New Old School: Introducing Concord Button Downs


Last summer saw the launch of a new US-made shirt company out of Massachusetts called Concord Button Downs. The line began with plaids, but has since focused on oxford cloth in both solids and stripes, including pink.

“Our shirts attempt to replicate the OCBDs many men wore in the ’50s and ’60s,” says founder Daniel Castelline. “We’ve added old-school features such as untreated oxford cloth, no interlining, no fusing, elongated collar points, etc. It has become increasingly difficult for men to find this sort of shirt as large stores are moving to non-irons.”

The shirts are made in Fall River by New England Shirt Company, are priced at $128, and are currently only available in alpha sizing of medium through extra-large, though custom sizing is available for a $15 surcharge. “For the cut we’ve stuck with a traditional build,” says Castelline, “since a classic OCBD with a slim fit just didn’t feel right. However, we extracted excess fabric in the waist and hip to avoid blousing and billowing.”

The collars are 3.25 inches, Castelline says, and roll nicely without a tie, but only moderately when worn with a tie. They are sewn on by hand, however, and so can be replaced when frayed, he adds.

“Also, we dropped the second button on the placket a few centimeters to create a more relaxed appearance when not sporting a neck tie. This is one of my favorite features of the shirt as I find the button placement on most shirts to be quite rigid.”

More info on Concord Button Downs’ manufacturing process can be found on this page. — c C m

38 Comments on "New Old School: Introducing Concord Button Downs"

  1. I have been wanting to give their pink university stripe a try for a while. I think that the collars are unlined as well as having a roll worthy length. That is a double threat. Anyone tried one?

  2. Gornergrat | June 26, 2013 at 2:27 pm |

    Can’t imagine the world needs yet another re-imagined OCBD. And the effort it must take to conjure up product names evocative of some imagined time and place. It’s all so boring.

  3. You lost me at alpha sized…….

  4. A. E. W. Mason | June 26, 2013 at 3:09 pm |

    The stated features are all desirable except for one. I note the statement that the collars roll only moderately when worn with a tie. The new J. Press butcher stripe shirts I purchased last summer in the newly offered colors of red and purple have virtually no collar roll. I wonder if New England Shirt Company made them. Its website says its shirts are found at J. Press. Anyone know?

  5. The wide price range that exists for shirts all made by the same New England Shirt Co. (and then branded out to dozens of retailers like this one) is something remarkable….

    The world doesn’t need another $130.00+ oxford shirt. Really, we don’t. I wish them luck, but it’s a saturated market and an odd place to try and make a buck….

  6. $130 OCBD shirts sized S,M,L,XL? WTF!

  7. It’s going to be a tough road, but I wish them well. BB Made in the USA OCBD could be had 3 on sale for almost the price of one. Plus one has Mercer, Hamilton, Gitman, JPress…

  8. DB McWeeberton | June 26, 2013 at 6:22 pm |

    I tend to be wary of a place that calls its shirts “shirting”. Made in the USA (especially New England) is nice, but I don’t see how M-XL sizes reproduce the “authentic” 50s and 60s shirt experience–they’re just very expensive sport shirts, then.

  9. Ernest A C | June 26, 2013 at 6:24 pm |

    There is no reason a shirt should cost that much. If the folks at BB had a clue, they could easily come up with a remake of their classic oxford shirt at a reasonable price. They would own the oxford shirt market and everybody would be happy. Why they don’t do it is beyond me.

  10. A. E. W. Mason | June 26, 2013 at 7:35 pm |

    I’d amend my last comment to say I don’t like the featured price. And I agree with what’s being said about market overload. I was in BB this weekend and the salesman showed me the OCBD’s being made for them by Garland; the collars are neither fused nor lined. That’s progress in my book. And I guess we can also add Troy Guild Shirtmakers to the list of existing makers.

    CC, here is an idea: How about a contest for mens style experts. It would be along the lines of a blind wine tasting contest. You would go out and buy a whole selection of OCBD’s from across the price spectrum; from Costco at $15.00 (don’t laugh, they’re actually not bad for that price) to Ben Silver at $235.00 for an OCBD (yep, that’s right). Take out all the labels and let the experts examine them and score them for a host of factors and then try to name the maker. I’d be interested to see whether price correlates with fabric, workmanship, cut, etc. Just an idea.

  11. AEW Mason,

    No way the current BB OCBDs made are Garland are unlined!

    Also, the current Troy Guild is one of the last IAG labels that you’d want to buy shirts from.

    Finally, Tinseth has already done an OCBD bake off. No need for another one at this time.

