Brands You Should Know

Theory

Get the story behind the smartest name in menswear.

Theory. In practice.

Created as a partnership between fashion industry veterans Andrew Rosen and Elie Tahari in 1997, Theory had a clear mission from the get-go: ”I wanted to make clothes that were comfortable and looked good,” Rosen once said. “Being in the pages of a fashion magazine was something I was not interested in.” That focus on the customer over the cognoscenti helped Theory grow into a global brand built on modern style and incomparable comfort.

Playing off the minimalist aesthetic pioneered by designers like Raf Simons and Helmut Lang, Theory’s men’s line, which was launched in 1999, emphasizes slim-fitting suits, sleek outerwear, plus shirting, knits, and casual pants — basically all you need to get you through the week in understated style.

Designer Tahari left in 2003, the same year that Theory was acquired by the parent company of Uniqlo, who sought to expand the brand into a global market. While still headquartered in NYC with Rosen as CEO, the label now has stand-alone boutiques around the world, including a sizable fan base in (no surprise) Japan. In 2011, Theory tapped Belgian designer — and CFDA International Award winner — Olivier Theyskens, formally of Rochas and Nina Ricci, to create a women’s capsule collection for the brand, later elevating him to Artistic Director. On the men’s side, though, things keep moving according to the formula that made the brand such a success in the first place: a mix of clean, modern lines, slim fits, and technological innovation. Expect more sharp wool blazers, versatile cotton overcoats, and perfectly fitted sweaters — the kind the fans keep reaching for.

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