Panel Discussion: The Brooks Brothers Patchwork Cardigan


I spied this in Brooks the other day — you can see why it was hard to miss. The new patchwork cardigan — includes 20 different panels and 15 colors — is made of lambswool and priced at $498. According to Brooks’ website (which also notes the designer spent 30 hours on it), the sweater is all but destined to be a sellout. There’s certainly something about it that says “collector’s item.” So what do you think?

Is it a must-have?
Cheers to Brooks for keeping the preppy GTH spirit alive (or vivo, you might say)?
Good in concept but not execution?
Or is patchwork a vice among preppy’s many virtues?

Last year there was an epic patch-tartan cardigan by Polo that stirred my cravings, but it was something like $1,200, which makes this one look like an absolute bargain. — CC



46 Comments on "Panel Discussion: The Brooks Brothers Patchwork Cardigan"

  1. I think this is a winner. I’m not sure it’s a must have, but at least it carries on the GTH amusement!

  2. Chewco L.P. (Offshore) | September 28, 2016 at 12:04 pm |

    Let’s see (not counting the placket, ribbed cuffs, and patch pockets):

    2x fair isle pattern, 2x birds eye stitching, 4x cable knit, 1x fisherman pattern (at back), 1x basket weave knit, 2x herringbone, 1x glen plaid, 1x houndstooth, 1x plaid with window pane overlay.

    That’s 15x individual patterns I can count. Almost in time for the holiday 🙂

    I am aware of the polo sweater you speak of. It was equally as ostentatious.

  3. Marc Chevalier | September 28, 2016 at 12:12 pm |

    Effective birth control.

  4. Possibly the uncoolest cardy I’ve seen. But I ain’t seen much, apart from Steve “THE Cardigan” McQueen.

  5. I say good on Fratelli Brooks for recognizing its American heritage (and patronage).

  6. @Chewco I think it’s more charming and quaint than ostentatious.

  7. @Bags

    OK, but English Ivy guys don’t do GTH. it’s an American thing and doesn’t play where you live, nor fit in your taste parameters.

  8. Brings to mind Noel Coward lyric: Why do the wrong people travel when the right people stay back home.

  9. Actually, this is something I could see being worn for Thanksgiving or even Christmas.

  10. Christian, you are certainly right in saying that we don’t do GTH, but this number looks as if it goes a bit beyond that. It’s hardly some skull and crossbones on a pair of navy blue pants. Funnily enough I found myself being drawn to some patchwork Madras swimming shorts this summer. Not like me at all.
    Re THE cardigan. Any thoughts?

  11. I wear Shetland sweaters, not “collector’s items.”

  12. Of the four suggested responses #3 summarizes my take.

  13. Patching is as patching does.

  14. That number of interior machine-serged seams is going to irritate the wearer of this garment. By contrast, patch madras seams are machined flat so that the wearer barely knows they’re there.

  15. I would not wish to be seen wearing this garment. Also, I think they missed an opportunity to apply leather patches to the elbows.


  16. Isn’t this the same cardigan Donald Sutherland wore in ‘Animal House’ after boinking Boone’s GF?

  17. Yeah, pretty sure my wife would leave me if I came home with this. For several reasons. The price tag would not be the first reason.

  18. Chewco L.P. (Offshore) | September 28, 2016 at 3:10 pm |


    I believe the Ralph Lauren example comes with leather (suede) elbow patches.

    I think people are missing the point of these sweaters. Just as people don’t swear tuxedos everyday, so this “party” sweater is meant to be worn once a year (if at that).

    Furthermore, people who buy Austin-Healy sports cars typically own several motor vehicles. As a corollary, this sweater isn’t for people who are afraid of wearing anything other than a grey v-neck sweater.

    I own (almost) every single one of those 15x patterns (in my earlier comment) as a sweater/jacket. This sweater would look as though I literally cut them all up to build a single garment. I find that idea appealing (as a hint to this: I can recognize that the patterns came from actual earlier Brooks Brothers sweaters, including their trademarked “Brooks Brothers plaid” design hidden in there).

    The price isn’t bad either. I am certain some wool J. Press (solid color) sweaters cost almost as much.

  19. I have patch madras shorts. I’ve owned the BB “fun shirt” for over 20 years or so (probably gets worn 0-2x a year). I just picked up a pair of BB patch madras pants off the Bay of E. As I get older, I gain even more appreciation of the cardigan as the near perfect functional form for a sweater.

    So I should love this, but I don’t think I do. Maybe in person. Individually, I think I’d love a sweater in every patch represented, as a cardigan or otherwise.

    Is the pattern randomized? If so, perhaps I’d love it more, knowing that (within reason) mine would be unique.

