Purchased on eBay: The 1960’s Brooks Brothers Blue Glen Plaid Suit

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While I have gotten extremely lucky buying suits at Goodwill, eBay always seems to hold up, especially if you want something ivy!  Unlike 1930’s suits or modern Ring Jacket suits, vintage pieces from the 1960s-1970s tends to be fairly cheap and readily available.   This amazing mid-to-late 1960s suit from Brooks Brothers is no exception and perfect for spring! I actually got this suit done a while ago and only recently got around to shooting it now.  

The Story

As many of you guys know, I spend a lot of my idle internet time on eBay looking at vintage suits.  Thanks to my method of buying online, I’m able to quickly skim through a listing and determine how well it’s going to fit out of the box and how much tailoring is possible!  It’s how I was able to get three amazing suits for only $75 or get one of the only good Jos A. Bank suits in existence.    Imagine my surprise when I came across this great suit a few months ago.

For only $60 (+ $12 shipping), there was a “VTG 60s Brooks Brothers Grey/Blue Glen Plaid Suit, 3/2, 39, Trad, Ivy”.  The title pretty long, as is the norm for many sellers, but it pretty much sums up the suit.  The pictures were okay, the price was good, and the measurements were alright, so I decided to pull the trigger.  How could you pass up a Brooks Brothers vintage ivy suit? That’s the grail for ivy and trad enthusiasts!

Initial Fit

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Like most of the suits I’ve gotten before, the jacket fits alright. You can see that it fits like a sack suit or a typical 1960’s ivy style suit with natural shoulders and very little waist suppression.  Length is pretty good, which is a first for me since I typically shorten jackets to fit my 38S frame.  The pants aren’t too bad at first glance either!  Overall, it’s a pretty nice suit.

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We can definitely agree that the jacket has a great color and pattern.  It’s something slightly different than the typical navy blue suit, but it still could work with a corporate or formal setting depending on the styling.  I’m definitely in love with the button spacing.  That wide placement of buttons is very typical of the ivy style for 3-roll-2 suits!  Tailor Caid, the modern Japanese ivy tailor does it well.

Note that the lapels are slightly longer than what you’d expect on a typical 1960’s ivy suit; this width of lapel (and slightly droopy/wide notch) makes this suit from the mid to late 60’s.  It’s not quite like the crazy 70s, but you can see the being seeds planted.  Even classic brands like Brooks Brothers had to follow fashion trends!

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Sleeves are pretty good!  Body isn’t bad if you like the true ivy sack look, but I prefer a gently nipped waist for some figure.  I forgot to take a side profile picture, but it is apparent that I’d need to taper the jacket sleeves and take in the jacket.

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Length of the pants may be acceptable, but the waist was way too big.  If I didn’t pull it up, they would sag! I didn’t get to measure the waist (and the eBay listing is already down), but it must have been close to a 36 (I wear a 32-34).  Looks like we’re adding that to the tailoring list!

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Just like its vintage brethren sitting in my closet, this suit is half lined.  Not only is this a testament to craftsmanship (the exposed seams means more care in having a clean look) but it also means that this suit will breathe well.

Small Warning:   I noticed that the suit felt a little weird to me.  It’s hard to see it in the pictures, but the suit was almost too smooth.  It didn’t feel like straight worsted wool or sharkskin. Luckily, there was a label in the suit that told the fabric compositions: 60% wool and 40% polyester.  You would think that this would be my worst nightmare right?  Luckily, the suit didn’t feel too bad. Even though it was mixed with a synthetic, it didn’t feel as “fake” as other polyester suits I’ve come across at thrift stores.

I’m still going to wear this suit, but I wouldn’t recommend this for regular suit wearers! Nothing beats pure wool, flannel, or cotton.  Always remember to ask eBay sellers for pictures of labels just in case!

Ethan’s Tailoring List

Just like my $3 thrifted suit and my 1970’s Southwick suits, we followed the Ethan’s typical tailoring requests with some pieces left out.

  • Taper jacket sleeves
  • take in jacket chest/waist
  • take in trouser waist
  • taper trouser leg opening to 7.5″
  • add suspender buttons
  • add trouser cuffs (1.75″)

The total for tapering came out to under $120~ which is pretty close to what I typically pay for alterations on thrifted/eBay suits!  Ruben did a fantastic job on this like he always does; the final result was amazing.

