26 December 2011

Brooks Brothers After Christmas Sale - 1982

346 Madison Avenue, NYC

I first pushed my way through the 44th Street entrance in 1982 during the after Christmas Sale. I see it like a crane shot high above the main marbled floor. Associates balancing stacks of shirts piled high in their arms. 20 or more it seemed. Customers followed...winding through the maze of dark oak cabinets filled with oxford shirts and silk ties.



I purchased a Maker's pink button down oxford. It came in a navy box stamped with a sheep and closed tightly by a stretch of gold band sprung across the corners. A Shetland draped saleswoman with Peter Pan collar and short blonde hair, slipped my box into the bag. I couldn't help but notice how perfect her hands were with frosty pink nail polish. A good omen.

The shirt was on sale. I'm guessing, but I think it was under $25. It lasted almost 15 years. The left cuff frayed by a too big diver's watch and the collar finally blowing out after some three years of dedicated yard work. I threw it in the kitchen trash can and stared at it. Knowing the story it told but never knowing how.

The original cotton oxford button down is marked down 40% if you buy four. Today and today only will get you another 20% off. That's $38 a shirt. If my math is right. In store or on line.

13 comments:

TC said...

Can't really afford it right now, but after reading this, how could I resist? Four OCBDs headed my way. Thanks Tintin. Now I just need to beat the wife to the mailbox. Maybe if incorporate them into my wardrobe... very gradually... underneath sweaters... I won't have any explaining to do.

Trailer Trad said...

My Daughter asked for a button down this morning and I handed over a blue 'postage stamp' BB button down circa 1978. She was delighted.

-Late Christmas present for Dad.

Yankee-Whisky-Papa said...

I was there this past summer on a nasty muggy day, and a saleswoman was handing out the occasional glass of water to those wandering in looking to make a purchase. That glass of cold water cost me $180.

GeorgiaTrad said...

My Mrs. went to NYC two weeks ago and the only thing I requetsed was a pink OCBD from 346. I have never been to the mothership personally but she decribed it exacatlly as you. Just love it.....

Sir Fopling Flutter said...

Every time I lose faith in the Brethren (and there have been lots of times, including the depths of the Marks & Sparks years), I have a moment like the one Y-W-P describes.

I went in to 346 Madison a couple of Augusts ago, suffering the worst that the NY summer can hand out. The charming doorman waved me in with a "Good afternoon Mr. ______", even though I hadn't been in the store for at least two years before that and I can't imagine how he remembered my name. He offered me a glass of ice water, a friendly chat and a few minutes of the best air conditioning Brooks Bros. has to offer. Customer service at its best.

Kittie France said...

I love pink shirts, especially on men...happy Christmas!

Bill Smith said...

Good story and you got some serious milage out of that shirt. I love BB OCBDs myself but I can't wear pink courtesy my ruddy Anglo-Scots-Scandinavian complexion. Purple/lavender works better for me.

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no hype said...

I wish I did that math because I know I would not resist that deal... alas my Brooks Card is on fire from the 'Five Deals of Christmas' so I had to sit this one out. Will be checking the clearance section in a few weeks for some hidden gems...

Anonymous said...

The OCBD's (and the Aldens) appear to be the only non-Chinese-made item in the store anymore.

Anonymous said...

I bought three classic 1818 Madison suits during the after Christmas Day sale at the flagship store for under $1550 total, and all three were made in the USA.

George Baker said...

As I recall, Brooks Bros. was not on a corner in 1961.
It was in the middle of the block on 44th to 45th and Madison. My office was at 46th and Lexington. Close enough for me to hurt myself financially, while helping myself to look as successful as I was trying to be.
Does my memory fail me?

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