Although we’ll be examining 1967 throughout the year as we commemorate the 50th anniversary of the fall of the Ivy League Look, this post comes from 10 years later. It landed in my inbox a month or two ago, and if I recall it was an archive piece reposted by The Washington Post.
Written by Curt Suplee, entitled “Hung Up On Brooks Brothers,” and published in November 0f 1977, the piece has many fine turns of phrase, including “listen to the rustle of the tweeds.”
Here’s another one:
Outside, in the streets, there in a stubbornly bewildering world of social ills, sexual competition, sudden violence, sporadic doubt. In here, in the cashmere quiet, there is . . . Brooks Brothers.
File this passage under “how times have changed”:
And although that way may not be for everybody, tens of thousands of men find the Brooks style so congenial that the company turns one of the highest profit margins in the industry
And speaking of changing times, there’s this fascinating passage recounting how the company actually thrived in the post-hippie years:
Furthermore, they have done it with increasing success over the past twenty years – two decades in which the spastic upheavals in American style could not have been more inimical to the Brooks Brothers way of life.
First came the denim and tee-shirt Sixties when many clothing houses sank in despair. “Everybody was just unkempt and dirty,” Reilly says of the period. He knew it wouldn’t last. “After all, people get through that stage in their lives. They start to think about getting married and settling down and doing something”
Finally there’s this line:
In addition, the look is American – the strength of the world. I don’t care, the pound or the dollar or the oil or whatever, the strength of the world is in America.
There’s much, much more in this fine and lengthy piece, which you can read in full right over here. — CC