Brooks Brothers’ New Custom Tailoring

James T. Murray

Can Brooks Brothers’ made-to-measure program trump its off-the-rack classics?

Ready-to-Wear (off-the-rack 1818 blazer, $530; off-the-rack oxford, $80) vs. Made-to-Measure (custom blazer, from $870; custom dress shirt, from $150).

When it comes to sartorial reliability, there’s perhaps no better combination than a Brooks Brothers blue blazer and dress shirt. They are well made; available almost anywhere, from Santiago, Chile, to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; and the styles have been around for more than 150 years. So why then would you buy special-order from the brand? “For starters there are specialists in 85 of the 230 Brooks Brothers shops open today, so it’s not hard to find,” says Tom Jackson, manager of the company’s special-order department. “But it’s also a thorough process: Specialists will ask about a client’s occupation, geographical location—do they live where it’s warm, or will they need a heavier-weight flannel for winter?—and make recommendations based on the client’s hair, skin tone and body type.” Fabrics are then selected from 3,000-plus suiting options and 1,500 shirt swatches. Custom garments use ready-to-wear patterns as a point of reference: For suits it’s either the half-canvas 1818 or the full-canvas Golden Fleece; shirts have eight cuff styles and 20 collar choices, though perhaps the most popular collar is the polo button-down, shown here in yellow supima cotton. Specialists will keep measurements and preferences on file, which are accessible from any Brooks Brothers location. If you simply don’t have time for the fittings, however, the company’s Select online program allows you to customize stock-sized shirts in 380 fabrics.

Allow six weeks for made-to-measure suits; four weeks for custom shirts; brooksbrothers.com.

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