On Thusday it was reported that Brooks Brothers will cease its Black Fleece collection headed by Thom Browne. The New York Times interviewed both Browne and Brooks CEO Claudio del Vecchio, and writes:
“I don’t think people ever saw the collection as being inappropriate or irresponsible to live within the world of Brooks Brothers,” Mr. Browne said. “I think that’s what we’re all most proud of.”
This fall will mark the collection’s final season, though it may be revived in the future.
Those who felt that of all the things Brooks could be doing, Black Fleece was not it, might feel inspired to burst into celebratory song. The following lyrics would only require a minor tweaking. — CC
Despite Browne’s work with RL (and Armani), these over-priced and too-small clothes are what you get when you leave him to his own devices. Who was buying this stuff?
Ha! I actually have lots of Black Fleece stuff. It’s not the sort of thing you’d want to wear on a daily basis, but for going out its perfect. Particularly when drinking is involved. I think that I have 17 Black Fleece suits, none of which I paid anything close to full price for. If you’re in no hurry, it’s easy to get it for 70 to 80 percent off the list price, at which point it becomes easy to justify the cost. And it seems to draw lots and lots of compliments from women, which is always fun. If you like that sort of thing.
I’ve had a hard time following the corporate ownership changes at and various collaborations at BB. Based on your experience, it sounds like the Black Fleece line is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Jos. S Bank. Is that right?
Can you imagine Sean Connery as Bond in a Black Fleece costume? Hard to take seriously.
TB Designs = clown suits.
TB = much-talent-misdirected clown.
Tom, maybe you can design for Sears or Pennys or Target? Good luck…and riddance.
In a few years, BroDudes will be wearing these to Halloween parties, as costume.
Before we throw the trad baby out with the heritage bath water, can we at least keep producing things in Italy and the US? How about the higher rise of BBBF trousers?
Lost in all the costume were some really great articles of clothing. I thought the more subdued trousers were fantastic.
Own Make should be expanded, the fit is improving, the fabrics are usually excellent, if the shirting could be figured out they could easily fill the Black Fleece void with something really great.
I agree with your approval of the Own Make line. I thought that the Natural Craftsmanship line was also quite nice. And although not all of these niche lines work for me (the Great Gatsby line comes to mind – I bought a GG sport coat, but only for wearing on the same sorts of occasions that I’d wear the Black Fleece stuff), I appreciate that BB seems to be open to trying some new ideas. But then I’ve been described by former classmates as a “WASP gone bad.”
TB has always seem a bit deracinated. Never quite “fitting” into the mainstream trad.
Dean’s dinner jacket is timeless even if it is likely Sy Devore. It is so much better than what performers wear today. The SNL anniversary show was full of gaping white below the button and exaggerated fits.
Typed shirting, meant shirt patterns, the oxford shirting offered by Brooks is already among the best, now they just have to put the pieces together and offer unlined 3.5 collars as Own Make’s signature shirt. Throw in locker loops and rear buttons for extras.
I remember seeing the Thom Browne presentation at NY Fashion Week for Men this year: Quel desastre! After years of selling shrunken, Pee-wee Herman jackets with high-water trousers, this year’s show was a radical departure: it featured zoot-suit-like jackets that reached to the knee. I believe it was Oscar Wilde who once said that fashion is something so ugly that it has to change every few months (no offense to the talented Mr. Browne).
When I first saw this I thought, “fad.” To me, it looks as if some poor chap washed his suit, put it on wet, then spent the night tumbling in the dryer.
Good riddance to bad rubbish!
Whatever fills the BBBF void, the price point has to come down. Brooks doesn’t steal RLPL or Brioni customers and they never will. Plenty of retailers nowadays carry American-made trousers for $150-250 and shirts for under $150. The prices of BBBF, Own Make, etc. are and always have been absurd, even by inflated 2015 standards.
The number of people who don’t work in BF stores that will care about this development is minute. Talk about idiot chic.
Always a pleasure to see to disappearance of an eyesore.