  12. Biff: Who won Tin Tin’s bake off?

  13. M Arthur,

    Mercer won.

    BTW, Bruce Boyer was one of the two judges.

  14. Jackson S | June 26, 2013 at 8:37 pm |

    These shirts I think are made in Massachusetts they are definitely made in the Us.

  15. A. E. W. Mason | June 26, 2013 at 8:41 pm |


    To echo Arthur: the Tin Tin winner was??

    As for BB: Well then, I’ll certainly return and challenge the fellow. So, more later on that.

    Re: Troy. I’ve owned only two. They were from J. Press and purchased maybe 4 or 5 years ago. They were alright; nothing wonderful. I was given to understand that the Troy Guild is not a continuation of the Troy Shirtmakers Guild of old but a company that purchased the name. O’Connell’s sells a whole collection of Troy Guild shirts. Why do you have such a poor opinion of them?

  16. AEW,

    Bake off winner noted above.

    As for BB, no need to challenge the SA. Perhaps they meant unfused (the Garlands are unfused but lined in the collars, front placket, and cuffs). Not a bad shirt but not as good, IMO, as the older unlined shirts. Simply a preference.

    As far as Troy Guild, they were once the benchmark. For instance, Chipp carried Gant for the lower priced shirt and Troy Guild for the premium shirt. I’m fairly certain that the O’Connell’s NOS Troy Guild’s are per-IAG acquisition but later productions that are not unlined. Thus, nice shirts but not the same shirt as the much revered productions.

    IAG’s primary lines for shirts are Gitman and Individualized. Both can do reasonable approximations of the old BB unlined shirts if you go to their MTM route. However, you’ll pay around $125 to $150 per shirt–and more if you choose a premium fabric. At that price, you could pick up a Mercer (probably get a better shirt) and have enough left over to pay for a cocktail or two.

  17. A.E.W. Mason | June 27, 2013 at 1:22 am |


    Thank you. Sounds as if you’re in the business yourself.

  18. Boston Bean | June 27, 2013 at 2:22 am |

    I assume that the second button has been lowered so that one can show off one’s gold neck chains. If they had raised that button, rather than lowering it, it would have produced a far more gentlemanly appearance when the top collar button was unbuttoned.

  19. Etymologue | June 27, 2013 at 2:30 am |

    This company seems to think that shirting means shirts, rather than fabric used for making shirts. I hope they’re more careful when making shirts than they are when using English.

  20. A little genre history. Welch Margetson of London made glorious shirts for J. Press barring the times of both world wars followed by a dribble from Gant after Marty Gant worked for Press a short time until in dribs and drabs until The Tyson Shirt Co filled the shelves. for decades. When Tyson bit the dust in the sixties, Troy Guild under the cocktailed direction of legendary Tom McGarrity filled took over the bulk with the Troy Shirt Guild. Post J. Press filled most of the shirt room when I headed Tripler in the early nineties.. Amen.

  21. Boston Bean,

    The lower second button is most likely an attempt to emulate the BB six button front. Nothing to do with a gentlemanly look either way.

  22. Any piece of clothing is a combination of tailoring and cloth. Simple.

    Paul Winston relays that the (older) Troy offered the best of both. Since the older Troy was relatively expensive, a safe hunch is the modern equivalent (off the shelf) would exceed $100 easily.

    It’s no great challenge to source a beefy Oxford cloth: Acorn Fabrics of England.

    Beyond that, there are the nuances of a well a tailored shirt and nobody agrees with everybody else about fit. Some like the Merceresque fullness; others don’t need or want quite so much.

    The roll: here again, the eye of the beholder. Some like the light, unlined devil-may-care roll that moves from liberty bell to serpentine wall in a matter of seconds, depending upon the wearer’s movements. Others like a wee bit of structure that maintains the liberty bell no matter what. The tie space and collar height figure into the physics. Kamakura has achieved it without exceeding the 3.5 ” collar length mark.

    I’ll venture a guess that the best of both worlds would be good English shirting (Acorn) cloth and the attention of a smaller tailoring shop. Like New England Shirt, for instance.

    Meanwhile, it seems another version of Troy has made an appearance.

  23. No shirt is worth the price of these Concord’s, especially for ones with only “sportshirt” sizings.
    So do you only buy two or maybe three shirts, due to the price, then wash and wear them them twice a week until they are worn out in six months?
    Wondering if some KY Jelly would take the pain of the pricetag away and if it is complimentary from the company, or a seperate cost?

