Is San Francisco Style Ready for a Serious Shot of Preppy?


With the arrival of the second standalone store from Brooks Brothers’ spinoff Black Fleece in San Francisco’s Pacific Heights neighborhood last week, it’s difficult not to wonder whether the City is on the verge of a preppy-is-chic-again style revolution.

Designed in collaboration with Thom Browne, known in the fashion world for reviving the beleaguered men’s suit and making it edgy again, the label revels in a kind of old school blue blood (think Christian Bale in American Psycho) aesthetic coupled with just the slightest twinge of irony.

That is to say that the new shop, a follow-up to the opening of last year’s debut Black Fleece store on New York’s Bleeker Street, hopes to be much more than a refuge for died-in-the-wool prepsters and their ilk.

“It’s really to address both men and women that are professionals…probably geared more toward professions like architect,” says Brooks Brothers Chief Merchandising Officer Lou Amendola of the collection.

Aiming to reach creative professionals with a desire for a modern take on buttoned-up daytime looks and weekend casual wear, the brand stands out with slim-cut men’s suits and separates in a variety of plaids, madras and seersucker fabrics. Along with men’s clothing and an array of accessories, about a quarter of the Fillmore Street store is devoted to women’s apparel that ranges from navy blue knits to just-below-the-knee pleated skirts in nautical prints. The price point is on par with those of many other shops dotting the upscale San Francisco shopping district. Expect, for example, to shell out at least $150 for a men’s dress shirt and $1,600 for a suit.

If your daily ramblings about town turn up an influx of tie-wearing, shirt-tucking males roaming the city streets, you’ll know the source.

See it for yourself at Black Fleece, 2223 Fillmore St., San Francisco, 415-931-2203.

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