It wasn’t long ago that you wouldn’t touch clothing from Brooks Brothers, let alone buy it. Unless, of course, you happened to find wonderfully soft, worn old Oxford cloth button-downs and baggy Bermuda shorts at your local thrift store. But since a re-launch in 2002, the brand is back on form and has gone some way to redeeming its fine old name.
True, in this world of mail order and online shopping, we can never fully reclaim the past and relive the good old days when all clothing in the Brooks Brothers catalogue was illustrated rather than photographed. Those were fun times. But at least some of their signature clothing is still to be found, without much restyling. You can still find a classic blue blazer with gold buttons for under $500 (just), the seersucker remains more desirable than the de rigueur designer stuff that’s so prominent this season, and every so often they bring back a classic tattersall poplin shirt that you should snap up and wear until you die. Oh, and their boxer shorts are still the roomiest around (but American butts need lots of room).
as a one-off for fall 2007. Think Karl Lagerfeld for H&M, but for men as well as women, and with a far superior quality. Browne’s interpretation of the Brooks Brothers style is part Ivy League and part Paul Smith, with a whiff of Hedi Slimane – that is, nicely tailored, sharp, and schoolboyish. Most of the collection, which debuted in March, is for the younger Brooks Brothers customer. Indeed, part of the object of this fashion exercise is likely to lure new customers who would normally find the brand too staid.
Highlights include a really great trench coat and lots of gray. As in, a thousand shades of gray. Expect Browne’s trademark highwaters (finally, they’re back!) and a slimmer fit. Coming to a Brooks Brothers near you.