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Old Brooks Brothers - Page 3

post #31 of 56
Thread Starter 

A Brooks Brothers summer, Vogue, 1938.  The gentleman is dressed head to toe in Brooks, including the straw boater.  The original photo layout is tilted to the side:

 

 

Brooks silk and cotton jacket, Vogue 1964.  The front quarters seem unusually open, and the buttoning point relatively high, for the maker:

 

 

F. Scott Fitzgerald was a customer of Brooks Brothers.  Look at that beautiful, natural, rounded shoulder.  The lapels are so softly rolled.  In this picture of Scott, from 1921, he's only 25 years old:

 

 

 

"You must go to Brooks' and get some really nice suits." -- This Side of Paradise, F. Scott Fitzgerald.


Edited by CrimsonSox - 11/24/13 at 1:52am
post #32 of 56
Thread Starter 

Suits aren't made the same way anymore.  Look at what an actor playing Fitzgerald is wearing in a recent Woody Allen film.  His lapels are flat, and the shoulder meets the sleeve at a sharper angle with a machine-made shoulder pad:

 

 

Fitzgerald's Brooks Brothers suits from the 1920s have much more natural, rounded shoulder, with softly rolled lapels.  I feel like dancing when wearing such a beautiful suit:

 

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I'd be happy to wear that suit, shirt, and tie today:

 

 

The jacket's breast pocket is exceptionally well-made.  The pattern is matched, and the fabric?  Get me a bolt of that right away:

 

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A 3-roll-2, at 15:

 

 

At Princeton:

 


 

Not many people's passport photos look so good:

 

 

A lifetime of style:

 

AppleMark


Edited by CrimsonSox - 11/24/13 at 2:36pm
post #33 of 56
Thread Starter 

There was a profile of Brooks Brothers in the May 7, 1938 issue of the New Yorker: "When Lindbergh landed in Paris after his transatlantic flight, an attaché at the American Embassy lent him a Brooks suit, which the aviator wore until his return to this country."

 

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When Hollywood was Brooks:
 

Quote:
 “Brooks Brothers could open a branch in Hollywood and be practically certain of success.  When Douglas Fairbanks, Sr., was at his peak, he wanted a Hollywood Brooks Brothers more than anything else.  Today almost every male movie star with any pretensions to smartness drops in at Brooks when he is in New York.  Fred Astaire, on his last visit here, bought forty foulard neckties, and twelve Paisley scarves to wear as belts.  Gary Cooper buys dozens of pairs of chamois gloves – likes to wear them summer and winter.  Roland Young, Errol Flynn, Rudy Vallée, and John Boles are regular patrons.  So is John Barrymore, although he still feels it necessary to say, every time he approaches a counter, “I am John Barrymore.”  Athletes, like actors, have come to feel that being turned out by Brooks Brothers is a mark of genteel success.  Gene Tunney buys his dressing gowns at Brooks, and Jack Dempsey, who is proud of his long and slender feet, buys impressive numbers of Peal shoes at thirty-seven-fifty a pair.  The best customers among athletes, in the opinion of the sales force, are professional golfers”

 

What is the difference between a tie and a scarf?  Brooks Brothers clarifies in "The Practical Lexicographer," The New Yorker, March 2, 1946:
 

Quote:
When a patron of Brooks Brothers got his statement this month, he found he was billed for two scarves.  He called the store and protested that he hadn’t bought any scarves.  Brooks Brothers said he had, tossing in the word “four-in-hands” by way of explanation.  “Oh, ties!” our friend said.  “In that case, what does Brooks Brothers call ties?”  “Ties,” said the voice at the other end of the wire, showing signs of strain, “are bow ties.”  Our man was by no means at the end of his strength, however.  What if he came in and bought what he would consider a couple of scarves – what would B.B. call them? “What you refer to as scarves,” the voice said firmly, “are mufflers.”
post #34 of 56
Brooks Brothers sucks now. Even compared to 10 years ago. It sucks bigtime.


