katon

Super Member
Stumbled across some nice Brooks ads from the 1940s, thought I'd share them here. I get the impression that Brooks didn't quite understand what it had with the Ivy League style yet... Interesting anyhow, though.


(1940)

Lots of Ivy League staples there, but still advertised for playing tennis.


(1940)

Madras shirts... for the beach. Interesting that their buttondowns are apparently made of a cotton cheviot from Scotland... Can anyone help shed some light on the difference between a cheviot weave and an oxford weave?


(1940)

Classic natural shoulder jacket.


(1940)

Hawaiian shirts... Trad? :icon_smile_big:


(1940)

The model here seems to have some waist suppression... I didn't realize they'd made a waist suppressed suit before the No. 2 in the early 1960s... Note the collar pin. :)


(1940)

This ad seems to suggest that Brooks was at least aware that something was happening on campus...


(1940)

"Anonymous but unanimous"... I like that. :)


(1940)

Anglo-inspired waist-suppressed double breasted, featured with derby bowler and dress gloves, for maximum effect. :)


(1941)

Is that a green buttondown? I suspect the matching tie was due to the expense involved in printing color ads...


(1941)


(1941)

Uruguayan rope-soled espadrilles? That's a sharp-looking bathrobe, though.


(1941)


(1942)

Brooks acknowledged the war, but it didn't seem to drain off their customer base to quite the same extent as the Ivy-based clothiers.


(1942)

Note the early use of rayon.


(1943)


(1943)


(1943)

Pink OCBDs for the summer. :)


(1943)

Spring overcoats. :(


(1943)

Silk surcingle belts! Does anyone make these anymore?


(1943)

Wool bow ties! Anyone making them this fall?



(1944)


(1944)

More (most likely uncomfortably hot) spring overcoats!


(1945)


(1945)


(1946)


(1946)


(1946)


(1946)


(1947)

So before they used slubby short-staple cotton???


(1948)

Note the cordovan. :)


(1948)

Paisley!


(1948)

Apparently J. Press wasn't the only one doing double-breasted seersucker... surprising they'd still be pushing the old Anglo suppressed double breasted this late in the game. Was Brooks the first to do tan seersucker?


(1949)

Apparently "Crash Linen" just meant undyed natural linen before J. Press latched on to the term?

The things one learns! :)
 
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The Rambler

Honors Member
That was fun! I want that worsted gab summer suit with the patch pockets. I think much of the stuff looks unabashedly English, though with a softer shoulder: the little squib on having the best of both worlds, British fabrics and American make is interesting, coming as it does on the eve of WW2. I wonder if postwar catalogues, maybe 1950 or so, strike a different, less English note?
 

Brooksfan

Super Member
Interesting to note the many variations in jacket style including 2 and 3 button and single and double breasted. Apparently the 3r2 sack never was the only viable option.
 

C. Sharp

Super Member
From the 1950 Coronet article on Brooks.
Brooks rewards this loyalty with an equally unswerving devotion to the tradition which has made the establishment an institution. In two of its stores, suits are still piled on long tables as they were in all clothing stores a half-century ago. By far the best individual seller is still the “No. 1 sack suit,” a straight-hanging model with no padding in the shoulders or stiffening in the lapels. The style hasn’t changed in more than 40 years.

Brooks firmly believes that the old is as new as tomorrow, providing it is correct. Tyrone Power, the film star, found this out when he was preparing for his role in The Razor’s Edge. He dropped in to see Mr. Brooks and asked if the store had some photographs which would give his studio’s tailors an idea of what the correctly dressed man wore in 1914. Mr. Brooks showed him a picture on the office wall of Yale University’s famed Whiffenpoof singing club, taken about that time. Power was delighted; the clothes were just what he needed.
“All right, young man,” Mr. Brooks told the actor as he led him to the door. “Take the elevator to the second floor, see one of our salesmen there, and buy our No. 1 sack suit. That’s what all of us have on in that picture, and it’s still sold at Brooks.”
 

dwebber18

Super Member
We really do need a time machine so we can go back and load up on all that great stuff. I'm sure being a big, tall guy I'd still be out of luck. My dad had to always order his shoes and he only wears a 12
 

C. Sharp

Super Member
I wanted to touch on something you mentioned in this post https://askandyaboutclothes.com/community/showthread.php?107258-J.-Press-in-1959 in relation to your current post. You asked about "English Kerchief Bordered Madder Print Silks. Crepe Lined" - "Kerchief Bordered"? ---The tie in question is on the bottom left. I have seen these. I would have you look at the silk Bandanna scan from 1946. Imagine a tie that is solid colored at the tip, then has a border followed by the design. It would look very much like the Bandanna in the front.

