Yesterday the Wall Street Journal reported on a new Golden Fleece collection from Brooks Brothers meant to be modern and casual. I know what you’re thinking: isn’t that what Red Fleece is supposed to be?
Apparently, Golden will be kind of like Red’s uncle.
Writes Ray A. Smith of the Journal:
The 198-year old clothier this month will begin carrying a line of high-end sportswear that includes sweaters, casual jackets, buttoned sport shirts and slacks under the label Golden Fleece Collection. The collection is aimed at men who want to dress casually in a polished way, whether off-the-clock or in an office with a business casual dress code.
The new collection will also include suits and tailored pieces, but they will be lighter and less structured than its other suits.
In addition to the emphasis on sportswear and a lighter feel, the Brooks Brothers line will also feature technical attributes such as 3-D knitting on seamless sweaters, washable wool button-down shirts that have the look and feel of cotton rather than flannel, seamless outerwear that is windproof and water-resistant, and pants with stretch.
The Golden Fleece Collection will cost about twice as much as what many Brooks Brothers customers are used to for its casual clothing. Prices for casual outerwear range from $1,098 to $1,798 compared with $498 to $998 in the retailer’s main line. Sport coats cost $1,498 compared with $498 to $998 in the main line.
Some of the line’s more formal looks also cost more. Dress shirts and dress trousers cost $225 and $448, versus $92 to $120 for shirts and $248 for pants in the main line. And suits in the Golden Fleece Collection cost $2,498 compared with $998 to $1,398 for suits in the main line.
That’s the nuts and bolts. Now for the lines that make your irony meter explode:
The new collection puts Brooks Brothers more in step with modern menswear after generations of men have its bought suits, button-down shirts and the iconic Repp ties.
Brooks Brothers doesn’t quickly jump on fashion trends, partly to avoid alienating longtime loyal clientele who can be fanatical about the brand.
The retailer gradually adopted trends like flat-front pants.
Now, a tailored sweatpant in the new collection, made of stretch wool jersey, is more elegant than sporty, Mr. Tanzi said. “We don’t want to change our tradition.”
To further the irony, it’s worth noting that Brooks Brothers’ legacy was already based on the seamless integration of casual and formal wardrobe items, and mixing casual items such as khakis and boat shoes with a blazer or tweed jacket, cotton crewneck, popped polo shirt or frayed oxford is the veritable formula of the Ivy League Look. This is the same approach to dressing but with an entirely different set of ingredients. Buon appetito! — CC
No comments, please. Remember, silence is GOLDEN!
New fall promo video:
“The retailer gradually adopted trends like flat-front pants.”
Sigh. Flat-front pants were 100% Ivy –and totally Brooks Brothers– from its 1950s-’60s heyday through much of the 1980s. In fact, it wasn’t until the mid ’80s that BB once again offered pleated pants … for the first time since World War II.
Who is this Ray A. Smith, and what else does he not know?
My mother told me it was better not to say anything if I couldn’t say something nice. The girl and the car in the promo video are both pretty. I think that exhausts the nice things I can say about this. BB has gone full on Pitti Uomo.
But your mother said that before the Internet was invented.
Yes, it is better just to make no comment.
“The retailer gradually adopts trends like flat-fronts pants”….what the what?!?!
If you’re going to charge me those prices, the stuff goddamn better well be knitted in 3-D!!!
The selected “irony meter” lines are beyond help.
Exactly, the pants quote might be the most interesting. Seperate from what it says about the writer’s knowledge of the brand’s history, the interesting point is that flat fronts were the Brooks default for decades, but after the brand changed it had to re-adopt them, but not as a return to its roots, but as a reaction to a broader fashion trend.
To borrow a phrase: Fratelli Brooks.
Should read: “The new collection puts Brooks Brothers more in step with modern menswear after abandoning generations of men who have its bought suits, button-down shirts and the iconic Repp ties”.
The line about Brooks ‘not jumping on fashion trends, so as to avoid alienating loyal customers’ simply cannot be read and taken seriously. Without discounting our dear editor’s creativity, of course, one could say that this very blog’s raison d’etre sprang from the inaccuracy of that statement.
We at Brooks Brothers have always specialized in authentic and elegant items like these sweatpants, hand-woven in our atelier on 44th Street. They are unlined, and made in a blend of cashmere and Kevlar. Paired with an unconstructed tweed one-button jacket that reverses to a fleece hoodie, these pants can make the seamless transition from office, to gym to subway. $2,498.
Sorry — Hit send accidentally. The “C” comment was from me. And Christian was right. I couldn’t resist. Sorry, Mom.
“Brooks Brothers doesn’t quickly jump on fashion trends…”
“… a tailored sweatpant in the new collection…”
The writer for this clearly didn’t read it twice for good measure. I have no words for Brooks Brothers.
Good job with Brooks, Il Duce.
Sometimes I wonder what would have happened if Brooks had been bought by Jos. A. Bank…
GS — Presumably, they would sell darted 2-button suits with reverse pleated pants for $1500, or 3 for $199. In the 1970s Jos. A. Bank carried solid, mid-priced 3/2 sack suits and sport coats with hook vents in traditional fabrics, but look at them now.
