Musings on the culture of keeping up appearances

All the Rage

Category: Brooks Brothers

Suit yourself: Men's custom clothes are a mouse click away

Online custom shirts
In researching the piece on men’s made-to-measure dress shirts that will appear in Sunday’s Image section, it became apparent that though it’s men in their 30s and 40s that are currently driving the custom clothing business (there is a technical distinction between made-to-measure and true custom — which I address in the story), the industry sees growth potential in the twentysomethings.

“Our custom dress shirt business has been consistent over the last couple of years,” said Saks Fifth Avenue men's fashion director Eric Jennings. “But we’re seeing the younger guys are more interested in dressing up, and we think there’s a real opportunity to go after that younger customer that’s not the classic customer that’s in our stores right now.”

Joseph Abboud, chief creative officer and president of HMX Group, echoes that sentiment. “It’s a very interesting sort of genetic memory thing that men have about nice suits and nice shirts,” Abboud said. "There seemed to be a generation-skipping thing going on -– when we went through that whole corporate casual Friday thing. And now the younger guy is starting to get dressed again.” 

And, according to Kyle Vucko, CEO and co-founder of Internet-only label Indochino, they're the ones most likely to buy online. "A lot of our guys are in their late 20s and early 30s," he said, "they're fresh out of college, they’re used to buying online, and they appreciate the affordability and value we can offer when it comes to custom apparel."

Below are a handful of the DIY options I've discovered over the last few weeks. (And trust me, it barely scratches the surface of what's out there.) Some are Web-only, while others are in-store only (and one option is ordered online and picked up in-store).

I have just one piece of advice: Be sure to measure (or be measured) carefully and choose wisely, since, as a general rule, made-to-measure garments cannot be returned or exchanged.

Bespoken Clothiers

If choosing from hundreds of fabrics and dozens of customization options sounds daunting, the folks at New York City-based Bespoken have done you a favor by winnowing the field to 16 Thomas Mason fabrics, six collar styles and three styles of cuff. Since they’re all hand-stitched in Turnbull & Asser’s U.K. factory, your shirt comes with a pedigree worth boasting about.

Price: $245 or $265.

Turnaround time: Three weeks.

Brooks Brothers

Brooks offers two options for guys looking for something beyond standard-issue ready-to-wear. One is a full made-to-measure program — suits, dress shirts and formal wear — that’s available through its bricks-and-mortar doors. The other is its “Select” special-order dress shirt program (also available for women) that allows customers to customize the fabric, fit, collar and cuff details of an existing shirt style.

Price: $108 to $195 (add a monogram for $12).

Turnaround time: Finished garments are delivered to your local Brooks Brothers store within four weeks.


The retailer's John W. Nordstrom made-to-order program allows people to customize an existing dress shirt style by choosing from more than 100 Swiss-made fabrics, four fits, 10 collar styles, six cuff styles, two types of pockets, two types of button placket and two kinds of buttons –- as long as your neck circumference is in the 14 1/2-to-20-inch range and you take a 30-to-39-inch sleeve.

Price: From $145 to $495 (based on fabric choice).

Turnaround time: Six to eight weeks. Available through Nordstrom’s men's furnishings departments nationwide.

Saks Fifth Avenue

Most made-to-measure shirts are cut and sewn overseas, but if you’re keen on buying American-made goods, check out Saks’ private-label custom dress shirt program, since all the garments are made in the USA. 

Price: Shirts start at $130.

Turnaround time: Four weeks.

Available through select Saks Fifth Avenue stores, including Beverly Hills.

Web-only and shirts-only, ShirtsMyWay has been open for business since February 2009 and claims to offer “seven trillion unique design variations” (a number so absurdly astronomical we’re forced to take the claim at face value).

Price: From $75 to $175 (based on fabric choice).

Turnaround time: Free shipping is 15 days door-to-door; tack on $10 for delivery in nine days.

Streets of Beverly Hills

A one-stop shop for the HMX Group stable of brands with a clubby man cave vibe, Streets of Beverly Hills, which opened its doors in September, hopes to become a made-to-measure mecca. Currently the custom options are limited to Hickey Freeman and Hart Schaffner Marx suits, but the store plans to add custom shirts in the future, so it’s worth making a mental note.


