver if one got paid to do it.

  31. Perhaps you should substitute “writer” for “blogger.” Surely you agree that is a profession.

    Sometimes I write for newspapers, sometimes for magazines, and sometimes for websites. And sometimes those websites are my own.

  32. To write light of the serious and serious of the light is certainly very dandyish.

    And you have to admit, I have a certain genius for blogging.

  33. You mean like The Andover Shop?

  34. Still having trouble translating the Jinx.

    It seems to be a rare dialect or something. A pidgin english of rightwing troll, mixed with psychotic bigot, and junior high bully.

    An obsolete dead language I fear. The number of speakers has dwindled to a point of irrelevant historical footnote…

  35. @Russell

    It seems that without your obsession with CC, you really have nothing else left to base your identity upon. Sad really. I guess that explains your psychotic laser-focus on whatever Christian says or does. For a blog you have spent years attacking, you never seem to stop reading it. Do you dream of CC too? I’m sure you do.

  36. @David J. Re: Jinx

    It helps to run it through Mayan first.

  37. Troll city today.

  38. I shouldn’t have said anything about having turned off moderation. Soon they’ll figure out my sleeping schedule and attack during the night, like bedbugs.

  39. The true Arbiter of your question regarding “Is it a profession?” might best be answered by the IRS. The IRS has been known to challenge taxpayers who claim “business expenses” for what in all likeliness is a hobby expense. Bloggers are a new breed and there has already been stories reported of tax issues. In the case of bloggers, not only might there be straight revenue generated from banner adds, but commissions as a result of purchases linked back to the click source (the blog). Another tax problem for bloggers is “non-cash compensation” or “swag” and the value attributed to the goods received. Not sure how CC handles this; but we trust he’s tax compliant?

  40. I was always under the impression that “professional” (as opposed to hobbyist I suppose) just meant that you were making some money off of your endeavors. Whether or not that is a living wage is irrelevant.

    But then i guess there are other interpretations of the word.
    As in, “that guy is a professional dickhead troll”.

    Which would still mean “played or done as a job rather than for enjoyment”.

  41. You certainly get enough practice.

  42. @”Russell”

    Ah, I see…so it’s one of those dinosaur English class things to you. YAWN. No wonder we kicked you guys to the curb a couple centuries ago. Even when aping Americans you still try to cop the attitude. Ironically.

    I’ve got news for you fella. You’re wrong.
    There are Pro athletes for example. And there are Pros who work freelance. There is also the term Semi-Pro.

    This is all in the dictionary I can assure you. But you already knew that.

  43. “Prodessional”?

    Paging Dr. Freud…..

  44. I’m going to use this thread as an example of why Christian might want to return to screening the comments on the site. If I see another thread in which a thinly-veiled Admires Cod Pieces uses “A – Duhhhhh…….” as a come-back I’ll break out in hives.

  45. No Admiration for Admiral Clod here, dear ol’ Gabe.
    The “A – Duhhhh……..” has nothing to do with your reaction
    and you know it.

    After all it is an accurate description of the frequency of the
    leftist’s brainwaves.

    If the “A – Duhhhh” was from a leftist criticizing the right,
    OH THEN , it’s ok, no hives…..

    Go ahead break out, it’d be an improvement.

  46. Uh,….Gabe??……I – am – not- Admiral – Clod.
    Let’s go slower…..I…….am…..NOT……Admiral…..Clod.
    Of course don’t refute what I plainly stated beforehand,
    no….I called you on your hypocrisy, and you can’t do
    anything but your little sarcastic “seek help” remark.

    May it be duly noted I spoke NOTHING of politics.Nothing.
    Only making an observation of Christian’s digs at
    “Richard” which may not be the wisest thing to do
    if “Richard” is not all he seems to be.

    Who cares? Jinx = far right conservative therefore ,
    leftist sarcasm = justified. At least just ADMIT IT.

  47. @”Jinx”:

    (1) Why are you talking about politics? I have not even mentioned politics in this thread. You claim you “spoke NOTHING of politics,” but as far as I can tell you are the only one in this thread who has even mentioned politics, first where you called David J. a “smart ass (sic) lib”–and you’ve kept bringing it up ever since.

