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The men’s clothing company, established in 1818, filed for bankruptcy today. I have two short anecdotes about that company that create for me the nostalgic sweet pain that comes from life as you age.
When I was a teenager my Dad had a prescription to Esquire magazine that I perused each month. I found a few articles that held my interest because they were avant- guard but mostly I looked at the ads. It was the Vanity Fair for metrosexual males long before that concept took birth. When I was about fourteen I was captivated by a Brooks Brothers ad featuring a bright blue blazer; not a navy blue blazer, but bright blue. I had to have it. I cut out the ad and begged my mother to buy me a blazer that color. Amazingly enough, she found an inexpensive sport coat the same color from a K-mart or similar store and replaced the white plastic buttons that came on the coat with brass buttons and I was as happy as I had ever been. Unfortunately, this happened in the midst of my adolescent growth spurt or I would still have it today.
A few years ago I was invited to a high society wedding on Nantucket Island. As I settled into my plane seat for the trip, I reviewed my suitcase packing and realized I had packed everything except for a necktie. My connection from Charleston to Boston went through Detroit I think. I hiked throughout the massive system of terminals and found only one store that sold ties. Brooks Brothers. It was a small store and had 4 or 5 styles of ties which were all the same color, navy blue, and gold diagonal stripes which only differed in the thickness of the stripes. They all looked way too mundane for my tastes but I had no choice. So I bought the one that looked best to me and paid $85 for the insipid tie! I have never spent that much on a tie. Wouldn’t you know it, but I got more compliments on that tie that weekend than I have ever received.
I doubt if I will ever buy an $85 tie again, but I wish Brooks Brothers the best. They served this country well.Published in