Return Of The Green Stripe

Brooks Brothers has brought back the university-stripe oxford in green rendered in the new-old (as opposed to the old-new) version with unlined collar and $140 price tag.

Brooks has also started making alpha-sized sport shirts the same unlined way and at the same price, but with the chest pocket that was removed on the new-old dress shirt.

Seems like most guys who wear their oxfords without a tie — such as untucked with a pair of shorts, JFK-style — just use their old dress shirts. So I’m not sure what need is being filled by alpha-sizing a dress shirt and calling it a sport shirt. Perhaps it’s a compromise for those who miss the pocket.

But most of us already have a bald spot from too much head-scratching over Brooks.

BTW, I heard from a publicist about the book they’ve got planned for their 200th anniversary next year, which will hopefully have some great archival images. And even though we’re small potatoes to a billion-dollar international apparel company, I’ve asked for a special sneak-peek at the book here at the grassroots level of Ivy-Style.com. I was told a definite maybe. Stay tuned, and stay buttoned-down. — CC

40 Comments on "Return Of The Green Stripe"

  1. It seems to me that that a more suitable tie than the one in the top photo would have been this one:

    http://s7d4.scene7.com/is/image/BrooksBrothers/MA02078_NAVY-GREEN?$bbproductimages$

  2. There is no good reason for them to alpha-size their OCBDs because even sport shirts benefit from being classically sized (neck and sleeve length). Polo alpha-sizes their sport shirts which is why I can’t wear them anymore, my arms are too long. And for those of us who see OCBDs as simply the sport shirts that they are, (being originally designed for sports) suitable only for odd jackets and not suits, classic sizing is still better. It seems as though they’re saying that a shirt with a pocket is somehow less formal than the same already not formal shirt without a pocket and alpha-sizing adds to the shirt’s casual attitude.

  3. Also, not that I’m a purist but I like to follow the OCBD “color rules” of white, blue, pink and yellow same for stripes so no green for me.

  4. C. Lassford | March 24, 2017 at 12:53 pm |

    GS:
    You’re far more open-minded than me; I stick to solid white and blue.
    Blue stripes when I feel daring.

  5. Interesting, my first OCBD was a blue university stripe and now that I’m in college, university striped OCBDs seem appropriate.

  6. Like a yellow university stripe, in my opinion, looks nicer than a true yellow OCBD as it is lighter and softer in appearance. I don’t like ecru which, to me, looks like a badly sweat stained shirt.

  7. I see they’re available in red as well. BB used to offer two kinds of red striped OCBDs, the basic red like what they have now, plus a darker red (perhaps they referred to it as “burgundy” – I don’t recall). The return of those dark red university stripes would be a welcome sight.

  8. Grey Flannels | March 24, 2017 at 1:05 pm |

    Camford:

    One reason that I haven’t given up on Brooks Brothers is that they still have the BB#3 Rep Tie available.

  9. Before the price increased from $95 (~$50 on sale) to $140 (still haven’t seen it on sale), Brooks had the best value OCBD around, if made in USA is important to you. I don’t want to pay the premium for the slight customization offered by Michael Spencer or Mercer.

    Now there’s nothing U.S. made, sub $100, with traditional details. In this humble Trad’s opinion, they should have reintroduced an alpha sized (read: lower quality/cost) made in U.S. OCBD for those who don’t want the “dress” OCBD.

    Now that the price has jumped to $140, I doubt BB will ever offer a sub $100 OCBD ever again. (That is, Made is U.S., must iron)

  10. Is the collar on the sport short version shorter than on the no pocket dress shirt?

  11. I wonder if the OCBDs of the Polo and Tennis players who originally wore the shirts had pockets or in which era shirts with pockets were first seen.

  12. Those alpha-sized OCBDs are vanity sized, at least in the Regent fit (the only one I checked). If you look at the size chart, a “small” is 15.25 x 33.25 and a “medium” is 16.25 x 34.75. Until now, a “small” sport shirt at BB was 14.5 x 32 and a “medium” was 15.5 x 34.

