Ask a former Brooks Brothers employee anything

DNOsaur's picture
Rank: Senior Monkey | banana points 99

As a former Brooks Brothers employee, I have a fairly in depth knowledge of appropriate business attire, current trends in suiting, and also the quality of Brooks Brothers clothing (and how they compare to other brands).

Fire away.

Brooks Brothers Suit Quality Comparison

When compared to suits made by canali, brioni, kiton the OP had this to say:

To be honest, most of Brooks Brothers clothing does not compare in quality to canali, brioni, and ktion. That being said, you still can buy items in Brooks Brothers that have the same quality and workmanship as many high brands.

The typical dress shirt at Brooks Brothers is $88, and is %100 cotton with a non-iron finish. This chemical finish that they put on the shirts makes them less breathable, and also causes them to wear faster if you have them dry cleaned or ironed. The majority of those other brands' shirts does not have any finish on them, and should be laundered after wearing. The chemical finish makes it a great work shirt, and allows the owner to put it in the dryer and have a ironed look if hung immediately, but does have an adverse effect on the quality.

Although, you can buy their upper level "luxury shirts", which are made of Egyptian or Sea Island cotton, and those would be of comparable quality. Also similar comparisons can be made with Brooks Brothers Golden Fleece suits, which are of higher quality than their 1818 collection suits.

brooks brothers 346 suit quality and outlet review

In response to a question about the Brooks Brothers Outlet - the OP shared the following response.

For the most part, the clothes at Brooks Brothers Outlet, like you noted, are made specifically for the outlet, as designated by the '346'. There is a very noticeable difference in quality, and it is reflected in the price point of most the items.

One of the biggest differences is in the shirts, with the sleeve lengths of the outlet shirts only going to 34/35, or 32/33, instead of the more precise measurement to the nearest inch.

Although, whatever the Retail stores do not sell, will eventually go to outlet. At the outlet it will usually be 60% off the tag price. It really does depend when go to the outlet if you will find any real Brooks Brothers clothes. Again for the most part, its all '346' clothing. No outlets carry all mainline Brooks Brothers clothing, but one might have more just based on shipments from the retailers.

Brooks Brothers Shoes In Store Overview

For shoes, many are made by Peal & co, Alden, and a few various other makers depending on partnership year to year. The store I worked in did not carry shoes, but I remember all this just from calling other stores. I have a pair of the calf skin shoes by Peal & co, and they are a quality shoe, worth their money. Also, I believe the Cordovans are made by Alden. Those are the higher end shoes brooks carries.

Brooks Brothers Suit Sale 50% Off

If you want a good tip, Brooks has their two biggest sales in January and July, call them then, set aside some items, and wait during the 'clearance' sale to buy. Can save you upwards of 60%. Although make sure when calling that the items will be going on sale. Almost everything does, but double check.

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Read More About Suits on WSO

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Comments (55)

Aug 8, 2011

Do stores carry slim-fit dress shirts without the front pen-pocket? I was told by the store representative that only French-collar shirts are on stock without the front pocket and that I'd have to custom order. True?

Aug 8, 2011
smalleights:

Do stores carry slim-fit dress shirts without the front pen-pocket? I was told by the store representative that only French-collar shirts are on stock without the front pocket and that I'd have to custom order. True?

Smalleights,

Unfortunately all the non-iron cotton slim fit shirts have the front pocket, except the ones with French cuff, as you noted. The only way you can get around this, is by buying like you said, custom shirts OR buying their 'luxury' shirts. The luxury shirts typically range in full retail price of 135-168 per shirt, but buying 2 will give you a better price. You can also wait till clearance (which happens twice a year and is happening right now), and get them for 50% off. So potentially 67-84 dollars a shirt, which is the price an employee, would pay for them.

I would advise going online AND in the store to look for luxury shirts, because online only shows what is available through catalog, and if you see a shirt in the store/catalog you like, the sales associate most likely can get it at another store in the country and have it shipped to you

no way kimosabe, this is my house now --Brennan Huff

Aug 8, 2011

can you compare it to canali, brioni, kiton, etc...in terms of quality?

"Life all comes down to a few moments. This is one of them." - Bud Fox

Aug 8, 2011
noke2012:

can you compare it to canali, brioni, kiton, etc...in terms of quality?

