The Andover WOCBD is what would happen if a 70 year old master tailor took four years off and went to Columbia in the 50’s, came home and said, “I can do that.”
The shirt belongs in your rotation, for sure. At $145 it is in the same conversation as Press and Mercer in terms of price and quality, but there are very noticeable differences to both the wearer and the viewer. You can see the shirt on the site and buy it here.
Before that, I learned a trick. If you remember, we dry cleaned all the shirts so that they would not be subject to the vagaries of our own laundering. And we got two to make sure there was consistency and to allow for a one off problem. So the dry cleaner did the shirts, and Andover has these great tags in them that say… well, here:
… and the 17 1/2 (4) tag was flipped up. I felt it, so I put on the other shirt, it was perfect. It was just the way the dry cleaner sent it out. BUT. If that happens to you, put a band aid over it. It worked really well.
Here’s what it looks like unbuttoned.
Another difference is the real estate that the Andover WOCBD gives your tie knot. Here:
The collar is lined, and has perhaps the best line at the collar fold, not too sharp. And look at the top of the knot. There is just an extra scooch (technical jargon, don’t worry if it confuses you, I am a professional) of room there for the knot. If you are like me at get precise with how you tie your tie, this is a great little feature. And again, check out the roll. Shirts that are not as well made let the tie drag the whole collar down with it. This stayed up all day, exactly like this.
One of the things that I have spent a lot of time noticing doing these reviews is how the WOCBD treats a bow tie. I’ve never designed a shirt, but I would have to imagine that designers throw a tie on it just to see what happens, right? They should throw a bow tie on too. Because the bow tie line is horizontal, the collar spread is highlighted. If you don’t get it just right, and some don’t, the bow tie reveals your design flaw.
The shirring (those mini pleats) at the cuff are spaced perfectly too, so you do not feel like a musketeer. Room everywhere, the shirt is super comfortable. The buttons, it was noticed but not by me, have a higher sheen to them than others, you can kind of pick that up in the pictures. The stitching is also slightly less visible here than some of the other shirts, that is a plus for some and a minus for others. The edges are on par with Mercer and Press, too.
And if this is a plus for you, made in New England for 70 years. There is something to that experience. There is an Old Yankee element, but Andover (which has a MTM business as well) focuses on the tailoring, and isn’t afraid to flaunt it. You ever sit in an old beater car, and it looks classic enough but you can feel the struts groaning, then you get in a better made car that is just as classic but that doesn’t yield to your weight, and you say, “this is well made”? That’s the Andover WOCBD.
Here, same day:
Another note, while you are buying a few for your rotation, and you should, tool around the Ladies’ section of their site. Andover does tremendous work there, as well.