What's like a Brooks Brothers shirt, only cheaper?
May 8, 2012 6:42 PM   Subscribe

Is there anything comparable in quality to, but cheaper than, Brooks Brothers shirts? I usually buy the no-iron, slim-fit BB shirts, but I'm trying not to drop too much cash, as I need to replace all my shirts (WTF deodorant stains?!). I don't like the ginormous blousey shirts that typically pass for men's dress shirts, so recommendations for something along the lines of BB's slim-line shirts, qualitatively comparable but cheap enough that I'd switch brands would be appreciated.
posted by the sobsister to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (32 answers total) 31 users marked this as a favorite
Land's End make nice quality, good looking shirts, and at rather less money than BB.
posted by TruncatedTiller at 6:49 PM on May 8, 2012 [6 favorites]

The Stafford shirts at J.C. Penney are really worth a look. They're not as good as BB but they are very very good for the price.
posted by caclwmr4 at 6:52 PM on May 8, 2012 [1 favorite]

First, have you tried salvaging your shirts? Try applying a mix of one part Dawn dishwashing liquid and two parts peroxide to the stain and rubbing it in. Let it sit for an hour, then launder as you normally would. If you're tossing out the BB shirts anyway, this is worth a shot.
posted by runningwithscissors at 7:00 PM on May 8, 2012 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: runningwithscissors,

That's a good tip. Unfortunately, these shirts are on their last legs, to mix metaphors and body parts. They're starting to fray and have transitioned from white to off-white, thanks to D.C.'s water.
posted by the sobsister at 7:10 PM on May 8, 2012

If I were you, I'd look for the real thing on Ebay. Every once in awhile, I luck into finding a pristine-condition Brooks Brothers women's cardigan in my size for twenty dollars or less. Worth a look!
posted by doreur at 7:27 PM on May 8, 2012

I just got a couple of the lands end ones, they claim to be from the same fabric as the brooks brothers. They seem really good. I don't have a BB to compare to though, though I've tried both on and the slim fit versions fit fairly similarly.
posted by lab.beetle at 7:59 PM on May 8, 2012

You could also get cheaper shrts tailored, for not a lot of money....

Also, undershirts.
posted by elizeh at 8:04 PM on May 8, 2012 [2 favorites]

I'll second the Lands End rec for their non-iron dress shirts.
posted by scalespace at 8:17 PM on May 8, 2012

Seconding doreur... you can find nice dress shirts very cheap on eBay.

I was really happy with the Charles Tyrwhitt shirt I bought recently after finding a $39.50 plus free tie deal on Fatwallet.
posted by MegoSteve at 8:17 PM on May 8, 2012

You are buying at the outlet (a.k.a "Factory Store"), right? You can't order online, and they are deliberately not in major urban centers, but the quality is the same and the price is much less. I had no luck whatsoever with eBay (and 90% of the merchandise I found on there was Brooks 346 which means it was from the outlet anyway). I have found nothing that looks and launders as well as Brooks Brothers, unfortunately.
posted by wnissen at 8:52 PM on May 8, 2012

Lands End trim fit long sleeve dress shirt. $30.
posted by pmb at 8:55 PM on May 8, 2012

Are you using underwear tshirts? Cause you should, if you don't already. My husband also loves his Brooks Brothers' shirts and although his tend to go bad in other ways (some rip at the elbows) he said he really saw and felt a difference in his shirts after I introduced him to underwear tshirts. They catch the deodorant stains and keep them away from the dressy shirts, and also keep most sweat and stuff ther, so you could get away with multiple wears of your shirts without having to wash them each time.
posted by CrazyLemonade at 10:02 PM on May 8, 2012 [2 favorites]

I like the Costco shirts.
posted by bongo_x at 10:16 PM on May 8, 2012

Are you wearing deodorant or anti-perspirant? Anti-perspirants are well known for causing pit stains. I used to get chunky, hard stains in my undershirts. When I switched to deodorant, I stopped getting pit stains.

As for Brooks Brothers, you can find them (from time to time) at stores like Nordstrom Rack with a decent (30%ish) discount on their (non-outlet) shirts.
posted by Ghidorah at 1:58 AM on May 9, 2012

I bought one of the Costco "Kirkland" brand shirts recently, and was surprised at how well it looked and fit. At $19.99 (?) you can't beat the price.

Nordstrom's house brand shirts are pretty nice. (Just "Nordstrom" as opposed to "John T Nordstrom".) They're my usual first choice for new dress shirts, and if you're at a full-service Nordstrom, the very attentive staff can make sure you get something that fits. Checking online, I see basic white and blue ones for $49.50, more patterns and colors at $65.

For comparison, I'm seeing regular Brooks Brothers shirts in their site at $79, $88 and up.

ginormous blousey shirts

Agree completely, the big boxy, tent-y, typical dress shirt that stores push are a plague. One size fits all, as long as you're tall, fat and built like a refrigerator. Stores that offer trimmer choices get my business.
posted by gimonca at 5:05 AM on May 9, 2012

Can you wait for a sale? Brooks Brothers usually has good sale prices on their shirts three or four times a year - those non-iron ones usually go for about 3 for $100 or something like that.
posted by backseatpilot at 5:11 AM on May 9, 2012 [1 favorite]

Do you or your spouse work for a company with more than 50 employees? If so, then get them to sign up for a BB corporate card. No cost (to the individual or the sponsoring company). Automatic 15% off all purchases, and regular sales with huge discounts. The next one is later this month, with all purchases 30% off.
posted by NotMyselfRightNow at 5:12 AM on May 9, 2012

The Nordstrom house brand shirt is the only comparable I've found, and I too LOVE Brooks Brothers shirts. I paid about $30 for mine on sale. It even has a little sailboat stitched into tail next to the spare buttons.
posted by teriyaki_tornado at 5:31 AM on May 9, 2012 [1 favorite]

I bought one of the Costco "Kirkland" brand shirts recently, and was surprised at how well it looked and fit. At $19.99 (?) you can't beat the price.

