I’m Not Even Going To Say His Name But You Know Who I Am Talking About

Everybody is watching the meltdown – and having bounced back from my own meltdown, I have empathy.  My wife never slept with Pete Davidson after we split up, and until you walk a mile in those designer sneakers, you can’t judge.

But you CAN protest the people around him.  Does no one love this man enough to talk to him straight?  He is a genius musician (yeah I know you don’t like the genre) and at one point was riding the wave of an expanding empire that had him at the forefront of a style.  And now he is disassociating, and no one loves him enough to lay that out for him.

I love Brooks Brothers enough to lay it out for them.

The Amazing Tom sent me this article about the Brooks Friday Shirt, and for a minute, my heart sang.   Check out the article, and here’s a picture from it.


They are fantastic, right? For a minute it was like Jordan coming out of retirement to get three more rings.



But then I am cruising around the FB group, and a friend of mine posted this:


Look, I know you are reading this.  I know people who know people.  And I am not without empathy here, too.  I have been in debt.  But this is spinning out.  I don’t even think people with bad taste will buy this.  You simply cannot hawk product just because there was spare fabric hanging around.  There is no design here.  Not even bad design.  It has sleeves.  Thanks for that.

There is a segment of the population that has already said its goodbyes.  I am still hanging on.  I want that Friday shirt, and that other thing is gonna kill it.

Go back to the basics, eliminate almost all brick and mortar.  NO experimenting.  Curate, for chrissake’s.   Renegotiate the debt, and move forward smaller, with bigger margins.

Call me.


44 Comments on "I’m Not Even Going To Say His Name But You Know Who I Am Talking About"

  1. Brooks is very interesting these days. There’s a ton of garbage online, and when you go into their downtown DC store, there’s not a lot that’s interesting (but OTOH you don’t see anything like this) but when you go into their Chevy Chase store, it’s like a whole different company, like a slightly more sedate Ralph Lauren. Lots of gorgeous cords and flannels, and a lot of stuff to really like. It’s really interesting how different an experience I have with them on line, downtown, and the burbs. Really three completely different ones.

  2. The only people I know who are sticking with TNSIL in 2022 are well-to-do, well-educated Quakers. I’m chucking— but only because it’s true (in my neck of the woods). Really. Maybe a few Presbyterians who Congregationalists too. The look has been pruned, distilled — purified. A good thing. It’s 2022 so people can what they want, how they want it.

    The South has been taken over by updated traditional, golf-and-beach wear, and the Barbour-with-jeans-and-‘bit loafers’ vibe. More just-returned-from France Euro than crusty, fusty, dusty New England trad. Welcome to the haute urban bourgeoisie of modern-day America, where flashy, new Audis outnumber old, rusty, repeatedly repaired Jeeps.

    TNSIL demands more of a buyer (or potential buyer) than ever before: consciousnesses about how yarn is spun, cloth is woven, leather is dyed, jacket shoulders are shaped. Oh, and, uh, where to find Aldens on sale (I have an answer).

    Brooks was never the best — and the downward spiral began many decades ago. Contrasted with the smaller-and-better stores (think Langrock), there was always something oversized and department store-ish about Brooks — going back to the 1950s. Ivy for the masses — or at least as many as possible. An accessible version of the high brow goods found in the pages of Gentry.

    Which is to say, JB: this is a long time coming. Ecclesiastes 1:9, sir.

  3. Old Bostonian | December 5, 2022 at 10:24 am |

    The Friday shirt is not in the least bit relaxed; it is “fitted through the chest body and sleeves” according to the BB website.

    • the passenger | December 5, 2022 at 11:02 am |

      And yet, several of the shirts say “with a slightly relaxed fit” om their individual product pages, and at least one says “a slightly more casual version of our Regent Fit.” So they can’t even get the descriptions consistent across a group of items that seemingly should all have the same fit. Yikes.

    • Have you seen the shirt? I ask because while the website says “fitted through the chest body and sleeves”, I actually read the article, which specifies a “relaxed silhouette (not too slim, not too loose)”.