Although the company started in Canada in 2007, co-founder and Chief Executive Kyle Vucko says the U.S. now accounts for 70% of sales of its made-to-measure dress shirts, suits and outerwear, which are shipped to men in 60 different countries across the globe. “We help a few thousand men a month get into custom shirts,” Vucko said.

Price: $79 to $99.

Turnaround time: Although the company promises delivery from Shanghai within three weeks, as of this writing, the website notes that due to high order volume, customers should allow six weeks for deliveries.


For NBA players, a fashion slam dunk

Where to buy a custom-made men's shirt

 Vans, Shortomatic custom board short program is officially live

 -- Adam Tschorn

Photos: Websites that offer made-to-measure men's dress shirts include Bespoken Clothiers, left, and ShirtsMyWa. Credits: Bespoken Clothiers and

Of salad bowls and party hats: Divine Design turns 20 in style

Divine Design Gala
Divine Design, the annual fundraiser benefiting Project Angel Food, celebrated its 20th anniversary in style Wednesday night, with a gala dinner marking the start of a six-day charity shopping marketplace that will run through Dec. 12.

Before dinner, guests sipped cocktails and wandered the cavernous space -- the former Robinson's May store in Beverly Hills -- while browsing and buying discounted delights such as L.A. Eyeworks frames, vintage fur capelets, Brooks Brothers Black Fleece jackets and ties, Alexander McQueen clutches, Trina Turk tote bags, D.L. and Co. candles, a veritable forest of bamboo furniture, Philippe Starck Ghost armchairs, Barbie bicycles, Kiehls lotions, lip balms and more -- all of which could be had at 50% off retail prices.

Posted throughout were large signs bearing the equation "$5 = 1 meal," an exchange rate of sorts meant

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Muppet Mania: Kermit the Frog makes his fashion felt

Kermit Fashion
Wonder no more -- Kermit the Frog wears a Brook Brothers tuxedo.

Kermit's upcoming return to the silver screen in "The Muppets," will include several pieces from Brooks Brothers, one outfit consisting of a custom-made notch lapel “Fitzgerald”-style tuxedo, pleated tuxedo shirt and butterfly bow tie, with a second outfit pairing a Brooks Brothers flannel coat and trousers with navy pin-striped cashmere scarf, according to the clothier. 

Today's announcement is the kick-off of a marketing tie-in with Disney that also includes a Q and A Kermit Flannelwith his frogness at the Brooks Brothers website, in-store promotional posters and bag-stuffers and further evidence that Kermit is turning into quite the fashion plate (or perhaps fashion lily pad?) in the runup to the movie, which is set to hit theaters Thanksgiving weekend.

In addition to hopping out in custom Brooks Brothers threads, everyone's favorite felt fellow has also inspired a shade of OPI nail polish called "Fresh Frog of Bel Air" and is garnering some serious street cred with a pair of mean, green Adidas Originals kicks that dropped Nov. 1.

Called the Superstar 2.0 Kermit, the shoe color is fairway-green suede with running-white accents, features a version of Kermit's signature felt collar over the tongue and the phrase "The Original HipHop" emblazoned on the side in gold lettering ($80 for adults, $50 for children's, at Adidas' e-commerce site). 

For the record, he's not the only Muppet so honored -- another pair, which boasts a chain-link motif, orange plush interior and embossed drumsticks -- is an homage to Animal.

As for Kermit, we're thinking a tiny Burberry trench coat would round out the wardrobe perfectly. Is that too much to ask?


The Muppets nail it with an OPI holiday collection

Tom Ford reprises role as James Bond's tailor in 'Skyfall'

'The Muppets': Kermit the Frog commands Jason Segal's respect

-- Adam Tschorn

Photos: Top left, Kermit the Frog wearing a custom-made Brooks Brothers tuxedo; credit: Brooks Brothers. Top right, the Adidas Superstar 2.0 Kermit; credit: Adidas. Bottom, Kermit in a flannel coat and trousers with navy pin-stripe cashmere scarf, all by Brooks Brothers; credit: Brooks Brothers

Back to school with Brooks Brothers Collegiate collection


Brooks Brothers has long been synonymous with a classic and preppy aesthetic, but its Collegiate Collection of university-driven clothing takes things to a new level. 

