Brooks Brothers to close 51 stores amid Chapter 11 filings, will you miss it?

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Famed retailer Brooks Brothers, which had it’s grand opening back in 1818 and has dressed 40 out of 45 presidents, is set to shutter 51 stores in North America amid Chapter 11 filings.  It finds itself unfortunately among several retailers affected by fast-casual fashion and the Coronavirus pandemic.

In hopes of receiving additional financing and a new buyer, Brooks Brothers filed chapter 11 restructuring proceedings in the U.S.  Bankruptcy Court for the  District of Delaware. The New York Times reported”

The bankruptcy represents the latest big retail casualty during the pandemic, which has caused widespread store closures and sales declines, and pushed major names like J.C. Penney Neiman Marcus and J.Crew into Chapter 11 proceedings since May. All of the chains, including Brooks Brothers, plan to keep operating, though likely in a pared-back fashion.

Brooks Brothers, with its tony men’s wear, has been hit especially hard by the pandemic in an era of remote work and job interviews through Zoom, and the postponement of celebrations like weddings, bar mitzvahs, graduations and more.

The company, which is the oldest apparel brand in continuous operation in the United States, said on Wednesday that it had decided to close 51 U.S. stores of its roughly 250 locations in North America. Earlier this year, Brooks Brothers said it would close its three U.S. factories, which are in Queens, Haverhill, Mass., and Garland, N.C., spurring concern around the health and the future of the brand.

[From The NY Times]

This chapter in fashion history saddens. I am a huge Brooks Brothers fan as I have leaned toward, preppy, Hamptons, and Martha’s Vineyards style fashion since I was a kid.   You’d think I was born into a blue blood family despite being from Texas where Tommy Bahama is king.

When I worked as a makeup artist at Saks for the Mac Cosmetics counter in the Houston Galleria, I used to love to go into the store on my lunch breaks. I would walk around touching the fabrics and seeing how they style the mannequins in the window. I’d pick out outfits for Diddy’s All White Party in the Hamptons, as if I’d ever be invited. Celebitchy and I were giddily talking about how we love that all their pieces were like “uniform” fashion. You just couldn’t go wrong in their clothing.  I will miss the Gatsby and Swing-era fashion that Brooks Brothers offered. Brooks Brothers filing Chapter 11 is another indication that fashion is trending more toward casual, “just rolled out of bed and threw this on” style.  I guess as they say, “in fashion, one day you are in and the next you are out.”

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