Agreed. Some of the designs are god awful, but if you troll the store once a month, you should be able to pick up a nice mix. Their undershirts are also the best I've ever seen. They are heavy cotton, but it doesn't bunch up and get stiff over time.

Pit stains: I solved this problem by going to a gel based deodorant. The stick ones were the ones giving me problems.
posted by gjc at 5:52 AM on May 9, 2012

Any day of the week you can go to Macy's. They have a huge array of gorgeous men's furnishings, and when they go on sale, clearance, coupons, you can get amazing deals. I got Husbunny a Ben Sherman shirt for $19.

I agree, Lands End has terrific shirts and the no iron component is great!

What I find is if you send your shirts out, the cleaners can be very rough on them, if you launder yourself, your clothing lasts much longer. One way around this is to launder your shirts, and then take them into the cleaners for Press Only. You get the crisp look, without subjecting your clothing to the harshness of the cleaners.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 6:06 AM on May 9, 2012

If you wear BB extra-slim, then Land's End tailored fit won't be a good replacement. The LE "tailored fit" is still pretty blousy, though it is a big improvement over their traditional fit. I don't know about BB's regular slim fit, so it might be comparable to the Land's End.
posted by stopgap at 6:43 AM on May 9, 2012

I don't really know about quality comparisons to Brooks Brothers, but my fiance loves the Express for Men shirts and they are fitted and seem to hold up pretty well.
posted by radioamy at 7:58 AM on May 9, 2012

Response by poster: Thanks to all for the thoughtful and useful suggestions.

I do have a corporate BB membership, but before using it to replace basically all my work shirts, I wanted to see if there were any other brands that could compete. I'll check out Land's End and Nordstrom.

I do wear underwear T-shirts, and they take the brunt of the antiperspirant damage, but my shirts have been worn, washed and dried enough that they suffer from secondhand damage. No antiperspirant, though? I'm a bit nervous about that (aaahh! more sweating!!) as D.C. in warmer weather is brutal. Doesn't deodorant just mask the sweat smell (I always buy the closest to truly unscented)?
posted by the sobsister at 10:50 AM on May 9, 2012

You are probably aware, but BB is having its 25% off Friends and Family sale this weeked, in case that would help.
posted by Silvertree at 11:26 AM on May 9, 2012

Doesn't deodorant just mask the sweat smell (I always buy the closest to truly unscented)?

I find that I sweat much less with deodorant as opposed to antiperspirant, though I can't explain why. (And I have used industrial-strength Certain-Dri in the past.) Deodorant is cheap; maybe give it a try over the weekend sometime.
posted by stopgap at 11:52 AM on May 9, 2012

Response by poster: I'll try the deodorant idea—thanks to those who've suggested it. Are there unscented deodorants, or is that a contradiction in terms?
posted by the sobsister at 12:26 PM on May 9, 2012

Not quite BB quality, but Express Men's shirts tend to be aggressively tailored, for off-the-rack shirts. I like 'em.
posted by craven_morhead at 2:02 PM on May 9, 2012

Soak them in a sink full of A LOT of oxyclean for like 6 hours. Trust me. White shirts. Deodorant stains. In DC. And it worked for me. But you need to use about 5 times as much as recommended at least and leave it for at least 4-6 hours, if not overnight.
posted by whoaali at 5:10 PM on May 9, 2012

Seconding Express Men's shirts, especially the 1MX extra slim fit line. Every biomale I've seen wearing them looks very fashionable. (The shoulders are often too wide for biofemales, though.)

H&M also sells relatively slim fitting dress shirts for $15, and they come in a lot of colors. They are slimmer than the Express versions, I find, and they don't seem to change much from season to season. I find them to be extremely comfortable, and I'm fairly picky about fabric texture/softness. There are also sometimes some extra super slim dress shirts that come in, usually in the $20-30 price range, but they vary by season, and the color selection is usually much more limited.
posted by Estraven at 8:35 PM on May 9, 2012

I pour a half-cup of borax when washing the good doctor's shirts, and that helps a lot with DC's hard water.
posted by evoque at 7:59 AM on May 10, 2012

Goodwill. I buy a lot of women's clothing at Goodwill and other thrift stores, and some clothing for my son. I've learned to spot quality fabric, and have found really great shirts, pants and belts. I'll often find several things in my style and size; somebody gained/lost weight, or cleaned their closet. If you find clothing with a stain or missing button, and want to try giving it new life, ask for a discount at checkout. That way, if the stain won't come out, your risk was low. Once you have an eye for quality, it's fast and easy. Maybe you'll miss some deals if you don't pore over every item; fine by me, and kudos to the person who snags it.

I'm out in 10 minutes if there's nothing to try on, 30 if I hit gold. If you find a $40 dollar shirt, not too used, it may have $30 worth of life left. If you buy it for $5, your time was worth $25. In my case, I hate being a fashion victim, and would spend the same time chasing 'deals' at stores or online, and enjoy the thrill of the hunt. I get my retail therapy fix at a bargain.
posted by theora55 at 10:06 AM on May 27, 2012

Second-ing the Nordstrom store brand shirts. Breav Offspring #1 will wear nothing else. I'm good with that as long as he's buying.
posted by Breav at 6:35 AM on August 3, 2012

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