On Saturday, the brand will launch the line of woven ties, non-iron dress shirts, V-neck merino Princeton University Guard Stripe Tie and lambs wool sweaters and polos all emblazoned with the college insignias of 15 schools, including Yale, Boston College, Princeton, Columbia, Georgetown and Stanford. 

The ties (which are made in the company’s Long Island City tie factory) feel especially Ivy League, with university crests forming a repeat pattern all over them. Talk about school spirit.

The Brooks Brothers Collegiate collection will be available at the company's website   beginning Saturday.


Ray Ban for Brooks Brothers are the perfectly preppy accessory

Brooks Brothers dresses Broadway's "Business" boys

Levi's/Brooks Brothers jeans are a match made in L.A.

-- Melissa Magsaysay

Photo: Merchandise from Brooks Brothers Collegiate Collection. Credit: Brooks Brothers

Ray Ban for Brooks Brothers sunglasses are a perfectly preppy accessory

Prepsters rejoice. Two famous American brands have come together to create an accessory that combines classic elements of both companies. Ray Ban’s sunglasses for Brooks Brothers showcase the wayfarer and aviator styles from Ray Ban, with arms lined in the signature BB #1 Repp stripe from Brooks Brothers -- more commonly seen on the brand’s ties, bow ties and even decorative pillows.

The pattern was originally fashioned after British regimental or club ties. In the 1920s, the diagonal stripes were reversed in direction by Brooks Brothers to “Americanize” the pattern, and it has since remained a recognizable aspect of the company’s accessories as well as preppy style in general.

The wayfarer reached prepster staple status during the 1950s, and recently it has become more of a cool-girl, hipster favorite worn regularly by celebrities like Rachel Bilson and Chloe Sevigny.

The stripes are subtle, but like the quick flash of the lining of a suit or punch of color a bow tie can provide, the design is a fun and quirky touch that suits those who appreciate the classics.

The Ray Ban for Brooks Brothers collection comes in burgundy and yellow stripes. Wayfarers are $145 and aviators are $139 at Brooks Brothers stores.

-- Melissa Magsaysay


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'Vic' visions for L.A. Eyeworks, TenOverSix

Photo: Ray Ban for Brooks Brothers sunglasses. Credit: Ray Ban

Brooks Brothers dresses Broadway's 'Business' boys

Can a Brooks Brothers suit help you succeed in business -- without really trying?

Although audiences and theater critics will ultimately be the judge of that (Los Angeles Times theater critic Charles McNulty reviews the show here), the Broadway revival of "How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying," which opened on Sunday at the Al Hirschfeld Theatre, is awash with wardrobe from the storied clothier.

Brooks Brothers worked with costume designer Catherine Zuber to create made-to-measure suits and topcoats for actor Daniel Radcliffe's J. Pierrepont Finch character as well as outiftting the entire male cast (which includes veteran actor John Larroquette).

The Brooks Brothers relationship apparently extends beyond the edge of the stage too -- at least for Radcliffe -- who turned out to Sunday's opening-night after-party wearing a Brooks Brothers black fleece,  three-button wool and mohair blend tuxedo with a black silk faille lapel and matching bow tie.

-- Adam Tschorn

More All The Rage coverage of Brooks Brothers

Photo (left): Daniel Radcliffe wears a Brooks Brothers black fleece tuxedo to the opening-night after-party for "How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying," on March 27, 2011. Credit: Charles Sykes / Associated Press

Photo (right): Radcliffe, center, and cast at the March 27 curtain call. Credit: Joe Corrigan / Getty Images

Grammy Awards: B.o.B is dapper in Moods of Norway [Updated]


If anyone needed any proof that Moods of Norway has stepped up its fashion game, they just need to see Grammy-nominated artist B.o.B on the red carpet.

