02
Apr

My friend edwinzee still has his pair of Run of the Mill (RIP) double-monks and Peal & Co. punched captoe balmorals for sale at quite reasonable prices. If you’re a size 9.5D, then you should go take a look and get in touch with him.

07
Dec

It’s on sale: Brooks Brothers OCBD — Get ‘em solid, get ‘em striped. My favorite off-the-rack staple dress shirt is on sale (today only!) and I’ll never-not mention it.

It’s 30% off right now ($56 versus the usual $80). Made in the U.S.A., 100% cotton, single-needle stitched seams and I literally wear one every day (unless it’s the summer). 

If you’re wondering about Brooks Brothers extra-slim fit OCBD sizing, I’ve got you covered. And if you haven’t read it, I put the shirt in my investment pieces series, too.

18
Oct

Sizing info on the Brooks Brothers Extra-Slim Fit OCBD

I’ve had a few questions recently asking me about the Brooks Brothers Extra-Slim Fit OCBD (and quite a bit of Google search traffic on the topic), so I thought I’d write a brief sizing guide for everyone. 

For context, I measure in at a 15” neck and 35” sleeve. This, however, is not the size I am in the Brooks Brothers Extra-Slim Fit OCBDs. In fact, I’m not the same size in all the different colors and styles (i.e.: “university stripes”) of the dress shirt, either. 

The Brooks Brothers Extra-Slim Fit OCBD’s various fabric types all shrink differently and they manufacture different sleeve lengths to account for this. It took several returns and trials to figure out which fabrics would shrink and by how much. 

I’m hoping to save you that trouble. Here’s what size shirt I buy in what fabric as a 15/35:

  • White: 15.5/35 (I should’ve sized up to 15.5/36)
  • Blue: 15.5/35
  • Pink: 15.5/34
  • Ecru: 15.5/34
  • Red/Blue Striped: 15.5/34 

Please note: I haven’t bought or tried the “yellow” OCBD (I’m half Asian and yellow looks terrible on me).

All these are for the Supima cotton, must-iron, made-in-the-U.S.A. OCBDs. This doesn’t apply to other shirts from Brooks Brothers, especially their non-iron shirts (for those, I’d suggest going true-to-size in neck and sleeve).

You’ll notice that I sized up 0.5” in the neck on all OCBDs. The cotton does shrink quite a bit on all these shirts, especially after several washes. 

Some sleeves seem really long when you first get them, some are overly long for their size (hence why I sized down 1” on some). The only shirt I’d maybe consider sizing up on would be the white OCBD — that fabric shrinks the most of any of them. 

I would also note that after washing them a few times, I’ve had my shirts actually tapered in the chest and arms, too, to get rid of the billowing around the waist. A few things contribute to this, but it’s mainly the center-back pleat. Your local tailor should be able to alter them for $25 or less a shirt (which should encourage you to buy them on sale). 

I was also asked if these shirts shrink too much from washing. In my experience, this hasn’t been the case, especially in the torso area (hence the alteration in the torso and arms). Brooks Brothers has a pretty great return policy, and you can even return items after you’ve washed them (I’ve done it in-person at a store). 

My typical washing routine is cold water and then I put them in the dryer for 10-15 minutes, just to accelerate drying. You should (and probably should) do hang-dry only, but I find that a quick stint in the beginning with a dryer helps shrink the fabric properly and makes the fabric softer. 

Finally, here’s the measurements (laid flat) on an unaltered 15.5/35 white OCBD that’s been washed multiple times, for your reference:

  • Pit-to-Pit: 21”
  • Waist: 19.5”
  • Back of collar to hem: 29.75”
  • Yolk: 17”
  • Shoulder to Shoulder: 17.25”
  • Top of shoulder to end of cuff: 25.25”
  • Center back to end of cuff: 34.25” 

17
Oct

New Brooks Brothers formalwear arrivals — As the holiday season comes up, those of you fortunate enough to attend so many black-tie events that you get bored of wearing your standard dinner jacket might consider other more “fun” options. Perhaps a tartan cummerbund will work. Or even a tartan jacket, if you’re feeling exceptionally bold. 

If you’re looking for something a bit more subtle, however, Brooks Brothers just released their velvet blackwatch tuxedo jacket. It’s tough to see the pattern in the photos, but it’s slightly visible on the product shot’s rear view at certain spots. I imagine this looks rather amazing in person. The downside is that the jacket features notch lapels, making this a much more casual jacket (beyond the fact it’s patterned and velvet). 

There’s also a grey shawl-collar jacket that I’m not quite sure how I feel about. It’s cut in Brooks Brothers’ “Milano” fit and unfortunately has flapped pockets. And I’m not sure about that use of grey. Part of me wants to give it credit for being different, yet part of me thinks it might make you look like you’re one of the service staff at an event. 

Of course, both of these are exercises in excess. If you don’t have a proper suit for black tie, then I suggest you focus on buying a tuxedo first. 

