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.