Photo by Salt Water New England

Sunday, September 12, 2021

Brooks Brothers Classic, Vintage Bomber Jacket with Flattering Fit and Signature Lining *Cough*

A Reader sent this in:

Muffy, I saw this and thought of two recent SWNE conversations, including the search for an alternative to the G9.    Not the Brooks Brothers some of us remember!



21 comments:

  1. Since its bankruptcy last year and the departure of the arrogant and inept CLAUDIO DEL VECCHIO clan, BB is now owned by a team from the SIMON PROPERTY GROUP and AUTHENTIC BRANDS GROUP and it was recently announced that this team plans an IPO.

    Under the all knowing, arrogant Claudio del Vecchio, scion of the Luxottica Group, Brooks Bros. continued its downward spiral into evermore imported clothing of lower quality and increased prices. Del Vecchio DESTROYED the relationship the company had with ALDEN SHOES of Massachusetts so that they no longer carried their storied and very well made tassel loafers.

    Sadly, the new owners have shown the same high degree of arrogance and are only interested in increasing their margins at the expense of both quality and customer service. They have also closed more than half the company's stores and intend to keep only 125.

    I think we may see BB go the way of Lord & Taylor and eventually be liquidated and after that, only a sad memory and legacy of what once was.

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    1. You describe it well. Every time I wear my new Alden tassel loafers, the ones that replaced the ones I bought at Brooks Brothers in the 1970s, the standard Alden heel treatment saddens me just a bit. I hope Alden can revive the foxed heel. As regards the store itself, the prospect of something like what happened with Abercrombie & Fitch appears to be evolving already.

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    2. Alden makes a fine shoe, no doubt. Look around, you may find a pair of Barries, either new or “previously owned.” They are the standard.

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    3. I had and loved a pair of honey colored Barrie tassels bought new in the 1960s. They were much loved. Being 72 and having a one year old pair of Alden shell tassels I am not likely to be buying new tassel loafers. So if they are out there, go get 'em!

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  2. Junk ... or is it junque?

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  3. "Bomber jacket" is now the name for any outer garment that doesn't cover the buttocks. I'm so old, I remember when the term was reserved for jackets that were similar to what bomber crewmen wore.

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  4. Brooks is not even a shadow of its former self. The hedge fund and private equity crowd have destroyed so many fine American businesses. After those corporate sharks declare their large dividends, they load the companies up with debt, and then bankrupt them. If carried interest was taxed as ordinary income, maybe this destruction would stop.

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  5. Don't be put off by the reader and the critical commenters. The Brooks Brothers' "bomber" has the classic details, including the vented yoke, of an original Baracuta G9. It is made of 100% cotton in contrast to the current Baracuta G9 which is 50% polyester/50% cotton and is grossly over-priced.

    At $149 in the sale, the BB Harrington is much better value than the Barracuta which is grossly over-priced. Forget the bright colours and go for the navy and dark green versions. The fit looks a bit slim but if one is available in your size, it's worth giving it a try.

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    1. I've just a review comment that suggests that the BB's outer shell is 74% nylon! If that is the case, forget it will be far too hot to wear in mild or warm weather. BB should put a full specification in the description. Not good!

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  6. The tides of BB ebb and flood. Perhaps, they are ebbing now only to rise again. BB now exists to drive traffic to a legacy (and Ponzied) industry - the retail shopping mall. Simon must obtain its rental income through the brands they purchase and place in the buildings they own. Time will tell if the new BB look can stay true to the brand’s heritage while also attracting the younger generation that only knows synthetics, athleisure, and stain-resistant/wrinkle-free travel garments.

    BB’s previous owners tried to use a European aesthetic to recover from its owners in decades past. One might say it worked… for a while. I suggest, however, the eventual sale proved it did not. But one cannot say BB would be better by staying the same… because the reality of life is that things change. For us, that change is not good. For others, it will be.

    If BB’s tide is to rise again someday, I imagine it will be after Simon further damages the brand such that its value is low enough for someone to pay that reduced price and accept that BB stands for American traditions, classic style, and quality materials – garnering a reasonable premium – even if it means at lower volumes.

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    1. I agree the tides ebb and flood, but for Brooks the ebb as regards being a maker and purveyor of very high quality, very traditional clothing with minimal change in its core offerings from year to year has been such a long and deep ebb since the mid 1980s that when and if a flood occurs it will likely be a Brooks that offers trendy and mainly imported wares. Sadly, I believe that returning to its made in the USA stance and offering traditional clothes that could be worn comfortably for years, often decades, might have been the more viable strategy. The legion of people who like to buy American, who want to be comfortable in their clothes, and who want to take a more earth friendly approach in all of their purchasing is growing. A store with Brooks' name recognition could market the heck out of those values rather than sticking to a strategy of offering trendy and therefore ever changing clothes that are imported and not especially comfortable, a strategy that is already over represented in malls and places like Last Call and Nordstrom Rack. I know a number of thirty-somethings who pursue MiUSA when they can and traditional and comfortable clothes. People like them are helping companies like Filson, JD, and Criquet, not Brooks Brothers.

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  7. I was just doing a little research on a men's shop in my hometown, which is a small town in West Virginia, formerly a railroad town. That particular sort of retail establishment used to be found in every town of any size, back when gentlemen and other men used to dress up more than is common today. I ran across the obituary of the grandson of the founder of that shop, which was probably established sometime between 1900 and 1915. He, the grandson, graduated from the high school that both my mother and I attended, then went on to college. The obit said he had a passion for textiles and design. After attaining his M.A., he worked for Brooks Brothers and then as a buyer for the old Woodward & Lothrop, a local department store since bought out of existence, just like so many others. He returned to our hometown and purchased two lady's shops, also of the sort that used to exist in small towns and cities everywhere.

    Does Brooks Brothers encourage "passions for textiles and design" these days?

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  8. I recently purchased one of these jackets from BB on sale. It was a real bargain compared to the Baracuta G9. As Ken writes, it's got a lot of nylon in there with the cotton, but the G9 has a lot of polyester in the blend, too. I like the cut and fit of this jacket and believe it's a steal at its current price if you like this style.
    I'd really like to get the Harrington offering from Grenfell: They're 100% cotton and quite water repellent. (I've got another Grenfell cloth jacket that does amazingly well in the rain and assume their Harrington jackets perform similarly.)
    Agreed on many fronts about BB's decline and the scourge of private equity on once-respected brands. That said, I'm hopeful that Brooks will bring back some of the things they were known for under Michael Bastian's design direction. We'll see.

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  9. The pictures look like men wearing boys clothes. 'Flattering Fit' is definitely marketing spiel. What they really mean is they've skimped on the cloth so you'll probably have to go up a size for it to even remotely fit you.

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    1. You don't remember the styles of the early 60s, with narrow legs, narrow lapels and 'skinny' ties? How about pegged pants? Think tab collars will make a comeback?

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    2. I wasn't born until 1980. I've lived a life in clothes I can actually move in.

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  10. Yuck. Makes me think of the Members Only jackets. Why do all of these clothing enterprises try to be like all of the others? --Holly in PA

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