Madras Surprise


Pictured above is a madras surprise from Brooks Brothers, seen last week at the company’s Spring 2014 preview. It’s a nice dark fabric with soft shoulders, partial lining, and a 3/2 button stance.

What’s the surprise, besides the fact that it’s mid-September and you were expecting posts about tweed and flannel?

Can you guess?

68 Comments on "Madras Surprise"

  1. The Price?

  2. Made in America?

  3. They make plenty of stuff in America, so that wouldn’t be a surprise, and I don’t think they even know prices yet in a preview.

    Keep guessing.

  4. No, we can see the three buttons (as well as the darts).

    The surprise is something you can’t see in the photo.

  5. I think the only things we can’t see is the inside and the price. I’ll guess that it something to do with one or the other. Or maybe the designer? Was it you?

  6. The mannequin is wearing shorts or it’s a women’s jacket or it’s both.

  7. The surprise is you’re giving it away – to me. 40R please

  8. There must be something crazy like a different pattern on the back or a sweet lining.

  9. Hook vent?

  10. I’d go for hook vent seein it’s half lined

  11. Ivy Style collaboration? Just like KJP or Social Primer. That or they’ve decided to start making Black Fleece for real people (that red white and blue horizontal stripe even looks like Thom Browne’s mark).

  12. Tell me it’s bleeding madras!! That would be a surprise

  13. Since it isn’t a patch jacket in madras, seersucker, corduroy, gingham, and PoW check materials, with hacking pockets, two ticket pockets, six button surgeon’s cuffs with contrast stitching, and double breast pockets (one flapped, the other open), I’m guessing it’s not the F.E. Castleberry x Brooks Brothers jacket.

    On the other hand, because it is done in classic Ivy style, and is as tasteful as a madras jacket can be, I’d say it’s the Ivy Style x Brooks Brothers special edition madras jacket.

    What line, though? Will it be the $500 Red Fleece line, the $800 regular line, the $1,000 Black Fleece line, or the $4,000 Natural Craftsmanship line?

  14. Its probably one of their “modern” cuts, which leaves us 60+ year olds out of the hunt.

  15. It’s too damn short.

  16. No one’s got it yet, though one of you was close.

  17. Is it reversible?

  18. The madras material is made in… India? Scotland?

    It’s made from deadstock material?

    It’s the WASP 101 x Brooks Brothers jacket?

    It’s AEV X BB?

    It’s Chipp for Brooks Brothers? Sid Mashburn for Brooks Brothers? O’Connell’s for Brooks Brothers? Ben Silver for Brooks Brothers?

  19. Could it be the J. Press for Brooks Brothers line?

  20. You’re giving one away!

  21. Ironchefsakai | September 15, 2013 at 5:52 pm |

    Maybe THEY gave it away–to Christian!

  22. Ironchefsakai | September 15, 2013 at 5:53 pm |

    Maybe it has tacky elbow patches.

  23. Ironchef is on the right track.

  24. Maybe it has suede elbow patches.

  25. Or perhaps seersucker?

  26. You designed it?

  27. If it were that, I’d have a better photo and bring it out with more fanfare.

    No, it’s a design detail, rather contrary to the ones I listed.

  28. “Ironchef is on the right track.”

    Ah, so it’s a less-than-tasteful surprise, I see. I’m going with a crazy embroidered eagle like from a Brooksgate denim popover I found on eBay a few months ago.

  29. The entire back of the jacket is a contrasting fabric–either another madras pattern, or some other fabric entirely.

    Or perhaps, it’s unvented.

  30. So close! Shouldn’t be hard to figure out now.

  31. Double vented or no vent.

  32. Well Aliotsy alread guessed no vent, so the answer is indeed double-vented.

    Sorry to disappoint those who were expected something more earth-shattering. But I was surprised when by chance I looked at the back of the jacket. Given the other elements of this attempt at a quintessentially Brooks/American jacket, I thought the choice of double vents surprisingly…. European.

    But that’s becoming less and less surprising.

  33. No thanks…..

  34. What’s with the sleeves/shoulders? The cut is odd

  35. Well it’s hard to judge the cut because we have no idea the size of the form and size of the jacket. I took another picture with the jacket buttoned and it was super-tight, but that means nothing if they simply sized down, or put a size short on a form that should take a regular.

    However, as far as cut goes, I tried on some of the new Own Make suit jackets and am expecting info from BB about the collection, so I’ll report on that soon.

  36. NaturalShoulder | September 15, 2013 at 9:53 pm |

    How did you find the fit of the own make jackets?

  37. That’s coming soon. Brooks PR is working on gathering up a bunch of info on Own Make, including how many suits and jackets will be available this season, and if the cut is different from the Cambridge updated sack. I’ll also share my impressions on the fit and plan to go back again to double-check my initial impressions.

  38. A very curious cut.
    Darted too.
    It’s Brooks, but not as we knew it.

  39. Madras jackets have become too played out……like patch madras shorts (and shirts), critter gear, etc. This model, with side vents, sort of proves that point (as do the recent pics of Fred wearing a similar model – Rugby would be a safe bet – at “The Harriman Cup” {a random UVA/Yale alumni event he attends for painfully ironic reasons}….he’s wearing his with a purposely flipped collar, shorts (so we know he’s not cold!), a bow tie, contrived cuff flipping, and a button down collar left purposely undone). As a rule, if people like Fred are photographed wearing something, it’s time to give that item a (long) rest.

  40. Just opening this up now. My guess before getting near the end of the comments, was that maybe BB’s is FINALLY getting it.
    WRONG!!! Should have known, it was too good to be true. BB’s apparently lacks any ability to stop playing around with what should be a classic item by using details most of us don’t prefer.

