Brooks Brothers Spring 2011 Preview

I know, fall is here and you’re eagerly breaking out the woolens. No one could be happier than me, as I get to spend my first autumn in New York.

But apparel brands are always working well in advance, so I need you to temporarily shift your brain back into warm-weather mode and have a look at Brooks Brothers‘ offerings for next spring, as recently previewed in the showroom above the Madison Avenue flagship store.

Brooks will continue its “collegiate” collection, drawing on a Spring Break theme:

All fashion ends in excess. Bruce Boyer says that during the buckle-back khakis trend circa 1956, he remembers buckles being added to everything — including the heels of white bucks. Likewise, the Brooks preview included signs that the Go-To-Hell wing of the PITA revival may be entering its decadent phase, with design exhaustion the next inevitable step. (Then the pendulum will swing back to simplicity and understatement.) Patch-madras shirts (above, left) featured tiki embroideries, while emblematic trousers (below, right) now feature four separate panels of different critters:

Despite these touches of baroque extravagance, there were signs of subtle refinement. This Fitzgerald jacket has a softer shoulder, said a Brooks spokesperson. Also, in a styling gesture reminiscent of Brooks circa 1980, a wildly patterned jacket is paired with a plain oxford button-down and knit tie. Partial lining on sportcoats will also make a return next spring:

The Golden Fleece logo has been slightly updated, and now comes in contrast colors — RL style — on shirts and sweaters. There’s also a whole slew of new colors for polo shirts:

Indeed, there was certainly no fear of color:

There was also a strong sailing theme. Nautical, but nice:

We’ll end on a subdued note, with this handsome Black Fleece briefcase. — CC

23 Comments on "Brooks Brothers Spring 2011 Preview"

  1. Is that a 4×2 fastening double breasted seersucker blazer in the 3rd photo from the bottom? Sign me up.

  2. You’re signed.

  3. A number of very nice pieces. But about all that color – looks too much like Nautica & Hilfiger circa 2003.

  4. There was one sportswear grouping that was pure Nautica. I elected not to post it.

  5. Another splendid post Christian, you are ahead of the curve on the notion of design exhaustion. It’s scary to see one of my father’s jackets (the Fitzgerald), albeit with a softer shoulder.

    The most depressing news is the contrast color logo. “When is enough enough? When it becomes too much.” We may well be at that point.

    Hope you have a stellar weekend,

  6. The belt in the back was quite nice if the trousers were well made. I don’t think Brooks ever stocked them. Ditto for the button in the back of the shirt collar. Gant offered it but not BB. And yes it was 1956.

    Brooks has never recovered from the disaster of being sold off to Marks & Spencer. Then they had a woman in charge who thought she was running the shop for Tina Brown’s approval. Looks like they are still not showing a three button front coat.

  7. The fitzgerald jacket is fantastic!

    I will echo another comment – some of this stuff is too much. Lose the Nautica vibe…

  8. Peter Carbonaro | September 17, 2010 at 12:35 pm |

    This makes my head hurt; the color palette reminds me of the garish seven-color “cartoon” palette Warren Beatty used for “Dick Tracy”. This preview doesn’t bode well, especially after all the great stuff BB’s been rolling out lately. Oh well.

  9. “Nautical, but nice.” I LOL’d. Thanks for the sweet post.

  10. Trad Curmudgeon | September 17, 2010 at 7:31 pm |


  11. To be fair, I am really fond of some of the items in this collection. The yellow-jacket plaid vest ensemble is just outrageous enough to be captivating. Though thrown all together, these designs can become too much. However, I must still admit that on campus, I see some students who seriously pull off the look. What is their secret? Maybe this is all best done when worn with at least a subtle sense of irony.

    Harvard Style Blog

  12. Richard Meyer | September 18, 2010 at 6:36 am |

    Having just toured the 346 store, I was very unimpressed. As a BB customer in the vintage days (late 50’s-early 70’s), the quality is way down (Non-iron shirts from Malaysia-aargh!), except for the shoes and pj’s.They (the present owners0 are now trying to re-create what they never knew to begin with.

  13. the effect is wrong somehow, nothing like a Brooks catalogue from the early 1980s or even better- the stores of that era ,existing in real downtown loactions before exurburbia.
    -a strange 21st century take .. kid ivy run amuck

  14. Although your buckle-back chino prediction was, unfortunately, incorrect, I sincerely hope that this prediction is right, and we will be seeing subdued, tasteful clothes soon. Enough of this garish Nautica/Tommy Hilfiger BS.

