When it comes to men’s dress shirts, two brands stand out as leaders in quality, style, and reputation – Paul Fredrick and Brooks Brothers. But which one is better?
In this comprehensive comparison, we’ll examine the pros and cons of each brand across factors like cost, fit, fabric, versatility, and overall value.
A Brief Comparison Table
|$50 – $200
|$140 – $300+
|Modern athletic fits, innovative fabrics
|Classic tailored fit, heritage styles
|Lightweight cottons, textured weaves, stretch blends
|Sea Island cotton, pinpoint oxford, premium broadcloth
|Trim and contoured, shorter lengths
|Fuller cut, relaxed silhouette, longer lengths
|Trendy patterns and colors, fashion-forward detailing
|Traditional stripes, checks, and solids
|Slim, tailored, and athletic fit categories
|Standard alpha size measurements
|Online and 100+ retail locations
|Limited sales + bundles
|Frequent promos and seasonal sales
|Guys wanting great value, current styles
|Timeless sophistication, bespoke quality
Overview of Paul Fredrick and Brooks Brothers
Founded in 2002, Paul Fredrick offers a modern take on classic men’s style. With a focus on quality fabrics and fits designed for athletic builds, they’ve become a go-to for well-made shirts at an accessible price point.
Brooks Brothers, on the other hand, is the original American shirtmaker. Founded in 1818, their slogan is “Makers and Merchandisers of clothes for Men of Good Taste.” They are known for their high-end tailored shirts featuring timeless and traditional styles.
While both brands offer premium dress shirts, they differ in their target customer, price points, policies, and overall brand image. Let’s dig into the details.
Comparing Shirt Quality and Fabrics
When it comes to materials, both Paul Fredrick and Brooks Brothers use high-end fabrics like Sea Island cottons and lightweight blends. However, there are some notable differences:
- Weave and textures – Paul Fredrick offers more textured fabrics like oxfords, twills, and flannels. Brooks Brothers focuses primarily on premium broadcloths and pinpoint oxfords.
- Patterns and colors – Paul Fredrick provides trendier patterns and colorways like micro-checks, plaids, and bold solids. Brooks sticks to more muted tones and traditional stripes and checks in a business-appropriate palette.
- Weight – Paul Fredrick leans towards lightweight and breathable fabrics for comfort. Brooks offers shirts in a wider range of weights for seasonality.
For quality, both brands manufacture shirts at top factories around the world. Overall, Brooks Brothers has the edge for using higher-end Sea Island cottons, while Paul Fredrick excels at lightweight construction and athletic cut shirts.
Comparing the Fit and Sizing
One of the biggest differences between the two brands is in their fit and sizing options.
Paul Fredrick Fit
- Athletic and modern cut designed to contour the body
- Extra trim options through the waist and sleeves
- Shorter shirt lengths designed not to pull up or billow
- Slimmer in the chest and shoulders to avoid bulking
Brooks Brothers Fit
- Traditional and relaxed cut focused on draping and breathability
- Full cut through chest, waist, and sleeves
- Longer shirt lengths designed to stay tucked
- Accommodates both slim and stocky body types
In terms of sizing, Paul Fredrick offers more variance with slim, tailored, and athletic categories. Brooks Brothers sticks to the standard numeric neck and sleeve measurements.
For men looking for a contoured and sharper silhouette, Paul Fredrick is likely the better option. For a classic loose fit, Brooks Brothers has the advantage.
Style and Design Options
Both labels provide an ample selection of dress shirt styles including:
- Print patterns
However, Paul Fredrick offers more unique designs like mini-checks, textured plaids, and contrast interior trims.
Their shirts incorporate more fashion-forward elements while maintaining business appropriate looks.
Brooks Brothers exudes a more old-school tailored aesthetic.
They focus on heritage designs like club collars and English spread collars that hearken back to their early days outfitting Ivy League students.
For variety, Paul Fredrick wins out with over 500 shirt options that move beyond basic business looks.
But Brooks carries that timeless tailored style in spades.
Cost and Value Comparison
When it comes to cost, Paul Fredrick shirts range from $50 to $130 with most around $100. Their higher-end designs may reach upwards of $200 for Sea Island cotton.
For Brooks Brothers, shirts start around $140 and can exceed $300+ for premium materials and Made in America manufacturing. Most of their mainline shirts sit in the $140 to $180 range.
