The button-down shirt was first worn by English polo players but by the late 1940s, it was an essential item in the wardrobe of any well-dressed man. In America it was originally a Brooks Brothers creation dating from the 1920s but GANT played a major role in its evolution, making it their own.
There are many reasons why this happened. Quality was one, but there were also several aspects to the shirt’s construction that were not only unique but in certain cases also extremely difficult to copy. Among these was the shape formed by the front edges of the buttoned collar. It took the combination of Bernard’s technical skill and Marty and Elliot’s fashion sense to perfect it and it became known as the perfect roll.
The perfect roll wasn’t the only signature detail that GANT perfected. Other small touches that customers appreciated included: The locker loop on the back of the shirt that can be used to hang the shirt to keep it wrinkle-free in the locker room. It even became a part of Ivy League dating culture that a guy would remove his loop when he was going steady with a girl (and she, in return, would wear his scarf).
The box pleat, at the back of the shirt, that gave the wearer greater freedom of movement. And the back collar button that kept the tie in place and prevented the collar from riding up. In 1963, the button tab won an award from Esquire magazine. Elliot invented the button tab to make the tie and the shirt match perfectly. Together with the perfect roll, the tie knot blends into the shirt and creates that ideal Ivy League Look. At the same time that they were perfecting the men’s shirt, GANT noticed that it wasn’t just men who coveted their clothing. Inspired by the number of women who were borrowing their boyfriends’ and husbands’ shirts, they realised that both sexes appreciated quality clothing. GANT launched their women’s shirts with the slogan: “For women GANT makes shirts, not blouses.”
A new chapter was beginning for the company, and with it came a new name. Now the company was known simply as GANT Shirtmakers, reflecting the excellence and cultural importance of the company’s signature item.