Friday, October 16, 2009

Friday Afternoon Recon: Brooks Brothers

[Pictured: Brooks Brothers extra-slim fit sport shirts.  Courtesy of Brooks Brothers.]

One of the good things about getting out of work early is the ability to have some energy left to get some stuff done.  This was exactly the case today, so with the afternoon ahead of me I journeyed to the local Brooks Brothers.   The reason behind this excursion was my curiosity regarding their new, much ballyhooed extra slim fit shirts.  Everyone from wannabe tastemakers like myself to the big dogs, such as GQ, have covered this new fit since its announcement.  I was really interested in how these shirts panned out and since I could find no hands on reviews, I decided to do a little recon of my own.

My issue (and I'm not the only one) with Brooks Brothers has always been fit.  The brand makes classic, traditional pieces that look great, but just don't sit well on those looking for an updated, trim cut.  In an attempt to keep up with the times and their competitors (i.e. Gitman Vintage, Hamilton 1883, etc.) Brooks Brothers created their extra slim fit collection of shirts.

Upon entering the store the extra slim fit collection was displayed prominently up front.  Every shirt available was both oxford cloth and two tone (white collars).  I grabbed a lovely yellow one and made my way to the dressing room.  My expectations were pretty low considering how ill fitting Brooks Brothers usually is on me.  I assumed that while the shirts would definitely be slim relative to Brooks Brothers, they would still be too big for me.  Surprisingly, the shirts fit great.  With perfectly raised arm holes, a slim sleeve and a trim body the shirt surpassed my wildest expectations.  It looked fine untucked, and even better tucked in.  I wear a size medium across the board and the Brook's shirt fit true to size.  The new extra slim fit Brooks Brothers shirts are as good as advertised and get the Sartorially Inclined cosign.  I ended up buying that very same yellow oxford as well as a set of three cotton hankerchiefs before leaving completely satisfied.  Pick your own extra slim fit shirt online for $79.50.

Next time you are in Charlotte head by the Brooks Brothers in the South Park Mall.  I read a lot of stuff online bashing the current Brooks Brothers for losing touch with their customers and being generally not very knowledgeable about their product.  This couldn't be farther from the truth at the South Park Brooks Brothers.  They are extremely helpful and know their stuff, especially Doug who is one of the head tailors.  Today we chatted for a while about pocket squares, the difference between university and club ties and the direction Brooks is headed.  He is a great guy and will help you out with whatever you need.

Me: Are you guys ever going to get your hands on some of that Black Fleece?
Doug: (Laughing) Does this look like Madison Avenue, kid?

[update: Looks like I beat Valet Mag to the punch.]



  1. People bash Brooks Brother's employees for not being knowledgeable about their product? They must not go to the same ones as we go to. I love the quote at the end. Brooks Brothers salesmen tend to rub people the wrong way, giving the impression that they are pretentious, but in reality they're just trying to let their customers know that they'll need more than a Brooks Brother tie to save that Men's Warehouse suit.

  2. Enthusiast - I wont name names or point fingers, but I have read a lot of blog posts absolutely bashing the good ol' boys over at BB. While their experience is most likely completely different then ours, it is a shame to think people are getting dissatisfied with a company who has such rich history. I agree with your sentiments on their salesmen telling it like it is. They don't hard sell you anything, but will be brutally honest, which I prefer at the end of the day.

  3. Good post. Reminds me a bit of something I wrote back in August when I took I took a break from work to check out the new Brooks Brothers Boutique on Sixth Avenue in NYC. (

    I was really glad to hear about the new extra slim-fits and thought it was a step in the right direction for for BB. Haven't tried them on yet. If you've tried the Black Fleece shirts, how would you compare them? Love how those fit, but Thom doesn't include any collar stay holders for his shirts, what gives?

  4. Disaffected - I checked out that post and a few others...we have a very similar mindset, though you greatly one up me on the intellectual front. Stay disaffected because it apparently is making for great writing. I really enjoy your blog btw.

    As far as Black Fleece is concerned...I have yet to get hands on with the stuff. I'd conjecture its still slimmer than the Brooks extra slim, but don't quote me on that.