As inflated as it sounds, you could make a very strong case that Brooks Brothers, the historic fashion house that’s suited everyone from Abraham Lincoln to Cary Grant, basically invented the modern dress shirt. In 1896, John E. Brooks, grandson of the company’s founder, found himself in England watching a polo match. Back then, players wore collared shirts but the activity of riding a large horse would cause their collars to flip up. As such, they often fastened them down with buttons — a feature that caught Mr. Brooks attention. Shortly thereafter, his family’s company started mass-producing button-down dress shirts, basically cementing the garment’s place in that Platonic ideal we call the great “American wardrobe.”
Then, 50 years later, Brooks Brothers did it again. In 1953, the brand dropped the fashion world’s first non-iron shirts, made from a blend of polyester and cotton. While they weren’t exactly comfortable, they offered guys a convenient path to everyday polish: wrinkle-free dress shirts right out of the dryer. What’s more, they looked just as good at 5 pm as they did at 9 am, even after a long day slouched in an office chair.
In 1998, the brand inched closer to where we are today and put out the first all-cotton dress shirts with anti-wrinkle properties. They’re treated with a chemical process that bonds the strands of fabric, which stiffens and is, thus, less likely to wrinkle. Today, non-iron examples account for nearly 90 percent of the company’s overall shirt volume.
Available with all varieties of collars, button-down included, the shirts come in four fits, each a little slimmer than the next: Traditional, Madison, Regent and Milano. They feature Brooks Brothers’ signature six-pleat shirring on the cuffs as well as pucker-free seams. The gold standard in dress shirts doesn’t come cheap, though. They retail for $92 each. But today, you can take advantage of Brooks Brother Wardrobe Event and pick up three for $169 — just in time for wedding season.
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