Founder: Henry Sands Brooks
Year Founded: 1818

What's the significance of Brooks Brothers? They're perhaps the oldest major menswear brand in America. They introduced ready-to-wear suiting to America. They defined the American menswear aesthetic. That enough for you? Their list of innovations is long. By 1900, they'd introduced Foulard ties, the sack suit and the button-down shirt. By the '30s, they'd introduced summer suits, pink shirts, shetland sweaters, madras, argyle socks and the polo coat. If this portfolio of innovations looks familiar, it may be because it's essentially a list of the elements of classic American menswear. And of course Brooks Brothers remains vital today. The brand struggled through much of the eighties and nineties, as corporate casual came to rule the roost. It had a series of owners, including the British retail chain Marks & Spencers. Now, though, the brand is stronger than ever. It has nearly 300 stores, plus outlets across the country. It's branched into designer clothing with its Black Fleece brand, designed by Thom Browne, and still offers most of the classics that have long been associated with it. Brooks Brothers is the classic traditional American brand.