To be honest, most of Brooks Brothers clothing does not compare in quality to canali, brioni, and ktion. That being said, you still can buy items in Brooks Brothers that have the same quality and workmanship as many high brands.
The typical dress shirt at Brooks Brothers is $88, and is %100 cotton with a non-iron finish. This chemical finish that they put on the shirts makes them less breathable, and also causes them to wear faster if you have them dry cleaned or ironed. The majority of those other brands shirts does not have any finish on them, and should be laundered after wearing. The chemical finish makes it a great work shirt, and allows the owner to put it in the dryer and have a ironed look if hung immediately, but does have an adverse effect on the quality.

Although, as noted in my previous response, you can buy their upper level "luxury shirts", which are made of Egyptian or Sea Island cotton, and those would be of comparable quality. Also similar comparisons can be made with Brooks Brothers Golden Fleece suits, which are of higher quality than their 1818 collection suits.

no way kimosabe, this is my house now --Brennan Huff

    • 1
Aug 8, 2011

I am interested in wearing only euro-cut suits and shirts...nothing worse than a baggy dressy shirt and pants...

where should i be shopping and what should i be looking for if I want relatively slim shirts and suit pants?

or do i need to get suits tailored to achieve the slimmer pant leg?

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Aug 8, 2011
StoudeMelo:

I am interested in wearing only euro-cut suits and shirts...nothing worse than a baggy dressy shirt and pants...

where should i be shopping and what should i be looking for if I want relatively slim shirts and suit pants?

or do i need to get suits tailored to achieve the slimmer pant leg?

From Brooks, look for Milano cut. Look at Saks if you want higher end.

no way kimosabe, this is my house now --Brennan Huff

  • Anonymous Monkey
  •  Jun 9, 2016

I'm tall and slim (6'3" 185) and I absolutely love the "Milano" fit from Brooks brothers. I overheard in a store today that the Regent fit is also a slim one, but I don't know for certain. The Red Fleece line is also a slimmer, more modern look.

Aug 8, 2011

thanks!

"Life all comes down to a few moments. This is one of them." - Bud Fox

Aug 8, 2011

This is hilarious.

    • 1
Best Response
Aug 8, 2011

what are the exit opps from BB? Do you now work at Saks?

    • 10
Aug 8, 2011
JimmyDormandy:

what are the exit opps from BB? Do you now work at Saks?

Yea I work at Saks now, figured it was a better opportunity.

But no, I worked there while attending college.

no way kimosabe, this is my house now --Brennan Huff

Aug 8, 2011

I have a 3.8 from a non-target, good EC, intern at a boutique, do I have a shot at breaking in to BB?

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Jul 23, 2014

Only with old wealth, maybe just then.

Aug 8, 2011

Could someone please rank the best departments within BB? Also, could you please rank the department stores in order of prestige?

    • 1
Aug 8, 2011

What percentage of male shoppers nowadays do you think can be described as foppish or dandies?

    • 1
Aug 8, 2011
shera:

What percentage of male shoppers nowadays do you think can be described as foppish or dandies?

too many to count.

no way kimosabe, this is my house now --Brennan Huff

Learn More

Side-by-side comparison of top modeling training courses + exclusive discount through WSO here.

Aug 8, 2011

is this really happening. I over-looked this thread thinking is was "Brown Brothers Harriman" and thought I'd read through it.

LMFAO

    • 1
Aug 8, 2011

Why are Jos A Bank employees so goddamn stupid? Quality of their stuff is horrendous too. I will never go in one of those stores ever again.

Aug 8, 2011

LOL +1 on comment about Jos A Bank employees. One time I asked the guy working there what's the difference between a "signature suit" and a "signature gold suit" and his answer was "the signature gold suits are more expensive."

    • 1
Aug 31, 2011

Any comments on which (if any) Brooks Brothers outlets are worth going to? I shop at BB for some of my work clothes, but usually during sales, as they seem to happen pretty frequently. I was wondering if you knew of any of the BB outlets that actually carry mainline BB stuff instead of that '346' made-for-outlet garbage that I've seen in the past.

Also - who makes the BB MTM shirts? And I'd be interested to hear who makes the various lines of BB shoes. I think Alden and Crockett & Jones do some of them, but I'd love to hear the breakdown if you know it at all.

Aug 8, 2011

For the most part, the clothes at Brooks Brothers Outlet, like you noted, are made specifically for the outlet, as designated by the '346'. There is a very noticeable difference in quality, and it is reflected in the price point of most the items. One of the biggest differences is in the shirts, with the sleeve lengths of the outlet shirts only going to 34/35, or 32/33, instead of the more precise measurement to the nearest inch.

