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There was a time when you could tell a guy was wearing Brooks Brothers from half a block down the street.A certain combination of subtle but distinct details in cut, styling and fit was a clear signal.
The Broadway store became the principal place of business for the firm during the Civil War, and it was from this store that many Northern generals-including Grant, Hooker, Sherman, and Sheridan-were outfitted.
Brooks Brothers also made frock coats for President Lincoln, one of which he was wearing on the fateful evening he was assassinated at Ford's Theatre in April 1865.
This youthful, slim, stylish, and collegially casual image is Brooks's contribution to the United States' sartorial canon.
In 1915, Brooks moved north again with other business firms and built a handsome new flagship store at 44th Street and Madison Avenue, in noticeable proximity to the Harvard and Yale clubs and the New York Yacht Club.
It was a decidedly understated silhouette and quickly became the look of choice for the Eastern establishment.
Another innovation was to incorporate a Boys' Department" (a "University Shop came later), so that parents could educate their sons in the proper appearance.
It was his innovative plan, according to an advertisement he ran in the local newspaper, the , that same year, "to have on hand a very large stock of ready-made clothing just manufactured with a due regard to fashion, and embracing all the various styles of the day." "Ready-made" heralded the appearance of reasonably priced, mass-produced clothing that was one of the United States' greatest achievements of the nineteenth century. Brooks's death in 1833, the store was refurbished and enlarged by his sons-Henry Jr., Daniel, John, Elisha, and Edward-"Brooks Brothers" for the business in 1850.
Through his readily attainable, mass-produced clothing, Henry Brooks became a great innovator and marketer for the democratization of society. Manufacturing trends in mid-nineteenth-century America had begun to seriously encroach on the preindustrial world of made-to-measure clothing.
Brooks Brothers played a major role in this revolution.
Henry Sands Brooks was forty-five years old and a provisioner to seafarers and traders when he bought a property on the corner of Catherine and Cherry Streets in the thriving business district of lower Manhattan in 1818. Brooks and Company, he was intent on a new career selling quality clothing to the gentry and prosperous businessmen.
Other introductions, such as white buckskin oxfords and canvas tennis shoes with rubber soles, Panama hats, and corduroy sports jackets also became classics, renowned in prose and poetry, such as Jimmy Rushing's vibrant "Harvard Blues": I wear Brooks clothes and white shoes all the time, I wear Brooks clothes and white shoes all the time.