Archive for April, 2023

The Brooks Brothers We Need

A few weeks ago I was singing praises for J.Press for keeping American Trad style alive. I will admit that I was throwing a little bit of shade at Brooks Brothers in the process. It’s wasn’t because of what they become, but rather who they’ve become to us here in the USA. I say it all the time, but the last time that I wrote about it was 10 years ago (here’s that post). I just checked and it’s still true. The Brooks Brothers that we want and need is Brooks Brothers japan.

Do yourself a favor and checkout the Brooks Brothers Japan website. I will help you out with a link, Brooks Brothers Japan. If you’re using Chrome browser just use the translate feature (I’m sure other browsers have translate) to make navigating the site easier. Now that you are there go to the sport coat section.

Now this is the Brooks Brothers we need. Notice all the 3/2 rolls. It’s like a trip down memory lane. A couple pieces stood out to me. One, is the corduroy sport coat. The other is the linen herringbone sport coat. The shape on these is just so nice. They remind me of the illustrations that Brooks once used in their old catalogs. These pieces aren’t the only good ones either. There is also a nice pincord, camel hair, and so, so many 3/2 blazers.

3/2 Corduroy Sport Coat
3/2 Herringbone Linen Jacket

It’s not all good at Brooks Brothers Japan. Yes, I did see quite a few darts, alpha sized jackets, and even a few suit pants with drawstrings. Brooks Brothers Japan’s dress shirt selection is as non-iron and stretch infested as America’s. However, here in the US it feels like the “not all good” is almost all we get. They do throw us a bone here and there to remind us of who they were, but it’s really more a reminder of who they aren’t now.

The Brooks Brothers that we knew and loved is still alive and well in Japan. While J.Press would disagree (I know, I know, they are much smaller), Brooks Brothers has decided that trad style is no longer marketable here. This is what stings. It’s not that they can’t make natural shouldered sack jackets. It’s not even that they’ve moved on from that style. What they have done is simply decided that it’s not for us. Off to find a proxy…

The Proper Cloth Shirt Fit Post

Proper Cloth Shirts 2023

If you want to give Proper Cloth a try follow the link (Proper Cloth) for 10% off your first purchase.

I’ve always wanted to try out one of the online custom shirt makers. However the process seemed cumbersome and the potential for making expensive mistakes kept me away. It felt easier to simply buy OTR (off the rack) clothing and return what doesn’t work. Fast forward to Proper Cloth reaching out to see if I’d like to try out their shirts.

Back to my fit fears. My biggest fear isn’t making a shirt that doesn’t fit well. My biggest fear is making a shirt that doesn’t fit well and then having to paying for it. My contact over at Proper Cloth pointed out their perfect fit guarantee which is, “If your first shirt isn’t perfect, we’ll remake it—free of charge.”. This guarantee definitely eased my mind a bit.

For sizing I started by using their smart sizes algorithm. I really just wanted to test it out. It was much more accurate than I had expected. They have lots of other ways to measure for shirts including measure a shirt of your own, measure your body, and send us a shirt of yours to measure. I tweaked my smart fit using the measurements of a Michael Spencer OCBD that fits me well. I know how to measure a shirt, but I watched their video tutorials on measuring to make sure I was doing it their way. The videos were short and easy to follow. I was done in under 15 minutes.

My first shirt, true to my moniker was a Light Blue American Pima OCBD. Despite being very close in measurements to the Michael Spencer shirt the fit was a little off. It was tight in the back, shoulder, and arm area. I sent my fit advisor a some pics and he made a couple recommendations. He suggested moving the chest posture back 1″ (this is a standard option in the fit dimensions) and changing the shoulder fit to sloped shoulders due to my physique. He made a few other suggestions, but I was a little concerned that his other ideas would lead to a slimmer shirt than I wanted. I want a fit that is in-between baggy and slim. I’d rather have a shirt that is a little too big instead of a little too small. In addition to the two suggested changes (chest & shoulder) that I detailed above which I will say would have never occurred to me to make I added a quarter inch here and there where it seemed the shirt may have shrunk after washing. I crossed my fingers and sent it off.

