After yesterday’s post on George Will, a reader sent in this column on Brooks that the trad columnist wrote for the Washington Post back in 1997, when the appearance of buttondowns in odd colors were enough to spark fear of the end times.
Will opens his lament with:
Yes, yes, we have been told. Philosophers tell us that change is life’s only constant. Poets tell us that the center cannot hold, and all that is beautiful drifts away like the waters. Scientists say even the continents are adrift.
But Brooks Brothers, the clothier founded in Manhattan in 1818, was supposed to be the still point of the turning world. For generations it has defined conservatism in men’s dress — blue and gray natural shoulder suits, blue and white oxford cloth shirts with button-down collars, striped ties.
So why in recent years have the clothier’s display windows become a silent pandemonium of scandalizing colors? What are those lavender dress shirts — about the coral-colored ones, let us not even speak — doing in Brooks Brothers stores, even the flagship store, which opened in 1915 at the corner of 44th and Madison Avenue?