If you’ve puzzled over who exactly is the target customer for Brooks’ more youthful offerings, such as the new buttondown and rep tie trompe l’oeil t-shirt, Brooks’ witty take on the classic tuxedo tee, I think we’ve found the answer.
This week a Cornell-bound teen wrote a piece for his Connecticut community website about shopping at Brooks. It’s a fascinating look at the brand as seen not from the point of this website’s more advanced readers (especially the kind with words such as “curmudgeon” or “reactionary” in their usernames), but the actual youth of today.
The author’s opening is a zinger, the key words being “myth” and “only”:
Before I actually visited Brooks Brothers, I believed the common myth that only WASPs, old men, and pretentious Ivy League snobs wore the brand’s clothing.
The kid goes on to recount his shopping experience — a positive one, which is a positive thing. But somewhere along the way he seems to have gotten confused:
Not only does this style leave me with the feeling that an Italian artisan in Florence handcrafted my clothing…
… which is just the prelude to this:
As the longest running clothing company in the United States, Brooks Brothers also owns the distinction of being the most reputable and popular brand to still manufacture almost all their apparel within its borders. Trust me, once you feel the quality of clothing that was not made in China, Vietnam, or Malaysia, the chant “USA, USA, USA” will carry a different meaning; instead of thinking about the 1980s USA Olympic hockey team, you will nostalgically relive the times you caught everyone’s attention while strolling down a sidewalk in the Hamptons.
If that sounds a bit daffy, this next remark will have the curmudgeons and reactionaries assuring the kid that he is not the crazy one here:
You may think me crazy for saying this, but Brooks Brothers has somehow added an indie flair to their famously preppy style.
He concludes that all is “dope” at Brooks. At least he puts quotation marks around it:
When you first glance over at the selection of polos, t-shirts, and shorts, your immediate reaction to the eclectic, modern, and fun array of colors and styles will be to say “dope” out loud. At least that’s what I did, and in the end, I believe that particular first impression sums up Brooks Brothers. The formerly stuffy and antiquated brand has become positively, well, “dope.”
In the end, the kid says he came out with a purple polo with a green logo. Purple, of course, isn’t a traditionally preppy color, but I don’t think that’s a big concern for him. — c C m