In the process of doing a little background to answer a question on my recent J. Press column, I came across this great Time Magazine article from last year. The question was whether Brooks Brothers gets more street cred than J. Press on the Trad front because it is an older company.
My response was no, not particularly. J. Press is very much a traditional preppy mecca and always has been. Brooks Brothers is more of a classic clothier that, until being acquired by Claudio Del Vecchio, spend several years wandering in the stylistic wilderness.
As that Time article points out, Brooks has unquestioningly regained its sartorial mantle and to me is very much on the forefront of elegant fashion. Drawing from its incredibly extensive corporate achieves, Brooks has refashioned itself into a true clothier that blends the best of its past with the creative foresight needed to remain relevant today and in the future.
If you are in D.C. any time soon, stop by the Connecticut Avenue Brooks Brothers flagship store – just down the block from the storied Mayflower Hotel – and look up Mr. Alex Brown. He is the very definition of a true Brooks Brothers salesman. He is a gentleman, professional clothing guide and a bit of a historian who has been through the company’s ups and downs. That Mr. Brown is happy with the way things are going at Brooks means far more to me than what industry analysts have to say.
So from my perspective there is no real head-to-head competition between the two when it comes to Trad values; rather one compliments the strengths of the other. To whit, while I love my J. Press blazer, Brooks Brothers is the master of the pink oxford cloth button down (in fact, I’m wearing one right now). That’s just the way it is.