01 April 2010

1980's Chicks - Brooks Brothers

If loving this is wrong then I don't want to be right...

Spring 1989
Spring 1989
Fall 1988

Spring 1989
Spring 1988
Fall 1989
Spring 1988
Spring 1989
Fall 1989
Spring 1988

A lot of the catalogs Brook's Brothers put out for women were (and still are) cheesy spectacles of poor layout, bad photography and laughable back drops. Early '80s back drops stand out with a whole lot of split rail fences, Mt Vernon porches and ersatz fireplaces.

Something happened in '88 and '89. And not just the catalogs but the clothing as well. Beautiful photography with scenes of Manhattan hooked up with models who looked they made a living modeling. And the clothes were amazing. Grown up and sophisticated in rich fabrics for decades of wear. Hell, even that damned tassel flattie disappeared (for a while).

I'd love to know what happened. And I'd love to know why it ended. A real shame because Brook's never came close to this kind of erudite style again. With a lot of '80s inspired fashion showing up everywhere today you'd think this would be a no brainer.


Anonymous said...

"Grown-up and sophisticated".


Alice Olive said...

I like the photography. Do you know who did it? A long lens, I'll wager. Maybe the creative director at Brooks at that time was actually creative and stylish. Funny how some of these clothes appear 'dated' while other pieces are as classic as ever.

Laguna Beach Fogey said...

Spring 1989 was a fine season apparently.

Anonymous said...

You know, I don't know, either. But given the fickle trend span of clothing it seems sort of natural. What came along parallel and subversive to this trend was the "urban look." Herb Ritz, Marky Mark, hip-hop and Madonna's bullet bras.

All this angst seemed like a resistance movement against those split rail fenced country comfort zones. Once it caught on with a new generation it took off. And it won out; it's been going on for 20 plus years. Could these late 80s catalogs be a sophisticated response to that "return to the city" aesthetic? Or did prep simply grow up?


Schorsch said...

I don't want to live in your world. Can't we pretend this shrouded, puffed and padded fashion never happened?

I agree about the maturity apparent here, but a little youth and daring doesn't hurt.

GSV JR said...

I'd like to er "Spring 1988's" satz.

Belle de Ville said...

Yikes. My first store credit card after I graduated from college in the early 1980s was a Brooks Brothers card. While I needed the conservative clothes for my job as a bond broker, thank god I didn't buy any of the outfits that you posted.

Those Tricks said...

I've got good news for you, tin-tin.
These clothes are readily available.
I sort through many of these dresses once a week when thrifting. I often try them on (mostly for sport) but rarely purchase for two reasons.
One is the length of the skirts. I've been known to alter great pieces, but it has to really be worth it. The lengths are rather school marmish.
Two is the general lack of femininity that comes with those boxy top halves.
Shoulder pads can be removed, but tailoring an entire piece to (even modestly suggesting) womanly curves is a chore.
The only workable dresses of these are 2 and 5, in my book.
And they would still require shoulder pad removal, neck line update and hem raising.

But believe me, if any ladies are in the market for this stuff - there is lots available, in excellent condition, at rock bottom prices, at most decent thrift stores in fabrics ranging from The Golden Girls to Working Girl.
aw yeah.

Sandra said...

Still wearing my tasseled navy blue flatties! Much work from a wonderful small town cobbler has made this possible!

heavy tweed jacket said...

I'm with you Tintin. Very classic. It's funny how some women's fashions are very historically and culturally normed. What may be deemed classic and elegant in Milan, Paris and Tokyo, may not be in favor in New York, Chicago and Los Angeles and vice versa. Funny, that. My wife's recent complaint has been that she would just like to find some old-fashioned khakis like were available in the 1980s.

Anonymous said...

Ain't sure, but I think an 'nebriated, score older and couple o' cup sizes more bosomy #2 Spring '89 molested ol' Ta'er at the New Year's Eve Renee Fleming Sings Lynard Skynard do in Gstaad.


Brummagem Joe said...

They look like women....my kind of women

Holly said...

ugh, I lived it, and don't have any fond memories of it. Shoulder pads & knife pleats, may they rest in peace.

Giuseppe said...

I thought football season ended in January.

Heidi said...

I actually had that dropped waist number with the lace collar. I loved that dress!

Anonymous said...

Gorgeous! I love high rise waists! I won't wear shoulder pads, but other then that I want every one of those dresses. So funny how this looks fresh, while the low rise late 90's/early 2000's stuff now looks dated. I threw away all my low rise jeans about 2011.