Brooks Reintroduces Unlined, Rolled-Collar Oxford, Price $140

bbnew

Yesterday a reader notified Ivy Style of a new buttondown oxford he spied on Brooks Brothers’ website. The description bears words that loyal but frustrated Brooks men have wanted to see for decades: “We’ve restored the signature rolled collar.”

You read that right, Brooks has finally admitted that something went wrong with the collar on its iconic oxford buttondown (going back to the Marks & Spencer years, according to what I’ve been told), and has deliberately tried to get it back to the way it was for most of the 20th century.

Now here’s the kicker: with regular oxfords now going for $95, this new “fixed” buttondown is priced at $140.

I stopped by 346 Madison yesterday, but the shirts had not arrived yet. According to this page on Brooks’ site, there are apparently a lot of them, including several Bengal stripes.

In the meantime, I’d sent questions to Brooks’ PR department. A press release was drafted, which just got approved and landed in my inbox a few minutes ago. It is pasted below in its entirety.

There’s one final bit of news: the “regular” oxford we’ve gotten used to (or not), most recently raised to $95, may be no longer available, according to a source and the company’s website, making $140 the new price for the iconic Brooks oxford. Awaiting confirmation on this. — CC

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

(RE)INTRODUCING THE ICONIC BROOKS BROTHERS
ORIGINAL POLO® BUTTON-DOWN OXFORD SHIRT

(New York, NY – January 12, 2016) – Brooks Brothers, America’s longest established retailer, announces an update of their iconic Original Polo® Button-Down Oxford shirt, which started a revolution in menswear upon its introduction 120 years ago.

The shirt style was first introduced in 1896 when the grandson of the Brooks Brothers founder, John E. Brooks, attended a polo match in England and noticed that the polo players’ collars were pinned down so as to prevent their flapping in the wind. John brought his discovery back to Brooks Brothers, and thus the Button-Down shirt was born, a Brooks classic which some have called “the most imitated item in fashion history.”

Keeping true to the quality and craftsmanship, as well as Brooks Brothers tradition of innovation, this classic shirt returns with some details from its ancestors and with additional refinements. Most notably, the trademarked collar was adjusted by removing the interlining for a softer, natural shape and a rolled collar effect returning to the original design of the shirt. Adjustments were also made to the placket and cuffs, which have been also been softened for added comfort.  Further elevating the shirt is the reintroduction of the mother-of-pearl buttons accenting the cuff, collar and placket. Side gussets as well as a longer swoop of the shirttail were added to help prevent the shirt from becoming accidentally untucked. Most noticeably, the front shirt pocket, which has been a feature of the shirt since 1968, has been removed to more closely mirror the style of earlier versions.

The updated Original Polo® Button-Down Oxford shirt is made in the USA at the Brooks Brothers shirt factory in Garland, North Carolina from pure American Supima® cotton.

The Original Polo® Button-Down is now offered in three fits: Madison, Regent and Milano; and four colors in candy stripes and solids including white, pink, blue and purple.

Customers may purchase the Brooks Brothers Original Polo® Button-Down Oxford for $140 at Brooks Brothers retail stores worldwide, online at brooksbrothers.com or by calling 800.274.1815.

26 Comments on "Brooks Reintroduces Unlined, Rolled-Collar Oxford, Price $140"

  1. Chewco L.P. (Offshore) | January 13, 2016 at 1:37 pm |

    This is good.

    Also, “made in USA.” Not Malaysia or China. Price point reflects this, I suppose.

    One can only hope this is going to be a sign of things to come. They must be reading ivy-style.

  2. I’m glad they’ve done this. It possibly indicates they’re listening to a significant part of their customer base and trying to keep them happy. Well done.

    With this said, the fact that it’s priced higher than comparable shirts by small “custom” boutique brands such as Mercer and MIchael Spencer seems like a strategic oversight.

  3. No iron or must iron? Too bad about the pocket. Bit spendy too.

    Will

  4. I am not sure that they were listening to us Trads. I think that they are just falling in line with the must-iron made in USA OCBD market (Mercer, Michael Spencer, etc.)

    Now that this shirt will presumably replace the $95 OCBD I wonder how long Brooks will continue to produce must-iron OCBDs as a part of their core offerings. For instance, if this shirt does not sell well will they stop making it in a year???

    It seems that our work horse shirt has become a luxury item. I also wish that the new shirt had a chest pocket.

  5. And it’s available in Milano!

  6. terrryoreilly75 | January 13, 2016 at 2:26 pm |

    @MrErikJ
    Exactly. Why pay $140 for their offerings when for just a bit more you can get MTO from the likes of Michael Spencer, etc.
    Either way it’s a welcome return to (physical)form.

  7. Just bought 4 Regent on Dec.26. With 40% discount, plus extra 15% that day, plus $40 in Brooks rewards cards, the price came to under $39 per shirt. Only one opened so far. My instinct is to return the others because the new ones are what I really want, but I don’t know if I can justify/rationalize $100 more for each shirt.

  8. terrryoreilly75 | January 13, 2016 at 2:28 pm |

    *I meant to type ‘for just a bit LESS’, not ‘more’. M Spencer shirts are $135, and quite nice.

  9. This offering seems reminiscent of recent Own Make which wasn’t done very well and didn’t last very long. We will see. My 80’s vintage herringbone Own Make coat keeping me warm today. Had to wear socks too, damn it.

