Just opened: Brooks Brothers suits Bay Streeters just fine
Brooks Brothers—the 192-year-old company that has dressed nearly every American president from Lincoln to Kennedy to Obama and helped create costumes for Mad Men and Gossip Girl—opened its first Toronto shop yesterday under the Royal Bank tower, at Bay and Wellington, naturally.
A faint scent of cigar smoke and snifters of brandy are the only things missing from the 22,000-square-foot space, which resembles a brightly lit gentlemen’s club. The shoe department is appointed with supple leather chairs and side tables holding copies of GQ and Men’s Health.
Crisp button-down collared shirts—an item the company introduced in the beginning of the 20th century, when cuffs and collars were still detachable—range from classic cuts to newer extra-slim fits starting at $108. Country Club, the sporty line that brought rugby stripes to the States, has its own section decorated in a collegiate motif.
In the back are rows of the store’s staple 1818 suits (two for $1,999 or $1,298 each) in greys, browns and black; made-to-measure suits start at $1,550. Men with slimmer and shorter builds will rejoice in the limited-edition Black Fleece line designed by Thom Browne, whose trademark ankle-baring pants and cropped jackets are a departure from the boxy silhouettes characteristic of North American cuts. The designer received a plug on Letterman this week from Vogue editor Anna Wintour, who introduced Browne to Brooks Brothers CEO-chairman Claudio Del Vecchio. The line’s prices are noticeably higher: a navy cashmere sweater made at the company’s factory in Scotland is $650, and a structured tuxedo jacket made from thick sweatshirt material goes for $950.
But don’t think the introduction of Brooks Brothers to Toronto is a move to trump the established menswear retailer Harry Rosen. “We didn’t come into the market to take 100 per cent of it,” says Del Vecchio. “Harry Rosen is doing a very good job, and we hope to be half as successful as them.”
Womenswear is not forgotten here. The looks are feminine takes on men’s classics, including popular non-iron button-downs and high-waisted wool A-line skirts with two rows of buttons down the front, marrying the company’s signature nautical and boardroom looks. Female fans of Browne should note his small women’s line, a monochromatic scheme of whites, light blue and charcoal shirts, skirts and cardigans. In the back is the boys’ section, where teenage girls channelling their inner Blair Waldorf try on navy blazers with gold buttons. Unfortunately, the string of pearls and weekend excursion to Martha’s Vineyard are not included.
Brooks Brothers, Royal Bank Plaza, 200 Bay St., Ste. UR1, 416-368-0162, brooksbrothers.com.