Napoleon’s Tailor, Iconic Clothier for Short Men, to Close Chicago Store

Napoleon’s Tailor, a Milwaukee-based clothier with a national reputation for catering exclusively to men who are five-foot-eight and shorter, will close its Chicago location with a going-out-of-business sale that begins next week, its owner said today.

“It’s a tough decision. It’s not one I made lightly,” Gary Anders said.

Anders cited several industry trends and the prolonged economic slump as reasons for the decision to close the store that has been featured on the front page of the Wall Street Journal, on the CBS national news and by Reuters news service. He emphasized that Napoleon’s Tailor in Milwaukee will remain open.

“We’re one of only four clothiers in the entire United States to serve shorter men even though 30 percent of men are five-foot-eight or under. There should be far more stores of like Napoleon’s Tailor but fashion habits and the clothing industry’s move overseas have worked against us as time has passed,” Anders explained. “The men’s clothing industry has been shrinking ever since Levi’s introduced casual Fridays. Unfortunately, it’s gotten to the point where many men think they’re dressing up when they wear khakis and a polo shirt.”

He added that moving apparel production off-shore has had serious consequences for specialty stores like Napoleon’s Tailor.

“Fifteen years ago when I entered the business, there were many apparel makers in the United States and Canada. They were willing to make production runs to meet our needs because they had excess capacity and they were geared to smaller production cycles,” Anders said. “Today, when we’re talking to factories in China, Pakistan, India or other places, they’re geared to very high volume. We simply don’t do that volume and so we can’t get items in the quality and variety that we require. So, we’re being squeezed from both the supply and demand sides.”

Anders said he hopes some Chicago-area customers will become patrons of his Milwaukee store or shop online via its website,

Anders said the store will host a sale for long-time customers on Oct. 14 before the sale for the general public begins on Oct. 15. Store hours will be expanded to 9 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. weekdays, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Saturdays and noon to 5:00 p.m. Sundays. The store will only remain open until its inventory is sold out.

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