Tag Archives: Brooks Brothers

Neiman Marcus Says Goodbye to eBay, Targét + Lauren Bush Lauren = Collaboration

Hello and happy start of a new week.  Is anyone else dragging just a teeny bit?

Via CopyPress

Via CopyPress

On to our news of the day, remember the big announcement that many luxury brands were opening stores on eBay? We wrote about it back in September of 2011, the “eBay Fashion Outlet Mall” had many popular companies signed up to participate, the following is from that 2011 post:

Brands taking part in the new mall that may be of interest to our crowd include Brooks Brothers, Hanes, Elaine Turner, Hanky Panky, Lacoste, Tommy Hilfiger, Hickey Freeman.  eBay claims almost 200 other brands however (more on that number later), most of them ‘household names,’ from off-price department stores like Neiman Marcus Last Call to run of the mill retailers like Elie Tahari, Bruno Magli, Fossil and Hush Puppies.

A story last week from Reuters got me thinking about the undertaking, it’s titled “Last Call for Neiman Marcus’s eBay Store“:

Luxury department store operator Neiman Marcus is shutting its eBay Inc store, a setback for the e-commerce company, which has been trying to lure large retailers to its online marketplace.

Neiman launched a store on eBay.com in 2011 for its Last Call outlet brand. It was one of a slew of large retailers that eBay has attracted to its online marketplace in recent years, an important part of the e-commerce company’s effort to compete more with Amazon.com Inc.

The story notes Neiman’s will be selling deeply discounted merchandise on its own Last Call site. The retailer has upgraded the Last Call website substantially, so it makes sense to sell via their own means. eBay gets a cut every time Neiman’s sells merchandise via eBay’s site, why keep putting money in eBay’s pocket?

As it turns out, many of the upscale brands initially associated with the ‘Outlet Mall’ no longer seem to be participating. For example, this is what one saw when visiting the Brooks Brothers’ eBay store back in 2011.

Preppy Princess Blog 9.20.11

Preppy Princess Blog 9.20.11

A quick check for the Brooks Brothers store turns up nothing, they no longer seem to be part of the eBay Designer Outlets. Nor could I find Lacoste, Elaine Turner or several other “luxury” names. However, Bobby Jones and Calvin Klein are still present, as are Bruno Magli and Tahari. My guess is that there will be fewer and fewer brands remaining as part of the eBay endeavor, it just doesn’t make sense to pay eBay when you can dispose of the goods yourself via your own means without handing over part of the profits to a third party.


Our other item of note, Target has announced its next partnership will be with Lauren Bush Lauren’s FEED project. More from USA Today:

With FEED, Target is going the more minimalist, feel-good route with a collection launching June 30 that includes tote bags, kitchenware and blankets. Proceeds will benefit Feeding America, a non-profit with more than 200 food banks across the country.

Two of the items in the collection.

Via People StyleWatch

Via People StyleWatch

There will be 50 pieces in the line, including iPhone cases, bags, more jewelry and kitchenware. The collection launches June 30.  Here’s a bit more on the collapsible bicycle shown above from that StyleWatch story:

And the bike is a personal favorite of hers: “I ride my bike to work and around my West Village neighborhood, [so] I love [it],” she says. “Plus, it’s foldable and easy to store if you don’t have a lot of space in your apartment.”

I like this one, it is good to see Target offering a collection specifically tied to a charitable initiative.


Also today, a quick glance at the big winners of this year’s Cruft’s International dog show. Cruft’s is a little different from our annual Westminster show, among other things, they include additional competitions, like “Flyball.”.

Cruft's Flickr Feed

onEdition Photos via Cruft’s Flickr Feed

Two breeds we’re partial to, Scotties & Schnauzers.

Cruft's Facebook

Cruft’s Facebook

As always there were other events, many not involving the show ring. Below we see a Yeomanry Infantry group donating a big check to Hounds for Heroes, the organization provides dogs for disabled British military forces.

Cruft's Facebook

Cruft’s Facebook

Below we see the big winner, a Basset Griffon Vendeen (Petit) named Jilly, with handler Gavin Robertson.