  24. SE,

    Have you priced (I’m speaking of retail) a shirt made by New England Shirt with the Acorn oxford fabric? If so, you’d end up with a price at or above $175 per shirt. That’s a premium that few would be willing to pay.

  25. A.E.W. Mason | June 27, 2013 at 12:13 pm |

    SE, Biff,

    At you will see the basic white OCBD for $175. They call their shirts “shirtings” and the oxford is made of “fine Italian fabric.” I’d be interested in both of your comments on this? And I’m quite serious and interested (the best thing about this blog is learning). Assuming price is not a problem, is a shirt like this superior, say, to a Mercer shirt or a J. Press shirt? Is it worth it?

    And Biff, I’ve been studying IAG a bit since you enlightened me. Quite a company. I don’t see Troy on its website but I do see a lot of Gitman, Gitman Vintage, etc. But, again, why do you believe the current Troy is such a bad shirt?

    Thanks gentlemen; I look forward to your responses.

  26. AEW,

    Ben Silver is a quality outfit. At that price, you’re paying more for the fabric. My preference is that an oxford shirt not have too fine of a fabric as I view the OCBD as casual–though still appropriate with a suit. Thus, I’m not interested in those Ben Silver shirts but, again, that’s just my preference.

    As far as the current Troy Guild product, the only aspect in common with the old revered shirts is the Troy Guild name. They are not bad shirts, per se, but there’s nothing there that would cause me to buy one.

  27. I have a Ben Silver small checked OCBD that I picked up on eBay for around $30. It is indeed a high quality shirt and has the most perfect collar roll I’ve ever seen. However, I would never dream of paying any where close to the MSRP of $225.

  28. Where to begin?

    First, my own experience.

    Correct me if I am wrong, but I think the Acorn 50’s (2 by 1, I think) Oxford cloth is around $13.50 per meter. Thick yarns. If between two and two and half maters of cloth works for a shirt, then we’re talking about $30 of cloth per shirt.

    Now, onto tailors.

    I am lucky and grateful to work with tailors who can make shirts. They’re happy to use the cloth I source.

    As doe the reappearance of Troy, maybe somebody can do some research, including who presently owns the Trademark.

    Is this the IAG Troy with a new Troy label? (the old one was white)

    Concifer this a scoop, Christian.

  29. Sorry bout the type-o’s. I’d’ve edited, but, well, we can’t.

  30. By the way, Biff, I can’t say with certainty how much various retailers ‘mark up’. My guess is the cost (wholesale) of a decent American factory made Oxford is little more than $60.

  31. Blue Oxford:

    “The resurrection of an American classic.”

  32. A. E. W. Mason | June 27, 2013 at 4:19 pm |

    S.E. and Biff,

    Many thanks to you both. That is all very interesting. It’s great that we have participants who know the nuts and bolts of making these clothes.

  33. Mr. Mason,
    A pleasure to actually be discussing clothing!
    Many thanks to Squeeze for sharing his insights.

  34. To Mr Squeeze: what can you tell us about Sero Shirts & Seymour Shapiro and Marty & Elliot Gant?

  35. A. E. W. Mason | June 27, 2013 at 7:27 pm |


    I agree. Before yesterday I was unaware of Individualized Apparel Group (IAG) until Biff mentioned the company. It was interesting to learn it owns Oxxford, Corbin, H. Freeman and Gitman, among other brands as well. (But I didn’t see Troy Guild on the company’s website.)

    And I join in your thanks to Squeeze.

  36. The sheer arrogance in the statement “a classic OCBD with a slim fit just didn’t feel right.” is remarkable. They can promise all the tapering and trimming in the world, but alpha sizes guarantee that a guy who is 5’9″ and 165 is out in the cold.

    Then again, I’m not going to pay that much for an OCBD in the first place, no matter how much Muffy and KJP argue that it’s worthwhile.

  37. I wouldn’t pay 1/3 of the prices asked for those OCBDs if the sizes were not by collar and sleeve length atmo.

    Small, Medium , Large, etc? WTF!

  38. Now that good cloth is readily available (many weavers/mills will sell directly), one might argue that things have never been better within the realm of ‘custom Ivy.’ Provided you have the right tailor (there are many in the NYC area) and know the good cloth sources.

    An OCBD falls under the category of an item that, once done right, can be maintained with care for decades without need of replacement, or much repair, for that matter. Hand wash and hang dry (after a while in the dryer) and they’ll last forever. Avoid chemicals.

    David Mercer is right. Invest. Those five oxfords hanging in your closet will mean more to you than the multitudes of cheaply made shirts hanging in most closets.

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