March Madras: Brooks, Press, RL, Gant, O’Connell’s & Ben Silver

March Madras continues with this updated post with two more sartorial jump balls.

In the first, J. Press squares off against Gant.

Wearing an almost blinding uniform, J. Press offers a traditional madras sportcoat priced at $495. But shouldn’t this guy have graduated by now?

In contrast to Press’ perennial classic, Gant offers classic-with-a-twist. Its madras jacket comes with elbow patches, a slim fit and short length (according to the description), and a price tag of $675.

In the next bracket, it’s O’Connells versus Ben Silver:

O’Connell’s sends out this US-made $495 offering, but is its patchwork design and bright colors a buzzer-beating Hail Mary that will make you the king of the lawn party, or a flagrant foul against good taste?

In contrast, Ben Silver presents a muted olive jacket that would pair great with charcoal gabardines and a navy knit tie; it’s also also last year’s model and is half off its original $645 price. Good deal, but late to the game with 2012’s lineup.

So who takes home the trophy?

* * *

It may only be March, but summer’s favorite fabric is already available from the usual suspects. And given that choosing the right madras sportcoat isn’t easy, with the countless possibilities, you might as well start pondering now what you’ll want to wear come June.

In this madras toss-up, Brooks Brothers squares off against Ralph Lauren. Ralph’s team has the bigger payroll but lacks the height advantage (the coach is a size 37 short). Brooks is old school, while Polo is new. And then there’s the possibility that white men can’t jump.

On the green team, RL offers a handsome classic-with-a-twist jacket for a mere $325. It has a three-button stance and sloping shoulders, but given last year’s $1,200 madras jacket, could the quality of this one be more in line with this Division III American Living jacket?

On the blue team is a classic easy-to-match offering from Brooks; not yet online, according to the spring catalog the jacket is priced at $398. The buttons are white instead of RL’s gray, and the jacket is also three-button and undarted. But are the working buttonholes a slam dunk or technical foul?

Sound off and let us know who wins this sartorial jump ball. — CHRISTIAN CHENSVOLD

32 Comments on "March Madras: Brooks, Press, RL, Gant, O’Connell’s & Ben Silver"

  1. Working button cuffs are an abomination of our times. Their (sartorial, not practical) origin comes from bespoke suiting, or at least MTM, when a man knew he would not have to alter the length of a jacket’s arms. Now they have been tacked on everything from this Made-in-God-Knows-Where BB jacket, to Suit Supply’s , to H&M and Zara in an effort to make something look higher quality than it is. The result, however, is nothing but ill-fitting sleeves that would cost upwards of 25% of the total cost of the jacket to alter. That is, if you can find a tailor talented enough to shorten a sleeve from the cap down.

    Working sleeve buttons on an OTR jacket are the equivalent of painting a Hyundai racing green and hoping people will think it is an Aston Martin.

    Which is too bad, since I think everything else about the BB offering is superior.

  2. Agree with FLW’s comments. Will add that both look too short.

  3. At least the BB model isn’t wearing his sister’s shoes and a jacket that’s two sizes two small.

  4. They both look like a nice plaid, but they are each cut too short for my liking!

  5. Probably hard to judge jacket length from these photos. If the model takes a long, he could be wearing a regular, and if he takes a reg, they could have put him in a short.

  6. There’s also the Mad Men/Thom Browne/Pee-wee Herman “aesthetic” at work here.

  7. Thank you for putting that pretentious word in quotation marks.

  8. Yeah, I knew you’d appreciate that.

  9. Ok, apparently no such website. Oh well.

  10. Nearly forgot–I vote for the Brooks jacket.

  11. Brooks jacket picks up the color of the shorts nicely. Agree, jackets are sized short which I view as a current fad! The only thing a trad designer can do to get one to keep buying is…wide lapels, short lapels, wide tie, thin tie, long jacket, now short jacket, oh yea, pleats, no pleats. The class of Prep is owning and wearing the same properly fitted blazer you bought 20 years ago…. Wear jackets this short and you will be laughed out of the board room.

  12. Maybe it’s just me, but I have a difficult time envisioning a situation where a grown man would wear a sportcoat with shorts.

  13. Michael Mattis | March 13, 2012 at 8:09 am |

    Really? First ten seconds:

  14. Michael,

    That’s not a sport coat he’s wearing: it’s a blazer.

    I can see how a casual sport coat (like these madras numbers) can work with shorts, but it’s the tie and shorts combo that gets me.

    Best to forgo shorts altogether.

  15. Michael Mattis | March 13, 2012 at 12:11 pm |

    You got me there. Right about the tie (and the vest(!)). But I could see playing a little informal croquet in the park on a warm day in a madras sportcoat and a pair of shorts.

  16. Perhaps, Michael, perhaps. But it’s the sockless look that gets me. No socks with boat shoes? Sure. Ankle socks or “hidden” socks with tennies? Great. But no socks with (CC’s beloved) saddle shoes, or, worse yet, brogues? No way.

    Trousers nearly always look better than shorts. For croquet, put on a white polo shirt, white ducks, white socks, and white shoes. If you want to tart it up with a madras jacket, be my guest. I’ll wear a white cardigan.

  17. My votes go to the ones from J. Press and O’Connell’s. Both always perfectly classic!

  18. you are a bunch of stuffy boring old men!
    get a clue ..the world has moved on with out you

  19. Michael Mattis | March 14, 2012 at 2:03 pm |

    Evidently, “steve,” the world seems to have moved to a post-grammatical place.

  20. I vote for the J. Press version, very nice.

  21. I prefer the muted tones of the Ben Silver or Gant, even if I don’t care for the cuts.

  22. O’Connell’s is as “F” you as a garment can get!! To wear that baby, you have got to be prepared to take some heat. And I don’t mean the sun!!

  23. In each pair I prefer the one with olive green or brown. The patchwork one is particularly unattractive.

    If you feel the need to dress up with a tie, I think long pants should be part of your outfit.

    I actually like the saddle shoes. I had a pair exactly like them in third grade.

  24. Honest Abe | March 14, 2012 at 9:03 pm |


    “get a clue ..the world has moved on with out you”

    Just one look at today’s world should bringing any thinking man to tears.

  25. Stuffy Boring Old Man | March 14, 2012 at 9:15 pm |

    What a pleasure to see that some of the jackets are in the gentleman’s cut, as opposed to the gigolo’s cut.

  26. Hey Stevie: You writing all the way from Milan, the contemporary world fashion headquarters???

  27. Fred Johnson | March 16, 2012 at 8:27 pm |

    Hate them all – shirts, maybe… jackets never.

  28. Boston Bean | March 16, 2012 at 10:10 pm |


    Hear! Hear!

    Alway glad to find another reader who knows the difference between Trad style and clowns’ costumes.

  29. Dickey Greenleaf | March 24, 2012 at 4:04 pm |

    J. Press express, All the way.

  30. Upcountry Tweed | November 24, 2016 at 10:33 pm |

    Sporting madras is a hazardous undertaking for neophytes and pseudo-preps. As far as I’m concerned, a tie should never be paired with a madras sport coat. Even George H.W. Bush looked ineffably hilarious when he tried pulling off the look Only light khakis chinos and white polo / white OCBD will suffice. Also required are brown belt, brown loafers and brown watchband.

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