Of  OCBD’s and a Conspiracy Theory

Editor’s Note: It is Mr. Grant’s week here and we are grateful. The cover image is a small puzzle, it’ll be solved in a second here by someone bright.

          It would be my guess that 5% of the visitors to this website have never heard of an OCBD. They probably stumbled onto Ivy Style, thinking it is a gardening blog that might offer some hints on how to start an ivy ground cover. The other 95%, of course, are aficionados of traditional dress and know that OCBD stands for an Oxford cloth, button-down-collar shirt.

          I define an OCBD as a gentleman’s shirt made of 100% cotton Oxford cloth. It has a three to three-and-one-quarter inch (3.00–3.25”) button-down collar that arches slightly when buttoned. The shirt is cut full in the traditional style (not tapered) and has long tails, front and back. The length of the tails extend about 8-9” below the waist or almost to the bottom of a gentleman’s boxer shorts. The shirt has a placate down the front with white buttons and barrel cuffs with a single white button. The OCBD also features a left breast pocket and a box pleat on the back, just below the shoulders. That is the style I bought 62 years ago, and it is the same shirt I prefer today. Just to clarify, this is my definition of an OCBD. It might not be yours.


As a rule, I do not fall for conspiracy theories. I never bought into the speculation about the grassy knoll at Dealey Plaza in Dallas. Nor did I even remotely consider David Ray Griffin’s crackpot notion that the 9/11 attacks were perpetrated by the U.S. government. And I certainly did not fall for all that wacko QAnon bovine scatology. I just do not buy into conspiracy theories, nor do I promulgate them. But something is going on with OCBD’s. And there is mischief afoot! 

          I have noticed recently that some alleged OCBD’s have collars that are only two and seven-eighths inch at the point (2.875”) or less. Some shirts are tapered or “trim fit” – as if there is some particular advantage to looking like Pee-wee Herman. And the nice long tails, front and back, have mysteriously gone missing, disappeared, vanished – without a trace. This stratagem, of course, increases the shirt-maker’s cloth yield, while altering the time-honored specifications of the OCBD. 

Am I the only person who has noticed this revamping of one of the pillars of traditional dress? Surely not. I would be interested if any readers have an opinion or comment on this conspiracy. 

The vanishing shirt tails described above substantiates one of the immutable laws detailed in The Principles of Economics 101, i.e., the Candy Bar Effect. To wit: The candy maker does not raise the price of his chocolate bars, he just makes them smaller. But does he reduce the selling price commensurate to the savings he has realized? Of course not! The windfall just reduces his manufacturing cost and filters down to his bottom line. The candy man is obviously unaware that economists and other practitioners of the dismal science are wise to his chicanery.

Just out of curiosity, I decided to conduct a little product research. I went to the website of Turnbull & Asser, a British shirtmaker of international repute. The firm just happens to possess a royal warrant as a purveyor of shirts of to His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales, who coincidentally just recently got a promotion. To my utter amazement, T & A (no pun intended) has also whacked the tails off their shirts. And yet, they still have the temerity to charge $400-$530 (US) for them.

And how about this? I recently discovered that some manufacturers and retailers – not mentioning any names – sell shirts made of a blend of cotton and recycled polyester. Please do not get me wrong, I am a big supporter of sustainability and protecting our environment, but really, does anyone want a shirt made of recycled polyester? Or even virgin polyester for that matter! 

My mother – bless her heart – once gave me a shirt for Christmas. When I opened the gift-box, the shirt appeared to be your basic blue OCBD, and it was the correct size. Shortly after the holidays, I wore that shirt to work. Almost immediately, I noticed that I was warmer than usual and wondered if I might have a fever. When I got home that evening, I looked inside the shirt’s collar. There was a label that looked something like this. 

