Brooks Brothers News Roundup

It’s time for a check-in with Brooks as there are several pieces of news:

• Above is CEO Claudio del Vecchio speaking to Bloomberg News.

Shirt fits now use the same names as in other categories.

• The company’s foray into the Australian market has had some bumps.

• Last Friday Brooks tweeted an in-house interview with its director of men’s design.

• Finally, according to the Chicago Tribune at least, a politician in a buttondown is news.

Tomorrow we’ll bring a new voice to Ivy Style with an essay on this greatest of American clothing institutions. — CC

23 Comments on "Brooks Brothers News Roundup"

  1. Claudio Del Vecchio…..
    There is ONLY an Italian that can bring back Brooks Brothers to his former Ivy glory.

  2. Del Vecchio: “We’re more classic than traditional”. Could somebody please translate/explain?

    Could somebody please do the same for the new names of the shirt fits? How do they correspond to the old names?

    Thanks in advance.

  3. “We’re more classic than traditional”.

    Well,he knows nothing or not care about “Ivy league” tradition and American sack suits history and heritage.
    For Del Vecchio Brooks Brothers is a important clothes brand not very different to another,for exemple from a Italian brand.
    Certainly will be a skilful buisnessman,but not understand completely the nature and the sense of Brooks Brothers.
    If you go in a department store in Italy you can found same stuff of same quality.
    Anonymous ad without personality stuff.

    Brooks Brothers need two lines: “American sack” ( true natural shoulders,undarted sacks 3 roll 2,single vent) and “Middle Atlantic” (natural shoulders,with darts…maybe slanted darts for add cleaner… two side vents,pleats to pants,three buttons 3 roll 2,two buttons and double breasted).

  4. Last week I visited the BB website, intending to order some new shirts. Then I saw the new shirt names. As one who rarely wears (and even more rarely, buys) suits, I let out a gasp and quietly closed the website.

    Do the new names (Milano, Regent, Madison, Traditional) match one-to-one with the old names (Extra Slim, Slim, Regular, Traditional)? And, didn’t they just change the colors and/or names?

    This may make things easier for some, but a year from now I’m not going to remember “Madison” (not like I would remember “Regular”).

  5. Bags' Groove | January 20, 2015 at 3:39 pm |

    @ Camford & Joel

    Whilst doing what Romans do in Rome recently, every shirt i tried in my neck size was skin-tight; and I’m fairly lissom.
    But an utterly wonderful cashmere tie soon stemmed my tears.

  6. I just purchased 2 “Classic” fit shirts and they fit EXACTLY like their slim fit shirts. I was really displeased as I assumed Classic would be more in line with their “Regular” fit shirt.
    Several beefs I currently have with Brooks: they’re trying to knock off Hermes with cutesy silk twill ties, they rarely carry a OCBD that is not “non-iron,” and their staff is completely untrained in the significance and lore of the brand. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve tried to “talk shop” with these guys and I get the eyes glazed over response. It’s really, really bad and getting to the point where I’m questioning their relevance in my closet.

  7. A.E.W. Mason | January 20, 2015 at 10:15 pm |


    I think that, but for the “classic fit” shirts made by the Garland Shirt Co. for Brooks, the others are, as you say, a slim fit cut. I don’t blame you for being disappointed. Included among these disappointing shirts, I believe, are the supima cotton shirts made in China. They are quite inferior in my judgment. And, yes, Brooks’s staff are, for the most part, just sales people who may have been hired out of any retail establishment nearby. But, once in a while you can find someone who is knowledgeable and even enthusiastic. It is rare, however. To an extent, it just comes with the territory of being so large an operation. I’m getting depressed writing this.

  8. Vern Trotter | January 20, 2015 at 10:33 pm |

    A few months ago, I stopped into 346 Madison, explained I was a member of the Brooks Diaspora, and inquired as to whether they still make their historic, must iron, OCBD. It was if I were speaking Koine Greek. 2 or 3 salespeople clearly could not understand my question. Finally a woman emerged from somewhere and said they were “out of those” and was unsure if they would be getting any more. Her parting shot was “Why would you wear a shirt you must iron?”

  9. @S.E.

    Re: “Brooks is still boring”.

    In my opinion, Brooks is not boring enough.

  10. Mr. Trotter,

    A depressing report indeed. Perhaps you can find them online? Maybe must-iron shirts can now only be had from other purveyors—a sad state, if true.

