Question about Brooks ocbds: unlined, interfaced, lined?

Discussion in 'Andy's Trad Forum' started by Cardinals5, Dec 2, 2009.

  1. Cardinals5

    Cardinals5 Honors Member

    United States
    SC
    Greenville
    I've read through many of the threads on BB ocbds, specifically about the collars, and have found myself in something of a conundrum concerning the evolution of Brooks' collars. It is my impression that sometime in Brooks' storied history they actually produced a completely unlined collar without any kind of interfacing or lining whatsoever - in other words, just the two pieces of oxford cloth. Looking through the archives, however, I've only come across people who refer to an "unlined" collar as one with interfacing, but not a "heavier" lining (fusible). Am I correct, then, to assume that what people are refering to as an "unlined" collar is one with light cotton interfacing in an open weave, but not a heavier fusible? Or, was there once a BB collar without either interfacing or lining and, if so, when did BB stop making them?
     
  2. Speas

    Speas Senior Member

    802
    United States
    NJ
    Summit
    BB's oxford cloth collars were unlined - no fusing or interlining - until a few years back. Dont recall exactly the year but the addition of the interlining came after Marks and Spencer sold BB.
     
  3. Cardinals5

    Cardinals5 Honors Member

    United States
    SC
    Greenville
    That's what I thought as well, but I have some BB Makers obcds (Made in USA) that must be from the 1980s, - beat up thrift store finds - and I cut the collar open and there's interlining in there. This interlining is a very light cotton with an open weave and is sewn into the collar, but not attached to either side of the external cloth. If you feel the collar from the outside it doesn't feel like anything is between the two outer layers. I guess my question should be, has anyone actually looked inside the collar of one of the old "unlined" BB collars and actually found nothing or have people just assumed the collars had no interlining because they're so soft.
     
  4. Jovan

    Jovan Honors Member

    United States
    New Mexico
    Albuquerque
    I got a couple of the "Makers" OCBDs from Cardinals5 and the collars are quite soft, but I can tell that they are lined. I think the heavier lining, more accurately, is what happened after M&S.
     
  5. fairway

    fairway Active Member with Corp. Privileges

    126
    United States
    Ohio
    Jackson
    I have some from the late 80s and maybe even early 90s(not sure of purchase date but think later in time) that are completely unlined and then some from same eras that are lined with thin "interfacing" (not sure what material is). Both varieties are Makers OCBD.
     
  6. qwerty

    qwerty Super Member

    I have several BB Makers OCBDs from 1985-2002 and they are all 100% unlined. Unfortunately most of these (especially the oldest ones) are all now fraying at the collar and/or cuffs and/or have elbow holes from my point elbows. There was a hiatus in my OCBD-buying for a few years until around 2006. Since then, all OCBDs are lined. Not fused -- i.e., no glue -- but there is a relatively substantial piece of lining in the collar and cuffs. I much prefer the way they used to do it.
     
  7. Cardinals5

    Cardinals5 Honors Member

    United States
    SC
    Greenville
    Thanks for relaying your first hand experiences Fairway and Qwerty - my search for the long, lost unlined BB collar can continue.

    In your ocbds with unlined collars, is there anything distinctive about the shirt label in the collar from that era, e.g. label is differently shaped, additional or missing text? I'm just curious so that when I look on eBay I can roughly determine the age from the tag. For example, the older, vintage Brooks sack coats all have a black tag that reads

    Brooks Brothers,
    Established 1818

    What seems distinctive about these tags, save that they're black, is the addition of the comma after Brooks Brothers, which is missing on all the blue collar labels I've seen on Brooks' sacks.
     
  8. rojo

    rojo Super Member

    United States
    Washington
    Edmonds
    From the 1950s (maybe earlier) to the 1980s, the button-down collars of the Brooks oxford cloth shirts were completely unlined. There was just the top and bottom of the collars, with nothing in between. I know because I have many such shirts that have been worn until the collars were so frayed that they actually split open from one end to the other. The collars on the shirts from the late 80s and into the 90s have not split open (yet), but they feel the same as the older shirts. I have one from the late 90s or early 2000s which obviously has another piece of cloth inside the collar. I was so horrified when I found this that I've never bought another oxford shirt from Brooks.
     
  9. qwerty

    qwerty Super Member

    A few photos of labels through the ages.

    Exhibit A -- 1980s white OCBD. Fully unlined. Note that these shirts had only 6 buttons and thus a wider gap between the top two buttons...more of an "open" look when not wearing a tie. I like it.
    [​IMG]


    Exhibit B -- 1990s (?) blue OCBD. Fully unlined.This is one of the shirts AlanC has for sale (which I just bought)
    [​IMG]

    Exhibit C -- Late 1990s red uni-stripe OCBD. Fully unlined. They added a bunch of washing instructions to the label
    [​IMG]

    Exhibit D -- Early 2000s blue OCBD. Fully unlined. Ugly label. This is when BB went for the Banana Republic look -- before the tech bubble burst -- and redid many stores in blond wood and chrome/brushed stainless rather than the traditional dark wood and brass. The San Francisco location moved from a gorgeous spot on the corner of Post and Grant the interior of which looked just like 346 Madison to a spot across the street and down the block in which they reside still today.
    [​IMG]

    Exhibit E -- mid-2000s-present slim fit white OCBD. Heavily lined, but NOT fused. Note that this label is blue only because it is slim fit. The labels on slim fit have always been blue. If you go to BB today to buy a regular fit shirt, the label will be red. Note that these new "traditional" labels say "Since 1818" rather than "Makers"
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2009
  10. Cardinals5

    Cardinals5 Honors Member

    United States
    SC
    Greenville
    Qwerty - Thanks so much for taking the time to put up the pictures! That's a great archive of BB labels, each one rather distinctive, and within a solid timeframe - now I'll know my prey when I'm hunting it. I'm pretty sure that I have shirts with labels 2, 3, and 4; but I've never seen a shirt with that first label. I'm also beginning to realize that my mistake was probably comparing older pinpoint button-downs with the thicker ocbds. The thicker fabric could probably stand (literally) without any kind of interlining while the thinner pinpoints needed a very light, almost undetectable, interlining. In either case, thanks again, and now I can begin a real search.
     
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2009

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