Derek at Put This On has done a wonderful piece on the history of Brooks Brothers’ oxford cloth buttondown:
Not to be wistful about days gone by, but there is something uniquely special about these “Golden Era” oxfords. Their particular proportions and collar constructions seem to give them an enviable roll – something like two angel wings – when the collar points are secured. They were particularly comfortable and carefree, but still allowed the wearer to look educated, well-mannered, and professional.
Check it out here. — CC
Glad you saw this, was gonna send you a link to it. What a well done piece! All ocbd fans should read!
As iconic a garment as any in American history. Personally, the BB button downs made in Sea Island cotton poplin I purchased at the Atlanta, GA Five Points store back in the early to mid-80s were the best shirts I ever owned. I wish BB still made them. I think they were a special item, because I never saw them offered again.
After years of blind adherence to the gospel of unlined collars and must-iron OCBDS, I gave Brooks Brothers must-iron OCBDS a try and understood immediately why the vast majority of their customers prefer them. The lack of a lining in the collar was a manufacturing defect that we mistakenly believed to be a virtue, just as we believed that the rumpled look was something worth preserving.
Clothes are supposed to wrinkle, not just OCBDs. I enjoyed that piece by Derek.
Down with neatniks!
A good piece.
I thought (and still think) the Kamakura shirt trumps anything Brooks has offered in decades. It’s an impressive creation. Or innovation.
The Ben Silver Beefy Oxford (R.I.P.) was very, well, Heyday. The soft, liberty bell roll. The collar was unlined and there was plenty of space between the buttons. It looked great with a Heyday dimensioned jackets and ties because the collar length was 3 1/4″ unbuttoned. It was exceptional.
It is true that when the collar is too long, the soft, liberty bell shaped roll dissolves into something positively slipshod. There’s no discernible roll to those longer, unlined collars.
A ludıcrously exaggerated parody of a proper buttondown collar:
Just finished applying a layer of heavy spray starch to my non-iron BB OCBD.
Extremism in the defense of neatness is no vice.
And let me remind you also that moderation in the pursuit of neatness is no virtue.
The Kamakura cloth is lacking, to be sure. And I might prefer a thicker (pearl) button.
Still, in terms of the collar and fit, it’s very close to the older Troy Snirtmakers Guild shirts.
The classic, liberty bell roll is achieved not by adding length to the collar. The button placement, collar shape, and tie space are all part of the recipe.
I own a dozen of these BB’s OCBD’s and can’t say enough about their quality. They are going on six years old and show very little wear.