Cruft’s Facebook

“Big winner” is an accurate appelation, more than 27,000 dogs were involved in this year’s show.

It must be the season for dog shows, we actually went to one ourselves a few weeks back.


That is a giant schnauzer, like our boy Phred, the pooch we had before Silly Tilly. It wouldn’t be out of the question to see another schnoozer at The Prepatorium.


Filed under Collaborations, preppy, Preppy clothing & brands, Preppy Fashion, preppy lifestyle, Preppy People

That Ivy Style Exhibit

Hello-Hello, happy middle of the week to everyone.

Today’s schedule mandates brevity, so we’ll keep the post to one topic. It is a subject I should have written about months ago, hopefully it isn’t tedious for too many readers.

Hickey Freeman Blog

Hickey Freeman Blog

We’re talking about the Ivy Style exhibit at the Fashion Institute of Technology Museum, unfortunately it closed in January. More from the Museum’s show notes.

“Ivy style” is one of the most enduring and recognizable sartorial modes in the world. It began as the “Ivy League Look” on the quads and in the libraries of elite, all-male, American universities, and consists of a small repertoire of classic items, such as Shetland tweed jackets and Oxford button-down shirts, plus the more casual madras shorts and khaki pants.

Yours truly is beyond chagrined at not having written about this sooner, at the very least before the exhibition closed, arrggh. Several pieces from the show: left to right, a Brooks blazer with 1923 Princeton insignia, another with Princeton’s 1919 insignia, and a 1916 Yale emblazoned blazer.

The Museum at FIT

The Museum at FIT

More from Hickey Freeman’s blog:

Many forget that the “Ivy style” as we know it began as a more formal way of dress on campuses like Harvard, Yale and Princeton, which eventually spread beyond those all-male universities. In blue blazers with gold buttons, madras prints, bowties and pocket squares, the exhibit proves this iconic way of dressing continues to influence today’s designers.

Three more pieces from the exhibition, a classic raccoon coat, a Chipp madras jacket and linen suit, correctly described by Art Info as Ivy staples.



Art Info’s story includes perspective from the Museum’s deputy director:

While the Ivy look is pretty democratic these days, with everyone from H&M to Hermes turning out brass button peacoats and embroidered smoking slippers, this wasn’t always the case. “If you look at pre-World War II images, you’re talking about more of an elitist group of people, people with more money who could send their children to college” Mears said.
More recent looks.
Via StyleSight

Via StyleSight

From The Journal’s review of the show:
Brooks Brothers, J. Press, Arrow, Hathaway and Gant—these are Ivy eternals. Chipp, an offshoot of J. Press, would expand and popularize the “Go to Hell” look, a mix of bright colors normally considered outside the masculine palette—coral, yellow, mint—and constituting a casual smack at the status quo.
Below, one of the tableaux from the exhibition via the Princeton Alumni Weekly.
Photo by Eli Schwartz, Princeton '60 via Princeton Alumni Weekly

Photo by Eli Schwartz, Princeton ’60 via Princeton Alumni Weekly

Back to The Journal piece by Laura Jacobs:

Ivy-style clothes need not come at great expense; they need not be new; but they must hit the ineffable balance between carefree, careless and correct. I have never forgotten the scorn of a young man commenting on Nantucket Reds that weren’t bought at Murray’s in Nantucket. They would never fade to the proper shade of shrimp pink and so they were impostors—”not our sort of people” pants. Getting the uniform wrong locks you out of the tribe.

Below left, items circa the twenties, on the right, an Arrow shirt signed by Harvard’s 1933 Football Team.

MFIT Ivy Style Microsite

MFIT Ivy Style Microsite

From Women’s Wear Daily’s story:

Ivy League style permeates nearly every fiber of American fashion, and a new exhibition at The Museum at FIT delves into its history.

It explores the “decline and resurgence” of Ivy League fashion and the rise of the preppy movement.

George Chinsee/Women's Wear Daily

George Chinsee/Women’s Wear Daily

The WWD article quotes Town & Country’s G. Bruce Boyer, he was a collaborator on the show:

Boyer said the show is “very timely,” since “every Italian brand today is trying to do the authentic Brooks Brothers button-down. And look at Thom Browne and Michael Bastian — they take great traditional looks and make them hip and contemporary.”

