Brooks Invokes Ivy And Prep

Funny how everything’s turned upside-down, as I argued in the “50th Anniversary Of Slob Nation” essay. Back during the Heyday, Brooks Brothers never had to invoke the terms “Ivy League” or “preppy” — in fact company executives often abhorred the terms — for a very simple reason: Brooks had crafted its signature style long before the terms came into popular usage.

But we’re at a post-everything point on the timeline, so as a result Brooks now invokes the terms. This is newsworthy because the brand has gone so international in its styling that devoting a page on its site to the classics and then tweeting about it is noteworthy.

As to the clothes themselves, well you’ll just have to take a look. — CC

38 Comments on "Brooks Invokes Ivy And Prep"

  1. White shirt!


  2. FrontPorchLife | September 21, 2017 at 1:22 pm |

    Stretch Pants? Somehow that does not sound classic.

  3. Yawn… I would think a true traditionalist would run for the hills upon seeing a look in Brooks Brothers catalog entitled new. Therein rests their challenge. New is not traditional, old is. And I have not had a cocktail…yet!

  4. Brooks Brothers now has Zac Posen designing their runway collection. That should tell you all you need to know about their current direction.

  5. Check out the length of the herringbone on page two, is it a sport coat or a vest? 😉

  6. Brooks: you really have some cojones. Four hundred dollars for a quilted nylon jacket. Over double what Barbour charges. Plus, “save ten percent if you spend $1,000.” You’re too much, too much.

  7. “…and just too very, very to ever be in Webster’s Dictionary…”

  8. Charlottesville | September 21, 2017 at 3:34 pm |

    A guy here at work was wearing a tweedy bum-freezer with ankle-bearing stretchy pants yesterday, and he looked like a complete ass. I felt sorry for him. I had no idea that he is what Brooks now considers Ivy. This is why, with the exception of some socks, boxers, a shirt or two and some ties, I haven’t bought anything at BB in years. It only seems to get worse. I have $60 in Brooks Reward coupons in my wallet, and I was unable to find anything that I wanted in the local store when I checked a week or so ago. Thank goodness for J. Press and eBay.

  9. Well, the shirt looks nice. The rest is quite bade.


  10. It is bade, as in “I have bade farewell to Brooks Brothers.”

  11. I’d think classic is a Barbour Moorland and a pair of Bean Boots. Classic is natural materials.

  12. Once you accept the that Brooks hates their clients, everything will then make sense.

  13. Charlottesville | September 21, 2017 at 4:28 pm |

    ljmd – You may be on to something. I have always suspected that certain designers (Thom Browne and Christian Louboutin for two) must hate their customers. Why else convince them to wear tight, poorly proportioned suits and tortuously high-heeled shoes? It must be an elaborate joke.

  14. The Classics collection is so uninspiring. I appreciate the effort to maintain some tradition, especially in the face of all the changes going on, but they really missed the mark here.

  15. Good news. The new JPress site is up.

  16. Richard Meyer | September 21, 2017 at 6:28 pm |

    Unfortunately for these days at Brooks, I was a BB customer in the 60’s. Brooks was Brooks then.Now, except for the Peals-and the real Peals closed shop in the mid 1960’s- the stuff is Gap/ J Crew.

  17. These days when I see “Ivy” or “Prep” in an ad or article, I expect the clothes pictured to be some sort of cartoon, costume caricature of the real thing. Alas, I’m seldom disappointed.

  18. @Richard Meyer I couldn’t agree more. And the folks who work at our local BB belong at Gap/J Crew. They are clueless. “Why would anyone want a shirt that has to be ironed”?

  19. Brooks Brothers makes suits for
    Pee Wee Herman. For shame.

  20. Minimalist TYrad | September 22, 2017 at 1:30 am |


    I couldn’t decipher whether you were admiring or objecting to the white shirt.

    White OCBD shirts have always been “de rigueur” and were so long before blue.

  21. Minimalist Trad | September 22, 2017 at 1:31 am |

    “Minimalist TYrad” and “Minimalist Trad” are the same person. Sorry for the misspelling.

