AldenPyle of Andy’s Trad Forum, one of the most diligent ransackers of the LIFE archives, recently dug up some photos of the 1936 National Amateur Golf Championship at the Garden City Golf Club.
The winner was John W. Fischer, who took the cup not only for his fine form on the fairway, but for being the most Ivishly styled. The shot of him above caught my eye. Note the natural shoulder, 3/2 roll and patch pockets, and perfectly contemporary proportions. The lapel width is even so spot on you could wear the jacket today, nearly 80 years later, and not have to change a stitch.
I was a tad surprised that the form had reached a state of perfection so early. I gave Bruce Boyer a call to discuss.
Brooks Brothers’ Number One Sack Suit was introduced in 1895, and while the basic form may have its origins at the turn of the century, the details and proportions had yet to stabilize. Bruce felt that the form would have settled down to a no-need-to-mess-with-it state between 1932 and the time of the photo in 1936.
Bruce also speculated that the suit above may be custom. First off, it fits great. There’s also the faint suggestion of a dart above the patch pocket, gentle waist supression, what appears to be a tapered sleeve, and the comparative rarity of the basketweave fabric. But while the suit may be bespoke, it was certainly based on an established form, not individual whim.
As further example of the perfection of form, note Fischer’s winning combination of patterned suit, white shirt and striped tie.
It’s also interesting to compare Fischer’s clothes to the others at the tournament. This chap in double-breasted suit and slicked hair seems to represent the style of his era, while Fischer seems to float above it. Double-Breasted Man could only be dropped into a few decades since the ’30s and still be in fashion, whereas Fischer’s look, though always appealing to a minority and rising and falling in popularity, has managed to remain perennial. — CC