    A couple of years ago, I got a dress shirt with detachable wing collar from Brooks Brothers. I’m glad I pulled the trigger when I did, because they no longer carry them (but they will sell you shirts with wimpy attached wing collarettes).

  11. “Why would you wear a shirt you must iron?”


  12. Richard Meyer | January 21, 2015 at 6:13 am |

    Send all the stuff back to Malaysia. The quality at BB is abysmal in comparison to the stuff they had in the 50’s through 70’s, when I still shopped there.In addition, the taste has declined as well, with even the ties and shoe selection, once superb, depressing, with the exception of some of the Peal shoes and bowties.

  13. I saw a familiar name on the Opinions sections of today’s WSJ…..

  14. Cranky Yankee | January 21, 2015 at 9:17 am |

    The Supima cotton ‘Traditional Fit Button-Down Collar Dress Shirt’ is the ONLY Brooks shirt worth owning. I have tried their ‘Non-Iron’ for the sake of convenience and they look and feel awful. There is nothing like an old, soft Brooks shirt with a slightly fraying collar.

    I get a kick out of their description if this classic, though: “This shirt is machine washable for easy care.” What?

    Thank God for J. Press and Mercer.

  15. It’s funny how everyone disparges BB for not having a 3/2 sack suit. Those people are ignorant. It’s available as MTM from Southwick and always has. And why don’t all these 3 Roll 2 nut riders actually buy one? The last button on center suit I bought the saleman informed me that I was one of four other people in Loop that still buys them. Four. In the Loop. I was the only one under 50. The downtown Chicago store does pretty good volume too.

    Either take a sh!t or get off the pot as the saying goes. Want more 3 Roll 2 suits? Actually go into the store and buy one. You still can. And guess what, contrary to Interweb myth and #menswear rumour, Southwick still has good soft tailoring.

    I am surprised no one is whining about the current collar roll on BB shirts….

  16. Cranky Yankee | January 21, 2015 at 10:09 am |

    To E: You’re absolutely right about the 3/2 sack from Brooks. I’ve gone to their MTM/Southwick events for the past few years. My only recommendation is that it’s worth waiting for a MTM Sale (held each spring and fall) for two reasons. First, the jacket/suit is 20% off. That one is obvious. The other one is that with these trunk shows, they bring in English, Scottish and Italian fabrics that aren’t available during the rest of the year.

    I’ve only had one problem One year the tailor had never heard of a three-button sack (they clearly don’t get many requests these days) and had no idea how to mark the buttons. He even marked the button hole on the lapel in the opposite angle. I haven’t seen him there since.

  17. @Crankee Yankee – Didn’t even know thay had a sale on MTM. I’ll look out for it.

  18. Cranky Yankee | January 21, 2015 at 11:29 am |

    To E: You have to check the dates on the Brooks website. There is a ‘Made-to-Measure’ link at the bottom of the page under ‘About Us’. My store holds its events on a Saturday in April and October and all dates are posted about a month or so ahead of time. The reps (and their swatches) travel around the country, so it’s only a one day event at most stores.

    The fabrics for all of MTM jackets were part of the trunk shows, so it’s worth the wait.

  19. Charlottesville | January 22, 2015 at 9:41 am |

    E and Cranky Yankee — Thanks for the word on Brooks made-to-measure sack suits from Southwick. I asked the MTM salesman at the Madison Avenue store whether it is still possible to get the original 3-button sack (same cut, full canvas, with the little belt-keeper loop. etc.) and he said that they do make a 3/2 sack, but it was not identical, and he did not have one to show me at the moment. I am glad to know that, even if not identical, the current offering is up to standard. I have one Southwick sack that I like very much. I will need to keep my eye peeled for the MTM sale.

  20. Del Vecchio is person of the year for the American Apparel and Footwear Association:

  21. The word “classic” is not in reference to the actual fit of the shirts. The key to finding the correct fit is in the color of the dress shirt label (regardless of the new name change this method is still valid).

    Red- Traditional Fit/ Madison Fit, the most generous fit of all the dress/sport shirts
    Blue- Slim Fit/ Regent Fit, happy medium between the Madison and the Milano
    Green- Extra Slim Fit/ Milano Fit, the slimmest fit

    In the factory outlet stores the purple label indicates a slim fit, similar to the fit of the Blue label. This label should have clear red wordage to indicate that the fit is slim.
    In the retail locations, the purple label is quite generous, similar in fit to the Red label shirts.

    Seeing as my closet is 90% Brooks, I better know the difference between the sizes.
    Hopefully this clears things up!

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