Addicted to novelty since 2001

Geoffrey Beene Makes Bad Shirts

Over the holidays, I’m paging through Esquire magazine. I happen upon a full-page ad for shirts (page 35 of the December, 2004 issue) that catches my eye. It’s very simple–a stack of not unattractive, flannelish shirts topped by the text ‘Geoffrey Beene Sportswear”. ‘Hmm,’ I think, ‘I kind of like these shirts. Perhaps I’d like to acquire one.’ In short, the ad works. My interest was so piqued that I actually tore out the ad and kept it around for a few days.

Then I wonder, ‘but how will I obtain one of these fine, flannelish shirt? I know! I’ll ask the Intarweb!’ I figured I’d just google this Geoffrey Beene dude, find out where I can buy his shirts in Vancouver, and stop by the store at my convenience.

Alas, Geoffrey and his team of flannel fashionistas have yet to step into the 21st century. When I Google for Mr. Beene (heh), an Amazon page comes up as the first result. The second result is a crap page shilling his colognes, and the third is a tuxedo shop. The next three pages of results get no better. I desperately tried geoffreybeene.com, but there’s nothing there. He sounds a bit British. How about geoffreybeene.co.uk? Nope.

I’m pretty sure that Mr. Beene sells the vast majority of his shirts through off-line retail stores. Why then is he making it so hard to find out where I can buy one in a city of 3 million people? Why can he afford a full-page ad in Esquire but is apparently too cheap to get himself a simple website? How many other Esquire readers repeated my search, became frustrated and immediately forgot about Mr. Beene’s shirts?

My Google clout is pretty good, relatively speaking. I don’t see 1339 searchers for “gay wrestling” every month for nothing. In the future, I wonder how many Google users will find this page? I titled it “Geoffrey Beene Makes Bad Shirts” to highlight the importance of having an online presence. Whether Geoffrey Beene makes bad shirts is up for grabs, but he sure doesn’t want me buying them.

UPDATE: I guess I shouldn’t make light of the guy, as he apparently passed away in 2004. Still, his company needs a website.

UPDATE #2: Jay writes with the following notes: “I, too, enjoy Geoffrey Beene dress shirts – preferably button-down Oxford – BUT, 2 years ago, I had to return several. Because, after retrieving from the cleaners, I noticed a distinct discoloring on the stitching around the shoulder/arm area. I returned them to the retailer from where my wife had purchased them and they properly took them back and exchanged them at no charge. HOWEVER, I am noticing this problem AGAIN…so, obviously, there is a manufacturing problem (it was suggested to me by the retailer that it was an ‘adhesive’ issue”.”

UPDATE #3: Lou writes “This may be a bit late to receive a post but here it is August 2005 and like you, I looked for a Geoffrey Beene website and all I got was a “Coming Soon” note at the website. My wife bought me several pairs of nice(?) Geoffrey Beene shorts and the very first time she washed the first pair, two buttons fell off. I’m waiting to see what happens next. She bought ne for pairs of these shorts which are actually quite nice to wear and look at. After looking at the “Made in Africa” label, I envisioned half naked kids with flies buzzing around their heads.”

35 Responses to “Geoffrey Beene Makes Bad Shirts”

  1. Darren

    True (though this Washington Post obit is the highest, at #8), but I was looking get more information about buying a shirt, not learn about the shirt’s designer. So, as I scanned the Google results, I skipped an links to media outlets.

  2. Jon J

    Good luck in your search. It seems many people still don’t realize that, today, a website can get you more “bang-for-your-buck” than the most extravagent ad in any magizine. Well, IMHO.

  3. jo

    I thought this posting was interesting in view of previous “is the URL dead?” comments. If the sequence is is correct as mentioned you Googled before you tried the URL!

  4. Darren

    Jo: True, but I was just speculating on the URL. The ad should have included the URL (if there is one), as that would have spared me the Google frustration.

  5. Andrea

    Try PVH. ALthough they’ve owned the brand since 1982, they seem to do a better job of promoting (and search engine optimizing) their other labels. I suspect they are pursuing a strategy of letting the channel promote the products — but the channel is fragmented and the brand is lost.

  6. Chris

    The Bay’s Oakridge store has Geoffrey Beene shirts and ties. Park in the outdoor ground-level lot along 41st and go in that door.

  7. Richard

    “I titled it “Geoffrey Beene Makes Bad Shirts” to highlight the importance of having an online presence. Whether Geoffrey Beene makes bad shirts is up for grabs, but he sure doesn’t want me buying them.”

    That’s a little over the top, don’t you think? Wouldn’t “Geoffrey Beene Doesn’t Have a Very Good Web Presence For Advertising Their Shirts” have the very same effect but without coming across as badmouthing the products which you’ve never tried?

