Those Abercrombie Abs…Part Two

Robert Peary did not have a giant logo on the front of his parka when traveling to the North Pole. Nor did Amelia Earhart paint a massive moose silhouette on her aircraft in exchange for cash. And while some may say that Honey Fitz was “new money” (yes, we know, how dreadful to even discuss it) you did not see JFK with Abercrombie logos on his outdoor gear. Whyever not? Because that was back in the olden days when the once-great establishment catered to a much different clientele, offering vastly different merchandise. Oh, and using extraordinarily refined marketing techniques light years removed from the current crass and crude exploits practiced today by the very popular (in some quarters) retailer. And yesterday. And the day before, as we are all too sadly aware. This would be back in the dark ages of course, when their name was actually Abercrombie and Fitch Country Clothiers.
While nattering on (and on) about some of the latest PR disasters at Abercrombie and Fitch yesterday, The Princess *did* mention something about sharing a bit of the brand’s history. Let’s just say this truly was a remarkable store, with incredible merchandise displays for even more incredible undertakings and adventures. The name was Plans for many of the family’s annual vacations never really got underway until one consulted Abercrombie’s; it was that simple. On safari in Africa? No problem, they had what you needed. New Year’s Eve on the QEII? They always kept Daddy’s measurements on hand in case it was time to order up a new dinner jacket. Looking for some snappy flasks to have engraved for your groomsmen? A&F supplied just what you needed. It really was the most astonishing merchandise mix you can imagine, although it did cater far more to a gentleman than a lady. Unless one needed a new hacking jacket or pith helmet, ladies fared better at Best or Bloomingdale’s or Bonwits. When we were children we simply adored the giant stuffed bears and tigers and other animals they had in the stores. Then things went downhill, in a hurry it seems, and suddenly this most magical of shopping establishments was gone. Doors closed and windows covered. The Princess remembers how very sad it was arriving at the front door, encountering just such a depressing display – CLOSED. Then it seemed some sporting goods retailer was going to be their saving grace (okay, ours if truth be told) but that didn’t turn out so very well either. And then the Limited folks made their appearance, proving that some things are worse than being bankrupt! Simultaneously the once-simple label affixed to the lower side seam was fed retail steroids and it just grew and grew and grew into the monstrosity seen today. (Also shown below as it was above, merely an effort to minimize trauma for those unfamiliar with the brand – this way you needn’t trouble yourselves looking it up online.)
There it is. Yawn. Tedious, I know. And of course we still use the turtleneck, it’s perfectly serviceable.

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