Dressing the Presidents of the United States

Here at Brooks Brothers, we have had the honor of dressing almost every U.S. President since 1818.

Out of all the illustrious patrons of Brooks Brothers—Hollywood royalty, nobility and titans of industry among them—perhaps none have been of greater stature than the many Presidents of the United States who have trusted Brooks for their sartorial needs. John F. Kennedy was one of the most prominent Brooks Brothers clients of modern times, and he’s just one among many presidents (40, to be exact) who we can proudly claim as clients.

One of Brooks Brothers’ most illustrious presidential patrons was none other than Abraham Lincoln himself.

The connection between Brooks Brothers and the Office of the President started early. Brooks Brothers began creating military uniforms as early as 1818 for veterans of the War of 1812, and then came to the attention of military commanders who would later hold the Office of Chief Executive as well. In Brooks Brothers’ archives is a handwritten order from then Quartermaster of the Army Chester A. Arthur (later to become one of American history’s most respected presidents) for three hundred overcoats for a Union regiment, dated 1861.

Indeed, one of Brooks Brothers’ most illustrious presidential patrons was none other than Abraham Lincoln himself. Lincoln’s usual stature (he stood at six feet, four inches) required custom-tailoring, which made him a frequent visitor. One of his most famous purchases was a frock coat worn to his second inauguration. It was not only custom-made but featured a custom-embroidered lining featuring an American eagle and a banner that reads “One Country, One Destiny.” Sadly, Lincoln was to wear the same frock coat on the evening of the fatal attack at Ford’s Theatre.

The tradition of dressing the Chief Executive continued down through subsequent generations. Ulysses S. Grant, Woodrow Wilson and Theodore Roosevelt all wore Brooks Brothers to their inaugurations. Roosevelt so admired Brooks Brothers tailoring that he had the company custom-tailor the uniform he wore as a commander of the 1st U.S. Volunteer Cavalry regiment.

In more recent years, U.S. presidents have had differing political visions, but one thing they have had in common is their patronage of America’s original clothier. It’s a relationship that’s continued right up to the present day—and one that undoubtedly will continue into the future.