Makers and Merchants
They used to be such a revelation
346 Madison Avenue, New York
46 Newbury Street, Boston
Lenox Square, Atlanta
The three locations at which I first came to know Brooks Brothers in the early 1980s
For 202 years until July 8, 2020
The majority of my wardrobe is from their shelves, ready to wear
So many ties to that storied store
So many ties
So many ties
Some of those ties are 30 years old e.g. the spouting whales and the bird dogs
Some are brand spanking new
I love them all
I may own other ties from Hermès, Ferragamo, other brands, but it is Brooks Brothers silk that takes up the majority of my tie rack
It is Brooks Brothers cotton that takes up the majority of my hanging shirts
It is Brooks Brothers twill that takes up the pants section of the chest of drawers
At the high school I attended, there were no Senior pictures in coats and ties. Instead, we submitted our own edgy looks
What was mine?
Me in a red and white striped Brooks Brothers turtle neck from the store on Newbury Street
I wore it all the time
So not edgy
The news of Brooks Brothers’ bankruptcy stung
Where the hell did that come from?
Where the hell am I going to get my suits?
Where the hell am I going to get my non-iron dress shirts?
Where the hell am I going to get my all cotton boxers?
Where the hell am I going to get my bathrobes?
Where the hell am I going to get Black Watch plaids?
Where the hell am I going to get linen shirts for our hot summers?
Where the hell?
What the hell?
American Made by American Makes and Merchants still meant something to me
I wanted to shop there to support the makers in North Carolina and Massachusetts who were still spinning proverbial hay into sartorial gold
As I read on A Continuous Lean, the expansion for the sake of expansion may have led to the demise of this once great company
Here’s that piece: https://www.acontinuouslean.com/2020/07/08/what-is-the-measure-of-a-good-company/
Yes, it’s a de classe moment when one sees the place from whence most of one’s clothes come at every outlet, every major aiport, every city
Almost like seeing The Gap, Banana Republic, Foot Locker, Anthropologie, all the chains
All the chains
That’s not what we loyal Brooks Brothers customers wanted or needed
We were still willing to believe that Brooks Brothers could take the place of all our old local favorites like good old Jack Krawcheck’s here in Charleston
The local men’s stores that sold great clothes
We still have Grady Ervin on King Street
Thanks be to God
I was known to stop at the Brooks Brothers on King Street, Charleston, Main Street, Greenville, South Park, Charlotte, 346 Madison, New York, 1270 6th Ave, New York, and even the outlets in North Charleston and Bluffton
And so many other places that were good fits
And so many that weren’t
Now, they all may be gone
Anyone want to buy a two hundred year old brand?
Guess when Alden pulled their shoes from Brooks Brothers stores we should have known something was afoot
(Sorry, not sorry)
I weep for Garland, North Carolina, where Brooks Brothers shuttered its shirt factory in May
Their largest employer
As an honorary Tar Heel, I feel for my second favorite state in the Union
The Haverhill, Massachusetts, workers came to work yesterday only to find themselves barred from entry at the old Southwick factory
Death of a textile Titan
Damn Casual Friday
No more broadcloth
No more wool
No more poplin
No more seersucker
No more linen
No more cotton
No more gabardine
All gone as of the morning of July 8, 2020
I’m super bummed
Wonder if I’ll have to pay my charge account balance?
Wonder if I’ll still redeem my points?
Wonder if I should change out of this LuluLemon?