  22. Richard Meyer | September 22, 2017 at 6:32 am |

    In the d.C. region, while Press is OK, the best purveyors for “trad” clothing are Wm. Fox in D.C. and Richard Allen and English Country Classics in Middleburg, VA

  23. @Charlottesville,

    This is the last place I expected to see a Christian Louboutin reference.

    Did you know he makes men’s shoes? Fantastically expensive, fantastically ugly.

  24. Wonder how many bogus Brooks “duck boots” the Italian department store will sell since people can buy real Bean Boots from L L Bean for slightly more than half what the Italian department store charges for the bogus boots?

    While on the subject of shoes and since someone has already brought up Chris Lowbutton shoes, some girls who buy Chris Lowbutton shoes will only wear them on carpeting because they don’t want to mar the bright red soles that inform the world they have more money than either good sense or good taste.

  25. Pathetic.

  26. G. Bruce Boyer | September 22, 2017 at 10:36 am |

    You might actually think that Brooks wasn’t even interested in trad clothes. But I think it’s a mistake to confuse disinterest and bad taste.

  27. Grey Flannels | September 22, 2017 at 12:20 pm |

    Far be it from me to ever disagree with the venerable Mr. Boyer about matters sartorial, but I actually liked quite a few of the items, among them:

    Donegal crewneck sweater
    Cahsmere scarf
    Rep stripe tie
    Filson bags
    Cashmere cable crewnecl sweater
    Rep bow tie

    Am I now guilty of having bad taste?

  28. Pedantic Semantics | September 22, 2017 at 12:22 pm |

    Does anyone else find the copy to be clunky on the image? They should have written it to use the same article, with or without the (Ivy).

  29. Charlottesville | September 22, 2017 at 12:39 pm |

    My only up-close brush with Louboutin shoes was in a store in NY (Saks maybe?) killing time while my wife shopped for something in the vicinity. I picked up a ridiculously high-spike-heeled, $1000 shoe and the salesman, possibly noting my quizzical expression, asked what I thought. “Looks comfortable,” I said and he laughed out loud. They reminded me of Steve Martin’s short piece “Cruel Shoes,” the text of which is available here: .

  30. @Richard Meyer

    I would add Eljos in Charlottesville to that list, but if Charlottesville is considered too far south to be included in the DC area, that is understandable.

  31. Richard Meyer | September 23, 2017 at 6:53 am |

    @NDC: Of course, and there is the Andover shop, O’Connels, Ben Silver and other worthies, to be sure. I was just mentioning the D.C. area, where I currently reside, and which is festooned with BB stores. In my youth, if I recall, there were only a handful of BB stores-my native NY, with the 346 Madison Ave. flagship, Boston, Philly, LA and a few more.

  32. “Good news. The new JPress site is up.”

    A whole lot of the tailored jackets are just as ridiculously short as the BB herringbone called out above.

  33. Minimalist Trad | September 24, 2017 at 11:32 pm |

    As Mr. Boyer has pointed out elsewhere, Alan Frank of Langrock, a man of a impeccable taste, usually wore a WHITE oxford cloth button down.

  34. @SFSteve Probably older photographs with a model that was too tall for the sample size (40 reg), newer photos of the same cut should be better. The great news is that you can always call us (212.255.6151) or email and ask for a real-deal live-in-person measurement!

  35. Minimalist Trad

    I like the shirt. At first I thought it was the new/old shirt finally marked down from $140 because I saw it on my phone in the glare of the sun. I then saw the pocket and realized my mistake. The collar roll looks good though and it is made in USA. I don’t like the sizing though as I wear a 15 1/2 34/35 so the M will have too short arms and the L will fit me like a tarp.

    When I start retaining water, I may consider the khaki stretch pants, but not today.


  36. Indeed, when I was in prep school in the early 1980s, the Brooks catalogues never used “Ivy” or “preppy.” Sentences did begin with “Our exclusive….” or “Our classic…” or end with, “ours alone,” frequently. What the store was selling in those days was not the Ivy look or the preppy look, but the Brooks Brothers look. It was a distinctive, time-tested, house style.

  37. Example: I remember being in a Brooks Brothers store in the 1980s when a gentleman was choosing a sportcoat or a blazer and asked the salesman whether he needed to choose a jacket cut or style. “No sir, we have only one. It’s the Brooks Brothers style, and it never goes out of fashion.”

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