That Damned Brooks Brothers Shirt


Recently the comments section has been lively with discussion about Brooks Brothers shirts. Obsessing over them is practically an institution; as early as the mid-’60s George Frazier was writing, “What the hell’s happening to the roll on Brooks Brothers buttondowns?”

There’s a reason men get so worked up about them: they have strong attachments to this particular article of clothing. Like the fellow in the drawing above.

The cartoon by Charles E. Martin appeared in the New Yorker in 1952 and is available from the Conde Nast Store.

But be forewarned: the print costs more than a new Brooks Brothers shirt. — CC

14 Comments on "That Damned Brooks Brothers Shirt"

  1. An interesting, illustrated explanation of the difference between the”Half Dome” collar roll and the “Liberty Bell” collar roll:

    As a Liberty Bell fetishist, I have been known to give away BB shirts that only produced the unsightly half dome roll which couldn’t be corrected by playing with the placement of the buttons.

  2. Richard Meyer | October 22, 2013 at 3:16 pm |

    The great Frazier was right about the collar roll. Today’s Mercer is the only one that reproduces the original.

  3. Funny, the CN store sells reproduction New Yorker prints for about $50 more than I pay for beautifully framed and matted ’50s and ’60’s originals at a local gallery.

  4. That’s my take….. The Mercer has the collar length to produce that nice roll that dear ole Dad did so well back in the early sixties. Martin, Sinatra all were all over the roll.

  5. Thurston Evans | October 22, 2013 at 10:07 pm |

    @Richard Meyer

    I’m totally in the dark about who “the great Frazier” was. Please forgive my ignorance and illuminate me. Thanks.

  6. James Redhouse | October 22, 2013 at 10:17 pm |

    Thanks to Steve Hunter, I think I will henceforth use the term
    “NE corridor WASP haute bourgeoise” to describe my style, instead of “ivy” or “trad”.

  7. Thurston Evans | October 22, 2013 at 10:35 pm |

    @C. Sharp

    Thank you, sir, for the almost instantaneous reply.

  8. Post WWII, Ivy or Trad, became bourgeois (middle class) nationally. In it’s hayday, Life mag didn’t go to the NE for it’s article / photo op, they went to Columbia , Missouri.

  9. @MAC

    True, MAC, but we were trying to look like our mental image of New Englanders. Later, we tried to look like our mental image of Brits.

  10. My image of New Englanders growing up was Gorton’s Seafood logo, think “Captain’s Courageous”.

    I don’t have a problem with the “Brit” connection, as most of my prized clothing items in the sixties had labels stating “Made in England..Ireland..Scotland..etc. 😉

  11. @ Thurston

    Your Welcome. Glad to be of help

  12. @MAC

    Speaking of Gorton’s:

    “Gorton’s of Gloucester is a subsidiary of the Japanese seafood conglomerate Nippon Suisan Kaisha, Ltd., producing fishsticks and other frozen seafood for the retail market in the United States.”

    Need I comment?

  13. Prior to 1990s it was an American company with roots going back to 1849. Wikipedia is handy, isn’t it? 😉

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