He’s rocking a dapper and slightly disheveled military-inspired look with a red jacket, white tux shirt and knit double-breasted vest, all by Moods of Norway. He’s wearing a white scarf with tassels and, of course, sunglasses because it wouldn’t be the Grammys without shades on the red carpet and a spin on traditional style.

-- Melissa Magsaysay

[For the record: An earlier version of this post attributed B.o.B's wardrobe to Black Fleece by Brooks Brothers. The pieces are by Moods of Norway.]


Photo: B.o.B. with his mother. Credit: Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times

2010 Divine Design Gala to honor Kelly Osbourne, Brooks Brothers

Get ready to brandish those checkbooks, bargain-seeking stylish ones! Project Angel Food's annual Divine Design event is getting ready to drop-kick you through the goal posts of another holiday shopping season.

The benefit will be returning to the former Robinsons-May space in Beverly Hills, where it will run Dec. 1-6.

Rage_osbourneAs usual, it will kick off with a first-night gala event, and this year's honorees are Kelly Osbourne (chosen as Divine Design's 2010 woman of style), interior designers Mitchell Gold and Bob Williams (being honored as interior design pioneers) and Brooks Brothers, which is receiving a corporate humanitarian award.

Which makes Black Fleece by Brooks Brothers' spring/summer 2011 collection an appropriate choice for the evening's runway presentation. We're told that fashion designer Thom Browne (who collaborates with Brooks Brothers on the line) will be in attendance as well, and that Brad Goreski (late of "The Rachel Zoe Project") will be introducing the catwalk collection.

To date, the list of designers and labels whose wares are to be available -- at a deep discount and for a good cause -- includes Barbara Tfank, Monique Lhuillier, Perry Ellis, Trina Turk., Marc by Marc Jacobs and Tom Ford.

Tickets for the Dec. 1 opening-night gala, a Dec. 2 VIP cocktail shopping party, as well as general admission to the six-day shopstravaganza (and a coupon worth $10 off admission) can be found by clicking here.

Divine Design, Dec. 1-6, 9900 Wilshire Blvd, Beverly Hills. Hours, ticket prices and additional information available at

 -- Adam Tschorn

Photo: Kelly Osbourne, who will be honored as Divine Design's 2010 woman of style. Credit: Lucas Jackson / Reuters



Pop your collars: 'True Prep' author pops in to Book Soup on Saturday

"True Prep," Lisa Birnbach's follow-up to "The Original Preppy Handbook" has been getting some serious love from the folks at Brooks Brothers -- with window displays and in-store book-signing parties across the country. Thursday night, the Rodeo Drive flagship was the center of all the action -- completRage_covere with pink and green cocktails and the author dressed in an ensemble from Brooks Brothers' Black Fleece collection.

Afterward, a handful of folks decamped to the Sunset Tower Hotel for dinner, where Birnbach effusively thanked the Brooks Brothers marketing team. "Thanks for making me feel relevant," she said.

But the clothier apparently isn't alone in its warm embrace of the book: In its second week, it's at the No. 10 spot on the Los Angeles Times nonfiction bestseller list.

Don't worry if you missed the Brooks Brothers book-signing; before she leaves town, the New York based author will be reading from -- and signing copies of -- the book at a free, open-to-the-public event on Saturday. 

So put down the Bloody Mary, shrug into your best polo shirt and head over to Book Soup, 8818 W. Sunset Blvd. in West Hollywood, from 4 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.

-- Adam Tschorn


L.A. Times book review: "True Prep"

A field guide to L.A. preppies

Lisa Birnbach's "True Prep": 30 years after the "Official Preppy Handbook," what will Bink and Bootsy wear?

New York Fashion Week: Brooks Brothers shoots for beds, birdies and beyond

Brooks Brothers seems to be firing on all cylinders these days. When we popped into the Madison Avenue flagship during New York Fashion Week, in addition to getting the lowdown on next spring's collection (more on that in a second), we found out that the company is getting ready to launch its first line of housewares online in October, a collection that includes bedding, towels, lampshades, headboards and even throw pillows that incorporate the color palette and patterns of the company's shirting fabrics and neckties.

We also got a peek at a few pieces that will be part of a co-branded men's and women's apparel and

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