After Tailoring

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Ohwee, isn’t that great?  With a little bit of alterations and some pressing, the suit goes from meh to fantastic! The fit is spot on and is a perfect representation of a “modern” take on the vintage ivy cut.  Plus, the color and fabric are great!  It looks like a nice grey/blue from far away, but it just gets more interesting when you take a closer look!  Nothing beats blue suits.

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I decided to go full ivy with my styling instead of incorporating my usual 30’s pieces like foulard ties and spearpoint collar shirts.  Nothing is more ivy than a pale yellow Brooks Brothers OCBD (with an unlined, soft collar) and a club tie!  The styling is very vintage, but in a different way.  This type of styling is something typical of the ivy look in 1966 and would be especially loved in Japan. As I’ve stated many times,  knowing the details of a particular look is key if you want to be accurate with your vintage style.  Hopefully this proves that I can do multiple eras instead of just the 1930s-1940’s!  This particular styling is something new for me (and required slight study) but I’m sure Yamamoto-San of Tailor Caid would be proud.

By the way, I’m not sure what the print on the club tie is exactly, but it appears to be some sort of medal or fruit.  If you have any idea, please let me know by commenting below!

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The jacket fits much better right?  Look at what a simple waist take-in can do, even if it’s a sack suit! Always take your jacket to a tailor to see what should and can be done.  Fine tuning is very important!

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Tapered sleeves.

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The trousers are now a perfect blend of classic and modern tailoring.  They are flat front with a high rise (I prefer pleats with high rise) and a sharp crease down the center.  I kept the thighs full and only tapered from the knee down to make it a bit more contemporary and add some figure to my legs.  I now use an 8″ leg instead of the 7.5″ in this suit, but it doesn’t look too slim right?   If you’re wondering about the white socks with the suit, Cary Grant did it.

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Gentle taper does wonders for your legs.

1960’s Brooks Brothers ivy style suit (eBay), vintage Brooks Brothers OCBD (thrifted),

1960’s club tie (eBay), AE tassel loafers (eBay)

Conclusion

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I’m proud that I was able to add such a great suit to my closet, especially since I got it for such a good price!  Ruben always delivers and tailored this suit to greatness.  Even though this suit has polyester, it’s still a great one that feels smooth and is lightweight enough to be worn as separates in warm weather!  Plus, the color and pattern is amazing.  You could play with it and mix patterns or you can play it a bit more safe and go with 1960s ivy style like I did! That’s the best way to go when you have a vintage Brooks Brothers ivy suit.  It’s like wearing the uniform of the mother land!

Hopefully this post only adds to the point I keep trying to make: you can find great things on eBay.  Whether you want modern suits or even vintage suits, eBay can deliver.  Just remember to know what your measurements are and what details you want in your suit.  Even if you find something that’s a little too large, a great tailor can save it for you!  Fine tuning and adjusting the fit is a great way to turn something old into something modern.  How else would I be able to wear 1960’s ivy suits on a daily basis without looking too out of place?

Always a pleasure,
Ethan W.  

Street x Sprezza 

Photography by Scott E. and Ethan W. 

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10 comments

  1. 李欣 · 28 Days Ago

    Why you can always find such a beautiful suit! Amazing!

    Like

    • Ethan W. · 28 Days Ago

      Haha thank you! It’s just due to studying and spending hours on eBay!

      Like

  2. xawonam · 25 Days Ago

    Amazing! Really inspiring to see what you can get done hunting for vintage finds and good tailoring. Since you probably inspire many, is there anywhere you list your basic measurements for reference? Things like weight, height, Usual Jacket size, Waist size, inseam, shoe size etc? I ask because it helps gauge what we can be inspired to do ourselves. Apologies if it seems too intrusive!

    Like

  3. Michael Nevin · 24 Days Ago

    Thank you for the inspiration. I check your blog regularly for ideas.

    Like

  4. Chris · 24 Days Ago

    Ethan,
    Your ivy league look is on point. Truly inspiring!
    I think we may have the same Brooks Brothers suit too!
    I’ve been wearing mine lot recently. Here’s a picture of me as JFK on Halloween wearing the same BB suit.

    #roxietheater #halloween #2016 #1960s #jfk #brooksbrothers #raygun

    A post shared by Christopher Pizarro (@christopher_pizarro) on

    Keep up the great work!

    Like

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