history

Today Brooks Brothers is running an online campaign for its buttondown “polo” collar shirts. The tagline is “the shirt that changed history” (it’s also running as “a shirt that changed history”). Introduced in 1896, within a couple of decades it was already the default shirt for style-setting college men in the Northeast, and on places such as Wall Street, where such men went on to work.

But now history itself — namely the future history that is being made right now, if you follow me — is changing the shirt.

Last week a reader informed us that he spoke with Brooks Brothers’ customer service department as was told that traditional-fit shirts would no longer be offered in stores, and could only be purchased through the website. We reached out to a contact at the company to verify. A spokesperson reiterated that Brooks makes four cuts of shirt — traditional, regular, slim and extra-slim — but that traditional needs to be ordered online or in-store, as it’s not stocked on store shelves.

He added:

There is simply less demand for the traditional-fit model, whereas sales for the other three fits continue to grow each year. We recognize that that the traditional-fit shirt is important to some customers, therefore we continue to make it available in all the same fabrics.

The key phrase is “less demand.” Don’t blame the retailer, blame your fellow men. — CC