    I can’t put my finger on it, but somethings just not clicking.

  20. Cranston Hughes | September 28, 2016 at 4:08 pm |

    Go to Hell? Go to Bellevue? Go be the Belle of the Ball?

  21. Rupert Bizzell | September 28, 2016 at 4:44 pm |

    An ugly Christmas sweater for the rest of the year.

  22. “Look I made a fun shirt with different solid color oxford swatches!”


  23. Outside of Bing Crosby, I can’t think of anyone else it would look that great on.

  24. Ridiculous and contrived. And yet, I cannot look away.

  25. Dr. Huckstable, your roofie is ready.

  26. @BRB I agree with you on the fact that it would be nicer if each sweater were unique but I don’t think that is the case. Also, there is something off and for me it is certain panels. I don’t like the checkered one nor the plain brown one (opposite the houndstooth). I would have to love every panel, color and design, to buy this sweater.

  27. @sacksuit please don’t refer to this work of art as a Cosby-sweater.

  28. If the Amazing Criswell of “Criswell Predicts” fame was still in a position to predict, he would probably predict this thing will end up on sale at a substantially reduced price sometime in the future, since, as Criswell used to say, “We are all interested in the future because that is where we will be spending the rest of our lives”.

  29. The OPH was wrong; you *can* have too many sweaters.

  30. @rojo I agree, but one should amass a collection and then purge.

  31. Clever quote, Roycru, thanks for that.

    There’ve been some good zingers here and on our Facebook page as well. Nice one, rojo!

    We should have another Battle Of The Wits contest. I promise the prize won’t be a sweater.

  32. I prefer my solid navy blue to wear over and over and over again.

  33. Perfect for fall and winter cottage excursions. Paired with Bean Boots and cords. Hard to wear in any other situation though.

  34. You’re welcome, Christian.

    For those who don’t remember Criswell (who was always overdressed for the occasion) here are his predictions for 1966……

  35. If Webster’s has no picture in the definition of “overmuch”, might I suggest…..

  36. Is 30 hours too much, or not enough?

  37. @GS

    Bob Ross’ paintings are considered by some to be art. I call them wall hangings and don’t take them too seriously. I say this as a fellow who has amassed a fairly decent collection of go to hell trousers. I have already warned my wife that I plan to wear my Carroll Reed Ski Shop green cords with spouting whales to her company’s party in early December in Boston paired with a sober white oxford, 3/2 roll blue blazer and cordovan loafers. I do an excellent “Hammer Time” dance.


  38. I like it a lot. I wouldn’t pay that price – but for a winter GTH piece that is put on display 5< times a year, it's fantastic. Obviously, it isn't for everyone – but, for me, it sure beats candy-cane GTH cords or some other GTH winter variation.

  39. @sacksuit that sounds like a nice ensemble, hammer away.

  40. Given that the different knits will very likely have different yarns and therefore different fibre content, one can only suppose that the various parts of this monstrosity will sag by different amounts and at different rates. By all means go for it, but do not coming crying to us if you end up looking like the Chesapeake Bay version of Quasimodo…

  41. I’ll admit to owning some GTH party attire. I’ve got last season’s Polo patch plaid BD and various different paneled university striped paneled DBs and small gingham paneled BDs from different makers over the years. I’ve got some GTH Chipps ties. A couple of wide whale corduroy critter pants and a really hideous pair of very old fire engine red cords I wear to KC Chief games. While each panel on it’s own would make a great sweater this conglomeration doesn’t cut it for me.

  42. Destined to become a classic at the ugly holiday sweater parties, sorry. Probably marketed under the 346 Outlet line too…

  43. I think the wussed out. The ribbed cuffs, hem, shawl should all be miss-matched as well. It looks like a contrived mess. I guess you can tell I don’t like it at all.

  44. Perhaps I’m an oddball, but I’m thinking hangover, comfiest worn-out trousers (or sweats) I own, beat up leather wing chair (it has to be beat up or I’ll slide right out), wasted flannel or chamois shirt (I could substitute a hoodie because I’m older and I like layers around my neck and balding head), wool socks or slipper socks, and a screwdriver (the vodka and OJ variety). Oh yeah, throw in a crackling fire and a foot of snow with more on the way, and wake me when the pizza guy shows up.

    Once I’ve eaten all the pizza I can stand, I’ll crawl back into the loft and fall asleep under the Donegal Tweed patchwork blanket with my ever faithful, and flatulent, bulldog Penny snuggled beside me. Hey, I’m not going out, and I wear clothes like this when I don’t care what I look like… I wanna look good when I feel like sh!t.

    I’m sure Brooks didn’t have this scenario in mind, but it’s what works for me…

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