Broke and Bespoke

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So I Haven’t Lost All of my Thrifting Mojo…

The other day, half in jest, I mentioned to my wife that I ‘needed’ a cashmere navy blazer or sport coat. She responded, appropriately, with a hearty guffaw. My desire, however, was further confirmed for me by how much I was tempted by one on the StyleForvm sales board later that day. It was, though a great deal, still priced higher than what I could justify spending on a sport coat right now.

The next day, I popped into a thrift I don’t visit very often and came upon this great vintage Brooks Brothers 100% cashmere blazer in my size for $20. It’s got all the great classic American details that distinguish the old Brooks blazer: 3 patch pockets, lightly padded natural shoulder, no darts, a very American 3 roll 2 lapel, swelled seams, etc. I’ve put it together here with my regular uniform these days of an OCBD, simple tie (I’m a sucker for brown and blue ties), jeans, and suede shoes. 

Trad
Jacket: Vintage Brooks Bros. Cashmere Blazer, thrifted $20
Shirt: Luxire Blue University Stripe OCBD, $79
Tie: Vintage Robert Talbott for J. Coop Oakland, thrifted $2
Pocket Square: White Irish Linen, c/o Solosso

Trad

Jacket: Vintage Brooks Bros. Cashmere Blazer, thrifted $20

Shirt: Luxire Blue University Stripe OCBD, $79

Tie: Vintage Robert Talbott for J. Coop Oakland, thrifted $2

Pocket Square: White Irish Linen, c/o Solosso

I foresee much of my Spring/Summer uniform looking like some version of this: button down collar shirt sans tie, unlined sport coat, jeans, suede chukkas or loafers. Today it’s Brooks Brothers, LBM 1911, Drake’s, Red Cotton Denim, and Allen Edmonds.

Sweater: Uniqlo, $20

Shirt: BB OCBD, thrifted $5

Tie: BB Makers & Merchants, BB Outlet $15

Jeans: Red Cotton Denim, c/o Red Cotton Denim

Shoes: Red Wing Wabasha, Nordstrom Rack $50

The BB OCBD: Brooks Brothers vs. Brooks Brothers Red Fleece

For those of you who have been faced, as I was not long ago, with the dilemma of finding Brooks Brothers’ Red Fleece OCBDs on sale for about $25 and wondering how their collar rolls are, I give you this.

The collar points on the Red Fleece OCBDs are much shorter than those on regular Brooks Brothers ones. We’re talking 3.25” on the regular BB, and a hair under 3” on the Red Fleece (this is even shorter than the Uniqlo OCBDs collar points, which are right at 3” by my measurement). Though the construction on the Red Fleece is not as nice as on the regular line (I find this is especially so regarding the buttons), it’s perfectly fine, and should hold up to hard and frequent use quite well. 

The Red Fleece shirt is also shorter, which makes it great as a casual OCBD to be worn untucked with jeans or chinos, and without a tie. For ~$25, I’m fine with that as its purpose. They also have the nice added touch of an additional button at the back of the collar.

The fit throughout the body is similar to Brooks’ regular Extra Slim Fit I think, and the Red Fleece size ‘Large’ is a tad tighter throughout the body and neck than a 16.5x34 ESF, so I’d say it’s probably comparable to a 16x34 in the ESF.

Overall, despite the shorter collar points—the roll still has a decent shape to it, it’s just kind of short—I find myself wearing my two Red Fleece OCBDs at least once a week these days. I’ve mostly worn them under a crewneck sweater with some additional outerwear layer, but my look has been quite casual these past few weeks.

The Brothers Brooks and Gitman.

The Brothers Brooks and Gitman.

Purples and Greys.

Brooks Brothers and Polo Ralph Lauren

Jacket: PRL by Corneliani, thrifted $17

Sweater: Merino Cardigan by PRL, clearance $40

Shirt: BB OCBD, thrifted $5

Tie: Vintage BB, thrifted $2

Vintage Brooks Bros. Tweed, Brooks Bros. OCBD, and Brooks Bros. Ancient Madder.

Vintage Brooks Bros. Tweed, Brooks Bros. OCBD, and Brooks Bros. Ancient Madder.

The Contemporary Brooks Brothers Collar Roll.

The Contemporary Brooks Brothers Collar Roll.

Brooks Brothers: Ancient Madder and OCBD

Brooks Brothers: Ancient Madder and OCBD

Up top. Down low. Blue and green. 

Brooks Brothers ‘Makers and Merchants’ Ancient Madder Ties

I’m currently in North Carolina visiting my in-laws for the holidays. A couple of years ago, a new outlet mall opened up not far down the interstate, and I had a chance to go check it out yesterday.

I knew there was a Brooks Brothers Outlet there, and I was hoping I might find some of their mainline Slim Fit OCBDs in stock. Everything in the store was 50% off, so I thought if I found some it’d be worth the price. To my dismay, there were only Regular Fit OCBDs in stock. But, to make up for it, there were probably about 15-20 mainline Brooks Brothers ‘Makers and Merchants’ ancient madder ties on sale for $15, down from an original retail price of $115.

Though I’ve found a number of ancient madder ties out thrifting, they’re harder to come by (though not as hard as grenadines in wearable shape) than a regular old silk twill or repp. So, for any of you looking to add a few ancient madders—in neats or paisleys (both large scale and small)—to your tie rotation, it might be worth checking in at your local Brooks Brothers Outlet.

As a side note, there was also an Allen Edmonds Outlet, and they had a number of very nice AE for Brooks Brothers shoes on sale for $179. I was very tempted by a nice penny loafer in AE’s Walnut calf, but alas, it could not be justified… 

Sneak Peek: Packing…

Sneak Peek: Packing…