“Poor Man’s Brooks Brothers.” I’m not sure where or when I first heard that but it made sense the moment I did. That’s what Joseph A. Bank was back in the early 1980’s when I discovered them. My first encounter was in Washington D.C. during the summer when my liver and I pretended to work for the Senate Judiciary Committee while really working the mean streets of Georgetown and the beer soaked floors of the Day Lily Restaurant, aka the Chinese Disco.
My KA brother and Presidential Gardens roommate, WHS and I rolled into the Washington, D.C. Jos. A. Bank one Saturday and the Poor Man’s Brooks moniker stood. The place was brimming with 3/2 sack goods and bevies of button downs and foulards and Brooks aping collaterals that would leave one believing their fake-it-till-you-make-it strategy could be tactically supported by this singular purveyor. I bought a gray seersucker 3/2 sack sportcoat that afternoon and wore it for the next decade.
My next Bank encounter was in Charlotte, North Carolina after I somehow ended up in the pharmaceutical business. No longer indigent but certainly not flush, I was a regular at Bank-Charlotte. My first ever Aldens came from there. I was ready to deepen my footwear bench beyond Weejuns but wasn’t ready or able to add shell cordovan to the queue. I wear to this day, my calfskin Alden tassels, courtesy of Bank-Charlotte.
When you see this logo, rest assured that you are looking at a pair of Aldens in excess of twenty years old.
And if you ever see this logo, rest assured that you are looking at something that once existed but based on the edematous piles of poo currently purveyed at Jos. A. Bank, will never be again. The idea that Jos. A. Bank at one time offered a line-up including Alden seems laughable today. But they were at one time, a Poor Man’s Brooks Brothers. Indeed.
Onward. Still vigilating and mama tending. In calfskin Jos. A. Bank Aldens.