Although, whatever the Retail stores do not sell, will eventually go to outlet. At the outlet it will usually be 60% off the tag price. It really does depend when go to the outlet if you will find any real Brooks Brothers clothes. Again for the most part, its all '346' clothing. No outlets carry all mainline Brooks Brothers clothing, but one might have more just based on shipments from the retailers.

The MTM shirts are processed I believe in the CT factory, so not far away. The MTM measure shirt quality depends on the fabric you choose, and will adjust the price accordingly.

For shoes, many are made by Peal & co, Alden, and a few various other makers depending on partnership year to year. The store I worked in did not carry shoes, but I remember all this just from calling other stores. I have a pair of the calf skin shoes by Peal & co, and they are a quality shoe, worth their money. Also, I believe the Cordovans are made by Alden. Those are the higher end shoes brooks carries.

If you want a good tip, Brooks has their two biggest sales in January and July, call them then, set aside some items, and wait during the 'clearance' sale to buy. Can save you upwards of 60%. Although make sure when calling that the items will be going on sale. Almost everything does, but double check.

no way kimosabe, this is my house now --Brennan Huff

    • 1
Aug 31, 2011

Thank you DNOSaur for taking the time out to do this:

I have just one quick question:

Has Brooks Brothers ever thought of changing its acronym from BB to BKB or BBros because it is confusing with BB for Bulge Brackets?

Thanks

Aug 8, 2011
fling:

Thank you DNOSaur for taking the time out to do this:

I have just one quick question:

Has Brooks Brothers ever thought of changing its acronym from BB to BKB or BBros because it is confusing with BB for Bulge Brackets?

Thanks

yes that have thought about it.

no way kimosabe, this is my house now --Brennan Huff

Sep 11, 2012

BB ties seem too long!!! Only gripe I have.

Sep 16, 2012

solid store.

Oct 25, 2012

How does the BB 346 suit compare to the JAB signature suit? The 346 suits I saw the other day were 100% wool.

    • 1
Oct 28, 2012

when will BB produce the same wide array of colors and styles for extra slim fit as they have for all other sizes :(

Nov 4, 2012

"For shoes, many are made by Peal & co, Alden, and a few various other makers depending on partnership year to year." Peal & Co shoes are made by other companies and branded Peal. The makers include Crockett & Jones, Alfred Sargent, and Loake. You are not much of a BB expert if you think Peal makes shoes.

Nov 11, 2012

Does anyone know what the employee discount is? From my understanding, it's 50% off -- but is that only for regularly priced merchandise? What about for merchandise that is already on sale?

Dec 6, 2012

Is there a rule of thumb for what type of collar one should choose for your body's type (I'm medium build to heavy)?

Dec 6, 2012

Spread collar if you have broad shoulders or are wider/heavier build.

Dec 13, 2012
cheese86:

Spread collar if you have broad shoulders or are wider/heavier build.

Other way around. Spread collars are for trim people who want to look flatter/wider. Point collars are for heavy set people wanting to look thinner/longer.

    • 1
  • Anonymous Monkey
  •  Dec 6, 2015
cheese86:

Spread collar if you have broad shoulders or are wider/heavier build.

This is very wrong advice. It is actually the opposite. If you are a heavy male with a wide neck the you go with a forward point collar to give balance to your face. Additionally, if you have a slim face then you go with a spread collar. It is all about bring balance to your wardrobe. I work in men's high fashion and at times quite amazed by the amount of bad advise given.

Side note: Brooks Brothers owns Peal & Co name and uses other shoes manufacturers like Alfred Sargent ,Crockett & Jones, Allen Edmond, and Alden as well.The "shell cordovan" leather shoes under the Peal & Co name are made by Alden while the regular Peals are by Crockett & Jones. The Allen Edmonds will state Brooks Brothers made by Allen Edmonds if they were manufactured in 2015 while the older on will just say Brooks Brothers but the look and feel like will be mistakenly Allen Edmonds. Brooks Brothers also carry Edward Green shoes as well.

A far as Brooks Brothers suits. If you buy off the rack in the main store then the suit silhouettes are Madison ( full cut) Fitzgerald ( American athletic fit) Regent British inspired fit) Milano ( Italian inspired extra slim fit) this is also the same thing for their shirts. If you want a better fitting suit or shirt then go with their Made to Measure option. The choice of fabrics will dictate your cost however, they have a very large selection of fabric grades to choose from.

A lot has changed since the original author posted this so I though I needed update. As of 12/09/15 a lot has changed with Brooks Brothers while some things remained the same.

