Brooks Brothers Fall/Winter 2012 Preview

Yesterday I rode up to the sixth floor at 346 Madison Avenue for a preview of Brooks’ next season. The spokesmen admitted the company hasn’t been playing up their heritage quite as well as it could, and the fall 2012 collection full of clever self-referencing.

For example, socks aren’t just striped, they’re versions of Brooks’ famous rep ties:

Rep material also shows up as a detail on these chinos, whose pockets are polka-dot lined (and if you don’t like the sewn-on brand logo, simply remove it). Apologies for the fuzzy photo:

Speaking of logos, here’s one for the ages — the 19th century, to be precise. This fleece item features a version of a logo that was embroidered inside the coat that Abraham Lincoln was wearing when he was assassinated:

This hoodie with front pockets comes in university-striped oxford. Around the waist, a fishbone belt:

Continuing the motif motif, chinos embroidered with striped bow ties:

And instead of a skull and crossbones, a Golden Fleece and crossbones. Oh, and yes that’s a motorcycle jacket:

For a more traditional jacket, this heavy gray herringbone will now come in the Fitzgerald cut:

This handsome jacket caught my eye:

This unstructured fleece blazer features a 3/2 roll, patch pockets, and two-button cuff:

Full look:

And here’s a skirt suit in patchwork tweed for the ladies:

Next season’s Shetland crewnecks will include the colors olive, beige and pumpkin:

These shoes were made by Rancourt of Maine and include buckled loafers….

… and this surprising hybrid. It’s a boat shoe rendered in chocolate suede with a dress-shoe styled leather sole, an interesting blend of relaxed and elegant:

Finally, here’s an even more noteworthy hybrid and collaboration: Stubbs & Wooton slippers in flannel chalk-stripe with embroidered tassels. — CC

48 Comments on "Brooks Brothers Fall/Winter 2012 Preview"

  1. Shoes and sweaters look great, but do they really need these prominent logos? Uggh.

  2. Parodies of authentic Brooks Brothers style. Ludicrous.

  3. Some nice articles of clothing here, with the exception of the horrific socks. Are they standard issue for circus clowns???

  4. What this then, Brooks Brothers does Ralph Lauren?

  5. John, I agree. The shoes and sweaters are great. The rest is simply terrible. It begs the question if the design team was on drugs during their brain storming session. Or were they in Italy? Both can, and apparently did, have hazardous results.

  6. Single Needle | February 14, 2012 at 1:46 pm |

    Horrible stuff.
    A hoodie under a blazer?

  7. I think everyone should look at those photos again. There is nice stuff there. The socks are different, but nice. You don’t wear them with your suit, you wear them with jeans or chinos, as seen in the pictures. A great alternative to plain navy, and a far cry from ghastly white. Its a great subtle reference.
    Those who really know classic menswear recognize those famous stripes. For example, I wore my BB rep bow tie to a law school competition, and the very senior judge knew right away it was brooks, and afterwards just wanted to talk brooks brothers with me.

    Also, the more super soft tailor jackets the better! And I everyone can use a great leather jacket, why not from brooks where it will at least be well made. I think in hast to be critical people missed somethings like that great duffel coat.

  8. Rich Eisen, from the NFL Network, commented when he spotted Flavor Flav embracing Tom Coughlin following Big Blue’s Super Bowl 46 victory, “What is happening???!!!????” I would apply the same response after looking at the #@%&*&%! BB is putting out for Fall/Winter 2012!!!!

  9. Those socks rock. As do the jackets.

  10. Socks are killer.

  11. Richard Meyer | February 14, 2012 at 3:12 pm |

    Agree with $bill42. Hilfiger style. 🙁

  12. This stuff is ridiculous! Probably mostly made offshore…

  13. This collection is Brooks Brothers meets Ralph Lauren/Express/Abercrombie & Fitch.

  14. At least there are more shetlands!

  15. I’m in for the socks, life is way too short to not have fun socks

  16. Michael Mattis | February 14, 2012 at 5:14 pm |

    What Educator said.

  17. Cool looks except I feel like they are competing with RL Rugby…and what grown man wears a rugby above a ocbd/tie combo with the herringbone blazer? That said I’d wear those socks and the sweaters look beautiful, and those hybrid shoes.

  18. Christian, can you say a bit more about the Shetlands?

    Crewneck? Saddle shouldered?

