While it is beyond convenient to shop over the internet these days, it is always nice to set foot in a store in major cities where there is likely to be merchandise not typically seen elsewhere.
That was certainly the case for this correspondent the other day at the Brooks Brothers shop in Georgetown, the super-preppy and filthy rich Washington neighborhood.
True, Michigan has both a Brooks Brothers inside the equally upscale Somerset Collection shopping mall in suburban Detroit and a branch of Flatiron near the campus of the University of Michigan. However, the selection is still rather limited when compared with either of the two Washington locations — to say nothing of the Brooks Brothers flagship in New York.
|PHOTOS courtesy of Brooks Brothers.|
One of the offerings unlikely to hit the shelves in Michigan is a tweed jacket from Red Fleece, a spinoff line from Brooks Brothers marketed toward a J. Crew demographic.
Red Fleece varies greatly from season to season, especially in quality. In past seasons, there seems to have been more made in China labels on Red Fleece merchandise than mainline Brooks Brothers.
That may still be the case this autumn, however, there does seem to be more focus on quality this season with the aforementioned sport jacket having been made in Portugal out of Yorkshire tweed.
The sport jackets — featuring soft, as in no padding whatsoever, shoulders, side vents and a classic three-roll-two lapel (a detail hardly offered by Brooks Brothers these days) — come in black or brown herringbone and brown with orange windowpane.
The tweed also has plenty of provenance with it coming from Abraham Moon & Sons, a mill with a history dating all the way back to 1837.
In almost all respects, these Red Fleece sports jackets are comparable with J. Crew’s much-touted Ludlow offerings. Being made in Portugal does, however, give Brooks Brothers an edge in perceived quality, if only because the European Union isn't home to oriental sweatshops and communist state-owned companies.
Just be warned the slightly shorter length of the sport jackets is a bit more trendy and, by extension, casual. Also, the faux surgeon’s cuff stitching surrounding the buttons may be a problem come alteration time if the sleeves are not a precise fit.
The only real negative is a seam that runs from the bottom of the pocket to the hem of the jacket.
Had it not been for the unusual location of the seam this correspondent would have purchased the sport jacket in both brown herringbone and windowpane, as the shoulders were perfect. The price ($498) was also very reasonable, especially with a 15 percent corporate discount card.