Update: Kamakura has just edited and uploaded a longer version of its interview with me:
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Kamakura Shirts took a big risk when it opened a shop on Madison Avenue in the heart of Midtown Manhattan. After all, no one had ever heard of them. But it was the dream of owner Yoshio Sadasue, who was one of the early pioneers of Ivy in Japan. Now Kamakura is celebrating its seven-year anniversary with a party later this month and a new promo video. Shot on a hot summer day (hence my going sans cravat), there are a few remarks by myself.
Congratulations, Kamakura. May you have many more years, and may there always be smart and prudent men who value quality at a fair price. — CHRISTIAN CHENSVOLD
Excellent, but is there a subtitled version, for all us peasants who cannot speak Japanese?
Yes, I believe they are cutting another version and will keep us posted.
Very nice. I have visited the NY store and the quality looks terrific. Unfortunately, I am unable to find the appropriate fit among their offerings, but for those who can find their size it looks like a great option.
Christian – You may have a TV career ahead of you. May I recommend the Ivy Style Club Tie for future appearances? http://www.ivy-style.com/limited-time-offer-introducing-the-ivy-style-club-tie.html
Just FYI…Kamakura downtown is closed
I’ve been looking at their shirts for a while. Like Charlottesville, I had a hard time finding the right fit when I tried them on a few years ago, but I think I might give them another try. With prices going up at every other retailer who sells the kinds of shirts people who frequent this site are looking for, Kamakura’s $89 Oxford is an increasingly good deal.
Add my name to the list of those who’ve been hoping – in vain, it seems – to find a Kamakura shirt in my size. I guess nobody is a 16/34 in Japan.
Also, psst – CC: the title of this post needs a little tweak.
Good lord, I had a typo in the headline? That’s the gravest sin. Thanks, Paul.
I can and will blame such slips for the next several months on relocation upheaval.
They closed the downtown store? That’s too bad and thanks for clarification.
16/34 shouldn’t be hard to fit. Call and mention Ivy Style!
Charlottesville, surely you jest, though I may dabble in video interviews/reporting with Trad Man.
I have not visited the NYC store but it looks so much more put together than the Ginza “store” in Tokyo. The Ginza store is not really a store, it is two walls at opposite 90 degree angels to one another. It was so hard to wrap my head around what they say they are and how the Ginza store appeared…I was expecting an honest to goodness haberdashery. But then again it is mostly about shirts.
BTW, BEAMS is an awesome Ginza store just around the corner from Kamakura.
BBTW, Kamakura does run smallish.
Somebody should tell Mr. Morris how bad he looks in lavender shirts with extreme spread collars.
I couldn’t believe how badly dressed the two American guys at the end were.
Pleased to see Christian in a white OCBD.
More guys should try this…rather than college boy blue.
The next step up the ladder would be broadcloth, rather than Oxford cloth.
Might I suggest that pinpoint Oxford cloth is a nice compromise between full-fledged Oxford cloth and broadcloth.
Graham Marsh’s collars (2:49) look awfully long to me.
Paul — If you have luck finding 16/34 at Kamakura, let me know. I also think they run a little snug but not prohibitively so (like a BB Regent rather than Madison, which is the fit I prefer). I’m not skinny, but my BMI is in the normal range. I feel sorry for any poor guys out there who tend toward avoirdupois.
Brooks Brothers hasn’t forgotten those who tend toward avoirdupois. Their “Traditional” (relaxed) fit is roomier than Madison. This used to be the only fit that BB produced and is still preferred by many.
Thanks, Chris. I well remember the huge traditional BB shirts from the 80s. I would fold and tuck them to get a relatively smooth front under my jackets and some people had them tapered by the alterations guys for a few extra dollars. Eventually, I had some shirts made to measure by Tom Davis at the 44th and Madison store who gave me the more fitted style I favored 20 years and a few pounds ago.