  15. I think it was a big mistake the product people messed with the logo, if enough people complain, the message sinks in. As for the jolt of colour, I have a gut feeling maybe a 1/6th of that will reach the store I go to in Toronto, again send a message, buy the subdued colours and leave the bright ones behind. Sales numbers don’t lie.

  16. Why, I’m curious, should we not buy the bright colors?

  17. The name of the game is STYLE is it not? Like the song that Frank,Bing
    and Dean sang, “You either got or you haven’t got……STYLE!!”
    I am assuming the motivation in rejecting the brights is wearing them
    sends a message of drawing too much attention to yourself, that you are
    not portraying “style” but either being a wannabe showoff or just lacking
    any sense of style to begin with. Is that the reasoning here?
    No way do you need to avoid brights at all. Bright on bright can over do it.
    But any and all of the colors displayed here can easily be worked into
    any kind of outfit without being garish. HOW? Again you’ve either got,
    or you haven’t got style. NAUTICA. Ok, so its GAP level. I can easily
    and have effortlessly mixed in many GAP and/or Nautica from the past
    into many outfits and have made them work. HOW can one go wrong with
    classic navy-red-white- combinations? Hilfiger got marinated in wannabe
    land too long for my personal taste, but a line like Nautica is workable.
    Too many seem to miss the basic point about “style”. I’ve done myself
    a diservice to the “heritage” of it all if I go out on the family yacht
    decked out in NAUTICA top to bottom? Don’t be ridiculous.
    Lacoste another example. Many true preps,so they claim, feel Lacoste
    has given way too much to becoming….well ….”common”.
    THE SECRET IS-YOU. YOU are the one who has the responsibility to
    make that Lacoste outfit look like a million bucks. YOU are the one
    whose “style” maintains the “status”of Lacoste,so to speak.
    You’ve either GOT or you haven’t got “STYLE” OK? THAT’S THE

  18. I love Brooks Brothers, and I’ve never thought of myself to be the one who complains about the dramatic change of their merchandise. I would much prefer the Brooks Brothers from two years ago…. This collection just doesn’t seem Brooks Brothers to me.

  19. Jinx,

    Good points. There are some people who would be comfortable in clothing this loud, and some of them might even look good in it. But many who try loud clothes like these will end up looking like buffoons, because it’s not their style.

    I could have worn this stuff in high school, and made it look good. If I were to wear them now, I would look like a total jackass.

    Style changes.

    But I still see your point.

  20. Thank You Henry. You know, a real good bottom line to all this as well
    is what most hate to hear. Take that outfit above with the orange zip
    up with hood over the pink oxford with madras pants combo plus bowtie.
    Yeah it is suggesting a prep school student hanging out watching
    the latest rowing competition. No way possible an adult can respectfully
    carry that outfit? No, not impossible. What most hate to hear is the more
    handsome the man, the longer the boyish looks of youth hang on,the
    more you can get away with. The majority are not blessed with as such
    so the rules one hears and repeats about fashion are according to……
    PRIDE of human nature rather than facts. Upon entering one’s graying
    years,yeah than you’re really pushing it. Early graying sure is another
    addition to one’s looks that will no longer coordinate with youthful
    manner of dress. Then again, you’d be surprised what the cliche
    “young at heart” can really do for your appearance. In that outfit above
    the orange zip up again, what makes it work for me at “45” is because
    when I wear it I’m NOT trying to put on a youth on my “outside”
    that is no longer there,I wear it because my Spirit is still running and
    beating on my inside. Of course one may say,well Jinx you’re just
    describing the exception to the rule,nothing profound we all understand
    that……do you? Do you really?…so don’t strive to BE the exception
    to the rule ,accept your place in the status quo and limit your
    imagination,creativity and choices…….another problem is the ones
    who do wear the outfit that doesn’t match their SPIRIT.
    THAT is what you’re really picking up on when you shake your head
    in bewilderment at some one trying too hard, trying to look 18-20
    when they are 45-50. It’s a defense mechanism then, that is so
    transparent for lack of self esteem, that no amount of effort can hide it.
    Compounded when a good portion of an ENTIRE GENERATION
    are trying to lie to themselves giving a false acceptance of defense
    mechanisms as “normal”….So I say to all-YOU ARE THE RULEBOOK
    as to what can or cannot work for you. If there are problems still
    then it is your relationship to yourself you have not mastered yet.

  21. Perfect financial sector | September 23, 2010 at 7:47 pm |

    Beautiful collection!

  22. thank you so much!!

  23. In the second photo from the bottom, what are those pants called?

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