  41. @Christian & Natural Shoulder – I did a short post on the current “Own Make” offerings that Brooks has on their site. I think that they are the Southwick Cambridge model, but I am not sure. Zach from Newton Street Vintage seems to think that as well. It is really hard to evaluate the jackets with the models wearing such small jackets. Here is a link to the post:

    I look forward to hearing about your first hand experience with the jackets!

  42. As observers of this brand I think we’re all interested in what they’re up to. But before you start assiduously going down your checklists to see if it hits all the right notes, first look at the price. Jackets are $900 and suits are $1,300, more, I suspect, than many here are willing to pay for any clothing.

  43. I just hope that this “madras” jacket is made from authentic madras, bleeding or otherwise, instead of that ersatz madras that feels like heavy cotton. Assuming it is, I’ll sign up for one in 46R as long as the price point is south of half a grand. Brooks Brothers is doing its best, and although I wish they’d try to be more authentic like Norman Hilton, etc., I have to give it praise for at least trying.

  44. Is very close to Neapolitan cut!
    Round natural shoulders and darts.
    Harvard and Yale on Naples gulf !

  45. NaturalShoulder | September 16, 2013 at 12:38 pm |

    At that price point, MTM may be a better option unless one wants to chance end of season markdowns.

  46. As short as these jackets are, Brooks Bros. must be going for the Little Abner look.

  47. Another ssswing-and-a-miss for the Brethren 3.0

  48. You gents are pretty funny, all up in arms over side-vents! OMG, it’s the end of the world!

  49. To translate emjkmj’s comment:

    “Wow! You guys care about something I don’t care about! I think you’re overreacting because I don’t care enough about this to react similarly!”

  50. Side vents on many other suits or sportcoats — no problem. But this is such a quintessentially American/Brooksian-type jacket, it came as a surprise. It’s a well chosen fabric that BB made with a 3/2 button stance, unpadded shoulder and partial lining — just like they used to make.

    But the choice of double vents is puzzling as it seems to contrast with the rest of the jacket, as well as Brooks’ heritage when it comes to making this kind of jacket. I’m not sure what’s behind it, or which is more puzzling. Either the designers/merchandisers knew this type of jacket traditionally takes a single vent, but they decided to make it double, or they didn’t know this, because the designers merchandisers come from a completely different point of view, and when it came to choosing the vent style, went with double as their default, rather than Brooks’ historical default.

  51. @Henry- Close! I find side vents more flattering on most wearers, myself included… Besides, even if it was PERFECT to your “standards”, most of you wouldn’t reach in your pocket to buy it anyway, because you probably have a favorite one that you bought in 1967.

  52. Henry, despite having the disposition of a cranky old fart, hadn’t been born yet.

  53. Is an “italianate” jacket for me.
    Natural shoulders,darts and double vents.
    The only Ivy thing is madras,that not is much in Italian tradition.

  54. You are mistaken, Christian. I’m older than you, but of the same generation. Thank you, though, for your correct, and flattering, if slightly scatological, description 🙂

    I was born old. So was my son.


    You, me, Fred Astaire, and most Brits agree on the superior silhouette of side vents.

  55. Oh—and Alan Flusser, too.

  56. Silhouette looks very American to me, including the pre-1968 high button stance that BB and Press were known for. If you care enough, have your tailor sew the flaps and make it ventless. If only Uniqlo would undertake to make such a coat. . .it would be just as nice and cost about $69.

  57. I thought the surprise was that Brooks made something that the commenters here wouldn’t sh!t all over for petty reasons. I guessed wrong.

  58. I always get a chuckle out of all the comments. What’s become of all the trad companies who stopped the design clock at 1965? Oh, that’s right, mostly out of business today.

  59. Perhaps so, Stan, but not necessarily because they kept to traditional style. Changing tastes were a factor, but so were changing economics and changing laws.

  60. Stan & Henry,

    And malls and big-box stores and the internet and…

  61. @Stan

    That is due, to a great extent, , to the fact that the vast majority of American men have no taste in clothes, and the fact that many young Ivy adherents don’t understand that novelty and Ivy don’t go hand-in-hand.

  62. Dittos to you here Curmudgeon. These younger ones maybe just don’t know and/or understand, that Ivy/Trad has outlasted countless fashion trends!!!

  63. Amen to OCBD, Curmudgeon and Jim. Little or no value is placed today on subtlety and balance in men’s clothing. Last weekend I looked in almost disbelief at the men’s style magazines which arrived with the Wall Street Journal on Saturday and the New York Times on Sunday.

  64. Jim, I’m sure the guy who’s still wearing Poly leisure suits feels that’s he’s outlasting the newer “trends”…

  65. @Stan

    Re: Stopping the design clock at 1965.

    That’s the year I graduated from college. I’m pleased to say that I dress today exactly as I did then, except that my lapels are narrower, my ties are wider, and the collars on my OCBDs are smaller. No item, pattern, or color that has appeared since then is of any interest whatsoever to me; I can still easily find virtually everything that I could back then, the only exception being wool challis neckties with foulard or paisley designs, which were far more readily available in the past.

  66. emjkmj:
    In my humble opinion, an “updated classic” is an oxymoron. Fashion is fashion/contempory and classics are classics, and lasting for a reason!
    A year from now, side vents will probably be a lot less popular than they are at this moment. Designers keep people’s wallets alot lighter, by constantly having some folks constantly spend their hard earned cash on the newest fashion trends!
    At age 58, I still receive frequent compliments, having dressed the same way my entire life, as a traditionalist.

  67. + 1 in favor of side vents.

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