I didn’t realize the origins of the polo coat, more from the exhibit microsite:

Many garments have been derived from the game of polo, including this camel hair overcoat that was originally used as a “wait” coat by British polo players during “chukkas” (the term for polo’s periods of play). In design, it was at first little more than a heavy bathrobe type wrap coat, but when British polo teams began making regular visits to the U.S. in the 1920s, it was modified and became popular on elite college campuses.

Ivy Style Microsite

Ivy Style Microsite

Details magazine offered this:

While traditional J. Press and Brooks Brothers gear features prominently in the exhibit, it’s fun to see styles loosen up and evolve over the years, from the formal evening ensembles of the 1920s to the preppy sweater-and-shorts combos of the fifties and sixties.



Even though I missed seeing the exhibit in person, there is a wonderful book of essays accompanying the exhibition, edited by Ms. Mears.

Yale University Press

Yale University Press

More on the book from its publisher, Yale University Press:

Ivy Style celebrates both high-profile proponents of the style—including the Duke of Windsor, Steve McQueen, Paul Newman, and Miles Davis—who made the look their own, and designers such as Ralph Lauren, J. McLaughlin, Tommy Hilfiger, Michael Bastian, and Thom Browne, who have made it resonate with new generations of style enthusiasts.

Ivy Style is also available at Amazon and other outlets.

One of the best parts of the exhibit is the way curators drew upon the blogging community, several of my favorite blogs were involved in a variety of ways. Christian Chensvold over at the Ivy Style blog has an essay in the book discussed above, he has several stellar posts on the show. One offers a delightful video walk-through of the exhibit hosted by Richard Press.

Muffy Aldrich of Daily Prep renown is another author I admire tremendously and love reading, she donated items for use in the exhibit. I think you’ll enjoy this April post showing preps for the show. TDP was also featured in a Symposium affiliated with Ivy Style, for a real treat spend some time on this post, the entire slide show about Muffy’s blog is viewable.

John Tinseth writes The Trad, always enjoyable and a place where I have lurked for years, he was part of the Symposium as well. In this post you can see loads of photos from the exhibit, including the vintage dorm room shown below.

The Trad

The Trad

Dusty at Maxminimus is yet one more writer I regard with great admiration, he was also part of the Symposium and this post details that experience brilliantly.

The show may have closed in January, but hopefully you will be able to enjoy it virtually via some of the links included above.


One more tidbit, anyone interested in a new personalized phone case might want to visit the always-wonderful Nautical by Nature blog. We’re just tickled to be sponsoring a giveaway for one of our Preppy Planet custom cases.

Nautical by Nature

Nautical by Nature

Even if you don’t need a case, pop in and say ‘hey’ to Kate, she is the bee’s knees.

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Filed under preppy, Preppy clothing & brands, Preppy Fashion, preppy lifestyle, Preppy People

Bits & Bytes: C. Wonder Flagship & A Tip of the Hat to Brooks Brothers

Hello and happy almost-weekend.

Today we’ve a few Bits & Bytes to share, beginning with word about C. Wonder’s new store on the upper west side. The soft opening is under way already, but the grand opening fun is this weekend.


There are seven stores in total now, this is the new flagship store located at the Time Warner Center.

Kyle Ericksen/Women’s Wear Daily

More from Women’s Wear Daily (subscription req’d.:)

C. Wonder’s second Manhattan store is like the original SoHo unit on steroids.

The 8,000-square-foot space… has more color and more props — including life-size multicolored striped zebras, polka-dot horses and six-foot logo teddy bears. There’s even an illuminated portal at the entrance with LED lights projecting the brand’s proprietary print.

Kyle Ericksen/Women’s Wear Daily

Back to the WWD story, it quotes Amy Schecter, the brand’s president:

“We introduced a 100 percent silk blouse, for $128 for prints and $98 for solid,”

A new category of dressier items includes a raincoat, $248, and sweaters embellished with rhinestones, $98. “We think this will bring in a slightly more sophisticated customer,” Shecter said. “We had her buying home products, now she’s buying rtw.”

