The History Of Menswear Told Through NYPL’S Digital Collection: Part 7

Earlier this year the New York Public Library shared 180,000 prints, maps, manuscripts, and much more in a digital public domain collection for the very first time. In it, we unearthed menswear ads from over one hundred years ago. In this series, we explore them. Discover part seven below, and find part one here, part two here, part three here, part four here, part five here, and part six here in case you missed them.

Donchester: An Arrow Evening Shirt 1915

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This print ad shows that one hundred years ago, the most important requisite of a dress shirt was good appearance. Much is the same today, including the many types of ill-fitting dress shirts, such as the horrors of a bulging bosom expounded upon in the ad.

The Donchester Arrow evening shirt, shows that a fitted shirt should feel snug, but not too tight, and will provide the requisite confidence for you to approach your favorite lady. Here at H&C, we believe the best dress shirts fit comfortably around the chest, under the armpits, and across the upper back, giving you a full range of motion. So, your chest should “fill out” the shirt in a way where your body is discernible under the fabric. However, if the buttons pull when you’re standing still with your arms down, it’s too tight.  In terms of the ideal overall shape for looking your best, men’s dress shirts should taper from the chest to the waist, following the contours of the body and creating a clean line (i.e., no excess fabric) between the shirt and pants when tucked in. Arrow, too, believes your shirt should remain “flat, immaculate, and in its place.”

The aptly named evening shirt in the ad reminds us of our Logan in white. Featuring a tall point collar and beautiful 120-count poplin, our shirt boasts luxury details such as mother-of-pearl buttons and brass collar stays. It also features convertible cuffs—easily worn buttoned, rolled up, or dressed up with cufflinks—making this shirt suitable for professional and formal occasions as well as post-event unwinding.

What else intrigues you about this ad?

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