The impact casual office attire has had on the men's apparel business isn't lost on James Leddy.
Mr. Leddy, 51, has lead the effort to expand the market for the elegant Bobby Jones golf clothing beyond the fairway as VP-sales and marketing for Bobby Jones, the sportswear division of Hartmarx Corp.'s Hickey-Freeman Co.
"We present Bobby Jones as a lifestyle. You don't just wear it for golf," says Mr. Leddy, who joined the company in his current post in 1997.
To tap into the audience who like the golf look for work or for relaxing on the weekend-as a third wardrobe, as Mr. Leddy calls it-Bobby Jones added a collection last year called Players.
Slightly lower priced than the Bobby Jones Collection, Players is more durable for daily wear.
"It is perfect for the customer who likes Bobby Jones, but doesn't want to sweat it up on the course," says Mr. Leddy.
Although the nation's 26 million golfers spend more than $800 million yearly on golf attire, the increase in golf clothing as casual attire has helped turn golf apparel into a year-round business.
The efforts to widen the occasions for wearing Bobby Jones have helped Hartmarx post annual sales increases of 20% to 30% for the brand, which has estimated wholesale sales exceeding $35 million.
Bobby Jones golf attire is sold at tony department stores such as Saks Fifth Avenue and Bergdorf Goodman, as well as top golf clubs and resorts.
The company opened its first free-standing store, a leased operation, in Beverly Hills. Mr. Leddy says that at least one more store is planned before the end of 1999.
In addition to sponsoring a pro/amateur golf event, the Bobby Jones Saturday Series, the company participates in retailer shows.
Advertising, handled in-house, is primarily running in upscale golf magazines, although Mr. Leddy says he plans to add The New York Times Sunday Magazine this