  8. Darren

    Richard: It is, indeed, over the top. That’s the point. There’s something to be a said for a touch of shock value. Anybody who actually reads my post will come to recognize that I have no idea whether the company makes good shirts or not. Hence, my ‘badmouthing’ will have nearly zero actual negative effect.

  9. Richard

    Only at the very end do you say you don’t actually know whether what you state in the headline is true. I have to wonder if the shock value will end up being counterproductive to getting the company to have a website. If titled this article with something still clever, but, y’know, accurate, you’d still probably end up being highly ranked for “Geoffrey Beene” (which you imply is one of the goals of this article) without alienating the very people that you want to convince to have a web presence in the first place.

  10. Harding

    I have to agree with Darren and disagree with Richard. I only decided to surf his (this) web site because of the shocking title (being a Geoffrey Beene owner of some 8 white, wrinkle-free, fitted working shirts). Anyway…it`s very disappoiting liking this brand as I do and not being able to find it anywhere…specially on the web, my favorite shopping spot. Just my two cents.

  11. Roy

    I don’t think the Hecht Co. stores are located throughout the U.S. but over here in Northern Va. you will find his shirts in abundance.

  12. susan williamson

    where oh where can I find an agent for Mr beenes shirts in Australia

  13. Dave

    Geoffrey Beene shirts rock! Susan, David Jones sells his shirts as do numerous other small retailers. Zantini menswear (www.zantinimenswear.com) in Sydney also sells them. Hope this helps. Spread the word Geoffrey Beene, whoever he may be either past or present makes good quality, durable and stylish shirts :)

    By the way I do agree about having a strong online presence. Zantini who I mentioned above also have a great range of suits, however, their website lets them down a bit. Having recently researched suits and the like, I found it quite difficult to find information (particularly a photo of the suit and a price!) on the wonderful phenomenon that is the World Wide Web. Take note all you would be retailers out there. There is significant room for improvement and an untapped market to match, so don’t look for excuses just make it happen. :)

  14. H

    Hi Dave / Susan, I am the M.D at Zantini. By chance I have come across your comments above. We are currently working on our website; our problem is to show the fabric of a suit to give the customer the look and feel part of buying a suit. If you have any idea’s I would much appreciate them.

    Regards

    H

  15. Ed

    Dave,
    A few comments.
    One, The shock value of GB shirts Suck DID get me to look at the site, however, the company needs a web prescence only if it is interested in selling over the web. Most people buy suits and the accompanying shirts/ties at a mens clothing store. My gues is that GB has decided to stick with this distribution outlet rather than risk entering internet sales where they (the manufacturer) become liable for returns rather than the store. Most people return shirts because they do not fit properly. This would be a nightmare for a company like theirs.

    Dave, the reason you do not see suits (at least fine suits) with price and fabric selections depicted online is that suits are not prete-a-porte (ready to wear). A suit must be tried on, and in almost every cast, altered, to properly fit. To a lesser degree this is also true with shirts. Maybe not altered, but tried on until the right fit is found.

    There’s the answer folks. As for the quality of Geoffrey Beene shirts, I think they rock, too. They are one of the few shirts that make 18 34/35 in a regular fit rather than designed to be a circus tent (Good news for someone like me with a thick neck, long arms and an average body size). In my experience, the fabrics and styles have been current and held up to most of my other shirts (Ralph Lauren, Nautica, Brooks Brothers). Bravo, GB.

  16. preston

    There is an issue certainly with not having a web presence, i have 3 solid black GB FITTED shirts, and they are absolutely wonderful, like dave, i wear an 18.5 36/37- but i hate the parachute effect, its very frustrating. Without developing a page for sales, GB could certainly host a page with all of their products (as ive found is especially aggravating locating a store that sells GB FITTED shirts) Hell for that matter, dont even know that they manufacture them anymore.
    so if anyone knows about this, do tell.

  17. Maina

    Ed, your comments above are spot on. I would never go looking for a suit online…a shirt on the other hand, well here I am! I love Geoffrey Beene shirts, the fit, the fabric, the look suits me perfectly. After purchasing 5 recently from Macy’s here in South Florida, I was looking for an online outlet where I could get some more, maybe 10 at a discount price? In this respect, the manufacturer loses out on many potential customers and $$$. Thanks for putting up the site Darren, we all ended up here for GB shirts.

  18. Andrew

    You can still buy the fitted dress shirts at the outlet stores. You can order dress shirts from their customer service center if you have all the info from a price tag of a shirt you have bought in the past. Call 1-800-388-8516 to order.
    I shop at the store in Morrisville NC you can call 919-380-0946 for directions.

