Posts Tagged ‘retro clothing


Gitman Bros. Vintage

Gitman Bros. Vintage | MORTAR |. Gitman Brothers is one of the last great shirt makers in the United States. Not only do they make shirts for Thom Browne (voted by me as the best American made shirt in the USA – see my blog entry Best Dress Shirts US vs the World), but they also make their regular line called Gitman Brothers, plus an exciting new line called Gitman Brothers Vintage.

Gitman Brothers Vintage

The idea of Gitman Brothers Vintage came from current owner, Chris Olberding, who was going through some of the Gitman Brothers archival of patterns and fabrics from years gone past. At the present, the retro look is back and growing ever stronger. Plus, there is more interest in mens’ fashion for high-quality clothing particularly American-made. By bringing back some of the previous designs and fabrics, Gitman Brothers Vintage has helped fill a niche that some other clothing brands are trying to capture: Retro Ralph Lauren, Rag & Bone and Freemans Sporting Club (as well as some cheaper foreign made knock-offs). Not only are these brands popular in the United States but they are greatly desired in other countries like France, Japan, and England.

The History of Gitman Brothers

The Gitman Brothers story has a story that is a little similar to the Brooks Brothers in that the business was started by the father who ran it for many years and then were taken over by their sons to bigger acclaim. In the Gitman case, the father, Max Gitman started the clothing business in Brooklyn and moved it Ashland, Pennsylvania in the 1930s, it was called the Ashland Shirt and Pajama Company. The Gitman factory has continued to make all of its clothes here still today. In the 1970’s, Gitman’s clothing gained more notoriety for their wildly patterned button down shirts which were designed by the sons and then, owners, Alfred and Sheldon Gitman, (Max had passed away in the 1960s). Eventually  the brothers  renamed the company Gitman Brothers in 1978. For more history, see MORTAR (the first link) or allplaidout, which also includes a factory tour. Many of the shirts made by Gitman Brothers Vintage are made by 3rd and 4th generation artisans. This is a great little detail, as America has been losing a lot of its artisans over the last 30 years.


Not Only Shirts

Gitman Brothers does make shorts. The prints are usually loud, but I am unable to tell you how to find them. Gitman Brothers also makes neckwear, or ties. And, just starting this month, Nordstroms is carrying Gitman Brothers ties. Gitman Brothers makes ties under their own label as well as under the Gitman Brothers Vintage label.

Where to Find Gitman Brothers Vintage

Gitman Brothers Vintage can be found at Barneys as well as other fine men’s stores, see list. Gitman Brothers are found at many fine men’s stores as well as other countries.

“If it’s too fashiony, it’s not interesting to me.” – Jean Paul Gaultier


Favorite U.S. Stores #6 – Freemans Sporting Club

Freemans Sporting Club — Welcome. Freemans Sporting Club (F.S.C.) is a very unique shopping experience, specializing in retro appearing Men’s clothing manufactured entirely in New York. I have just come back from visiting their newest store in San Francisco at 696 Valenica Street in the Mission District. They have been open for only seven months. Because I had visited their other two stores in New York City in November, 2011 (that’s right, last year), it is only acceptable that I compare them with each other. But before I do that, I would like to give some background on Freemans Sporting Club.

The Origin

Taavo Somer is the co-owner of Freemans Sporting Club. He was trained as an architect, who turned into an artist and restauranteer. He first opened the bar, The Rusty Knot, which was a big hit, followed by Freemans (a restaurant – located at the end of freeman’s Alley, near Rivington Street) known for its rustic charm and taxidermy of animal heads upon the walls. Mr. Somer did the taxidermy himself. Since that time he has opened two more restaurant Peels and his newest, Isa, in Williamsburg, Brooklyn in August, 2011. Freemans Sporting Club came about as a continuation of the hip retro look that Freemans had instilled, rustic and masculine. The clothing store is located just down the street from Freemans (restaurant) at 8 Rivington Street. It opened in 2006, and in the back of the store is a very thriving Barber shop (just like the old dry goods stores might have done in the late 1800s and early 1900s). The second store is located on 321 Bleeker Street in Greenwich Village (sorry, no barber shop).

The Newest Store Located in San Francisco

Store #3 has very easy access from highway 101, just take exit 434A at Duboce Ave, make a left on Valencia, and go down about a half mile to 696 Valencia Street. It is at the corner of Valencia and 18th Street. When you first see it, you will not recognize it as a Men’s Clothing Store. In fact, it used to be a pet store. On the outside of the building, is “F.S.C. Barbers”, that is the place. When you walk in, you are walking into a barber shop, which is fairly busy, but unlike FSC #1, where the barbershop is in back of the shop, here you walk through the barbershop to get to the clothing shop. The clothing shop is smaller than the other two stores. It is flanked by two friendly salespeople. Because the shop is so small (like the other FSC’s), that if the size you wear is not there, they may have it in storage. Their style of clothing is definitely retro but still quite stylish. The have Sports Coats, dress pants, flannel shirts, casual long sleeve shirts, Henley shirts and several plain T-shirts. They have some coats as well that are made of a heavy fabric which feels a lot like canvas. You can click the link on top of this blog entry to see exactly what they carry. The dressing room is also quirky. There is only one. On one side of the shop, which probably takes up one tenth of the entire clothes store, is a large recess that becomes a dressing room when this extremely large and heavy canvas tarp slides across to stop prying eyes. (The San Francisco store closed in 2015.)

The clothes are all American made. They are expensive and do deserve special care. They should last for quite a long time. My final tally was: a checkered red and black flannel shirt; a beige short sleeve Henley shirt; and a dark charcoal gray long sleeve casual shirt. It is definitely worth a look.

If you are interested in more information about the co-owner Taavo Somer, tomorrow I will publish a reprint of an article by New York magazine regarding Mr. Somer, which was originally published in May, 2008.

“Fashion is architecture: it is a matter of proportions.” – Coco Chanel

December 2019
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