Moreover it seems they've adopted the JCPenney model - they probably sell 90% of their stuff on sale. It would be irrational to pay full price for their tailored clothing.
post #35 of 56
Thread Starter 

Well, I'm focusing this thread on photos, articles, and clothes from pre-1980s Brooks Brothers.


Edited by CrimsonSox - 11/27/13 at 5:21am
post #36 of 56
Yeah, I realize that. But seeing this good, old stuff instantly makes me think of how inferior the new, bad stuff is.
post #37 of 56
Thread Starter 

The first step to finding something that is lost is to realize that it's missing.  If the clothes of the past are gone, we can only have the desire to recover and revive them if we remember how beautiful they were.

 

A funny store about the Boston Brooks Brothers in the New Yorker, July 14, 1951:

 

Quote:
 July 14, 1951: “A delicate problem recently confronted Brooks Brothers in Boston, when a topcoat sent to the store’s workroom for remodeling and cleaning yielded, from an inside pocket, a lady’s intimate garment.  The matter was taken up at a high level, and it was finally decided, on the theory that the package containing the restored coat might be opened by the wrong person, to hold on to the critical item.  It’s in the manager’s desk, and may be obtained upon the presentation of proper identification.”

 

1954, Newbury Street:

 

 

A model wearing a Brooks Brothers silk robe the same year, 1954:

 

 

Women have been shopping at the men's and boy's departments of Brooks for some time.  The polo coat, 1910:

 

 

Speaking of overcoats, here's F. Scott Fitzgerald, 1924:

 

 

 

F. Scott Fitzgerald's grand-daughter confirmed in a 1996 article for the New York Times that the author wore Brooks Brothers:

 

"At Princeton, Scott outfitted himself at Brooks Brothers. He was impeccably, aristocratically Ivy League. When he answered the call to the colors in 1917, he stopped again at Brooks Brothers to fill out his footlocker. In most of the early photographs I have seen, he is wearing a dark, finely tailored, three-piece suit."

 

 

Fitzgerald 1936 -- white bucks, button-down, and no break in the trousers.  Of course, today there would be a savage howl from the jungle about the lack of shirt cuff showing.

 

 

The author with three piece suit and boots.  With a natural shoulder, you can raise your arms more easily, without crumpling the shoulder padding:

 

 

Fitzgerald, 1920.  When the trousers are appropriately high, you can't see the tie scarf or dress shirt between the waistband and the vest waistcoat (to use the diction of the era, for a moment):

 

 

The rounded shoulder and the true three button suit, 1920s:

 

 

Fitzgerald in 1907, at 11 years old.  Once children dressed like adults and acted like adults.  Now adults dress like children and act like children.

 

 

As a teenager, at 16:

 

 

23 years old.  The polka dot tie:

 


Edited by CrimsonSox - 11/27/13 at 2:31am
post #38 of 56

Love the thread! Keep up the good work.

post #39 of 56
Thread Starter 

Did you know that Brooks once sold evening clothes in vicuna?  1938:

 

post #40 of 56
Thread Starter 

What to do with those leftovers?  Fitzgerald suggests in The Crack-Up:

 

Quote:
 Turkey Cocktail: To one large turkey add one gallon of vermouth and a demijohn of angostura bitters. Shake.

 

Happy Thanksgiving gentlemen.

 


Edited by CrimsonSox - 11/30/13 at 12:30pm
post #41 of 56
Thread Starter 

The Brooks Brothers catalog from the 1910s has unbelievably sybaritic clothing.  Look at that double-breasted, fur-lined vicuna overcoat with a mink collar:

 

 

Brooks' evening clothes were once made out of vicuna, with silk facing and lining.  No notch lapels here:

 

 

Brooks offered sack suits not only in a three-button model, but also two-button and four-button.  The top two buttons on the four-button were rolled into the lapel, a 4-roll-2.  Surprisingly, Brooks also sold double-breasted sack suits.  Unlike most modern DBs, which are two-piece and 6x2, the example below is three-piece and in the 4X1 Duke of Kent style.  Both the four-button sack suit and double-breasted have ticket pockets.  

