Room For Squares: Kamakura’s Handkerchiefs & Neckties


We’ll conclude the recent batch of Kamakura-versus-Brooks discussion (aka the “buttondown showdown”) with a couple of photos snapped yesterday in the Madison Avenue store.

The shop may be small, but it still has room for some newly arrived pocket squares and wool neckties, in addition to all the shirts.


And for those who don’t get the headline, a little music to brighten your day. Or ruin it. In which case you’re a square. — CC

24 Comments on "Room For Squares: Kamakura’s Handkerchiefs & Neckties"

  1. Before the start of some huge “Brooks Brothers versus Kamakura” fight, let’s remember that Kamakura is a tiny shop just celebrating one year in New York City. They have succeeded in gaining the respect of a number of customers because they sell well-made, very fairly priced shirts that express the company’s love of American Ivy.

  2. Steve Hunter | October 23, 2013 at 12:08 pm |

    New to pocket squares. Tried it recently, nothing rad as I hate change in any manifstation and always eat at the same four restaurants, and it seemed . . . okay. As always, when you summon the will to alter, you expect the whole world will have remarks to make. Wrong again, wrong always in fact. No one seemed to notice. I only felt foppish and Quentin Crisp-ish for a few minutes and then life proceeded at its usual drone-orbit speed for a man dressed 50 years behind the times and in brown Weejuns, no less.

  3. Strongly pro-Kamakura, here. They had beautiful knit ties, and some nice repps, when I stopped by in May, but this looks like twice the amount. Some of the squares demand my attention.

    #appalinglyvulgar: You don’t recall the prices, do you?

  4. online store says bow ties are 50 and ties are 70

  5. Anyone know what the piece of furniture displaying the ties/’kercheifs is called and where I can find one for my home?

  6. I haven’t listened to this album in ages, and I might never have listened to this alternate take. Really takes Lee Morgan a while to get rolling here, doesn’t it? Contrast with how he ramps up in the other take, the one they released on the original album. It’s like he stumbles in on this, but dances in on the other. I bet this was the first one they did with tape rolling. (Not that it’s bad, it’s Hank Mobley and Lee Morgan, a bad day with these guys was better than most guys’ best.)

    Oh, and to the topic at hand… I’m in favor of any competition that might encourage ol’ BB to up its game. Haven’t yet sampled Kamakura’s offerings, but I will next time I’m in NYC.

  7. Dang! I wish they did those lovely looking wool ties online.

  8. Their customer service is superb. I enjoy dropping by the shop–to buy, yes. But also to be treated with courtesy and kindness.

    Christian, many thanks for the Mobley!

  9. I’ve been happy with my shirts, but have yet to try the ties. Anybody think they’re of better quality than Tie Bar or Brooks?

  10. Purchased a Kamakura Vintage Ivy shirt in the New York Fit, sized medium, it fit like a dream. Went home to visit my wife’s folks, Mother in law ran the shirt through her dryer, and it shrank what seems like a full size. If anyone one wants to buy a small shirt reach out. It’s a beautiful shirt, but I feel like Willie Gillis, civilian, whenever I put it on now.

  11. Yeah their Ivy shirts will shrink a LOT. I’ve been dry cleaning mine to avoid shrinkage

  12. Thurston Evans | October 24, 2013 at 1:56 am |

    I have always insisted that my shirtmaker give me the oxford cloth to take home, hot wash, and hot dry before he turns it into shirts.

  13. What’s the width on those Kamakura ties?

  14. Last week I stopped by Kamakura and picked up a shirt and a tie. I like the tie. It has a little more “body” than a standard Brooks Brothers tie, so it ties nicely. I realize the website says the ties are 3 1/2 inches wide, but that may be a mistake. Mine is 3 1/8 inches, which I prefer.

    I will not buy another shirt, however. I have always worn a slim fit, 16×36 at Brooks Brothers. I like their non-non-iron shirts (item# 469Q and 471Q, pinpoint and broadcloth, respectively). They are softer than the non-iron shirts, of course. Also, unlike the non-irons, they shrink slightly (and consistently), which I like, since the 16×36 is a bit too large.

    I tried on a number of Kamakura sizes and settled on a 42×92 (16.53×36.22), pinpoint, New York slim. Customer service is excellent. The shirt is well made, soft, etc. I like the fit through the body, but it is too slim across the shoulders. I am lean, but I am fairly tall and long. The Kamakura shoulder seam – the seam under the collar to the seam at the shoulder – measures about 5 1/4 inches. The same seam on my Brooks Brothers shirt measures 6 1/8 inches. And the distance from the armpit to the cuff on the Kamakura shirt is about 1/2 inch less than on the Brooks Brothers shirt. So the fit does not work for me. But it may work for others.

  15. All they had to do was measure a Brooks shirt, a Press shirt, and a Mercer shirt and take the average. That would have been far better than what they came up with.

  16. Sorry, Christian, but poseurs like Mobley, who think they look cool, are simply ludicrous.

  17. Sorry Philly Trad, but word on the street is that Mobley is one cool cat. The real deal and a sharp dressed man.

  18. @Philly

    What is he posing as? How do you know he thought he looked cool?

  19. I think the thing to remember about Kamakura Shirts is that first and foremost, they are a Japanese company making shirts to fit their Japanese clientele. If the fit is “off” (i.e., not what we want/expect), then perhaps it is because they have adapted the Ivy look to the Japanese market—a market comprised almost exclusively of Japanese people (imagine that!).

    Several years back, I was pleasantly surprised when I discovered that another Japanese company, Uniqlo, made alpha-sized shirts that fit me well, as my experience had been that Japanese shirts’ sleeves are too short for my long-ish arms (15/33). Unfortunately for me, Uniqlo has since changed their sizing, and I can no longer wear most of their shirts, but they aren’t selling to long-armed Caucasians. Their primary market is short-armed Japanese.

    Having said that, I hope that Kamakura Shirts will expand their sizes and offer a variety of sleeve lengths for each collar size. It sounds like they are really nice shirts, and I would love to try them.

  20. Philly Trad | October 24, 2013 at 4:29 pm |

    I cannot believe that intelligent adults are unable to interpret Mobley’s facial expression and body language. Before I am accused of racial profiling, allow me to say that if he were white, I would arrive at exactly the same conclusion: a guy who thinks it’s cool to look like a 30s gangster.

  21. @ Philly Trad

    I don’t see how you can reach or make this assumption. I mean no disrespect, but how can we know what Mobley was thinking?

  22. @Philly Trad
    I design for Blue Note and I’ve done a couple of Mobley covers. Looking through many, many unpublished photos from Cuscuna’s archive I’ve seen Hank Mobley in lots of informal, studio shots. He always looked sharp, poised and well turned-out.
    I loved this shot, snazzy knitwear beautifully worn. I had to use it:

  23. Jazz Man,

    On the one hand, of course we can’t know what he was thinking; on the other, people’s attitudes and thoughts are often readable from their expressions. There’s nothing odd about Philly Trad’s assessment.

  24. Just got back from Japan. All of Kamakura’s stores in Tokyo were small and in the basement level. None had any sizes that fit, which was odd. There are bigger Japanese men out there, but they must have a hard time finding sizes that fit. No size 11D in shoes and no 17.5 35 shirts to be had. All in all, still not impressed with Kamakura other than a few details and the price point. The collection over there was anything but impressive. Rather plain jane. I’ll stick with Mercer.

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