  19. Looks amazing. Liking the vintage references without looking like they come delivered with a box of mothballs. Many imitate, but there is only one B2.

  20. That was some of the silliest looking shit…

  21. How are most of the items cut ? Over the last few years, fewer and fewer items have been offered with the traditionally voluminous cut BB is (was?) known for. Are the sweaters trimly cut ? What about the shirts ?

    I think the rep socks are interesting. As individual items most of what was shown is quite nice. I wouldn’t pair the items in the way there were shown, but then again I am not involved in fashion display.

  22. The stripe button hook on the back pocket is an excellent touch… So much so that it may make those Chinese pants worth purchasing… 😉 – My favorite piece of the bunch.

    Love the socks… there is the right time and place for those socks, thats for sure.

    I get the feeling that they are going after Rugby/A&F College crowd with alot of this gear, trying to re-establish their image among the collegiate crowd… A noble pursuit, since arguably that is where ‘ivy style’ is rooted.

    Too bad the logos are so big – surely market research has determined that is what the 18-22 yr old crowd is in to… It has always been my belief that young men/women often like a large Polo/A&F (or BB logo in this case) logo, since those are typically ‘expensive’ brands… they are showing off their ability to spend… The Gatsby syndrome… just my opinion of what the majority of young people want… not the small percent who actually attend ivy schools… there are plenty of niche stores for that crowd.

    I wear a rugby and an OCBD often on weekends all the time… (no tie though) – Age 29 – (almost a full grown man?)

    Thanks for the great look ahead

  23. SE: Shetlands were offered this season (it’s still winter, right?) so you might find them in store/website. These are crewnecks (as I indicated), but I don’t know about the shoulder. They’re made in China of Shetland wool, and this season sold for about $100, as I recall.

    rl1856: You need to go into a store and try some things on.

  24. Churchill Dot | February 14, 2012 at 9:26 pm |

    Thankfully, Brooks Brothers continue to offer some classic items of attire for those of us who prefer not to dress like a clown, a gigolo, a gangster, a nursery school student, or an adolescent.

  25. Certainly offers wonderful opportunities for those who wish to have their neckties and their socks match. Also offers an opportunity for Brooks Brothers to sponsor a Little League team in some place such as Greens Farm CT that could be called the “Repp Sox”.

  26. I’ve always wanted my socks to match my tie, and now my dream can become reality. Thanks to this wonderful site for drawing this to my attention.
    Go Repp Sox!

  27. Thanks for posting! Does it look like we’ll be seeing any more “soft jackets” this year?

  28. Please keep in mind that just because Brooks Brothers styled a hoodie under a jacket doesn’t mean you have to wear the two together. Unless you are so unimaginative that fully copying “looks” is the only way you can dress yourself.

  29. Some really nice pieces here; unfortunately,most should not be paired together, as in most of the pictures here. I feel like these stylists are sometimes trying to create a look that doesn’t really exist. Case in point: in the ninth picture – tweed blazer over rugby shirt over sport shirt. Who dresses like this? And with the Fitzgerald cut, how many sizes up does one have to go in a heavy tweed blazer to make all that stuff underneath fit?

  30. Great looking clothes for the most part. Some of the layering is ridiculous, though. I had a gray herringbone jacket like that for 25 years, (finally donated it, wore it so much that it looked like a limp rag). Those coats are warm, layer it with a shirt and tie, with a rugby shirt, and roast all day. Instead of looking good, a guy will look sick.

    Most of the other stuff would be too hot layered like that. I really don’t think that BB expects people to wear layers, just sell the stuff at the same time. Don’t give a menopausal lady the patch suit outfit. When she gets a hot flash, she will abuse any man around. Believe me, I know

    Great stuff all in all, even the socks. Cheers!

  31. Is Richard/Crawford of Wasp 101 employed by Brooks Brothers now?

  32. The patchwork suit for women is really really horrible. I personally like the socks. As a sock knitter, I think loud socks are de rigueur. “Motorcycle jacket” is a joke. I also like the idea of loud pocket linings. Why not? The sweaters look sumptuous, and I especially like the colors.

  33. As noted above, blame the stylist for the over-layered, contrived looks. Leave the designers out of your hate.

    Also, keep in mind that this represents BB’s fall sportswear, not the dressier end of the spectrum. The suits, blazers and dress slacks will all be the same.

    That said, has anyone had a chance to try the new Cambridge cut blazer? I like the idea of a hospack Fitzgerald jacket with a 3/2 roll, but haven’t had an opportunity to try it on yet.