  19. Ray Malarkey

    I have a defective geoffrey Beene reversable belt that delamilated and is no longer usable, and when attempting to find their website, I turned up zip!
    The belt will go in the trash and this will be my last purchase of Beene products.
    Thank you Darren

  20. Mike

    I have a couple of Geoffrey Beene shirts that my girlfriend bought me at the Bay (Chinook Mall -Calgary) that are discoloured as well…

    I’m not impressed with their quality at all. How does one contact these guys and send these shirts to them and get our money back… Thanks Michael..

    Vancouver here I come, Calgary Sucks big time..

  21. Chuck Rampersad

    You may want to try contacting their parent company, phillips van heusen (pvh.com)

    I find all of the PVH brands frustrating. I’d love to be able to visit their site and see the full range of GHBass shoes, but PVH does not believe in displaying their collections online.

  22. Stephanie

    I know everyone likes being ‘with it’. But really did you look in a phone book (they come free to your door in most place) or try calling a major department store like Macy’s? They do carry them, there are also outlets, did you ask any friends or co workers if they had heard of them? It sounds like the only think you really gave any heart into looking into is the internet, there really is more to reference matrials than that, life even!
    You really just come across as bitching because you couldn’t find anything better to complain about.

  23. MK

    Ray, i bought the same exact belt you did. It replaced a belt i had since high school (i’m 27 now) and it lasted me perhaps 5 months before it delaminated AND busted. I wish i could show what this thing looks like. Worst belt ever!

  24. ROBIN

    Are you kidding me… This is by far the most ridiculous page I have ever seen… To take the time to do this shows a lack of ambition to do… well… anything! Geoffrey Beene is a 3 billion dollar company so apparently many, many people have been smart enough to scout them out and buy them. They are carried in every department store in America.. since the author says he knows they must do most of their business off-line and he is this computer whiz, he might have wanted to try say macys.com, for example. In 10 seconds you would have 20 Geoffrey Beene shirts at your fingertips. I can’t believe people actually waste their time like this… It’s sad. By the way… are you aware that every dime from the sales of Geoffrey Beene products goes to the Geoffrey Beene Foundation which distributes the money to a variety of charities? Why would you want to bash a quality company with only charity in mind?

  25. ALAIN ORTET

    I’m a 61 yeas old french guy and I hvae had opportunity to buy some Gb’s “wrinkle free” shirts and I must say that I have been totally satisfied (color , washing resistant ..);in addition in the US you have the possibility to specify your measurements in order to get a shirt prettry well fitted to your body ,which is not the case in France.
    May be somebody can explain me to what measurements correpsonds 16 1/2 34/35 ?

    doug Reply:

    16 & 1/2 inch neck
    34/35 length in ther arm

  26. Matt

    Hey, funny, I own one of his shirts (business short) and like it so much I thought I’d buy some more – of course my first stop was google.

    And guess what I found you before I ever found the shirts. mr Beene for goodness sake get a website!

  27. Jason

    http://www.geoffreybeene.com/news.html

    I like the feel of the fabric of the dress shirts, but I decided that it’s way too expensive for me when I can make do with something cheap(er); I had already bought shirts by Mossimo.

  28. Mac Attack

    Ive had some Beene Shirts & Ties, good fit and there non Iron… Shame under the armpits of the shirt stained in like a week.

  29. Al W

    Perhaps you misspelled Geoffrey Beene in your google search. I haven’t bought one of their shirts in years but the reason is two-fold. First, the outlet store that used to be here closed in 1999 and second, the 4 or five long sleeve shirts I bought in 1999 are STILL in excellent shape and I still enjoy wearing them. A search for the proper name not only reveals their website
    http://www.geoffreybeene.com/shirts.html
    but also shows retailers such as Macy’s and Sears. Maybe Canada was not their target market… your loss.

  30. Directory

    This is some seriously bad publicity for Geoffrey Beene, but your right Geoffrey Beene do very little if not any Internet marketing.

  31. maxingjoe

    Way back in my undergraduate days, i came across a guy who wore this captivating scent but i didnt know what exactly he wore. I couldnt resist the urge and cowardly asked to know what he had on.GRAY FLANNEL,he said.I just had to get one for myself and luckily i found it. I think GB associates need to work on their advertising,in as much i would kill to be the only wearing that perfume (that would be selfish of me)in the world. I love your wrinkle -free shirts cos i used to wear my boyfriend’s a lot then.i need to know a GB sales rep or something in nigeria,we rarely see his designer range of products.

  32. doug

    I had been buying Geoffrey Beene dress shirts for years from the Bay in Canada. Of the last 4 years all you can get is the sateen and no longer the cotton in a long sleave. I did find the cotton shirts at an outlet in Pennsylvania 2 years ago but am frusterated that there is no real distribution in Canada let alone the cotton shirts I once liked.
    Make you kind of think that perhaps I should start buying Jones New York instead.
    Poor customer service to the Canadian clients makes me think they must think less of us Canadians…. too bad for them

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