    Will

  10. Vern Trotter | January 13, 2016 at 2:37 pm |

    Worth a try ASAP. Strange they left out whether must iron or not. Original, of course, means must iron to me. It always looked better without the pocket.

  11. This is one of the few must-iron shirts available.

    In chatting with two salesmen yesterday (both young), they used the term “non-non iron,” enough to make a customer’s head spin.

  12. I remember buying RL items which stated that they were “Guaranteed to Wrinkle”.

  13. Henry Contestwinner | January 13, 2016 at 2:43 pm |

    My thoughts exactly, MrErikJ & TerryOReilly: why pay $140 for an off-the-rack shirt when you can get more or less the same thing, custom made, for less than $100? I imagine some people might buy one from Brooks, and after making sure it fits (or noting any adjustments needed), send the shirt to a custom shop to get it copied.

    No pocket. Hmm. On the one hand, I prefer pocketless straight collar dress shirts, because it makes for a clean, elegant look. On the other, casual shirts “should” have two pockets. On the third hand [sic], the single-pocket look of an OCBD hits that sweet spot between dress and casual: dressy enough to wear with a jacket & tie; casual enough to be worn tieless with whatever.

  14. Jay Bartlett | January 13, 2016 at 2:44 pm |

    I predict that BB will come to their senses in a short time and realize once again that the majority of their customers are not interested.
    Unlined collars are just a gimmick now.

  15. The majority isn’t the majority anymore. This is a nod to the purists, who now have to pay a premium for what was once standard, and which BB messed up in the first place.

    They broke it, then they finally fixed it, and now they want you to pay for it.

  16. Might even experiment with one of these. It’s been donkeys since I bought anything but boxer shorts at BB.

  17. Tinseth posted on The Trad that Del Vecchio informed him that the 132Q was sold at a loss. That was several years ago. It wouldn’t surprise me if they finally said “enough.”

    I did notice that the cuff button appears to have been moved back, which is a nice detail found on older iterations. However, my biggest gripe is that they still haven’t brought back the 6-button front! That second-button is still squarely in no-man’s land. Even the Gatsby oxford from a few years back had that feature.

  18. Brooks did something right, for once!* Whether this means a step in the right direction (on the heels of BB ending Black Fleece and, regrettably, Own Make) or just another marketing ploy – as OCBD points out, we don’t yet know.

    I, for one, am happy Brooks has finally provided a reason not to relentlessly bash it. I’ll take my kicks where I can get them.

    *Should have kept the pocket – maybe the only good innovation since 1968.

  19. One more thing – those complaining about the price seem to not understand how shopping at Brooks works: one absolutely never pays full price. The game is to wait for 40% off and buy at well under the Michael Spencer price point. The practical price of these shirts is probably around $80 putting them in competition with Kamakura – not MTO offerings.

  20. Charlottesville | January 13, 2016 at 5:19 pm |

    I am anxious to get a report from a satisfied (or not) customer. The U-stripe colors (blue, aqua, purple and yellow) look good, and if they run a good sale, as noted above by JDD, I’ll take the plunge.

  21. NaturalShoulder | January 13, 2016 at 6:20 pm |

    I have become a Mercer fan over the years, although I just picked up a Michael Spencer out of curiosity and am quite pleased. I prefer to patronize small businesses when possible and the BB price point doesn’t incentivize me to switch from Mercer. However, I may pick one up on sale in a colorway not available from Mercer. I am also glad to see the no pockets. I have come to like the clean look on all of my shirts.

  22. Is what we used to call a “University stripe” now called a “Bengal stripe”? I thought a Bengal stripe was usually on broadcloth shirts, and a bit wider and brighter in color? Although I guess if they change the fit names every 6 weeks, might as well change the stripe names too.

  23. Good lord, Paul, you’re right. I was so busy with the three posts today (a first) I hadn’t noticed that the traditional oxford-cloth stripes are now called Bengal. Bengal is usually a different fabric and different beast altogether. Very odd.

  24. Henry Contestwinner | January 14, 2016 at 3:42 am |

    I saw that too (i.e., “Bengal” stripes), but did not comment on it until now.

    I attribute the Bengal misnomer to a combination of ignorance and marketing: no one with any pull at Brooks knows what the traditional terms are or what they mean (I pointed this out in a recent comment about formal wear at Brooks), but a marketing guy saw the term “Bengal stripe” somewhere and thought, “hey, catchy! It’ll stand out from the crowd. Exotic but not racist. Let’s give it a try!”

    As I understand it, Brooks used to call their striped OCBDs “candy stripes.” Some years back, an Ivy Style commenter made fun of the term “university stripe,” which I thought odd, as until I started reading Trad blogs, I had only encountered “university stripes,” never “candy stripes.” J Press uses both terms, with the distinction being not in the stripe but the material, but Press might have changed its nomenclature since I last looked.

  25. ethan fanshel | February 15, 2016 at 10:00 pm |

    Put a pocket on, charge $70, keep popular sizes and colors in stock and make a lot of money. Otherwise, no thank you.

  26. I just scored a like brand new pink BB OCBD from a thrift store with no mention of Madison, Fitzgerald or Milano but plain old Made in USA in supima cotton. Unlined collar, seven pearl buttons, pocket and long front and shirt tail and beautifully hefty material. Freshly dry cleaned and pressed (it will be cleaned and pressed again before use) for $6.99. But wait, the green tags are all $.99 today.

    Good hunting lads,

    Will

Leave a Reply