Two Brothers

Earlier in the week I wrote about how we’re all adapting to living in an age of contradiction, and on Friday two items came across my desk today that exemplify the strange case of 21st-century Brooks Brothers. The general public is always behind the times when it comes to fashion, so while Brooks has been transformed into something much different than it was, it continues as shorthand for the establishment (that is, the old sack suit establishment, not the new jeans-and-hoodie one). This gives the company a kind of dual identity, like two twin brothers with opposite personalities.

Brooks’ runway show in Japan shows one “brother.” Granted it’s a runway show, but as always the most obvious comparison is with Polo, and Brooks just doesn’t have the same level of creativity and detail. You can see all the looks here.

The other brother comes via The National Review, which on the same day had this quote:

Last week, a tweeter took issue with something I had written. He decided to make a crack about my Brooks Brothers wardrobe. Obviously, the guy has never seen me …

But say I did wear Brooks Brothers. So? Am I right or wrong? A guy can be right either naked or draped in finery. He can be wrong in either condition too. People think that saying “elitist” or “Brooks Brothers” relieves them of the responsibility to think.

And for one more bit of Brooks news, check out this piece from this week on BB and Alden at Put This On. — CC

12 Comments on "Two Brothers"

  1. Brooks has lost its mojo.

    Polo has duende but Brooks doesn’t.

  2. Old School Tie | May 25, 2019 at 6:23 pm |

    That all looks suspiciously like a rip off to me. Of the Tommy Hilfiger show a few years back, sans the Hadid sisters.

  3. Seems the idea/image of Brooks Brothers is still John O’Hara’s BB. That ship sailed out to the mall long ago.

  4. Edison Creely | May 26, 2019 at 5:36 am |

    The only things I’ve ever bought from BB are neckties and OCBD shirts. I still do so after 40 years, and see no reason to change. Nothing else they produce is of any interest.

  5. NonUtSibi | May 26, 2019 at 7:05 am |

    @Edison Creely

    I was with you (also including khakis/cords) but since OCBDs went to $140 they lost me on that one too. A staple isn’t a staple if it costs more than 2 of the shirts did a scant 5 yrs ago.

  6. Edison Creely | May 26, 2019 at 10:29 am |


    I should have been clearer. I used to buy shirts and ties from BB, now it’s just ties.

  7. All I’ve bought from BB for the past 5-6 years are ocbds, seersucker shirts, linen shirts, a couple of ties, and a couple of sweaters.

    Matter of fact, during the recent sale (they’re almost weekly now, it seems), I wanted only a pink striped seersucker and called in asking if they’d sell me just the one for $50 as they didn’t have them during my last order. They did and that’s all it cost using my Shoprunner account.

    BB of old, however, long ago left the building. But as my old auntie likes to say, “It is what it is.”

  8. Former Rugby junkie | May 26, 2019 at 11:50 am |

    how to we acquire some of these items? is this a preview of what will be in stores, or just something to hype their aesthetics?

  9. Charlottesville | May 28, 2019 at 10:05 am |

    The linked piece from Put This On was interesting and sad, but I suppose hardly surprising. I am thankful that I already have Alden-for-Brooks shell-cordovan tassel and penny loafers sitting in my closet. Hopefully, they will last me for the rest of my life with occasional reconditioning at the Alden factory.

  10. @Charlottesville
    I took advantage of the last sale + coupon to score some cordovan unlined LHSs. Killer price, and apparently for the last time.

  11. Charlottesville | June 3, 2019 at 4:00 pm |

    NCJack – What a great buy. Truly a classic.

  12. White tie lover | June 4, 2019 at 4:16 pm |

    Any reaction to Trump in tails the other night at the Queen’s state dinner. What a truly ghastly fit. Hope I never meet his tailor.

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