  13. When did Brooks add a pocket to the OCBD? I mean, a case is there to be made–that the pocketless OCBD is a vintage look. Actually, I feel sure the case has already been made.

  14. I’ve been wearing green OCBD’s, solid and stripes, for a couple years now, since watching some dumb movie. A sales girl advised the star (Chris Rock) that green was sexy.

    Wife thinks green is sexy, too. Go figure.

    I laugh every time I’m wearing green.

  15. S.E. I agree!

  16. Rick Woodward | March 24, 2017 at 8:22 pm |

    I’d probably buy some if they would put the pocket back on. It used to be that you would have to request that he pockets be removed. I really question the market research on the pocket. How about offering the option? Nah. How can you leave any decision to the customer?

  17. Brooks Brothers is dead. End of story.

  18. Green uni stripe has been out for a while in must wash OCBD. But the green is more blue-green rather than grass or kelly, which is a shame.

  19. A Trad Confused | March 24, 2017 at 9:00 pm |

    JDD,

    They’re on sale all the time. Right now buy 3 shirts get 25% off… bringing the OCBD to $105 each. I know because I bought 3 new shirts tonight.

  20. @Confused

    Good catch! Every time I bother to look at a BB sale, they seem to be excluded. Regardless, I appreciate the heads up.

  21. Nice post, Christian. The green stripe is cool and looks great unironed with jeans. But what was BB thinking by making a “dress” shirt with no pocket? Don Draper wouldn’t be caught in one. Nonetheless, since the new-old versions came out I have little fondness for my old-new ones, even though they have a pocket. And alpha sizing is ridiculous, and only a way for manufactures to save money by making less variety of sizes. Lands’ End even put an explanation mark in their description of one such shirt. “Sport shirt sizing!” What a self embarassment for them. I believe their Hyde Park is the only remainign shirt that is normal sizing. Also the only must iron vrsion they have. By the way, just ordered 2 Hyde Parks and the pockets seem too high. About an inch above the third button. Anyone have similar experience?

  22. Shirt pockets, in my opinion, are really unnecessary. Whatever you put in them can fall out if you bend over.

  23. The most trenchant commentary on the necessity of pockets on OCBDs is Press’. Their pocket has a lid on it to make it inconvenient for any purpose but decoration.

  24. Isaiah Trofimenko | March 25, 2017 at 2:43 am |

    I received a discount card (40%!) and used it yesterday to buy one of their original polo shirts. The final price was around $80. I was actually prepared to find out that the promotion would work with any item, except their original polos, but in fact it could be used with any item. This is my first made in USA ocbd, and I got it for ~$80. Lucky me! 🙂
    Also, the lady who assisted me was very nice, which is becoming a rarity at Brooks Brothers for some reason. Way too often have I encountered bad attitude from salespeople at BB stores. Sometimes they would tell me plain nonsense (like, that all brands have identical shirt sizes, which is of course bs). But this salesperson was very friendly.

  25. What exactly do we mean when we say “alpha sized”? I bought one of the new BB OCBDs recently and the fit seems normal to me. I’ve also got my first Mercer waiting for me when I return home this week, so we’ll see how that compares.

  26. I’ll welcome any additional market research, but I think there’s reason to trust the input that pre-Heyday Brooks OCBDs were offered sans pocket. The era of the vest and/or waistcoat, after all.

  27. S.E.

    From my limited research, the 50’s Brooks OCBDs had no pocket.

    See North by Northwest.

    I am not saying that is definitive, but whenever you see a Brooks shirt from back then, it is difficult to find a pocket.

    The only company I know offering a classic OCBD made in USA for less than $100 is Ratio Clothing. You can get it made up however you would like-pocket, flap pocket, no pocket, two pockets.

  28. Maurizio L. | March 25, 2017 at 10:53 am |

    Paul,

    Re your question: “What exactly do we mean when we say “alpha sized”?”

    It means sized for alpha males, of course.