Charlottesville, that really made me laugh because it would be true. Yes, I’ve briefly heard of how they were once “the poor man’s Brooks”. Also read an article stating that in 1998 they decided to close their factory in Syracuse, must have been the beginning of their current era.
I’ve been looking far and wide for a wool jersey sweatpant! I will happily pay $998 for such an item. I think I shall wear them to their steakhouse the next time I’m in New York. Have they a dress code? Sweatpants should probably be alright as long as I wear a collared shirt. I may put catsup on my fillet too.
“The retailer gradually adopted trends like flat-front pants.”
Yeh, and in another recent “innovation” someone at BB declared that University stripes on their new/old OCBDs were to be known as Bengal stripes.
Could it be that those who don’t know any history are doomed to think whatever they do is an innovation? And they can call it whatever they like?
I don’t understand all the hoo-ha about pleated pants. If properly tailored, they can look elegant. And no, they aren’t just for our portly friends.
All you guys who drool over the Apparel Arts illustrations–pleats aplenty in those.
Occasionally wears pleated pants
I don’t like it! Bluchermoc DOES NOT endorse!
The Fleece Job Collection.
@Don personally I don’t like the look of pleats, save them for ladies’ tennis skirts. They look too old and you can’t go wrong with a simple flat front pant.
@GS I agree. Trads don’t want to look “elegant”. We want to look trad.
Is Brooks phasing out the Fitzgerald fit?
That Golden Fleece Blue Cashmere Sport Coat is looks pretty official. It’s 10/10. I know. I am an expert in these sorts of things.
Good job, Brooks B. Keep it up.
Southwick, Southwick, Southwick, Southwick….
It’s like they read the ivy-style.com comment section.
@JohnCarlos Trad may be elegant in some cases, such as formalwear, but on the whole is is just trad. Pleats, however, are not elegant in any form, IMO.
Now that far better OCBDs, navy blazers, and chinos are available from other makers, the only reason I have to shop at BB is for neckties.
This is at least the third ‘collection’ in a row that relies very heavily on earth-tones. Both the Natural Craftsmanship and the final season of Own Make also had lots of browns, tans, and brown/blue combinations. Perhaps this is an Italian thing, I don’t know. It seems to be pretty different from the colors one would expect in the Anglo-American sartorial realm. “No brown in town” (or “Brown is for farmer”, as we briefly said 10 years ago).
The Golden Fleece offerings look like Banana Republic. Very sad that this is what replaced Own Make – which at least attempted to be traditional.
As an aside – does anyone know the answer to AT’s question? It looks like there are very few (if any) new Fitzgerald fit sports coats in the new season. Has Regent come to entirely replace Fitzgerald?
Problem with the BB above is the jacket is still too short, like RL they are just wasting beautiful fabric on a twinky looking show your ass and gunk fit. The pockets on these jackets are so high they are unusable. I don’t want a pocket opening at my elbow.
Pleats have a better drape, especially with suits. They are also more comfortable if one sits at a desk all day or have an athletic ass and thighs.. I’m talking forward pleats, reverse pleats seem to make a lot of guys look three months pregnant. 😉
Regent or Fitzgerald. With respect, does it really matter?
“There are moments, Jeeves, when one asks oneself, ‘Do trousers matter?'”
“The mood will pass, sir.”
Fitzgerald was a good fit for me. I’ve written several times here about a tweed Fitz.
Yes, a reader told me that customer service said it’s being phased out and combined with the Regent; asked the company to confirm and comment but didn’t hear back.
My one post-sack-era BB suit is a Fitzgerald in tropical-weight navy. My preference for the 3/2 sack notwithstanding, it fits well and gets trotted out a few times a year for summer weddings, funerals other relatively formal hot-weather occasions. It certainly bears no resemblance to the short and pinched looks they seem to be peddling today.
Where’s his bracelet?
Also, BB jumped the shark not long after Fonzie did.
I’d imagine this is rolling out to fill the post-Black Fleece void. Not nearly as fashion-forward as BF (sweatpants notwithstanding), but definitely targeting a more Continental-inclined customer.
You can say of the names for BB’s “fits” (for jackets, shirt and pants) what they say about the weather here in the Old Line State: if you don’t like it, just wait a little bit and it’ll change.
I once castigated bracelet wearers but I now wear one myself. Navy blue paracord with simple D shaped solid brass fastener. Quite, dare I say, preppy. Preppy is not a word to describe an almost fifty year old man but there it is.
“Tailored sweatpants” is a concept I still have a hard time wrapping my brain around, but I suppose you need to carry them when your potential, younger customer base has heated debates over artisanal selvedge Swiss cotton Japanese made freaking BLUE JEANS, and wears $150 watchcaps year-round
Oh, my, gross gosh!
The line between what is fashion, what is fashionable, what is “now,” has what grown quite thin, and even as supposed a bastion of traditional taste as BB shouldn’t be faulted for wanting to stay in step; but a tailored sweatpant? Who is that really being made for? Even if BB wants to appeal to the moneyed hipster, that’s just silliness. On another note: true “trousers” are full forward-pleated and fit, flow, and drape beautifully, the rest are just pants (think Fred Astaire).
I dropped into my local BB in Orlando today and the salesman had no idea what a Shetland Wool Sweater was. Honest.