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At the Brooks Brothers' Madison Avenue address we found no garish signs in the window, only the familiar husky and headless tweed torsos which, legend has it, come to life each All Hallow's Eve at the stroke of twelve, and throw one heckuva board meeting. Inside, we were greeted by a graying Warner Oland look-alike who proved to be a perfectly nice man named Mr. Campbell. He showed us his selection of English striped silk and polyester rep neckties, now $6.95 to $7.50. A fine selection they were indeed, our eye particularly held by his array of solid-color foulards-with-the-little-thing's-embroidered-on-them. Sporting motifs mostly, plus little bulls and bears and crossed automatic pencils. Mr. Campbell was especially enthusiastic about a tie with little neckties on it, which, frankly, gave us the willies.
Our salesman excused himself to get more patterns; more seductive, however, were the solid colors, and we selected a brace of them, one off-burgundy and the other a deep maize, and not wishing to trouble Mr. Campbell further with wrapping and sales slips, briskly pocketed them and headed for
the shoe department. Here we would find a wide assortment of those shoes-with-the-little-holes-all-over-the-toes at, if not next to cost, certainly something closer to our Fayva budgets than normal.
The shoe department proved disappointing; someone had already cleaned out the shoes-with-lhe-little-holes, leaving only odd sizes behind, and we had to content ourselves with replacements for our worn, adhesive-mended Weejuns (which we left in a drastically reduced Cold Duck cooler/ice bucket).
Better luck on the fourth floor: luggage and ready-to-block hats in seductively vague beiges and pommy grays. We picked up a nice set of matching English leather carry-alls and, deploying ourselves at either aisle end to watch for floorwalkers, stuffed them full of headgear to be blocked at home with the wonderful Abercrombie & Fitch Home Hat blocker received from Aunt Eleanor in lieu of our usual Old Spice gift pack assortment (we still don't know how much she got when Uncle Rudolf's insurance finally came through — and they're still pretty suspicious about that second set of tire tracks — but mum bets it was a bundle).
Sportswear proved equally fruitful. Wool tweed sports jackets normally $115 to $235 were now a low-low $92 and $188, and considering what the same money buys some poor yid up the Avenue at Paul Stuart, these fine Shetlands and lambswools would have been a steal at twice the price.
After selecting a rich rust number from the rack, we picked up a super double-breasted camel's hair overcoat reduced to $299 and headed for the third floor dressing rooms to try them on, along with some nifty blue oxford Brooksflannel pajamas and a dozen pairs of Brooksknit undershorts which fit neatly, if a bit snugly, under the tan whipcord cavalry-twill trousers which we temporarily cuffed with straight pins from those terrific Brooks button-downs.
Suddenly feeling a bit warm, we decided to skip Sportshirts and Knits and proceed to the last stop of the day: those white Irish linen handkerchiefs whose hand rolled softness so reassuringly bulks out a new camel hair's ample pockets.
On our way out, we encountered our friend Mr, Campbell again. He seemed disappointed that we had not waited, so we paused a moment to admire a fine silk four-in-hand peppered with little embroidery necktie salesmen. As he turned to answer another shopper's query, we impulsively stuffed it in our jacket and hastily re-buttoned our overcoat.
"You should see the ties we've got coming next month," Mr. Campbell whispered with a conspiratorial wink upon returning, "Women. Nothing indecent or anything like that. Just famous ones like Jacqueline Onassis and Mrs. Angier Biddle Duke. Real doozies."
We thanked Mr. Campbell for the tip and headed casually for the exit. Once outside we found the crisp March air a tonic after the stuffy atmosphere within and, much refreshed, decided to skip lunch and see what looked good at Saks.
National Lampoon - March 1975