White 50% Cotton 50% Polyester Woven Clothing Sewing Garment Care Label Tags

          On November 11, 1961, I purchased my first OCBD at Bill King Clothiers in Bristol, Virginia. The reason I know the precise date is that my father took me to the Tennessee-North Carolina football game in Chapel Hill the previous Saturday. On that trip, I made mental notes on how the UNC fraternity boys dressed. Most of the young men wore what I call a ‘Carolina blue’ OCBD. So, I decided then and there that I would purchase a blue Gant shirt on my next trip to Bill King Clothiers in Bristol. The following Saturday, I did just that. I remember it as if it were yesterday. The shirts were displayed on one wall, arranged by size. I found the 15½ X 34’s and picked out my blue shirt. It was folded in the usual way in a clear plastic bag. I think Gant was the only brand the store carried. The price of the shirt was $5.95. (My father would have been appalled. I think his Arrow shirts cost about $3.95.)

          When I got home from Bristol, I took my new Gant shirt out of the bag, removed all the pins, the cardboard, the wrapping paper, and tried it on. I can still remember the feel and smell of that new shirt. It was another milestone in my metamorphosis to the Southern Collegiate Style.

          And now the rest of the story: Twelve years later, having just graduated from the University of Tennessee, after four years in the U.S. Air Force, I was an assistant furniture buyer at Macy’s in Atlanta. My boss and I were having lunch with a manufacturer’s representative in a nice restaurant in downtown Atlanta. I looked across the room and saw Bill King, the former owner of Bill King Clothiers, sitting with some business associates. When he got up to leave, I excused myself and approached Mr. King in the lobby. As I recall, he was wearing a grey herringbone suit – almost certainly Southwick – and an OCBD with a striped tie. I told him who I was and that I had purchased clothing from his store in Bristol. Mr. King said that he closed his store when the market for proper traditional clothing declined in the early 1970’s.   

He thanked me for remembering him and for my custom when his store was flourishing. I told him how much I appreciated the assistance he gave to a gangly, self-conscious high school boy with not much money, who was trying to learn about clothing and style. He looked up at me and I thought he was going to get emotional, but he said something like, “I just enjoyed helping people make purchases that would enhance their lives and elevate their spirits.” After that encounter, I never saw Bill King again.

William Edward “Bill” King (1927-2007) served in the U.S. Navy and attended Davidson College, near Charlotte, and Washington & Lee University in Lexington, Virginia. 

Bill King Clothiers carried many of the ‘collegiate’ brands that were popular during the 1960’s – Bass Weejuns, Southwick, Cox-Moore, London Fog, and Gant. The store always had a great selection of suits, blazers, sport coats, and trousers – khakis, white ducks, seersuckers, and dressier flannels. The ties were impeccably chosen and well displayed. 

After the store closed, Bill King co-founded Charter Data Systems, a venture which utilized computer technology in retail management and consulting. And I am sure his impeccable taste and sense of style served him well as he and his wife imported English antique furniture and accessories for Ruth King Antiques. 

Bill King was a great salesman and a consummate gentleman, and I purchased my first OCBD from him 62 years ago. 

James H. Grant 

66 Comments on "Of  OCBD’s and a Conspiracy Theory"

  1. James H Grant | January 25, 2023 at 9:13 am |

    The circular building in the photograph is the Radcliffe Camera at Oxford University. The building was designed by James Gibbs and built 1737-49. It is part of the Oxford Library.

    • Keith Langford | January 26, 2023 at 12:10 am |

      For those who like such details:
      Camera means “room” in Latin.
      The building is referred to colloquially as “Rad Cam” or “The Camera”.

  2. I could be placated with a reference to an OCBD placket in the second paragraph! Autocorrect strikes again, I suspect.

    I purchased a (RTW) tuxedo shirt from Turnbull’s NY store in early December. Front and back tails were roughly the same as the one I was replacing after 18 years of faithful service, and had purchased in the same shop. Thing is, the new shirt fit much better as it is tapered. They still do stock traditional cut shirts if one wants a big and tall fit, or to wear a tarp.