 

Note the silk lining  and elegant rounded natural shoulders on all of the suits:

 


Edited by CrimsonSox - 12/4/13 at 8:52pm
post #42 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by CrimsonSox View Post

The Brooks Brothers catalog from the 1910s has unbelievably sybaritic clothing.  Look at that double-breasted, fur-lined vicuna overcoat with a mink collar:




Brooks' evening clothes were once made out of vicuna, with silk facing and lining.  No notch lapels here:




Brooks offered sack suits not only three-button model, but also two-button and four-button.  The top two buttons on the four-button were rolled into the lapel, a 4-roll-2.
Surprisingly, Brooks also sold double-breasted sack suits.  Unlike most modern DBs, which are two-piece and 6x2, the example below is three-piece and in the 4X1 Duke of Kent style.  Both the four-button sack suit and double-breasted have ticket pockets.  

Note the silk lining  and elegant rounded natural shoulders on all of the suits:



[/quote

What amazes me and no one seems to mention is how little mens clothing has changed in a century.
If it were 1850 and one looked back a century, the change in style from 1750 would have been radical.
The suits in the 1910 BB catalog could be worn today and not even noticed as being very different.
What is different today or at least the last 15-20 years is that wearing a coat and tie is becoming much
less common.

1750 more or less http://fashionhistory.zeesonlinespace.net/images/rococo11.gif

1850 http://www.fashion-era.com/images/1800_1900_laver/1850_laver_riding.jpg

Edited by comrade - 12/4/13 at 8:57pm
post #43 of 56
Thread Starter 

In the 1910s, Brooks Brothers had a whole floor devoted to furs.  The Russian wrap overcoat on the left is lined in lambswool, the one on the right lined in mink:

 

 

There is only one page on ready-to-wear sack suits, but many pages of gorgeous overcoats.  Brooks features the classic chesterfield on the left in heavy-weight vicuna.  There is a choice of two linings: entirely in silk, or warmer wool for the body and silk for the sleeves.  The chesterfield is tailored with a fly front, velvet collar, and sleeve cuffs.  The coat on the right is the "Sudbury," a semi-ulster with a half-belt in the back.  A less formal option, it's available not only in vicuna, but also homespun tweed and "elysian."  William Henry Baker's A Dictionary of Men's Wear (1908) describes elysian as "a fine grade of overcoating cloth, having the nap laid in diagonal lines or ripples, something like, but rougher than Chinchilla, and with straighter hair."

 

 

The coat on the left is a formal overcoat in black or grey with silk lapels, like a dinner jacket.  Both coats are available in vicuna, cheviot, or melton, with satin silk or worsted serge linings.  They have fly fronts; button fronts were considered acceptable only for country or sporting wear.  The coat on the right looks like a chesterfield, but has plain sleeves with no cuffs.   

 

 

These more casual overcoats are made of Harris tweed cheviot or shetland.  The "Westbury" on the left has flap pockets.  The "Sutherland" on the right is listed as a more "sporting garment," since it has patch pockets:

 


Edited by CrimsonSox - 12/4/13 at 9:01pm
post #44 of 56
Thread Starter 

Good point Comrade -- I would be happy to wear many of the clothes from this catalog, which is a hundred years old.  The famous Brooks Brothers button-down even makes an appearance.  The changes in clothes, as you point out, were much more radical in the 18th to the 19th century, after the fall of the ancien régime.

post #45 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by CrimsonSox View Post

Good point Comrade -- I would be happy to wear many of the clothes from this catalog, which is a hundred years old.  The famous Brooks Brothers button-down even makes an appearance.  The changes in clothes, as you point out, were much more radical in the 18th to the 19th century, after the fall of the ancien régime.


And from the 17th to the 18th as well.
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