Go classic - and classy - with Bobby Jones golf apparel
Andy Bell led me through the massive collection of Bobby Jones fashions displayed at the 2013 PGA Merchandise Show to the iconic image that continues to drive the New York-based apparel brand.
There, before us, was a picture of Jones that took up an entire wall. Jones, sitting in a chair while holding a golf club, looked more like a Hollywood actor or a model than a golfer. I’m not ashamed to say he looked handsome, dapper, like the man we all want to be.
I caught Bell at an awkward time. He had just started working as the new president of Bobby Jones – a division of the W Diamond Group – just a few days prior. But Bell, a 19-year veteran of the golf apparel industry hired away from Summit Golf Brands (the parent company of Fairway & Greene, Zero Restriction and EP Pro brands), already had a firm grasp on the task at hand.
“The challenge for us is taking what he stood for in the 1930s to make it for the modern golfer,” Bell told me in January. “We’ve got a classic customer. We fight the perception we are all $175 Italian knit shirts. We have that, but we are broader. We can’t have a 35-year-old guy looking at (our shirts) as his dad’s shirt.”
Bobby Jones has provided luxury men’s and women’s sportswear, including polo shirts, button downs, shorts, slacks and sweaters/knits since the 1990s. It is sold at high-end golf clubs in the world, including Augusta National and the Pebble Beach Company resorts.
I’m at the front line of golfers who love the modern shirt in golf fashions, the vibrant colors and the soft feel of the technical fabrics. But there will always be a place for the classic looks, especially the timeless style of Bobby Jones.
Bell pointed out the attention to detail that goes into every product. The words Bobby Jones are written on every button. Your eyes immediately jump to the little logo of the gracefully swinging golfer stitched just below the top button of the polo shirts. The Bobby Jones signature spills across the sleeve. A solid color block of aqua splashed under the collar of my white striped polo provides a nice contrast. Its XH2O performance technology keeps you cooler and drier due to a patented moisture management system.
Despite my modern leanings on fashion, I still love sweater vests, and nobody does them better than Bobby Jones. My pima cotton sweater vest feels snug but remains flexible. I could just as easily play golf in it as I could head to an afternoon interview. I wore it out to dinner a couple nights ago at Duck’s at Kilspindie House, a cool hangout in Aberlady, Scotland. After a great meal, we shared a bit of fun, hitting putts while standing on a bar stool (see the photo above).
Bell shared with me that Jones used to carry a four-leaf clover in his pocket, a little historical footnote I never knew that is used as a theme for the women’s line of fashions.
“As champions of the brand, we have to tell his story, so people emotionally connect with him,” Bell said.
For more, visit www.bobbyjones.com.