We have been getting mixed review on the brand’s merchandise, with some reports that apparel items in particular are not holding up well, others saying they’re fine. According to the WWD story, CEO Christopher Burch says he has been focused on raising quality. Hmmmm. The new outpost does look like fun, the splashes of color are always a delight.


Our other tidbit today is a tip of the hat to the folks at Brooks Brothers; heaven knows we beat up on them heartily enough we have occasionally mentioned a concern about an item or two (cough-cough). We are way behind in reporting this, but the retailer is donating suits valued at $1 million to the Dignity U Wear program, a partnership with the Wounded Warriors project.

The idea is to make professional wardrobes available to wounded veterans so they can find jobs in the civilian workforce, a daunting task.  In addition to the clothing donation Brooks is also helping raise cash, they hosted their first fundraiser at the New York mothership in June.


Montel Williams was the emcee for the vent, more from MRKTPLACE:

Montel Williams was a powerful guest host… virtually moving the crowd to tears with his story. Returning from several years in active duty overseas, he had saved up what money he could find to buy some decent clothes for job interviews. While interviewing (for a job he didn’t get), he realized he was competing with guys in nice suits and ties and felt, whether true or not, that he could never succeed without the right clothes.

Some vets received suits recently as part of their UConn Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans with Disabilities, below we see Marine veteran Jared Luce being fitted at the Brooks Brothers in W. Hartford.

MICHAEL McANDREWS/Hartford Courant

Dignity U Wear actually targets three groups in need, Women and Girls in Crisis, Veterans, and Learning With Dignity. Below, boxes of clothes headed to a Boys and Girls Club.

Dignity U Wear Facebook

Today seemed appropriate for talking about this, it is National POW/MIA Recognition Day. The photo below is from the Wounded Warriors Facebook page.

Wounded Warriors Facebook Page

The fall Dignity U Wear gala is October 25, you can learn more about it here.


Filed under preppy, Preppy clothing & brands, Preppy Fashion

Mad Men and McDonald’s, Brooks Brothers & 50 Shades of Grey

Happy almost weekend, a touch of Friday Fun seems in order today, hopefully you will agree.

We begin with a look at the new McDonald’s uniforms. (Because we know how much you worry about such things.)

Courtesy McDonald’s

The new duds début at the Olympic Park and Athletes village during the Summer Games. The Telegraph explains that “‘Mad Men’ style inspired new McDonald’s uniforms” in this story, offering input from designer Wayne Hemingway:

They replace a range of “mocha brown” and black uniforms that were introduced four years ago.

He said the look, with skinny ties for the male managers, pencil skirts for the female managers, and Fred Perry style polo shirts were inspired by a mixture of the 1960s mod movement and Mad Men, the American television programme set in that decade.

Courtesy McDonald’s

Ultimately 85,000 UK employees will wear these, no word if there’s any chance new styles are in the future for McDonald’s workers in the US.  A final thought on these from Critical Mob:

The colors are still wretched, the cut of the clothes sharper, but it’s debatable whether you’d ever actually see Don Draper or Joan Holloway wearing anything like this. Pete Campbell on the other hand…



Seeing Brooks Brothers and Fifty Shades of Gray mentioned together in a headline made me pay attention, I was alarmed intrigued by the topic. More from the Post:

Even at staid Brooks Brothers, a publicist promoted “Eight Shades of Grey Ties” among their offerings. “We may not have Fifty Shades of Grey Ties, but we do have Eight Shades of Grey Ties,” he wrote The Post, forwarding a link to a collection of neckwear that retails from $44.50 to $175.

Those familiar with Fifty Shades won’t be surprised to learn other things related to the book are also selling well.  Unmentionable-type things.


We leave you an early “How Hot Is It?” Even though it is only June, so many friends are coping with extreme heat we decided to pull this one out of the archive.

Via The Dog Blog

No, it’s not tubby Silly Tilly, that is Elliot the bulldog cooling off in the ice.  The photo is a few years old, here is more from Quips and Quills:

… this is an “un-posed” picture (trust me, you couldn’t actually make Elliot do anything) of said pooch trying to beat the TEXAS heat after his owners emptied their cooler in the driveway in Lamesa, TEXAS.

