In recent years, Brooks Brothers has given us much to lament. Now only a shell of its former self, it has almost completely severed its American roots.
But once it was greatness incarnate.
It was aspirational. It was both traditional and innovative. And it was as definably American as any company out there.
Today’s Brooks Brothers is owned by foreign interests. Much of its wares are produced overseas, in countries with an extensive track record of worker abuse, environmental degradation and currency manipulation.
Neckties remain one of the few exceptions. They continue to be produced by union hands in the United States. And for that I suppose we should be grateful.
But part of me wonders how long that will continue. The lure of outsourcing has been particularly difficult for Brooks to resist, so I imagine that a time will soon come when even that meager commitment to American manufacturing evaporates.
Yesterday, I picked up a Brooks Brothers tie in a sage green silk herringbone. It’s quite lovely, a reminder that, at their best, Brooks Brothers ties rival those from some of the most celebrated Italian and English makers.
My one complaint is that it’s only 3.25 inches wide, which is the absolute lower limit for tie width in my wardrobe. It’s becoming increasingly difficult to find decent ties wider than that unless you go the custom/bespoke route.