United States of Trad: Daniel Patrick Moynihan

Daniel Patrick Moynihan (1927-2003) was an American politician, intellectual, and had style for days. Moynihan was the United States’ Ambassador to the United Nations and to India, part of four successive presidential administrations (J.F.K-Gerald Ford) and a United States Senator for New York (D) (76-’94). and this is only a brief glimpse into his illustrious career (NYT Obituary). More importantly for the purpose of this post he was well versed in traditional American style even though he did not hail from the prep schools of New England, but rather from the New York’s Hell’s Kitchen via Tulsa, Oklahoma. Before the pics I leave you with this letter from Moynihan to Brooks Brothers from the book “Daniel Patrick Moynihan: A Portrait in Letters of an American Visionary.”

 The Letter to Brooks Brothers

November 24, 1980


As a customer of thirty-five years standing this spring (I bought my ensign’s outfit from you!), I hope you won’t mind this friendly “return.” As I have gotten older, with less time available for shopping, and somewhat more credit, I have taken to buying socks, shirts and sundries in rather large quantities. Such is your quality control that they tend to go on seemingly indestructible and then collapse in the manner of the one-horse shay.

In just such a manner a complete wardrobe purchased for India lasted four and one-half years and then disappeared in a fortnight. The point of the tale is that last spring before a trip to the Middle East, I stopped at your downtown store and stocked up on various items. I bought one dozen socks, one of which I enclose. All of them developed holes within a month. Of the kind you will see. This is something I know you would want to know about, and which I would like made up for in whatever manner you think best.

Moynihan in a Repp tie

Young Moynihan on the street

Daniel Patrick Moynihan by TypewriterMoynihan and NixonNote the 3rd buttonhole on Moynihan’s jacket.


Moynihan in Seersucker

Moynihan Moynihan in PinstripesMoynihan Green Bow TieMoynihan Suit & JacketMoynihan in Suit with Desert Boots

oxford cloth button down
Jerrod Swanton is a simple man interested in simple, classic, and traditional style.

2 Comments on "United States of Trad: Daniel Patrick Moynihan"

  1. He was such a marvelous combination of brains and a truly fabulous wardrobe!

  2. Hollywood Argyle says:

    Love the peak lapel on the seersucker!

    Here’s one of Moynihan’s most controversial, yet most prescient, papers: The Negro Family: The Case For National Action, perhaps better known as “The Moynihan Report.” Here’s a summary and brief look at The Moynihan Report at 50.

    Sadly, it will be a very long time indeed before we see such a brilliant man on the national stage again.

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