It is said (I never read it) that Margaret Drabble once wrote about a man in a Brooks Brothers shirt, and everyone knew what she meant. Well not everyone.
I can guarantee you that back in Rutland in 1982, no one else had a George Jensen money clip either.
I had no notes to put in it, but no matter, I had the clip. I also had a Brooks Borthers shirt, a mystical cotton wonder that I continued to wear until my mid thirties.
A blue Brooks Brothers Oxford button-down is a wonderful thing, ever softer, ever more comforting. No poncey polo player on the breast, just a pocket. The label was on the inside; only I knew it was there, but to be honest you could spot the real deal from a mile away.
My wife always hated my stack of blue oxford button downs, but I cherished them. Until about ten years ago when suddenly the cotton became harder, and the labels changed. Brooks Brothers has no doubt always been a strong US brand but it became an international brand, and as the prices rose, the quality fell. No longer were the shirts made in the USA and from US cotton, but made in Jamaica, or heaven forbid, and Indonesians forgive me, Indonesia. Those were not Brooks Brothers shirts.
Bizarrely although my wife never throws any of my clothes out, my wardrobe is thin; not a pale blue cotton Oxford in sight. I am relieved to hear that this venerable American institution has resuscitated the classic All American, American shirt. At some cost, but truffles and porcini apart, the best things in life are not free.
I was glad to stumble on this piece in The Spectator (who wouldn’t want to look like Gregory Peck?) about the Brooks Brothers shirt and that I was not a lone in my chemisier dissarray.
As I beat on, ceaselessy against the tide, at least I can once again do so in the comfort of a Brooks Brothers shirt.