This week’s mark is found on items made by America’s first ready-to-wear clothier and its oldest continually-operating one as well, once counting President Abraham Lincoln as a customer:.
was founded in Manhattan in 1818 by Harry Sands Brooks as H. & D. H. Brooks & Co. with the idea of selling ready-made clothing of good quality at a reasonable price, primarily to businessmen. Upon his death in 1833, his four sons inherited their fathers’ business, and, in 1850, renamed it , adopting the “ ” logo.
Though they started out making clothes for, Brooks Brothers branched out into as well. Their overall look down through the years could best be described as very , , and . Their are iconic in the fashion world; they introduced to America in the 1960s and, on the opposite end of the scale, their formal line.
Famous people clad in Brooks Brothers’ finery have ranged from numerous presidents (wore a Brooks Brothers cape to Yalta) to actors ( wore a Brooks Brothers suit in the film “In the Heat of the Night”) to writers (irascible New Yorker has created an entire personal brand based on her caustic wit and ever-present Brooks Brothers wear).
The brand has appeared to be a solid pillar in the shifting and often unstable fashion world despite changing hands several times; it was last family-owned in 1946. In the summer of 2020, it filed for bankruptcy after taking especially hard sales hits due to the COVID-19 pandemic but was again saved by being purchased. Collectors may want to focus their efforts on vintage items that seem more formal–Brooks Brothers is rumored to be shifting its focus to more leisure clothing, but hopefully, itswill remain unchanged.
Shannon Watkins is a journalist and writer from Virginia who enjoys baking cookies, reading, watching TV shows and movies, and shameless loafing about.
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