Another bullie, Honey Ham, cools off with a dip in her pool.

Courtesy Honey Ham the Bulldog

Yes, Honey really swims, you can see her doing her favorite stroke (dog paddle) in this video clip.

Courtesy Honey Ham the Bulldog

We think of Honey as the Ryan Lochte of swimming bullies.

Happy weekend!


Filed under Friday Fun, preppy

About Those Flash Sale Sites

Today’s post is a bit of a departure from our normal fare. For months we have chatted with friends about those ubiquitous flash sale sites, a phenomenon almost unheard of until the last several years. Usually we talk about upcoming sales, new or different sites, and how good the bargains are; lately the conversation has focused more on that last theme. I finally decided to explore the topic, hoping it will provide a modicum of entertainment, perhaps you can even share input and insight from your own experiences.

Just a few years ago those in search of discounted merchandise visited factory outlets, or off-price retailers like TJ Maxx and Ross Dress for Less.  Upscale department stores also offered their unsold inventory at outlet shops like Saks Fifth Avenue’s Off Fifth and Neiman’s Last Call. (In fact, the “luxury off-price” business model proved so successful many of the high-end outlets now have merchandise made exclusively for sale at their discount stores and they continue to open even more off-price stores.)

But then These Troubling Times arrived. When the Great Recession hit, stores were faced with enormous amounts of unsold merchandise that was discounted, then discounted again, and perhaps several more times. In many cases it still didn’t sell. This was particularly true for luxury retailers, they had racks overflowing with merchandise no one wanted, or could afford to buy.

More in this story from Reuters:

“The original flash sales model for the U.S. exploded during a time when there was this huge abundance of excess inventory,” said Steven Dennis, founder of SageBerry Consulting and a former executive at retailer Neiman Marcus.

Gilt is credited with launching the first flash sale site in the US, but others soon followed. And they continue to follow, as explained in this story from The Business of Fashion.

“Gilt’s success also spurred hundreds of other competitors to enter the flash sales market, from start-ups like Ideeli and Rue La La to strategic players like Amazon’s MyHabit and Nordstrom’s Hautelook.”

For those unfamiliar with the flash sale sites we share a brief primer. They are referred to as “members only sites,” a term generally excoriated occasionally questioned in this space, as most anyone with an email address can “join”.  Once signed up, daily emails are sent with a list of that day’s offerings, as well as a preview of upcoming sales.

Below, the Haute Look landing page.


Most sites require that you sign in before showing whatever sales they are offering, although not every site requires a log-in immediately. Here is another home page example from Zulily, a site specializing in merchandise for “Moms, Babies and Kids”.


Once past the sign-in page you see the specific sales in progress. A glance at Beyond The Rack’s sale events underway last Friday shows Burberry, Coach, and “limited edition pre-owned Chanel” among the offerings.

Beyond The Rack June 1, 2012

There are even “prep-centric” flash sale sites, like Five Mile.

FiveMile.com June 1, 2012

Brands offered by Five Mile are familiar to many a prep: Knot Belt Company, Southern Proper, Castaway, Salmon Cove, to name only a few.


Once you are signed in you can start doing your product perusal, always intriguing and generally a lot of fun. Should you want to purchase an item, things operate like any other e-commerce site. It is in order fulfillment that the process may be different: what you purchased may ship from any number of places. It could come directly from the original manufacturer, it may be shipped from the flash sale site’s warehouse, or from a third party. Sites are usually very good about posting estimated shipping dates, below we show examples gathered on Friday:

  • Editor’s Closet item description on a Chloe dress: “Ships same business day if ordered before 2pm EST”
  • Joss & Main French Laundry Pillow: “Expected Arrival Date: Between 07/18/2012 and 07/23/2012″
  • RueLaLa Vineyard Vines Men’s Polo: “Ships in 5-7 days”
  • Ideeli David Yurman Silver Ice Necklace: “Expected to ship between Jun 19 and Jun 25, 2012”

The broad range of delivery dates serves as a reminder shoppers need to pay attention to the fine print, especially if making a time-sensitive purchase like a gift, or something for a special occasion. One more caveat: popular brands, such as Lilly Pulitzer, sell out very (*very*) quickly. It is not unusual to see items marked as “sold out” less than a minute after an event has started.

