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Brooks Has Killed The Iconic Oxford (And maybe the brand in the process)
I have been wearing BB Oxford shirts for over 20 years. My father wore them too. I am beside myself that they no longer have the high quality, heavy fabric normal finish shirt with the pocket. Instead they only now carry a much lighter weight (and cheaper feeling) shirt without a pocket. They say it’s “getting back to roots”. But it seems much more like cheaping out for the sake of profit.
I have at least 10 each of blue and white and a many stripped as well and I buy a half dozen more every year or so. Over the last 5 or 6 years they have made a lot of changes in terms of labels and what they call the shirts and fits, but it has still always been the same shirt. This new shirt absolutely does not do it for me. Why could they not add this new cheap shirt and call it “back to roots”, but still keep the shirt that we have been wearing and loving for so many years?
I honestly don’t know what to do about this because I wear these shirts every other day or more. I won’t buy these new ones. I don’t like them.
I’m surprised no one else has commented on this (Or, at least I can’t find the comments). This is the most iconic item produced from an iconic American brand. It’s very sad to me.
 

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If you look at old photographs and pics in Flusser's second book you'll see that the BB OCBDs used to be in a much thinner fabric than they have been for the past ten or fifteen years.
 

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Brooks Has Killed The Iconic Oxford (And maybe the brand in the process)
I have been wearing BB Oxford shirts for over 20 years. My father wore them too. I am beside myself that they no longer have the high quality, heavy fabric normal finish shirt with the pocket. Instead they only now carry a much lighter weight (and cheaper feeling) shirt without a pocket.
I think many of the old firms like Brooks Brothers have abandoned their older standards for shirts, trousers, jackets and suits. Along with this trend, there is also the simultaneous practice of outsourcing production to countries where labour is cheap. These two trends have been going on for a while now, generally speaking, and the common factor is the savings on production costs to make more profits. Another trad firm which always made its clothes in the US, J Press, are now having trousers and shirts made in China and the Far East, presumably at lower costs. I still remember buying a pair of Clark's laceups (made in China) and having it come apart in three weeks! The old English-made Clarks were absolutely great in terms of durability. It is not that overseas manufacturing is of necessity bad. I think the fact of the matter is that if you get cheap labour, you run the risk of losing quality. Find skilled workers and craftsmen, maintain high standards, and you get a much finer product.

I have one suggestion for the OP: There are firms in the US that still manufacture locally and pay attention to quality, though I am unsure if one can find their products in Hong Kong. One American firm that has traditionally made the kind of beefy, baggy, well-constructed OCBDs in traditional solids and stripes, and with a nicely rolled collar, is Mercer & Sons. I love their shirts, I have several and they last forever. I can't swear to it, but I think they are still making their shirts locally and with high standards. They are, of course, dearer than their "outsourced" cousins! But if you have a shirt that you can wear well for several years, perhaps paying more at the outset is more economical in the long view.
 

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The latest changes to their OCBD signal a continued shift towards European influence for Brooks. Slight hyperbole but it's as if they want a shirt fit for Savile Row:

Thinner higher count pinpointy delicate fabric, MOP buttons, 45% price increase: refined, exclusive

Slimmer cuts (originally no traditional fit), no chest pocket: European. Like a quality Italian broadcloth

Problem is, most of us don't buy BB OCBD's to fit in with European Savile Row. We go there for an egalitarian, utilitarian, rugged, durable, Main street OCBD.

That they added the perfect collar to a shirt with Savile Row DNA shows how lost they are. At least they're trying and listening to all of the chatter about the traditional BB unlined collar roll.

But, they've still lost me as a customer although I will hunt for NOS 132 and 133Q's eventually. Mercer, Press, and LE Hyde Park are better buys now. Same goes for Michael Spencer, Gitman, Kamakura, Ratio, Luxire, Proper Cloth.
 

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If you look at old photographs and pics in Flusser's second book you'll see that the BB OCBDs used to be in a much thinner fabric than they have been for the past ten or fifteen years.
This statement is true. I have an older BB OCBD with thinner cloth that is very similar to the current iteration. Sometimes, I miss the chest pocket. But BB is hardly "killing off" its product. Still made in the USA, too. It's perhaps not a perfect shirt but it's hardly a Savile Row knockoff.
 