      Fitted is a good thing – our suits, shirts and trousers ought to fit. Tight fitting and “Gentleman’s cut” are opposite sides of the same coin. Ill-fitting, which is another matter.

  4. I had never heard of the fellow JB mentioned. And I have no idea who the other guy is. Very pleased to be living in my small, cloistered world, where, (sigh of relief), no one cares.

    • Mitchelll J. Baird | December 6, 2022 at 2:03 am |

      I’m so glad that like you, S.E., I’m totally in the dark about who these guys are.

  5. “I love Brooks Brothers enough to lay it out for them.” It’s been laid out for them, numerous times, J.B.

  6. Stop believing Brooks Brothers will ever be relevant again.

  7. The Amazing Tom | December 5, 2022 at 12:21 pm |

    I went to the Richmond store the other week. Decent goods and very good service.
    Good sale racks too-29.95 shirts.

  8. whiskeydent | December 5, 2022 at 1:30 pm |

    A little off topic, I wonder if menswear brands persist in offering tight-fitting dress shirts (like the Brooks Regent) because they require less cloth to make and are thus cheaper?

    Back on topic: It’s very difficult to drive forward by looking in the rearview mirror. Let’em go.

    • Marc Chevalier | December 5, 2022 at 1:53 pm |

      That is definitely part of the reason. It also explains why zipper flies remain short, even though the rise is increasing in trousers: shorter zippers cost less.

    • Old Bostonian | December 5, 2022 at 1:55 pm |

      That Sir, is also why they eliminated pleats and cuffs on trousers.

    • That, and the American man’s persistent low-T problem.

  9. whiskeydent | December 5, 2022 at 1:31 pm |

    Period, not a question mark. Sigh.

  10. Two words. . . J. Press.

    Kind Regards,


    • Marc Chevalier | December 5, 2022 at 2:48 pm |

      A few more words: vintage pre-1989 Brooks Brothers. Plenty of it is available cheaply in eBay.

  11. So BB sells sport shirts now, not just “uptight, formal dress shirt[s]”? Outside the box; creative; forward leaning; trendy; ahead of the curve; it’s now, it’s wow! And just in time for Christmas! Why didn’t JC Penney think of that? Er, uh, never mind.

  12. I’ve commented before that Brooks, while deserving of every eye-roll they’ve earned lately, has also slowly started to introduce and re-introduce some outstanding Ivy wares. Just a few here and there. A smattering. Check out some of their sport coats and blazers — many are now featuring lapped seams and patch pockets, and a couple of them are even undarted. As an example, to my eye, the only difference between their current corduroy sport coats and the Ivy platonic ideal is the double vent. Plenty of misses to sort through before the hits, but they’re playing some of those hits again. And I’ll always love J. Press, but the prices on some of the worthy Brooks items are presently much gentler on the bank account.

  13. On a non-style note, I appreciate the way you introduced your point in this article. Thanks to so-called social media, we’ve all seen an astonishing number of high-profile mental health crises play out very publicly and painfully. For those not-so-famous sufferers out there, these battles are often hidden from view.

  14. I think there is some much needed context here that’s missing, specifically that this piece is part of a limited edition collaboration that Brooks Brothers did with Vilebrequin, who are famous for these sorts of resort-wear type prints as they are based in St. Tropez. Don’t blame anyone for missing that, though, as the advertisement here clearly did not spell that out to Brooks Brothers’ Instagram customers.

    So that’s an oversight for sure, but as someone on the Facebook group pointed out, this is what a collaboration with another brand probably *should* look like, whether it’s to our individual tastes or not. So for all of reasons we can and should complain about Brooks Brother in general, this is really just a sloppy marketing more than anything, and not a rejiggering of Brooks’ traditional efforts. If Brooks Brothers is going to do a collab with Liberty of London, for instance, you should expect to find an Oxford shirt with floral patterns.

    As for the connection to the main subject of the headline, drawing any comparison between this collaboration (no matter how much one dislikes it) and Kanye getting into bed with Neo-Nazi types seems a bit much. It’s just clothing. Not an actual atrocity that should warrant outrage or disgust.