I still have a few of those wide waist shirts from the 80s and 90s and in fact I wore one this weekend, but am happier with something like the Madison fit. Ratio Clothing is a good mail-order source that will let you plug in pretty much any measurements you wish, and the OCBD is priced a tad under $100. Michael Spencer offers a larger fit as well. The J. Press shirt I am wearing today is good for me and I am guessing it is similar to the Madison fit. I have not tried Mercer and so don’t know the sizing options, but many of our fellow commenters consider them the gold standard.
My problem is finding shirts long enough. I have the BB regent fit. It is too short and fight to keep it tucked even with higher rise pants. Anyone know if BB madison or traditional cut is longer than the regent ?
@CC: I have to agree with Charlottesville. You are very photogenic, articulate and dapper (even in a white button down.)
If I were you, I would explore making style videos on YouTube. There is no shortage of guys in America who could use some fashion advice.
Extremely kind of you, Mitchell, and it comes as quite a shock to me.
I will indeed consider video content going forward, but as stated above, not for clothes. I’d rather help men with more important matters.
Gurus providing “help” are a dime a dozen. This blog is unequalled in giving us enough contentment from dressing well. We have no need of dimestore mysticism or pop psychology.
“Dimestore mysticism” and “pop psychology” are your words, not mine.
I’m going to try Kamakura in a few weeks. I’m about a 16.5/35 in a Brooks Regent fit, so I’m assuming I’ll have to go MTM with Kamakura. Does anyone have any feedback about that?
Luckily for you, God has given you free will to do as you like.
I wear that same size in Brooks and I found the Kamakura 16.5/36.5 actually works wonderfully.
They always treated me with great respect during my visits to the store. I regularly forgot the club card (or whatever it’s called) they punched after purchases. I still wear my Kamakura navy-red tattersall and a candy/u-stripe oxford weekly.
I visited the Kamakura store on Madison Ave when they first opened. I did buy a shirt but it never fit right. I went back to see if they had a better fit option, and a young woman who was working there broke out the measuring tape. Yeah, I don’t think my body type exists in Japan. There are Japanese men with broad shoulders, but I don’t think they have arms as long as mine. I wear a 17×36 from J.Press. The closest equivalent from Kamakura was too short in the sleeves.
@Christian: Your comments about Japanese service were interesting. While the Japanese are the most polite, they prefer to shop with as little help from retail staff members as possible.
In Japan, it is possible to buy anything online or from vending machines, including dress shirts. Japanese department stores even have robots that greet you when entering.
It was a pleasure indeed to hear Mr. Chensvold use the term “Trad”:
I don’t agree that these are forms that have been perfected decades ago and that the future will lie simply in freezing them in time. I suppose more so with shirts, but I have a closet full of traditional Brooks oxfords that I never go to over one of the more recent regent fits. In tailored clothing what is offered at Press and Andover and O’Connells in terms of tailored suitings are limited by the current manufacture of their suppliers, and close examination will reveal that a Press suit from the 60s-80s is quite different and less boxy and wide and overall superior to what Southwick now produces. The way forward is partly the way backward, and partly reliant on innovation, but it most definitely is not static in general–there are too many areas for improvement both from a technical and stylistic standpoint. Winthrop Brooks, the last president before the Garfinkels, makes the point: “And right here let me say a word about conservatism. It does not mean, as so many believe or affect to believe, a stubborn refusal to discard what is old and outworn, nor an old fogeyish prejudice against innovations of any kind. It really means a determination to retain what has been tried and proven to be good, and to refrain from the exploitation, simply because it is new, of what is essentially cheap and silly.” Contemporary Brooks took the latter course to maximize profits; like Tiffany, they found they could make the most money by catering to the least common denominator. It is now probably hopelessly lost. But the old Brooks was never static; it was always innovating conservatively and with taste.
^I suppose I would add the caveat that Brooks ‘own make’ suits of a few years ago that they’ve apparently now stopped making were markedly superior to most of what else is on offer there and everywhere and much more like the older suits–softer and a more natural shoulder and less boxy.