Goodbye, Black Fleece — you were great in the movies: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BodXwAYeTfM
Does anyone know what BB will do with the little BF corner store on Bleecker Street?
I concur on the Own Make thoughts. I wonder if those models can be had MTM? I know for a fact the shirts can meet the unlined and 3.5 point length standard. Both Ratio Clothing and Michael Spencer have their versions of that made in the Brooks factory,
Is the end of 60s inspired trend?
Could be the beginning of another ’60s trend: high-rise trousers. I received our sample this weekend and it looks very promising. More soon.
I feel that may have been over for a while. There are still some flashes here and there, but the pendulum seems to be moving more towards fuller fitting clothing.
I like where Thom Browne draws his inspiration: Classic Brooks and J. Press, and I like his idea of a uniform, but his extreme attempt at a modern take is only suitable to those with his body type, short and slim.
I must say I did like the ties and I am not going to knock someone for pushing sack suits, OCBDs, and gun boats. I just couldn’t squeeze into anything the guy designed.
Nor should you try. In my opinion, there was nothing at all trad/ivy about Thom Browne’s unfortunate attempts at fashion. A 3/2, unlined, natural shoulder sack suit with hook vent with proper dimensions should not be as rare as a signed first edition Hemingway. If Own Make gets their act together and work on proper dimensions, I will most certainly return to Brooks Brothers. My Own Make Harris Tweed coat from the late eighties is just coming into it’s own again since I have returned to my college fighting weight. Be a pack rat with what counts.
Some of us who look at Ivy Style might also look at some of the websites where people post pictures of what they are wearing. I have never seen a picture posted of someone wearing any Brooks Brothers Black Fleece product.
From time to time, when I have commented on this, people (who never post pictures) claim to have vast collections of Black Fleece product.
Has anyone ever seen a picture of an actual person (not a model, store employee, or Thom Browne) wearing any Black Fleece Product? Has anyone ever seen an actual person wearing Black Fleece product on the street?
I never have.
@ William Richardson
I agree with you 100% on Own Make.
I’d guess that the reason that you don’t see pictures of people wearing BBBF on the internet is that people who actually do wear it have the good sense to not post pictures of what they’re wearing on the internet. There may be things that are as tacky, but nothing comes immediately to mind.
Can you imagine Thom Browne going to a thrift store and finding a Brooks Brothers sack suit for $20 but, oh no, it is three sizes too small. Maybe I could make it work, he thinks to himself as he wedges himself into the jacket. Hmmmm, yes, this looks great.
Just because you can do something doesn’t mean that you should.
Will be interesting to see if they bring in a different designer, but retain the Black Fleece moniker. Michael Bastian could do something interesting as their “high fashion” side of the business.
Excellent news…the photo speaks a thousand words as to how terrible his vision was.
A damn shame.
Now that Thom Browne’s “clothing” is going away, what are idiots supposed to wear?
Well, I guess they can buy suits off the rack that are too small and pretend. For instance, if you are a size 42 regular then by all means go for that 36 short — and make sure the trousers stop at mid calf, and the sleeves are elbow length. That should impress people.
Let’s not be too hard on BF. Yes, the suits are rather absurdly cut but some of Browne’s creations are very well done. I’ve picked up many stellar Black Fleece items over the years. Most are best used as casual wear except for a fantastic trench coat and some ties. I save the sport shirts and well-made Italian pants for casual wear.
I agree that Brooks should focus for on its Own Make line and lower the price. I tried a Natural Craftsmanship sport coat a while back but it was cut way too short (like BF) so I returned it. Anyway, it’s always good to experiment. Maybe Brooks just carried on with BF a few years longer than it should have?
Unfortunately, Own Make will also be discontinued.
(So says store rep at 346 Madison in NYC).
I don’t know why. But it seems BB is now focusing on expanding their Red Fleece line (which I initially never bought – but now notice some nice items appearing) and also focusing on Zac Posen’s residency. “Brooks Sisters” anyone?
We have contacted Brooks on this matter and they are preparing a statement. Please be patient.