Modern source for silk belts https://www.bowties.com/index.cfm/p/products/range/106/cat/346/subcat/0.htm

Drakes still makes Challis bow ties https://shoponline.drakes-london.com/zoomx-146-86-806-17-Bow Ties-Printed wool challis bow tie.aspx
 

katon

Super Member
Thanks, C. Sharp!

A few extra images from 1942:


(1942)


(1942)

"Snake hook buckle"... that's a new term to me. Any ideas?


(1942)


(1942)
 

chacend

Senior Member
Thanks Katon,

Always interesting, but this one with the Naval Officers uniforms was great. As a current Naval Officer, it's good to see that some things haven't changed over the years as our Service Dress Uniform remains virtually unchanged from the ones in the ads. In the past few years we have even gone back to Brooks Brothers as a supplier.
 

The Rambler

Honors Member
Are any of the gorgeous jackets pictured 3/2? Most seem decidedly shaped, too. Despite the "style hasn't changed in 40 years" line about the No 1 sack from the 1950 article C Sharp cites ( Coronet, wow, is that article online?) the look of the jackets in the ads seems quite different from the classic 1950s and on design we admire so much.
 

katon

Super Member
Are any of the gorgeous jackets pictured 3/2? Most seem decidedly shaped, too. Despite the "style hasn't changed in 40 years" line about the No 1 sack from the 1950 article C Sharp cites ( Coronet, wow, is that article online?) the look of the jackets in the ads seems quite different from the classic 1950s and on design we admire so much.
A few of them seem to have 3-roll-2. The corduroy one from the first post and the herringbone ones from the second, anyhow.

I suppose this was what I was trying to get at when I mentioned that Brooks didn't really seem to understand the Ivy League look yet... Maybe Brooks was catering to a different crowd then? The only jacket that looked like a sack was the 1940 Country Jacket.

For some contrast, here's a couple 1940s J. Press ads:


(1941)


(1948)

I suppose the look simply hadn't left the campus yet?

Back in the 1930s (and later?) Brooks even had a "square shoulder" option:


(1934)

I'm not sure if this was a pre-padded shoulder for their mail order crowd, or simply an option for the locals who patronized Brooks more like one might a made-to-measure tailor, though.

I get the impression that the idea behind the sack suit originally was that someone who lived somewhere without bespoke tailors could buy a mail-order Brooks sack suit and have their local alterations tailor take it in... I'm not sure they ever envisioned folks wearing their sack suits unaltered fresh from the package. :)

Maybe it all started as a bit of early class sensitivity by Ivy Leaguers during the Great Depression? Those who knew better imitating those less familiar with suits who wore theirs fresh out of the box? I suppose it could have simply been introduced to Ivy League campuses by G.I.s, like khakis were... Those 1941 J. Press jackets do look suspiciously sack-like, though...

*Edit:

Some close-ups:

 
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C. Sharp

Super Member

AldenPyle

Honors Member
Nice posts. Very interesting. The shirt in the Mary McCarthy story "The Man in the Brooks Brothers Shirt," was green, btw.

I think this ad from Roger Kent is informative, if the certain internationally famous maker is Brooks, which it certainly must be.


1940
 
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AldenPyle

Honors Member
From the 1950 Coronet article on Brooks.
Brooks rewards this loyalty with an equally unswerving devotion to the tradition which has made the establishment an institution. In two of its stores, suits are still piled on long tables as they were in all clothing stores a half-century ago. By far the best individual seller is still the “No. 1 sack suit,” a straight-hanging model with no padding in the shoulders or stiffening in the lapels. The style hasn’t changed in more than 40 years.

Brooks firmly believes that the old is as new as tomorrow, providing it is correct. Tyrone Power, the film star, found this out when he was preparing for his role in The Razor’s Edge. He dropped in to see Mr. Brooks and asked if the store had some photographs which would give his studio’s tailors an idea of what the correctly dressed man wore in 1914. Mr. Brooks showed him a picture on the office wall of Yale University’s famed Whiffenpoof singing club, taken about that time. Power was delighted; the clothes were just what he needed.
“All right, young man,” Mr. Brooks told the actor as he led him to the door. “Take the elevator to the second floor, see one of our salesmen there, and buy our No. 1 sack suit. That’s what all of us have on in that picture, and it’s still sold at Brooks.”
Not the 1914 Whiffenpoofs, but the editorial board of the 1920 Yale Daily News.

Note the pegged trousers. Closer to the post-war version of the natural shouldered suit.
 
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The Rambler

Honors Member
When my father was teaching me how to break in a new pipe (!), I remember that he told me that the first thing a seasoned pipe smoker does with a new briar is remove all filters and condensers from the inside :biggrin2:.
 

Peachey Carnehan

Active Member with Corp. Privileges
I'd love to sit down with a BB catalog from the 40s and one from 1960 side by side and see how much changed and how much stayed the same in an essentially conservative style.
 
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