In the days before user-generated travel reviews and online forums, customers looked to Brooks Brothers for guidance when vacationing—from how to pack for an overseas trip, to finding the best place to take in yachting races. And, while things have changed over time (bathing suits, for one), our tradition of outfitting and upgrading the great American summer endures. Flash forward several decades, and whether your annual holiday takes you to Cape May or Cap d’Antibes, Brooks is an essential stop on the way to vacation perfection. To get you in the right frame of mind, we’re going back to our archives to explore some vintage publications, seasonal store advertisements and timeless summer style advice from our history.
a) One of Brooks Brothers’ earliest expansions was a seasonal pop-up shop located in Newport, Rhode Island. This 1934 advertisement for the store refers to the upcoming International Yacht Races being held in the famed resort town.
b) The original cover art to our summer catalog from 1979 with a turn-of-the-century yacht race scene. Illustrations such as this were meant to evoke nostalgia, particularly well in the 20th century.
c) A 1931 circular advertising scarves, bathing jerseys (shirts), trunks, belts and sandals. Our head-to-toe approach to outfitting customers helped them build a complete seasonal wardrobe that was appropriate and stylish.
d) This advertisement for our “Palm Beach” suit, made of lightweight cotton seersucker, offered customers a smart outfit that was nearly half the weight of then-standard wool.
e) An advertisement from 1898 mentions bath gowns (bathing suits), towels, golf sweaters and fancy shirts with perhaps one of our earliest references to madras.
f) From 1907, this miniature book created by Brooks Brothers offered advice to customers traveling to Europe—including packing tips, instructions for cab fares and railroad ticketing, as well as general etiquette.
g) This miniature book, published in 1930, lists the yacht and racing schedule for the Long Island Sound. In addition to the schedule of events, it contains general protocol for regattas and features images of the competitors.
h) A circular promoting lightweight socks, seasonal shoes and panama hats provides helpful style advice. It was pieces such as this that gave Brooks Brothers its reputation for being a summertime style authority.