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I know it's a touchy subject, but BB claims that the chest pocket wasn't in the original iteration of the OCBD, a fact upheld by this 1961 advertisement from the archived site of the inimitable Mssr. Heavy Tweed Jacket:

https://2.bp.blogspot.com/-fYzfmHMn.../s1600/Brookscloth_127_BB_1962_S:S_Shirts.jpg

Here, at least, it was an optional addition rather than the standard. I almost feel bad for BB, as they've "out tradded" the trad forum, bringing back a garment from before the "golden age" that we like so well.

FWIW, I have three of these USA made, pocketless shirts that I bought at the New Year's sale last year. They're very smart, and I prefer them to Kamakura (where I was previously buying my shirts). If forced to buy them at full price, however, I might opt for J Press or Mercer & Sons.
 

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:deadhorse:
Yes indeed fellas, we have beat this topic to death,....Then, after we were all exhausted, we freshened up a bit and beat it again until the stench was unbearable.

For Pete's sake Brooks brothers shirts, OCBD or otherwise, will NEVER be what they once were. They're not bad, especially if one waits for sales. My last three were 3 for $99.-.

Brooks is doing what they have to keep the business viable.

Please search the topic out, prepare a beverage, and hold on tight.

Regards,
 

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Like others have said, this has been discussed heavily. According to comments made by Del Vecchio, Brooks Brothers had been losing money for years on the “old” version. As much as I liked it (and I have many of the 529Q in all colors), I understand them making a business decision and not keeping that version around
 

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The problem is that the shirts that Brooks sells in Hong Kong is different from the ones in America. I went to their shops in elements, harbor city, and IFC, I could not find a single MiUSA OCBD, their salespeople were adamant that they weren't made anymore. That right there is the main problem, the new OCBD sold in America is made in Garland NC, while the ones sold in Hong Kong are made in Malaysia.
 

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Like others have said, this has been discussed heavily. According to comments made by Del Vecchio, Brooks Brothers had been losing money for years on the "old" version. As much as I liked it (and I have many of the 529Q in all colors), I understand them making a business decision and not keeping that version around
"Losing money" is industry speak for not meeting target profit margins, which may be 200% or more in the retail sector. BB gives away 40% discounts like they're nothing. This says something about how profitable the old $95 OCBD's were. Actual cost was probably around $40-50 which is how low they went on sale. Materials: $15. Labor: $15. Overhead/transportation/marketing/other sunk costs: $15 is my guess.
 

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"Losing money" is industry speak for not meeting target profit margins, which may be 200% or more in the retail sector. BB gives away 40% discounts like they're nothing. This says something about how profitable the old $95 OCBD's were. Actual cost was probably around $40-50 which is how low they went on sale. Materials: $15. Labor: $15. Overhead/transportation/marketing/other sunk costs: $15 is my guess.
Um, you can't have profit margins over 100%. No way to clear more than your selling price. That would be pretty nifty, if so.

Perhaps you mean initial mark-up (IMU).
 

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I find the chest pockets to be nearly useless. Anything more then a pen in them is frightening.
Oh, i find them very hand just as temporary storage, like a third hand.

Stumbling off a redeye connecting flight after flying back to the USA from China, encumbered with bags, and you're juggling your parking ticket and credit card at some kiosk? Shirt pocket to hold the card or ticket for a second. Little things like that.

I won't actually *store* something there - certainly not a pen (although I used to, pre-digital era) - but it's just a handy little space for temporary organization.

DH
 

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Brooks has added many colors and patterns to their made-in-USA OCBD selection in the past two years. The shirt lives on.

What really seems to be dead is their sack blazer. On the website, they have not updated the stock in over a year, and all common sizes (e.g., 40 Regular) are long gone. Only a handful of less-common sizes remains available now.
 

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Since we're engaged in BB OCBD overthink (one of my favorite parlor games), let me ask about BB's blue color.

It, IMHO, is part of what makes the blue BB OCBD special. It's really more a grey blue than blue with a depth of color that feels rich and nuanced. The grayness keeps it from being too blue which many blue OCBD are, IMHHO.

BB's OCBD blue defines what a classic blue OCBD should look like in my mind - how do others feel about BB's OCBD blue color?
 
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