Another member of Ivy League Look royalty who lived and worked through the heyday has left us. Elliot Gant (pictured above on left), who along with his brother and father ran Gant of New Haven, died on March 12 in Boston at the age of 89.
On Friday The New York Times ran a lengthy obituary with much about the history of the buttondown collar and Gant’s role in helping popularize it:
Beginning in the late 1940s, Martin and Elliot Gantmacher popularized the button-down shirt as a de rigueur garment for Ivy League and Madison Avenue men. They were so taken with their success, in fact, that not long after their company was rebranded Gant in 1949, the brothers adopted the label as their surname.
Click here for the full story. — CC
I remember buying my first Gant shirt from Alvin and Dennus in the 1960s. My father had a cow as it was not white and it cost 20 dollars (if I remember correctly).
One more contribution of our Judaic brethren to Ivy style.
I’ve had hundreds of Brooks, Mercer and custom shirts but none i loved more than the striped Gant from the mid sixties that required my mother’s iron. What I would pay for that fabric today. As they say, Thanks for the Memories. Purchased at Sir Winston in Omaha, Nebraska.
Sorry to hone in an obit notice, but both Gant brothers worked in the New Haven shipping room at J.Press before they entered the fray.
When I was in high school, 1964-68, Gant was pretty much “the” shirt. Embarrassing to admit, but we were as brand conscious as any “Real Housewives”
My experience with the Gant label was through their 90s “Oxford Club” models…maybe purchased at Hudson’s Men’s Store?? Though they were a poly-blend far cry from their glory days, they served me well. In fact, I’d take a dozen 90s oxford clubs over any of these alpha-sized skin tight modern day Gant interpretations. Still, RIP Mr. Gant.
In the photo, isn’t Marty Gant on the left and Elliott Gant on the right? What do you think, Mr Press? And did J Press ever sell shirts made by Par-Ex, Gant or Sero?
Mr. Press, were The Gantmaucher and Shapiro families related?
Gantmaucher or Gantmacher?
OCBD on the right –that has to be 3.75 + inches. Maybe four? Nice.
NCJack, you are correct. Gant was indeed considered the “it” shirt in the sixties. Correct me if I’m wrong, but Gant, by comparison to others, had high neck collars as their standard offering.
In the years 1962 – 1968, the rear collar with a button on the Gant Hugger was not higher than others, such as Sero, Hathaway, Eagle. But the ? Gant Hugger was tapered, much different than Brooks own make Polo model which had a very full body, no pocket, wider cuffs. My recollection is that the Brooks had slightly shorter collar points than the Gant and less collar roll than Gant. Eagle and Sero Purist were very similar to Gant; Sero had a slightly higher back collar, no button, pocket and a very nice wider center back pleat that Gant & Brooks; all Eagle shirts had a flap pocket very similar to what J.Press sells today. I recall them all so well because all of them were really great. Brooks sold sport shirts under Brooks 346 or University Shop labels made by Sero in the Brooks University Shop. Paul Stuart sold shirts under its own label made by Gant( with the little G).
My recollection is that Brooks sold a Gant shirt ( purple label ) in the 346 line in the 50s and 60s for around $4.50 vs. their own make ( red/pink label ) a heavier Oxford cloth, for around $6.50, made in their Long Island City factory, in 1960 when I worked there. It could have been Sero, I guess, or maybe that was in the late 60s. The Gant OCBD, at it’s best back then, actually had a better collar roll than Brooks; the obit is correct. It was of a lighter material and would not wear as long.
The Gant Of New Haven factory was visible on eye95 and also from the train. A landmark between Boston and New York.
From I95, you can see the former “new” Gant factory & offices building, now the home of the New Haven Register newspaper. Over near the Wooster Street neighborhood, the original Gant factory building still stands.
Never saw a locker loop shirt in Brooks University Shop or 346 Brand, but that does not mean Brooks didn’t sell them. My 346 plaid sport shirts were Sero based on the width of the box pleat. Vern Trotter – Brooks 346 in 1968-69 had a lighter weight OCBD university stripe shirt without a box pleat that could have been made by Gant.
In the J. Press Bleecker Street store there is an artifact of significance. It is a fragment of one of the basement walls at 262 York in New Haven. It was removed along with other fragments after the store closed and prior to the neglect and subsequent sad demise of the building. On the wall was written a list, an “Honor Roll” with names of Press employees and dates of service. I have been told that this list shows the names of those employees that served in WW2. Eliot Gant’s name is on this list. I think the date is 1942. It is a beautiful object and meaningful link to the shared past of these two great company’s.