Buttoned Up

From repp ties to madras shorts and oxford-cloth shirts, Brooks Brothers has been the innovator behind what are now the staples of classic American style

Lots of sportswear companies base their image on the classic all-American look (think Ralph Lauren and J. Crew), but only Brooks Brothers has the heritage to back up that blue-blooded claim. The firm's first store, then known as H. & D.H. Brooks & Co., was opened by Henry Sands Brooks in New York City 188 years ago. The retailer quickly became the place to go for off-the-rack suits, an early version of ready-to-wear. In 1850, when Brooks' sons took over the family business, they changed the name to Brooks Brothers, with the Golden Fleece as its trademark. By 1865 the brand had...

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