Window Shopping At Langrock

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Window shopping is a lot like web surfing: you browse, you gander, you move on.

I surfed by The Suit Room the other day; that’s the site maintained by former Ivy Style contributor and Newton Street Vintage proprietor Zach DeLuca. He had some nice vintage shots of Langrock, the legendary campus shop at Princeton, which looks like they ran at the on again/off again blog (now Tumblr) Heavy Tweed Jacket.

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Included in the post was this passage from a 1974 issue of Japanese magazine Men’s Club:

Langrock is another men’s clothier that is sadly no longer around, so don’t expect the phone number to connect you. Langrock was established in 1896, and compared with Brooks Brothers and J. Press, was a much smaller store, putting out a catalog two or three times a year that read “Langrock – There’s Only One.”

That slogan, in addition to asserting the uniqueness of Langrock, of course, also simply meant that there was only one location. However, as a 1974 Men’s Club article noted, two decades earlier in the 1950s, Langrock had 13 locations, at a time when the Ivy style had spread nationwide. By the early 1970s, Langrock was able to stay in business through catalog sales and a customer base of reportedly 30,000 who ordered through the catalog and over the phone. 75% of Langrock’s annual sales were accounted for by ready-made clothing, and 25% by special orders.

Men’s Club further noted that Langrock suits and jackets were made from imported fabrics of the highest quality, and were on par with Brooks Brothers’ highest ‘Makers’ grade. Yet in 1973, a typical sport coat cost an economical $60 ($322.00 adjusted for inflation today). Take a look at what Langrock looked like in its heyday and perhaps wonder what Langrock (and maybe a website) might look like were it still around today.

Of course, window shopping just isn’t the same as real shopping. After all, you might want to buy something. — CC

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20 Comments on "Window Shopping At Langrock"

  1. G. Bruce BOyer | November 17, 2015 at 1:52 pm |

    Those photos bring back such lovely memories. I feel like I must have stood at the round tie table just inside the front door for hours contemplating a purchase. No, not a purchase, the fulfilling of a dream.

  2. Ward Wickers | November 17, 2015 at 2:16 pm |

    When did this shop close? I lived nearby in Lawrenceville and was in Princeton often during the mid-1990s. I recall Hilton’s, but not this shop.

  3. Down town shop closed in 1985. With 10 more years in a space on campus.

  4. Ward Wickers | November 17, 2015 at 2:51 pm |

    Thanks. That was before my time. I moved there in late 1994, around the time the campus shop must have been closing. I was a grad student then, so didn’t have a lot of extra money for clothes — it was all spent on beer at the Triumph Brewery. Priorities, you know.

  5. Grew up just south of Princeton. But, alas, I didn’t get up there regularly to hang out and dig record out of the Record Exchange until the late 90s. A vintage Langrock tweed or navy blazer is a holy grail item for me. Also, glad we’re onto clothes now. This is much more fun!

  6. Ward Wickers | November 17, 2015 at 8:16 pm |

    I got a lot of great music from the Record Exchange at cheap prices. I loved Princeton and lived in the area for several years. I still have a road bike I bought from Kops and still send my watches down to Hamilton for cleaning and repair. I didn’t know about Langrock. I’ve lived most of my life in Connecticut, so J.Press has always been my place for clothes, though when I was younger, I was a big Paul Stuart fan.

  7. Somewhat off-topic here, but the old-school pics remind me of an old-school (multi-generational Jewish proprietors, Italian tailors, shirts in waist-high glass cases, linoleum floor) men’s shop that’s proudly still in business in my hometown of Wilmington, Delaware: Wright & Simon. John Tinseth has some swell pics of the mid-century-vibed shop over on his old trad blog. For more go-to-hell stuff (loud pants, ties with prints of naked women sewn into the lining), one went to Mansure & Prettyman which, sadly, is no longer with us.

  8. @Chewco your mendacious and pejorative characterization of my Southern compatriots is impudent. I love Sowell, but there’s more to the South’s lower test scores than their love for the Majority Text. The fact is that South has large pockets of rural and agrarian folks (in conjunction with many minority areas still suffering from the Reconstruction Era devastation as a result of the War of Northern Aggression) which skew the data. These folks historically do not finish school and Appalachia in particular drags down the scores dramatically. Your Strawman of “Ignorant Religious Folk Who Have Eclectic Views On Cosmology” doesn’t support the fact that the South is home to many brilliant inhabitants, many great schools, and, most importantly, many dandies and trad folk. These are the facts, unlike your prejudicial and ignorant polemic. Although you may consider Tom Wolfe, Truman Capote, Washington, Jefferson, & Madison all imbeciles of the first order and Washington & Lee, Duke, UTx, UF, Rice, GA Tech, Wake Forest, Vanderbilt, UNC Chapel Hill, UVA, William & Mary and Tulane all colleges for the mentally challenged.

    Great reading on our prejudices concerning how people sound.
    http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/guest-blog/why-does-a-southern-drawl-sound-uneducated-to-some/

  9. Ward Wickers | November 18, 2015 at 7:20 am |

    “Ties with prints of naked women sewn into the lining” immediately caught my eye. But, of course, the shop is now closed. Late again!

  10. What happened to DeLuca? Is he no longer a member of the Ivy-Style team?

  11. Busy with day job and got married. Hasn’t written for here in a long time. Has also evolved style-wise; still has Ivy elements, from what I can see at his Tumblr, but is working for RL PL as far as I know.

  12. Ah, okay. Well good for him. I hope that it all works out.

  13. @Ward W-You’re Welcome. On the subject of peek a boo ties, a British company called Grenville was responsible for some of them and many were sold at Triminghams Bermuda. One has the cautonary message that too much beer, golf and cards leads to the doghouse. http://www.ebay.com/itm/Vtg-70s-Triminghams-Bermuda-Doghouse-Novelty-Tie-Peek-a-Boo-Bikini-Girl-Blue-/121807430376?hash=item1c5c49e2e8:g:yEgAAOSwl9BWK75l

  14. Ward Wickers | November 19, 2015 at 9:30 am |

    @ C-Sharp

    That’s outstanding (the tie). That’s also my address (the doghouse).

  15. Doghouse story:

    The Beverly Hills police pull over an eighty-five-year-old man driving erratically at 3 in the morning. The officer asks him where he is going. He says, I’m on my way to a lecture about how alcohol undermines society, rips apart families, and destroys health. The officer say, If you don’t mind my asking, sir, who is giving this lecture at 3 in the morning. The man replies, My wife.

  16. @RJG

    That was truly funny. Perhaps more so as I have heard that lecture, too — more than once!

  17. Ward — Glad it worked! Then there’s the one about how the past, present, and future met in a bar. It was tense.

    (And with that I retire.)

  18. Henry Contestwinner | November 19, 2015 at 1:06 pm |

    RJG,

    Excellent! Reminds me of one of my favorites:

    A rabbi, a priest, and a minister walk into a bar. The bartender says, “What is this—a joke?”

  19. Well if it’s old joke time…

    German walks into a bar, asks for a martini. Bartenders asks, “Dry?”

    German says “Nope just one.”

  20. Ward Wickers | November 19, 2015 at 7:59 pm |

    Future asks the other two what they will be having. Past says he’s had enough, and Present says he’s OK at the moment. Cheap round.

    Two Irishmen were passing a bar …… Hey, it could happen …. They were lawyers.

    A dyslexic guy got slapped in the cafe. Yesterday, he walked into a bra.

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