At full retail prices, Brooks Brothers is the more expensive of the two brands. But frequent sales bring their products more in line with Paul Fredrick’s pricing.
For the cost difference, Brooks offers that top tier fabric quality along with a lifetime durability guarantee. Paul Fredrick is likely the better value for budget-focused shoppers wanting quality on a moderate spend.
Reviews and Reputation
Both brands enjoy positive reputations, but Paul Fredrick is seen as the more modern label making premium shirts accessible to everyday guys. Their focus on fit and innovative fabrics endears them to men looking to elevate a casual wardrobe.
With two centuries of heritage, Brooks Brothers is viewed as the pinnacle of timeless sophistication. Their tailored aesthetic and coastal preppy vibe resonate with guys who value East Coast Ivy tradition. But some view their silhouettes as boxy and outdated.
When it comes to quality and customer experience, both brands score highly. Paul Fredrick is lauded for responsive customer service and free shipping and returns. With Brooks Brothers, there is sometimes friction aroundSIZING + accessibility given their premium pricing.
Sizing and Shopping Considerations
Beyond cost and quality, other factors that may guide your decision:
Where to Buy – Paul Fredrick is only available online through their website while Brooks Brothers has 100+ retail locations in addition to online shopping.
Retail stores allow you to see and feel fabrics in person.
Try Before You Buy – Both brands offer free shipping and returns.
Paul Fredrick even covers return shipping costs which allows you to order multiple sizes/fits to find your best match.
Brooks Brothers encourages visiting a store location first for an optimal in-person fit experience.
Sales and Discounts – Paul Fredrick offers limited sales beyond bundled multi-packs and gift cards. Brooks Brothers frequently discounts and clears inventory through promotional events and end-of-season sales. Signing up for email lists can help catch deals at both retailers.
Also Read: Comparison of Patagonia And Prana Clothing.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Yes, Brooks Brothers is widely considered a high-end men’s shirt and suiting brand. Founded in 1818, their heritage of crafting bespoke dress shirts positions Brooks Brothers in the top tier of luxury menswear. Their premium fabrics, exacting tailoring, and timeless styles make the brand a go-to for affluent professionals and formal occasions.
Absolutely – Brooks Brothers is renowned globally for their exceptional shirt quality and durability. They use high-end fabrics like Sea Island cottons and lightweight Italian blends. Their shirts are crafted to the highest standards at top factories around the world. Signature details like mother-of-pearl buttons and fine stitching exemplify their commitment to quality.
Paul Fredrick is privately owned by the Van Benschoten family. Founded by Paul and Debbie Van Benschoten in 2002, the company remains headquartered in Louisville, Kentucky where Paul got his start in the shirt business. Their son Neil Van Benschoten currently serves as CEO.
It’s hard to single out the “best” shirt maker given the subjectivity and regional varieties involved in shirtmaking. However, a few legendary brands stand out for their heritage, craftsmanship and iconic fabrics. Top shirtmakers include Charvet (France), Borrelli (Italy), Brooks Brothers (USA), Harvie & Hudson (England), and Eton (Sweden). Ultimately the “best” shirt comes down to your personal style preferences and budget.
The Verdict: Paul Fredrick or Brooks Brothers?
So which brand comes out on top? Here’s the final breakdown:
Brooks Brothers wins for heritage, prestige, and unrivaled fabric quality. The brand exceeds in delivering bespoke-level tailoring and durability. Their timeless silhouettes pair perfectly with tailored suiting.
Paul Fredrick takes the lead on value, modern fits, and fabric innovation. Their athletic tailoring and lightweight construction accommodates casual office and weekend environments. Trendy but professional styles work for men with an eye for fashion.
While Brooks Brothers remains the pinnacle of pedigree, their appeal can be limited by prohibitively high prices and boxy cuts. Paul Fredrick makes premium shirts more accessible thanks to competitive pricing and inclusive sizing.
In the end, choosing between the two brands comes down to personal style and budget. Guys who prefer classically handsome looks anchored in tradition may find Brooks Brothers worth the splurge. For those wanting great fabrics, current silhouettes, and everyday value, Paul Fredrick gets the vote.
Whichever you choose, both represent the best in American shirtmaking heritage and quality. Investing in either will instantly elevate the polish and sophistication of your wardrobe.