27
Sep
Brooks Brothers chocolate suede double-monk strap shoes — Goodyear welted in England. I’m sure a more educated person could identify the manufacturer. I think these would look pretty awesome with a pair of tan corduroy trousers and a tweed jacket. 

Brooks Brothers chocolate suede double-monk strap shoes — Goodyear welted in England. I’m sure a more educated person could identify the manufacturer. I think these would look pretty awesome with a pair of tan corduroy trousers and a tweed jacket. 

21
Sep

It’s on sale: Brooks Brothers Friends & Family sale — It’s that time again: Brooks Brothers is offering 25% off all regularly-priced items (with a few exceptions like shell cordovan and Edward Green shoes). Still, this means a lot of basics which never go on post-season discount will be at their cheapest and it’s now time to stock up if you could use these items in your wardrobe. 

Brooks Brothers is also offering free shipping on orders over $200. Use code FNFBB1 to receive the discount and the sale ends September 24.

A few of my picks:

Extra-slim fit oxford cloth button down dress shirts: Still made in the U.S.A. and my favorite off-the-rack dress shirt. A good casual shirt that layers underneath sweaters without a tie and goes well with blazers and a knit tie. I’ve raved about them and been known to buy a couple. They come to $145.25 for three shirts, or about $49.75 each (down from $79.50). Oh, and don’t forget they also come in stripes, too.

Merino button down cardigan — I bought two of these last year (in different shades of grey) and they’re pretty great. I’ve found a lot of use for them as good layering elements under a blazer to add some warmth. They’re perfect for that odd weather that’s too warm for a full overcoat but too cool for just a flannel sport coat by itself. Down to $88.50 from $118.00 in lots of basic colors. I’d recommend grey, charcoal and navy for starters (red and denim blue for the #menswear ambitious). 

Milano fit advantage chinos — While Brooks Brothers has many seasonal casual trousers, they do have some mainstays as well. Trouser fit tends to vary by personal preference, but I don’t mind my pair in terms of their fit. Plenty of classic colors to choose from. Price comes to $119.25 for two pairs, which is $59.63 each. 

Milano fit corduroy trousers — OK, moment of truth. I’m not completely sold on the concept of corduroy trousers. There’s something about the wales that weird me out a bit. But Derek as Put This On has called them "a fall staple" and Jesse has firmly shown his support by speaking at The Corduroy Appreciation Club, so you’d certainly be in tasteful company. Trousers come to $73.88 a pair with the discount in eight different colors.

Social Primer tailgate navy flannel blazer — I’ll cut to the chase: the lining is what kinda gets me on this particular navy flannel blazer. I already have a navy blazer — too many in fact — but this has some pretty cool details, like patched flap pockets. 

Donegal tweed hybrid sport coat — Admittedly expensive, but definitely pretty awesome. Great country look with bellow pockets, elbow patches and a zip-out liner for warmth. I’ve given way too much thought into picking this up. Thank goodness it’s not in navy or it’d probably be game over. 

31
Aug

It’s on sale: Levi’s for Brooks Brothers denim trucker jackets — Frankly, this quite my personal style as I prefer to just wear odd jackets. But after seeing edwinzee and suitsandboots pull the look off in the past, maybe it’s something you’re looking to try. 

Edwin and Tommy demonstrate a fairly easy way to wear the jacket: khaki chinos and a button-down collar shirt. I would probably avoid introducing a necktie, a spread-collar dress shirts, wool dress trousers or balmoral shoes to the jean jacket — it’d be an incoherent look that’s pushing tailored, more formal clothing with something more rugged and casual.

The jean jackets from Brooks Brothers and Levi’s come in faded wash and dark rinse varieties for $79.20 (down from $198). 

31
Aug

It’s on sale: Brooks Brothers Milano-fit chinos — The trimmest-fitting chinos from Brooks Brothers are on sale right now for just $39.50 (down from $98.50). There’s still a lot of sizes available in several colors, including the staple khaki. 

For some reason they’ve put them in two places in their clearance section: here and here

28
Aug

It’s on sale: Brooks Brothers Milano-cut corduroy trousers — Perfect for the fall and winter, Brooks Brothers has their corduroy trousers on sale right now for under $50. There’s still a variety of sizes and colors available (including these two in wine and butterscotch). 

If you’re wondering how to wear them, I’d suggest substituting them in for where you’re usually be wearing chinos. Pair them with an OCBD, navy blazer and plain-toe bluchers. Or go more casual by skipping the jacket and go with a sweater (v-neck or cardigan) and camp or ranger moccasins. 

15
Aug

Brooks Brothers fall arrivals: chunky cardigans — While some are lamenting the fact Brooks Brothers’ stock is getting more like the modern Abercrombie & Fitch with branded T-shirts and logo polos, they’re still putting out some decent pieces, too, like these chunky knit cardigan sweaters in single-breasted and double-breasted form. Both have elbow patches and leather buttons. 