When I received the second OCBD the fit was spot on. Now for the details on the shirt. Obviously I went with the soft ivy button down collar. It’s a 3.5″ collar, has a soft interlining, and makes a good roll imho. I chose the soft one button cuff which has the same soft interlining as the collar. I lowered the the top button a 1/2″ to get the 7-button spacing that I was after. I finished it off with a box pleat and locker loop. The result was a classically trad OCBD.

All together I made three shirts. I picked the Light Blue American Pima OCBD, a Burgundy American Pima OCBD, and the Stanton 120s Navy Bengal Stripe Broadcloth shirt. You can see all three below. I will follow up later with a more in-depth review of each shirt. Overall I was very pleased with my experience. My only disappointment is that they don’t have single flap pocket option. I am happy to have my size nailed down. I will be making another shirt at some point for sure. If you want to give Proper Cloth a go follow the link (Proper Cloth) for 10% off your first purchase.

Proper Cloth OCBD
Proper Cloth Light Blue OCBD
Proper Cloth Burgundy OCBD
Red OCBD with Shorts
Proper Cloth Bengal Stripe Shirt
Bengal Stripe with Tie

Beams Plus Sack Blazer at J.Crew

Beams Plus 3/2 Blazer

I just saw this 3-button (plausibly 3/2 roll), triple patch pocket, sack blazer by Beams Plus over at J.Crew (see here). It looks good. Seemed like it was worth a post. It’s always good to see ivy and trad pieces slipping into the mainstream.

If you don’t know Beams Plus (aka Beams+) they are Japanese brand that always puts out some good looking Americana inspired clothing. Even though I’ve never owned any I am a fan. They often put a slight twist on the classics. At other times the slight twist is you trying to get the clothes on. This is my warning that Japanese sizing can be wonky. This blazer is alpha sized and come in just south of $398. It also has working cuffs so adding all the variables together and doing some bad math, it will probably only fit 1/1000 of us.

There are a few other Beams Plus pieces over at J.Crew as well. This ranges from a (now sold out) patchwork corduroy chore coat ala Hunter S. Thompson’s Abercrombie jacket to some milsurp inspired shirts (I like the adventure shirt below, but not the price). None of it is inexpensive, but some of it is pretty good…if it fits. The point of this post if that the clothes we wear might pop-up anywhere. As I always recommend, get while the getting is good.

Beams Plus 3/2 Blazer
Beams Plus 3/2 Blazer on Person
Beams Patchwork Cord Hunter Jacket
Beams Ripstop Adventure Shirt

Praise for J.Press

JPress Shirts

Way back when I used to tweet out links to my latest blog post. In-between those tweets I might tweet about something trad. It was mostly filler and my twitter account has long since been deleted. However, I remember back in 2012 I tweeted something to the effect of, “By the time I can afford to shop at Brooks Brothers & J.Press they won’t sell anything that I want to buy.”. It turns out that I was a lot more right than wrong.

I didn’t make this post to lament the current state of Brooks Brothers (more on them later). I made this post to celebrate J.Press. It’s one of the few places that I recommend to people when they ask where they can get the type of clothes that I wear. Of course I tell people to check out O’Connell’s as well, but what sets J-Squeeze apart is that they are one of the few places left that almost exclusively sell their own clothing.

Sure their have been changes. I remember back when there was only one fit offered in their shirts (review coming soon!). Yes, they have had years when the jacket shoulders were more natural than others. They also dabble in reaching the younger market with their more fashion forward and slimmer lines, York St. and now their Pennant line, but those lines have strong trad DNA and it was never to the detriment of their main line.

J.Press is a place where you can still go to get all the trad essentials. You don’t even have to use filters to navigate to all-cotton OCBDs and 3/2 roll sport coats when shopping online. If you have the privilege of shopping in-store you could do so blindfolded and still come out looking classically American. It’s what they did back in the day and what they do now. In a space where the sky is always falling and the present is never as good as the past it’s good to be grateful for what we do have, and that is J.Press. The home of the flap-pocket is still here in the USA.

JPress Shirts
JPress Madras