19 February 2013

Brooks Brothers "Own Make"

Brooks Brothers Fall Winter Catalog  1984

Employee handbook describing "Own Make" in 1986 

After the FIT Ivy exhibition, I had a chance to meet Claudio Del Vecchio at a cocktail reception thrown by the show's curator, Patricia Mears.  Del Vecchio narrowed his eyes in mock seriousness, leaned over me and whispered in a deep bass, "So whaz'a wrong with Italian department stores?"  My first thought was, "Sonuvabitch, he  read my post." I stammered and said, "There's nothing wrong with Italian department stores -- So long as they're not at 346 Madison Avenue." 

He could have been an asshole but wasn't.  Surprisingly, Del Vecchio was a complete gentleman, and having worked with a lot of the high-net-worth, that's most unusual. We had a very nice talk and I learned he loses money on my favorite gotta-iron oxford button down made in Garland, NC.  "Own Make" was a term used by Brooks Brothers to distinguish apparel made in its own work rooms.  Shirts in Garland.  Ties, once on the eighth floor of 346, but now in Long Island City (Queens), and tailored clothing in Brooklyn. 

Brooks is bringing the label back with shirts and ties still being made in NC and NYC but with suits, sport coats and trousers being made by Southwick in Massachusetts.  It's good looking and it looks to be extraordinarily well made -- With guts and soul and a cut big enough for the over-40 crowd who requires their jacket to cover their rear.  In short, no gimmicks or tricks.  Straightforward, reserved, quiet.  I pray it's priced with the same respect and thought that went into the making of it but there's no pricing at this time. 

The Italian department store?  That's for tomorrow.


Yankee-Whisky-Papa said...

Is that tweed yours? I think I'm in love.

Georgia Coal said...

My God have they been listening??? I love your response. That Tweed is incredible. Did you ask him why they wont unline the damn collar/cuffs. The line looks, well, Trad.....

M.Lane said...

This is GREAT news!

Smitty said...

Love the SS lining in the tweed jacket! Great winter/summer contrast twist!

Anonymous said...

It appears they might be listening???


Cal said...

I hate to revive dead posts...but what are your thoughts on Own Make Redux now that it's on the racks? Was something lost between when this was written and now?

tintin said...

Cal, No problem. It's great stuff. It's also very expensive stuff. The question for you is, is it a good value? It borders on the lower end of MTM. If you're an off the rack kinda guy -- You're golden.

Anonymous said...


I have a question of business etiquette\style

I got the above mentioned tweed and it is fine indeed :)

It fits perfectly, but is shorter then my other sports coats by about 2 inches, leaving my back side a bit exposed to the elements.

I don't really mind that much,
However does it mean I should avoid this coat while suiting up for business ?

tintin said...

Short jackets that do not cover the butt are hip. Is your job hip? Also, short jackets differentiate you from old poops like me whose suit and sport coats cover their butt. For a long time I've referred to the short jacket as a "Lord Fauntleroy." It's almost as bad as wearing a jacket that covers your butt but the vent is spread wide open -- a popular look affected by thrift shopping bloggers who lack three way mirrors in Salvation Army stores.

Anonymous said...

My job hipness is debatable as I am an engineer.

Thankfully, things are not as bad as you describe, the hook vent is doing it's job, (although if you find yourself giving chase the flaps might lock in a split)

Talking numbers: The 38R Back Length is 29 3/4'', how far is it from the norm of the 60's \ 50's ?

tintin said...

Choo Choo or the other kind of engineer?

Anonymous said...

Choo Choo engineers are all mighty,
they need to know their way in mechanical, electrical, industrial, and chemical engineering among other things...

I'm the other kind - an Electrical Eng. :)

tintin said...

It's not so much the jkt size as it's your height and that all important consideration, does it cover your butt. In NYC, the recent increase of men with jkts that cover half their ass is most noticeable on the street. The jckt sways, revealing either a repulsive aesthetic or an erotic one depending on how you're wired. Having said that, most of my gay friends don't dress like sluts.

Anonymous said...

Having you said that

I will conclude with this:

A year ago I entered the Hugo boss store around 14th st (NYC)

Attending was a beautiful East European blond goddess - she choose for me a sports coat,
she said - "its perfect, no tailoring required!".

This coat and that one are exactly the same length, and the old one did it's job well in a few business\social situations.

So in conclusion my ass is sufficiently covered to do business !
- In this century at least ;)