  • Anonymous Monkey
  •  Mar 9, 2016

Being a recent prior military fellow, I never really had to put much thought into wearing a suit. Years ago though, I started at places like JCPs and Dillard's. Then bumped it up (try to keep laughter down to a minimum) to Macy's. This year I said no more to department stores. I went to Men's Warehouse. Although they have great service at their Highland Park location (upscale Dallas suburb), their signature suit Joseph Abboud just didn't fit perfectly straight in the top shoulders, especially for two suits for $1000. But since I was buying them as I get back into the civilian work force, I was happy with them. That all ended when one day I was strolling through a Plano, TX mall and my curiosity steered me into a BrooksBros. for the first time. As I started trying on suits, I knew....oh baby....this is my new store to buy my presidential looking suits. After picking out a navy Fitz 1818, that only had to shorten the sleaves, I was at a crossroads: Buy something I didn't need, but look great in and setting the high-price and quality standard or piss my wife off even more for spending another $1000 on just one suit? Hmmmm. I BOUGHT THAT BADBOY! Now I use Men's to alter my Brooks suits.

Dec 13, 2012

I like that BB is a size smaller than polo so it doesn't make me feel fat.

Feb 22, 2018

Six years later, I would just like to point out that if BB runs smaller, then you would need to get one size bigger. This would undoubtedly result in you feeling more fat.

Dec 20, 2012

when's the next semi-annual sale for brooks brothers? January? Or is the post-christmas sale bigger?

Aug 31, 2011
Vectors225:

when's the next semi-annual sale for brooks brothers? January? Or is the post-christmas sale bigger?

Word on the street is the Boxing Day sale is the way to go.

http://www.styleforum.net/t/243159/when-is-the-nex...

I would check this thread periodically as they have good posts about Brooks Brothers sales.

Dec 26, 2012

My sil wears a 39 reg suit. I found a 40 reg 3 piece at a great sale price. Would it be ok or too big?

Jan 30, 2014

Is a 346 suit of a good quality, I've only heard bad comments about it, so as a beginner in the suit world this comments are really influencing in my decision, so you can help me here, obviously because you work with them, thank you!!

Jan 30, 2014
luishdzm:

Is a 346 suit of a good quality, I've only heard bad comments about it, so as a beginner in the suit world this comments are really influencing in my decision, so you can help me here, obviously because you work with them, thank you!!

You bumped an old thread. The 346 line seems quite mediocre.

Jul 23, 2014

As a 70's something, mostly retired I allow me a rare extravagance from time to time. To that end I purchased on line a brooks Bros Country Club Saxxon wool double breasted navy blazer,. eagerly awaiting its arrival. Was I disappointed! The coat lapels are all puckered or rippled. I had expected far better service

Dec 28, 2017

It is my understanding that all Brooks Brothers suits and blazers are meant to be brought into a store to be fitted even if you order it online. I just got a new blazer from Brooks Brothers and it was a boxy fit. I took it in for alterations and now it fits perfectly.

Jul 29, 2014

How would you compare the quality of the 1818 suits with the suiting essentials custom suits (half the price)?

Jul 31, 2014

I have a question for former Brooks Brothers employee.
Please rank the following brands in terms of prestige, quality, convenience, price, etc:
Brooks Brothers, Paul Smith and Burberry.
Which one is the best for investment banker ?
Thanks,

Dec 7, 2015

I am 6'4'' 225 and relatively low body fat (usually 10-15% range plus broad shoulders small waist)

Where can I find some clothes that actually fit!?!!?!

Dec 9, 2015

I was a former Brooks Brothers' made-to-measure specialist in LA.

You are not going to find anything that fits you off-the-rack if your ACTUAL chest measurement is eight inches larger than your waist at a reasonable price.

There are plenty of cheap on-line places to get made-to-measure from. I would give them a try and have a tailor perform the measurements. It's not perfect, but that is what will take to fit most of the junior guys on this forum.

    • 1
Dec 7, 2015

thanks!

Dec 28, 2017

Brooks Brothers. It is my understanding that all of their suits are meant to be brought in for alterations and fitting after purchase. Even if you purchase it online.

  • Anonymous Monkey
  •  Jun 6, 2016

How would a brooks brothers employee use their employee discount online

Nov 17, 2016

Sir: I belong to an organization which has chosen the Brooks Brothers, Navy Explorer suit as a uniform. Madison jacket 00060801. Brooks Brothers only has this up to size 50 and I need a size 54. Any suggestions other than custom tailor?

Apr 18, 2017

Is it true that tailoring the non-iron shirts to take in the sides ruins it?

Dec 9, 2015
Comment
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Feb 22, 2018
Feb 22, 2019