  29. Paul, alpha-sized is S, M, L, XL, etc.

  30. ZJP and S.E., as much as I do not like pockets on shirts and would like to believe that Brooks’ 1950’s OCBDs didn’t have one, there is a picture of actor William Holden from 1954 wearing an OCBD with a pocket. I do not know for certain what brand his shirt was but it might have been Brooks:

    http://www.ivy-style.com/the-white-buttondown-william-holden-1954.html

  31. Here’s some proof that the classic Brooks’ OCBDs didn’t have pockets and that they probably first appeared in the 60’s:

    The OCBD Shirt Series, Part II:

  32. Henry Contestwinner | March 26, 2017 at 12:41 am |

    I got a green striped OCBD from LL Bean a couple of years ago. Icky non-iron treatment; neck bigger than advertised; boxy regular fit. But I love the color!

    I second GS on the softening effect of white stripes, and how bad ecru shirts look to my eye.

  33. Philly Trad | March 26, 2017 at 2:34 am |

    LL Bean still has the OCBD shirt available with a green stripe.
    They refer to the color as Everglade:

    https://www.llbean.com/llb/shop/34441?feat=111737-bundle&dds=y&csp=a

  34. Vern Trotter | March 26, 2017 at 2:59 pm |

    Mr. Mercer did all the research for us years ago. We are wasting our time on anything but his shirts. In addition, I still adhere to the old, old rule to never wear a stripe with a stripe, as shown above.

  35. Vern, very true, too bad his shirts are so costly.

  36. @JDD

    Brooks usually offers 25% off when you buy three but recently I received a card from them in the mail that gave me an extra $100 off any purchase of $300 or more (or $200 off a $500 purchase). Between the 25% and $100 off, I ended up getting three shirts for $215.00 or $71.66 apiece. Also, unless there is a free shipping discount offered online, try ordering whatever you need from the store directly as they always offer free shipping no matter what.

  37. ArgyBargy | April 4, 2017 at 1:27 pm |

    The subject of G. Bruce Boyer’s essay My Favorite Shirt, published on this website (http://www.ivy-style.com/my-favorite-shirt-boyer-for-gant.html), is a green striped OCBD. He wrote:

    “[The salesman] set before me a red, brown, blue, and green stripe. The striped oxford cloth was always a “candy” stripe: wider than a pencil stripe, not as wide as a Bengal stripe. They were all handsome and any of them would have suited my small but versatile wardrobe. The green – not a bright Kelly or grass green, more of a slightly faded fir green — was a bit more unusual.

    “I’ll take the green one,” I said. I knew it would go nicely with my grayish brown herringbone tweed jacket or my summer tan poplin suit.”

    In my first attempt to acquire a shirt like this, I purchased Michael Spencer’s “Light Green Mini Stripe Pinpoint Oxford” shirt:
    https://michaelspencer.us/product/light-green-mini-stripe-pinpoint-oxford/#step-1
    While it is a very nice shirt overall, being *pinpoint* oxford, the cloth is smoother and thinner than standard oxford cloth. Between the cloth and the lighter green color of the stripes, it seems to be more of seasonal spring and summer shirt. So, I’d still like to find a standard OCBD with a darker green candy stripe as Mr Boyer described. I’m not sure yet if BB’s offering will fit the bill. You would think that this would be a common cloth that places like Michael Spencer and Ratio would stock. Although, even when Mr Boyer was a young man, he had difficulty finding it:

    “I wore that shirt for two years as a dress and sports shirt, til my neck size changed. I got another year out of it just as a sports shirt. When I went back to the shop a year or so after that, I found the green stripe was no longer being made.”

  38. Atlanta Pete | April 6, 2017 at 10:13 am |

    The 50’s model BB OCBD did not have pockets. My father worked for a large insurance company and he would travel to Ohio to meet with the president a couple of times a year. He reported that he would always tell the president, a Yale man who wore BB, that he hoped the president would soon do well enough to afford pockets on his shirts.

  39. I’ve read that Brooks was generally 20 years behind the latest trend. So they didn’t put a pocket on their oxford shirts until about 20 years after most men stopped wearing vests.

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