The explosion in sites has been enormous, the marketplace is now crowded. Some of the larger companies like Gilt have expanded into new terrain with specialty shops like Gilt Taste.

Gilt Taste

There are offerings for almost any niche or interest or activity, from travel and tourism deals to artwork, daily deals and local bargains. An example of what one site is doing via CNN:

Home furnishings flash sale site One Kings Lane recently announced the addition of Vintage & Market Finds, where a selection of marked-down furniture, accessories and art are available for five days at a time as opposed to its usual 72-hour time frame and new items are added daily.

Another dilemma created by a crowded field? Consumers becoming overwhelmed by email offers landing in their electronic in-box around. A CNBC story from last week:

Email fatigue is one of the biggest challenges flash-sale sites face. Emails are the primary way of disseminating deals, but after a while web shoppers can tune out and unsubscribe. This was even more true as more flash-sale sites came on the scene and as active shoppers subscribed to more than one flash-sale site.

“It has gotten to be an incredibly crowded marketplace, and there is the risk that all these offers can overload consumers,” said Stephen Wyss, a partner in the retail and consumer practice at BDO.

With stores becoming far more savvy in what (and how much) merchandise they order, there has been a steep decline in the availability of all that bargain inventory, especially luxury brands. One outcome is the growth of themed sales, no longer grouping items just by brand or designer, but by theme. Merchandise may be grouped by season, like “Flirty Tops for Summer” or “Backyard BBQ Essentials”.

There are even manufactured sales, such as an event Gilt held the second week of May, a sale titled “Revenge: Emily’s Beach House,” playing off the popularity of the TV show.

Gilt. com 5/17/2012

Here is a portion of the sale description:

The Hamptons was Emily Thorne’s old neighborhood, until something happened that destroyed her family and their reputation. Years later, she has returned to right those wrongs.

While it’s a lot smaller than Grayson Estate next door, Emily’s beach house is no shack. It’s the epitome of laid-back yet luxurious East End style. This sale includes authentic props from the set of Revenge; the most well-known is the porch swing, originally built by Emily’s father. You’ll also find the pedestal table found on the patio, and a candlestick from the living room. We’ve complemented these props with accents, from artful dishware to sconce lights.

Another tactic, making deals to launch certain collections via one of the sites. As mentioned in Thursday’s post, the Trina Turk for Banana Republic collection was offered online at Gilt.com more than a full week before consumers can buy it at Banana Republic. (But the merchandise was not a bargains, pieces were sold at full price, the appeal being the chance to get items before anyone else.)


Retailers have fought back by jumping into the arena, doing their own flash sales. Below, a screen grab of an email I received from Neiman Marcus.

Neiman Marcus

Another example, Brooks Brothers did a limited time sale this weekend offering up to 75% off its Black Fleece line, the following image is from a Brooks Brothers email promoting the sale.

Brooks Brothers

It isn’t just upscale retailers taking part.


And some have moved their outlet stores online as well, J. Crew “opens” its online factory store during the weekend.

J. Crew

Another rapidly growing area is Facebook, many start-ups are offering flash sale sites on their fan pages, especially jewelry vendors. A photo of an item is shown, and the first shoppers who enter a comment saying they want the item are able to purchase it. Again, the sense of limited merchandise and a short time span prompts buying from those who don’t want to “let it get away,” or be “left out,” with actual financial transactions generally handled off-site.

We have been fortunate with many of the sites and made some *marvelous* purchases over the years, particularly back in the early days of the genre. Good products, great prices and solid service.  Later this week we’ll have Parts 2 & 3, looking at some of the more preppish brands sold on the sites, as well as an examination of just how good the deals really are these days… or not.


ADDENDUM: If interested in signing up for any of the sites, here are links to some where I have shopped *and* enjoyed a positive experience. Another interesting facet of the flash sale business model are the varying rewards offered for those referring customers, most offer merchandise credits of anywhere from $10 to $25 if someone uses your invitation link and also purchases something.


Filed under Collaborations, preppy, Sales & Savings