    • John Burton | December 7, 2022 at 5:40 pm |

      Hi Chad. No oversight at all. If Brooks Brothers did a collab with a company famous for these sorts of manure as they are based in Iowa, it would still be S. The context you are missing here isn’t the literary device of integrating a timely news story as an analogy, it is that if you are going to be a brand you have to really think about who you are collabing with. Get it?

      • To each his own, but I think Michael Bastian has earned the right to make the occasional misstep or two, if that’s what this is (debatable), given his long track record and proven track record of success in the business. I just wanted to point out that this was a collaboration as it seems that fact was probably lost upon you when you decided to trash this.

  15. Hard pass for me.

    • On what, that hideous pajamas thing, or the “Friday shirt”? The latter is alpha sized (bleh) and according to the (mostly negative) reviews is made of thin, cheap cloth. It looks like the typical dept. store “dress shirt” worn by the few remaining office workers who don’t dress in gym clothes to go to work. The glowing “article” JB linked to appears to be an advertisement. I’d definitely pass on both and can’t see why JB would liken BB making an unremarkable MiC biz-casual shirt to “Jordan coming out of retirement.”

  16. Why don’t you make a review of the newly-introduced BB “heritage blazer” that features all the classic elements: single hook vent, 3/2 button front, patch pockets, etc? It’s something to talk about after quite a few years of this type of jacket being absent from BB coat racks.
    Another company that offers the classic 3-button American blazer is Spier and Mackay. S and M also make some of the best OCBD’s on the market (something I’ve mentioned more than once here), but they still haven’t been granted the honor of being reviewed on this blog.
    I still follow Ivy-style as it’s become a very strong habit over many years, but its content doesn’t excite me anymore. Am I alone?

    Still wishing this blog and its author the best of luck. Maybe the upcoming year will bring some interesting news and ideas.

    • John Burton | December 6, 2022 at 7:01 pm |


    • S&M “contemporary” fit is too small in the chest and shoulders, and has no pleat in the back. It would bust open like a shotgun.
      There are better OCBDs on the market.

      • A shirt should fit well – not too tight and not too loose. There is nothing elegant about a shirt that’s shapeless. The reason why shirts were cut this way in the past is because shirts were seen as, essentially, underwear and were meant to be worn under a jacket at all times. Now that shirts are very often worn on their own, it just makes sense people want them to fit better. I personally hate the “skinny fit”, but shapeless shirts from 20 years ago are equally as ugly.

      • S and M contemporary fit is pretty perfect for anyone who’s of average proportions (not skinny, not overweight). The back pleat does nothing. It’s a stylistic element that I, personally, dislike. S and M Oxford shirts have unlined collars. Something that is almost impossible to find off the rack.

    • Marc Chevalier | December 7, 2022 at 10:13 am |

      Strange: a Google search for Brooks Brothers heritage blazer yields zero results. Does this blazer really exist?

    • Unfortunately, Spier & Mackay’s loosest cut is virtually the same as the BB Regent.

      • BB also does Big and Tall.

      • I am of average proportions (5 feet 11 or so, 170 pounds) and I wear 40/34 suits. M in alpha sized clothing. BB regent fit is too big for me. I can only imagine how a skinny guy would look in it. S and M contemporary fit is pretty perfect for me. Most importantly, S and M shirts have unlined collars (something that is virtually impossible to find off the rack), and are very reasonably priced.

  17. welshrabbit | December 6, 2022 at 9:27 am |

    Word on Ye

  18. Brooks Brothers has long since jumped the shark.

  19. Not gonna lie that Friday shirt is pretty tempting

  20. I’m sure the Heyday era 346 Madison store vibe was terrific. Especially this time of year. Surely the city folks and Tri-Staters who frequented the flagship retain many fond recollections — that the rest of us can only imagine. That Brooks, like that old Manhattan, is long gone.

    In fairness, catalog shopping and visits to the regional Brooks stores (many of them in malls—ugh) cannot compare.

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