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.
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