13
Aug

Investment Pieces: Brooks Brothers white OCBD

It’s hard to find a #menswear “essentials” list that doesn’t include the oxford cloth button-down collar shirt. Everyone tells you to buy one and pretty much every retailer carries some version of this shirt. 

Sure, it’s “classic” and J.F.K. wore one and it’s an Ivy staple. You have guys on forums and blog comments whining about how the collars used to have a much better roll to them decades ago compared to the ones now or how they used to take sandpaper to the collars to wear them down a bit for that “worn in” look. (And don’t even get them started on this “slim fit” business all the kids like!)

It’s easy to read that and laugh. But you have to realize the reason why they talk in such detailed curmudgeonly ways about this particular shirt is because they love it. It’s like meeting someone who is a complete nerd about a particular thing they’re really, really into: they love it so much that they want to tell you all the reasons why so that you’ll understand and love it, too. 

And the OCBD nerds aren’t totally crazy! It’s a fantastic shirt. I particularly like mine from Brooks Brothers in a certain non-trad fit (“extra-slim”, which makes it sound like a diet drink supplement) for a variety of irrational reasons.

Yes, the collar is great. It’s softer than a stiffer collar from most off-the-rack dress shirts. It’s a bit more substantial, too, in its collar point length — not some wimpy tiny collar that’s currently in fashion — that gives it a decent roll. Not the best roll, mind you, that you see in black and white photos of “Take Ivy”, but better than what else is out there in retailers today. 

I also love the shirring of the sleeves where it attaches to the cuff instead of the pleated look a lot of other shirts use. And it’s even more ridiculous that I like this unique detail on the shirt because you can’t even see it when I roll my sleeves up anyway, which I do most of the time when wearing the shirt, but I know it’s there.

I’ll also add that I love the pocket on the shirt. People are adding all sorts of useless crap to their shirts like epaulets, grosgrain trimming or monograms, but I’m a fan of functional things. I know a growing number of people prefer the French front placket and no pocket on shirts, but I can’t stand it. I use my pocket all the time. I put a pen in there, or my glasses when I head outside during the day and wear my prescription sunglasses. I don’t know why anyone would turn down a free pocket on their shirt. 

The shirt’s construction is pretty solid with single-needle stitched seams. It’s also still made right here in the United States (something that unfortunately cannot be said about the majority of Brooks Brothers’ shirts). The best part about the OCBD is that you can wash it, dry it and hang it up. That’s it. No need to worry about ironing it, as it looks great a bit wrinkled and just feels comfortable, which is the most important thing. 

The shirt doesn’t feel terribly stiff when first worn, but it just feels better several washes in. You can throw it on when you’re mildly hungover or just about to head down to the grocery store to buy some cilantro for some tostadas because you’re an idiot who forgot to check the fridge before you went to the store yesterday. 

Of course, it goes well with almost anything. You can wear it untucked with jeans or tucked into chinos with a madras, seersucker or navy wool blazer on top. And while my personal uniform most days consists of the blue OCBD, the white OCBD probably gets a fairly high amount of time covering my torso. I consider it a casual shirt to just wear around the house or on weekends. It’s what I do chores in and take naps in. 

You want that “lived-in” look? Pick up one of these shirts and live in it. There will always be time for you to put on a really dressed-up outfit to get dinner or go somewhere nice or even sit in your office cubicle. People always say that you should dress up for the important moments of your life, but the rest of your life’s more mundane and non-Instagram worthy moments ought to have a place in your wardrobe, too. For me, that’s the Brooks Brothers OCBD.

(“Investment Pieces” is a series about the items in my wardrobe that have gotten the most usage and wear. It’s part review and part paean to the clothes I really would recommend to anybody. These aren’t luxury items or limited in availability — you can get them anywhere at anytime for a fairly reasonable price.)

08
Aug
Brooks Brothers Black Fleece F/W 2012 now online — Here’s my favorite look from the collection. Click thru to see the rest.

Brooks Brothers Black Fleece F/W 2012 now online — Here’s my favorite look from the collection. Click thru to see the rest.

12
Jul

Brooks Brothers fall arrivals: multi-colorFair Isle sweater vest and fun polo shirt.

Believe it or not, these aren’t from the Brooks Brothers Boys Section.

12
Jul

Brooks Brothers fall arrivals: multi-colorPatch cardigan sweater, patch scarf; stripe crewneck sweater, stripe scarf.

For those who want to be the opposite of “boring”. I prefer to keep being boring.

04
Jul
It’s on sale: Brooks Brothers silk knit ties — Now 50% off and in seven different colors for $39.75. Made in Italy and 2.25” wide and 58” long.

It’s on sale: Brooks Brothers silk knit ties — Now 50% off and in seven different colors for $39.75. Made in Italy and 2.25” wide and 58” long.

About The Silentist

A menswear blog on finding your personal style, written by Kiyoshi Martinez.

I work at Khaki's of Carmel and live in the Monterey Bay area. Formerly from Chicago.

E-mail me, I'm fairly nice: thesilentist@gmail.com

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