  34. The Unibomber wore a hoodie. ‘Nuff said?

  35. Rob,

    “Hate”? Disapprobation is not the same as hatred.

  36. Christian,
    The unstructured blazer you posted–what do you mean by “fleece”?

    Wool, we can safely assume? Flannel?

  37. I say this objectively and as a fan; everyone in Prep is chasing RL. They remain one, two steps ahead of all others. Their website sets the standard as well. Bless Brooks Brothers, they are trying too hard.

  38. SE: fleece as in sweatshirt material, so not exactly Golden Fleece.

  39. There’s much to criticize here–accursed hoodies!!!–but much that’s good too. Some of the touches like the repp button loop on chinos are subtle and imaginative. And don’t forget Brooks has a history before the end of WWII. Those socks are collegiate hosiery straight out of a Leyendecker illustration.

  40. Fleece with huge embroidered logos and hoodies? Brooks Brothers, has it really come to this?

  41. I’ve always like wearing some wild socks as a covert GTH to the folks, but matching the repp ties…? Meh. The only thing I’d buy is the tie.

  42. What’s with all this talk about matching socks and ties? (although many sophisticated dressers I know match the colors of their sock to their ties, but not the pattern). The socks aren’t sold in matching sets with ties.

  43. Kensington High | February 17, 2012 at 12:22 am |

    We were taught to wear nothing but black or dark navy socks. I still abide by that rule.

  44. Many good dressers eschew black socks with anything but black trousers, and eschew black trousers except as part of black or white tie.

    Or so I hear. Navy, on the other hand, is far more flexible, if sometimes a bit staid.

    I like the socks featured here, but would only ever wear them casually.

  45. I think the items are great, is how you executed!
    Call it Brooks meets Polo/ Tommy H, whatever!
    If you guys are really going to go there, a lot of American designers has been copying the same preppy, ivy, look for a minute now. so relax people………

  46. Rob: The cambridge blazer is not a sack version of the Fitzgerald but a sack version of the newest Milano cut. To my knowledge it’s an online exclusive thus far, as no stores have admitted to carrying the blazer in stock (I saw the prep school blazer at Madison Avenue, but not the regular blazer).
    Everyone needs to keep in mind that Brooks Brothers has been around since 1818 (hence, it is written all over most of their logos). Ralph Lauren was a Brooks employee before he set out on his own. Many companies have sought to emulate what has already been done in mens fashion. If you know the ownership history of Brooks you will also realize that there has been a few paradigm shifts in what they have carried over the last few decades. Marx and Spencer did a number on their merchandise in the 90s, and the new ownership of Brooks Brothers has done a great job looking into the archives of what has really made the company what it is.
    Scoff at the hoodies and the layering all you want- it really is inconsequential. What actually matters is that there is a lot of great clothing rolling out of this place that still has a high level of quality regardless of it’s manufacturing origins. Your personal style does not have to come directly off of a mannequin. Be free to flirt with wild socks (I know I do) or don’t. Wear brown shoes with your navy trousers, or don’t. Opinions are…well, we all know the colloquialism.
    Another small note- Brooks Brothers will NEVER stop carrying it’s classic merchandise. If you don’t see it in your store, it’s because that store has been merchandised to what it sells best. Have your salesman order something if they don’t have it. They still have the 3-ply Cashmere v-neck sweaters made in Scotland. They still have the traditional fit Original Button Down Polo oxford cloth shirts. They still have suits, shirts, and ties that are all MADE IN AMERICA. And guess what- they have more!

    Your wardrobe is a reflection of yourself. Remember- “Simply because you are in style, does not mean that you have style.”

    P.S.- I doubt the entire Fall 2012 collection is represented in 17 pictures. Just a thought…

  47. when something has to try hard to look like itself- it ceases to be worth it

  48. I was picking up some jackets about two weeks ago that had been fitted for me and was invited by an executive to view the collection on the 6th floor. I was shocked how they staged the place, because it felt like i was walking into RL Rugby. I know they get weird about picture taking, but what you shared does not do justice. I was impressed with what i saw, but lets not forget that what you saw are the offerings intended for the twenty something guys/girls. The Black Fleece collection looked awesome. I asked about the logos, and my host rolled her eyes and joked about needing to keep the outlet shelves stocked with authentic markdowns from the regular retail stores.

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