As The Summer To Remember — or forget as fast as possible — winds to a close, let’s catch up on the latest news. Heavy Tweed Jacket, a longtime and much-loved denizen of Tradsville recently disappeared from the web for reasons unknown. But he is now back and on Instagram. You younger fellows who use this platform would benefit from following this seasoned dresser along with your roster of twentysomething influencers.
It’s comforting to know that things can be reborn. Whether that happens to Brooks Brothers, of course, is highly unlikely. And so we present this video from The Wall Street Journal entitled “The Rise And Fall Of Brooks Brothers”:
From a declining brand to one on the ascent, Barron’s has a piece on Rowing Blazers and its “eclectic, preppy streetwear.” (Stay tuned for an exclusive interview with RB founder Jack Carlson coming later this week.)
The brand releases a new product almost every week. “I’m often very idiosyncratic and specific about these things,” he says. Much of the output is in limited-edition products. In this teasing, get-it-while-it-lasts way, they are similar to well-known streetwear brands, like Supreme. “It has a sense of tongue-in-cheek, a sense of rebellion to it,” Carlson says.
I fail to see how perpetual conspicuous consumption qualifies as “rebellion,” but things are rather upside-down these days. Some have even go so far as to assert that “conservatism is the new punk rock.” This leads to our final item, which ties into “rock” — as in crawled out from under one. Two weeks ago Machiavellian machinator and Harvard alum Steve Bannon was arrested for wearing a polo shirt under a buttondown.
Crime, especially against fashion, doesn’t pay. The below image is presented at 666 pixels wide.
Enjoy this first week of September and swan song of summer. I dropped off my white linen trousers at the cleaners and said I need them back ASAP for a few final outings. Nothing staunchly defies the chaos of one’s environment quite like white linen. And so we close with tip of the panama to Joseph Conrad, author of “Heart Of Darkness.” — CC
Thanks for the subtle humor of the dual shirt fashion crime. However, if one consults p. 138 in the OPH “Layering”, he is in no violation.
Thanks for the news about HTJ, Christian. So glad to see him back online. Also, a very good idea to get a few more wearings of white linen, seeersucker, tan poplin, madras, white bucks, etc. since Labor Day will be at our throats in a week. A tan and brown, silk and linen POW tweed sack with cream linen pants, both from the pre-Italian Brooks Brothers, sounds like a good combination for me tomorrow. Just the thing for the home office on a rainy Tuesday.
HTJ’s return, the best news all year.
Indeed. We’re all in the know here. ; )
Charlottesville- Rain? What’s rain?
Poor Steve Bannon, the Rodney Dangerfield of the media: he gets no respect, no respect at all.
Christian’s image of him at “666 pixels wide” is a subtle allusion to the Satanic mark of the beast: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Number_of_the_beast#Mark_of_the_beast
On a serious note, I don’t fault Mr. Bannon for having a preppy sense of style. He is from a generation of Harvard students that shopped at J. Press, Brooks Brothers, and the Andover Shop and set high sartorial standards for themselves. “Neo-Edwardian dandies” was the look they tried to emulate.
HTJ- overall, the best at posting on the stuff some of us like. I’m happy he is back.
If you look at BB website today, it seems unhinged. Hundreds of styles, all at discount of some sort. And I say that as a huge fan of their shirts.
If I had the a $$$ to buy them, I would lean into the “conservative as punk” concept but not ironically. Since we dress up less often, when we do we might want to do it right. I really believe there may be a renaissance in dressing well. Also have good solid business casual clothing, and be an innovator like in the past.
Lose the childrens clothing – no kid should wear BB, that is vulgar. It’s a men’s brand, ditch the womens clothing and let Anne taylor, Tori Burch, etc. do what they do best. For the love of almighty God, reduce the number of SKU’s by about 75%!!! Good solid colors and tasteful patterns, but not a million different styles, just a limited number of classic and tasteful ones. Also, lose 90% of the logos. Maybe just on the polos, and I would even prefer for that to go away, it’s too aspirational.
End of rant. I just want them to succeed.
I agree with most of your ranting. I, too, would like to see BB succeed, but I wonder if that is possible. Can BB be trusted? It’s not like BB was defeated by a superior outfit; BB strayed and self-destructed. It would take a couple of generations for BB to re-establish itself as reliable. They have to want it. We cannot want it for them.
HTJ hasn’t posted to his Instagram account in eons, so unfortunately, he is not back.
John Carlos – I gather that the after effects of Laura did not make it to your part of the state. Either too much or too little seems to be the Texas way with rain. Hope you get a bit soon. We had 3+ inches yesterday and it is still coming down. I could do with a bit less, but it beats a drought.
Charlottesville- Yes Laura was about 350 miles east of San Antonio. I think its rained once here all Summer. But August is over! In fact, I’m having lunch with a friend today to celebrate. August in Texas is brutal, but January-February temps are usually in the 50-60 range so I guess it all evens out. Triple digit temps in July and August for so many days that I lost track.
HTJ last posted in July, not exactly eons ago. His posts are a welcome change from news about the Peking Plague.
My wife and I happened to be passing our local Brooks outlet last Sunday and decided to stop in for old time’s sake. It had just opened back up. A clerk who seemed very knowledgeable about the Sparc acquisition said the new owner planned to keep open about 100 locations nationally. That still sounds like too many to me. But what surprised me was that his store was one of those locations. The reason? It is profitable. Which, come to think of it, makes sense because this is a region where Ivy style still prevails, up to a point, and the store is situated on the only thoroughfare between our major urban areas and the Atlantic beaches. However, at least two other BB stores in this region will remain permanently closed, he said.
Trace – Very interesting, and I think hopeful. Even though I no longer buy much there beyond boxer shorts, socks, pajamas and the occasional shirt or necktie, I hate to see Brooks simply fold up. I assume that you are somewhere in the mid-Atlantic area. If profitability is the key, and it should be, that would seem to bode well for downtown Washington, midtown Manhattan, Boston, Philadelphia and a few more stores in cities where traditional menswear still thrives to some extent. But I agree that 100 sounds like too many. I hope they don’t sell the flagship at Madison and 44th, although I am sure that the building is worth a fortune.
John Carlos – Glad you are looking forward to a break in the heat, and hopefully a bit of rain.
Andrew K., thanks for saying this: “Also, lose 90% of the logos. Maybe just on the polos, and I would even prefer for that to go away, it’s too aspirational.” It’s one of the things that bothers me the most about “luxury” fashion: this whole idea of having to show off the logos of the brands you bought. Do you mean you want me to pay money to advertise for you? Thanks but no thanks. I try to buy stuff with no or very discrete logos as well. Hi5!
Agreed, @Maira – royals are rarely seen with products that include logos. Sometimes its unavoidable Like Brooks Brothers polo shirts. I recently purchased a rugby shirt from L.L. Bean which unfortunately includes a prominent logo. Of course there is the Rolex watch which is hard to disguise. And sneakers. My bag screams Tumi. Etc.
The last time I checked, 3-4 years ago, Brooks still does not own 346 Madison Avenue. Because I inquired, I received emails for some time wanting to know if I had an interest. Quite not my intention.
Now I am told they do own the building and it was not included in the sale. Not sure how this played out in the bankruptcy.