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Home The Decades Art Deco The Arrow Collar Man

The Arrow Collar Man

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Pictured above:  Arrow Collar advertisement

VAV!/November 4, 2011

The Arrow Collar Man was the very essence of an erudite, suave and debonair gentleman.  He was impeccably coiffed, breathtakingly cool, aloof yet approachable, and always donned an exquisitely creased collar.  For a quarter of a century, the Arrow Collar Man was the advertising icon for the Arrow Co., maker of detachable collars...and eventually one of the largest makers of men's shirts in the world.

The mantle of Arrow Collar Man was given to a very few select male models who appeared in advertisements for shirts and detachable collars between 1905-31. The shirts and detachable shirt collars were manufactured by Cluett Peabody & Company of Troy, New York. (Later, these alpha males would simply become known as the Arrow Men.)

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The Arrow Collar Man was one of the most iconic advertising images in history...he served as the antithesis to the ever popular and beguiling Gibson Girl.  During 1920, the Arrow Collar Man received more fan mail than Rudolph Valentino.  His erotic appeal was so great, its whispered in some circles, that the Arrow Collar Man had inspired the 1923 Broadway musical, "Helen of Troy."  Even President Theodore Roosevelt got into the act and referred to him as a "superb portrait of the common man". 

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The ads themselves, featuring the Arrow Collar Man, were a collaborative effort of New York ad agency Calkins and Holden; Cluett, and Peabody advertising director, Charles Connolly ; and the iconic commercial illustrator J. C. Leyendecker(March 23, 1874 – July 25, 1951). Leyendecker's model for the first Arrow Collar Man was his live-in companion, a Canadian named Charles Beach.

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