BREAD, The Shirt
“Buono, come il pane!” or “Good, like the bread,” is an Italian expression meaning wholesome, simple–basic as bread–which seems a fitting description for these BREAD brand shirts. With their gingham check fabric, work shirt style, color wheel palette, and block letter label, the BREAD shirt lives up to the earthiness and honesty of its brand name. At first, both shirt and label somehow seemed too perfectly retro to not be a modern take on a mod design–block lettering in a red lozenge, and even more so the stark black and white pocket tag–but details like the longer 70s collar gave it away as the real vintage. (A Bread clothing label does exist today, an online retailer out of Australia with just the sort of under-designed site and line of mod basics I was expecting of Bread, but they appear to have no connection to vintage BREAD shirts.) I actually liked the vintage logos for a blog post almost more than the shirts, since the collar can date the shirt style beyond what more ageless gingham might redeem. I wanted to learn more about BREAD, the shirt, since finding the above green example while thrifting, but every other example above is pulled from other Etsy listings. I haven’t found a single mention of the company otherwise. I’d hoped to uncover some great back story involving bakery uniforms or rockabilly bands or both. Instead this post has evolved into more of an inquiry than edification.
I found only shirts; did BREAD make any other clothing? Gingham check is a consistent theme (whether on the outside or inside) but the shirts aren’t limited to check as shown by the last examples of solid shirts, epaulets, and bandanna lining. The shirts share a work shirt design but some have elements extraneous to work wear (like fancier patterns and linings). Is there any connection to actual uniform manufacturing? The varying collar lengths suggests that production spanned the full 70s and may have started as early as the late 60s or gone as late as the early 80s. Which logo is earlier and what makes it The Earth Shirt? Sure, BREAD shirts don’t have anything like the menswear (capital hashtag) cultural significance of historic fine shirt makers like Arrow and Brooks Brothers, and there may be more questions than answers for now, but I don’t have to know more to recognize how beautifully vintage BREAD brand shirts can contribute to an authentic rockabilly or mod look.