A Fine Man Once Said:

"Part of the 10 million I spent on gambling, part of it on booze, and part of it on women. The rest I spent foolishly."

- George Raft

Monday, September 5, 2011

Strange Happenings at Marshalls

A classic business conservative fabric from Brooks Brothers -
a mid-grey with a very fine blue/white pinstripe.

I generally make it a habit to drop into my local Marshall's every now and again - the inventory is so unpredictable that you really never know what you're going to stumble across. For the most part, the men's section will consist of fused suits made in a variety of third world countries, with shirts and ties to match.

Occasionally, however, you can find some real bargains. Most recently, I've come across Polo Ralph Lauren suits made in Italy by Corneliani, suits from Corneliani's own label, and shoes by Church's, Santoni, and Tod's.

On my last trip, the men's suit racks were filled with what appeared to be staple conservative business suits in solid navy blue and grey pinstripes from Brooks Brothers.

A Brooks Bros. charcoal grey two-button pinstripe suit with subtle blue and white pinstripe.

I took a closer look to see what line the suit was made for, and this is where I became a little confused. Generally speaking, Brooks Bros. makes suits for its regular or basic line with a blue label inside the chest, with gold stitching around the tag. The next level up from there is the 1818 line with the difference in the cut of the suit being readily ascertainable by the model tags (i.e Madison, Fitzgerald). Finally, at the top tier of suits for Brook Brothers, you have the Golden Fleece - these suits are equally identifiable by a few features: the tags will indicate that the suit is hand tailored in the USA and the suit jacket is fully canvassed.

In this case, the suits at Brooks Bros. had the "hand tailoring" and "full canvas" tags.

Hand tailored in the USA of Imported Fabric


The "full canvas" tag on the inside of the Brooks Bros. suit.

Having perused the Golden Fleece suits at Brooks' flagship store, it was simple enough to confirm that these were in fact Golden Fleece suits. However, what confused me was that the Golden Fleece label on the inner suit lining appeared to have been removed (you could actually see where the original tag was stitched into the suit lining before it was replaced with the "regular" line blue tag.

After confirming with Brooks Bros. that these are in fact Golden Fleece suits (the Brooks people were never able to come up with an explanation as to why the Golden Fleece tags had been removed and replaced), I basically came away with an $1,800 suit for about $200. Of course, there are legions of Brooks Bros. detractors who will tell you about the poor quality of the offerings from the Brothers Brooks, and while this may or may not be true, most people will tell you that the Golden Fleece suits are of a high quality (at one time  or another, the Golden Fleece line has been made by Isaia and Martin Greenfield - I believe this particular suit was made in the Southwick factories here in the USA). Regardless, one would be hard-pressed to find a brand new, fully canvassed suit anywhere for under $200.

Note: It should be pointed out that there might be something to the negative comments about the fit of a Brooks Bros. suit. I'm normally a 42 Regular but the size information inside the chest pocket lists this suit as a 40 Regular; nevertheless, in my opinion, the suit fits me very well (for an off-the-rack suit - it will require minimal tailoring although, despite the smaller size, the jacket will probably still need to be taken in just a bit.

So, if you're interested in Golden Fleece suits in traditional "staple" colors like navy and charcoal grey, pop your head into the local Marshall's. If the 1818 line is more your speed, there were a few of those models mixed into the racks as well - however, in keeping with the befuddling nature that is Marshall's, those suits are actually listed at $350.

Perhaps someone else will have better luck figuring out the whole thing out than I did.


  1. At which Marshall's store did you find these in Manhattan? I called one but they didn't seem to have any BB.

  2. called about 10 stores today an none of them said they had it. i went to the one on 18th they don't have it for sure.

    Dan feel free to PM me on my tumblr if you're so inclined to share this information. ;-)

  3. Hi guys,
    Sorry for the delay in responding - unfortunately, it sounds like 18th street got cleaned out. That's where I picked the Golden Fleece suit up from. Due to a combination of hurricane and work, I wasn't able to post until about two weeks after my discovery, which based on what you guys are saying, may have been enough time for the inventory to get cleaned out.

    One thing to add - in my opinion, calling a Marshall's is not going to be very helpful. In most cases, the stores are not organized in an efficient manner - so its unlikely that anyone working there is really going to know exactly what suits are in the men's section. And based on what I've seen firsthand of each Marshall's in NYC, only 18th, Atlantic Avenue in BK, and 125th Street in Harlem are ever stocked with suits of any kind.
    Hope this helps,

  4. Hey, I think I've found this exact suit at a thrift store but in a 41. Have you ever figured out what's up with the tag switch?

  5. Hey,
    I'm not sure what the deal was with these. I heard they were factory seconds; I also heard that some BB reps had no idea how this stuff ended up in Marshall's. Either way, at $199 for a Golden Fleece suit, I'm not going to worry too much about it :-)

    Enjoy your suit!
    Dan F. (An Uptown Dandy)

  6. Any advice on the 1818 Fitzgerald blazers? I'm looking at a few online and found one that looks nice. I was measured recently and told I'm a 42r, but from your post it seems that maybe I should size down. Any thoughts on quality of the 1818 line and/or what size I should pick up? Thanks.

  7. Nickolas,
    If anything, I think you need to check these suits out in person. I'm normally a 42R so was surprised to find that the 40R fit me pretty well. At least, consider sizing down if you want a slimmer fitting suit.

    The 1818 stuff is pretty good quality. Usually on sale for $400-500 is a good deal, if you can find these on clearance for half that, I think its a no-brainer.

    Dan F. (An Uptown Dandy)