Ah, the search for the happy medium. This tie’s too wide, this one too narrow. This trouser has a full rise but the leg’s too baggy; this one has a slim leg but a low rise. You get the picture. It’s something every man who’s exacting about his clothes goes through.
Enter the new Golden Fleece collection, which has been updated once again by Brooks Brothers. I overheard a salesman the other day saying it was a new capsule collection they were testing out, and it’s on the Brooks site as one of the few things not on sale.
So what does this have to do with happy mediums? Well, the shoulders on the new Golden Fleece jackets do not take the middle ground. They are instead at the opposite end of the spectrum from, say, J. Press’ Canadian-made shoulders of recent vintage. Whereas the Press shoulders were squared-off and overly padded, the new Golden Fleece shoulders have nothing in them at all. Like a slack jacket. Or a cardigan. Or, perhaps most appropriate, a track suit.
Check out the description from Brooks’ website:
It is lightweight and minimally constructed at the shoulders for a supersoft comfort that’s similar to your favorite activewear.
Yes, the jackets are two-button, double-vented and made from Italian fabrics, so not exactly trad in any way. But the non-existent shoulder is somewhat interesting. Is it a negative, in the sense of being too extreme? Or is it somehow a positive sign of the overall direction of menswear moving towards “natural shoulders”? I say menswear because for years now Brooks has given the impression of reacting to outside trends rather than setting its own.
On the models the jackets seem to be shown at a more normal length, a welcome improvement from the short trend that lasted far too long. But there are other curiosities, such as the high gorge.
And then there are the prices. Sportcoats are $1,498 and suits $2,498. But at least you finally get horn buttons. The collection also includes some cotton trousers priced at $398, and plenty of pricey zippered sweaters. But remember, this is Brooks’ top-shelf collection.
In the meantime, we in Tradsville continue to hold out for the reintroduction of the old pattern. In fashion nothing’s quite as fresh as something long gone, and here’s a perfect example of a garment with natural shoulders and an easy cut. Couldn’t it be just the thing for today’s activewear-obsessed consumer? — CC