The summer Brooks Brothers sales has come and gone but I picked up four classic cotton button-down shirts to get me through another year. I’ve worn the things since the mid-70s when I attended a prep school with a coat-and-tie dress code, always a 36″ sleeve, 17 1/2″ neck, collar with buttons, regular cuffs. There have been a few years of J.Press but their signature “button” flap front pocket was a pain in the ass when I was looking for a place to stash my glasses, pens, tickets, etc..
EBay introduced me to the wonders of used clothing — aka “Deadman’s Duds” — and for a while I was buying used Turnbull and Asser shirts for $25 a piece and realized the quantum leap in quality that comes with a $300 English shirt, versus a $125 Broooks Bros. shirt sewn in some Far East sweatshop. But elegant and detailed as the Turnbull and Asser shirts are, they aren’t button downs and require those pernicious little plastic collar stays to keep the collars from curling up like some Peter Pan affair. And most brutally, they utterly omit the breast pocket, a sin for me because I depend on a leather index card jotter to track my schedule and to-do list, store parking tickets, receipts, business cards, etc..
Now Brooks Brothers has done away with the breast pocket too and I’m pissed. At least twice a day I try to stick something into a pocket that isn’t there any more and curse the fool who decided to do away with it either out of thrift or some belief that pockets ruin the “flow” or whatever of a garment (like famous Lost Generation bon vivant Gerald Murphy who wore pants and suits without pockets because they ruined the “lines” of his clothes).