    (2) What hypocrisy of mine are you referring to? Do you mean your claim that I like the term “A-Duh” when liberals use it, but not when conservatives use “A-Duh”? If that is what you need to me to address, then I can assure you that I think “A-Duh” is a rhetorically ineffective term, whether it is used by a conservative, by a liberal, or by Kimmy Gibbler on Full House, which has to be the last time I heard anybody use that term.

    (3) If you are concerned about Christian’s ribbing of Richard, perhaps your concerns are more appropriately raised on the thread that is actually related to that post.

    (4) You claim that you are not LBF/AC. That is interesting since your temper and your superfluous use of caps are so reminiscent of him. How many self-described “far-right conservatives” do you think troll on this site?

  48. A day without a disjointed, rambling, psychotic, bigoted, rightwing tirade from the Jinxster is like a day without…..
    um……a day without oppressive stifling humidity?

  49. @David J.: Is this Jinx guy a regular around here and understood to not be LBF? I can’t remember seeing any comments by a Jinx before. Have a good one!

  50. 2 comments above my first post is Ryan’s addressing the subject
    of “Sir Richard” which I followed up on, so ,no, “Gabe” it was not
    out of place.

    You could care less about my typing “‘style” or what have you,
    let’s just attack Jinx because he angers David J not believing
    in liberal bs “equality”.

    David J, you knew exactly what I was stating, but instead of
    just stating for yourself, on behalf of yourself, “I hate your
    belief system Jinx” who cares what else you have to say
    about anything,so there, nyahh,nyahh,nyahh.”
    No, you make an issue out of the typing.
    You hate conservatism,just come out and say it ,WIMP.

  51. @Jinx: Do you think that I am David J.? I’m not. I know it’s somewhat awkward for me to ask you to believe that, since I have accused you of being LBF/AC above. But, for what it’s worth, you can probably discern a difference in my points and David J.’s, and I have a pretty established history of commenting on this site under my own name, Gabe.

    Anyway, my whole thing with regard to you is that I thought it was painfully weird to read the term “U-Duh,” in the comments here. I consider it to be an outmoded exclamatory insult. I put the similarly abandoned “No-Doy,” and the Bill-And-Ted’s-style “NOT!” in the same category.

    Moving on: I’m not sure what here makes you think that anybody hates your belief system. Did I say anything that makes you think that I hate something about you? I’m afraid the vast majority of hostile remarks I see on this thread are remarks that you made. But, anyway, if you yourself do not believe in, say, equality, you might find a fair few people who don’t like your views in a nation with a Constitution like ours.

  52. For cryin out loud Gabe…….My second comment was addressed
    at David J, should have made the switch clear, I know you are
    the one and only “Gabe”

    Alright, History. At one point a gentleman named Henry who
    comments here was attacked so self righteously for his comments
    that as a fellow conservative I joined in on his side.
    Ever since then , it’s known how far to the right I am,
    and the libs here have let me know it in no uncertain terms.

    David J, lovingly referring to me as The “Jinxster” no less,
    knows me and my comments all to well.

    I used the “A- Duhh” because I was talking down to him.

    I believe in equal opportunity not guaranteed equality.
    Good and evil do NOT deserve “equal” rights.

    Now as was stated in a past thread , by Christian himself
    nonetheless, in so many words must we make
    Ivy Style comments a laundry line to hangout unrelated
    matters to dry? No we should not.

  53. @Jinx: Wow. You have my full agreement, especially on that last part. It was your use of quotations around my name at 5:05 above that made me think you thought I was David J., but I follow you now. I still wish people wouldn’t “talk down to” other people on this forum and would instead try to keep civility to a reasonable level. But your last (5:36) post has a tone that I consider sufficiently civil, so I’ll bow out of this conversation respectfully at this time. A thank you for the explanatory information you offer at 5:36 too. Have a good evening.

  54. Once again the circular nonsensical paranoid rightwing brainfarts of the Jinxster reveal themselves to be just a lot of hot air…

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