Brooks Brothers: Dressing the Presidents
American clothier Brooks Brothers recently spotlighted it’s relationship with American presidents on its website. Brooks Brothers was started in 1818 as H. & D.H. Brooks & Co. in New York City before being renamed Brooks Brothers in 1850 when it was taken inherited by its owner’s three sons.
Many people would probably guess that Presidents Nixon, Ford, and Carter might have dressed from Brooks Brothers, but they might not know Brooks Brothers has been associated with the presidential office and the US military back to 1860s. In 1861, future president and then-Quartermaster of the Army Chester A. Arthur placed an order with Brooks Brothers for 300 Union regiment overcoats. Then-General Ulysses S. Grant was also fond of the having his uniform tailored by Brooks Brothers. In later years, Theodore Roosevelt would have his dress uniform for the Spanish-American War ordered from Brooks Brothers.
Even a somewhat fashionably bland Abraham Lincoln purchased a black frock coat from Brooks Brothers which he wore to his second inauguration. This may have influenced the belief that black is only appropriate for servants and funerals, as Lincoln would wear the same frock coat at the time of his assassination.
Only one president since then seems to have openly refused Brooks Brothers help. During the 1980 election, George H.W. Bush was accused of being a “Brooks Brothers Republican” to which he opened his jacket point out he was wearing a J. Press suit.