  3. Charlottesville | January 25, 2023 at 11:05 am |

    Thank you for a delightful remembrance of a bygone Virginia retailer. Bill Kivlighan’s aptly named Men’s Store in Staunton, Virginia, along with Eljo’s in Charlottesville, played a similar role in my life a decade or two later before I moved on to Brooks and Press after graduation. The Staunton store is long gone, but Eljo’s is still open for business, even if Southwick is no longer around to make their MTM sack suits and sport coats.

    As for short collars and nearly tail-less shirts, I can only shake my head and urge one and all to head to J. Press, Mercer & Sons and the other few shirtmakers who maintain the old standards.

  4. Bill King carried Southwick (Grieco Bros), Gant, Alden, Pantherella, and Troy Guild, among. other makers. His taste was impeccable yet understated.

    While you’re portably correct that Mr. King’s herringbone suit was made by Southwick, he would be quick to share that Norman Hilton was preeminent among suit, “country jackets,” and blazer manufacturers. His son, William, has affirmed that Norman Hilton was, far and away, the best clothing they stocked and sold. This stands to reason, since Norman Hilton’s high, demanding standards remain the stuff of legend.

    Apropos this observation, his son (aforementioned) picked up the traditional clothing mantle– and carries it faithfully to this very day. The Kings were (are) a first-class family: generous, witty, dignified, cordial to a fault. And faithful to the institutions and culture of that (delightful) part of the South.

  5. * probably

  6. This is mildly heretical, but there’s a good case to be made for shorter (around 2 3/4″) OCBD collars– unlined and unfused. No pronounced “roll,” but, instead, what amounts to a gentle, slightly curved spread effect. I was sold after seeing pictures of a younger Kingman Brewster–his first few years as president of that university in New Haven. Suitable for narrow lapeled, narrow-necktie’d Ivy styling.

    Brooks Brothers made the “Clifford Collar” OCBD, “shorter points with no roll.” It measured around 2 1/4″ in length, “making it excellent for business wear” (original brochure copy). The original Brooks “polo collar” featured a 2.5-2 3/4″ collar.

    • Trevor Jones | January 26, 2023 at 11:08 am |

      This is most likely the model worn by Benjamin with his seersucker jacket in “The Graduate”. Eagle-eyed viewers will notice his collar is much shorter than those we associate with the Heyday.

      • Yes. Dustin Hoffman is 5’6”. I’m guessing a 38S in OTR terms. To S.E.’s point, it’s about classic proportions. A narrow tie and narrow lapels would take a smaller collar. I like the look of a tab collar, but I cannot pull it off. There is no way I can get a “regular” tie knot to work with a tab. I have 3” BDs and would prefer they were longer, and I would not be opposed to altering the button placement.

      • Dustin Hoffman’s wardrobe in that movie is about as close to the platonic Ivy ideal as it gets in my view. Not a single misstep. Very worth emulating.

  7. * “Clifford Collar” was introduced in the late 1940s.

    • Charlottesville | January 25, 2023 at 1:31 pm |

      Good point re the short Brooks Brothers’ Clifford button-down collar. I accidentally acquired one at some point in the 90s simply because I didn’t know that BB made more than one style of OCBD. I just grabbed it off the shelf, paid and left. I have no idea what happened to it, but it just never looked right to me and I assume it wound up in the Goodwill bag at some point.

  8. I read online that there were four collegiate shirt weaves, named after the most prestigious universities in the world: Oxford, Cambridge, Harvard, and Yale.

    The latter three menswear fabrics went the way of the Dodo.

  9. John Burton | January 25, 2023 at 1:19 pm |

    My theory on the shortening of shirt tails is less conspiracy but more sad. I think they were shortened to look better untucked.

  10. Thank you for the column James. I agree with your comment that the cut of many contemporary shirts reflects the seller’s practice of reducing material costs to increase margin. You can see the same thing happening with suits and pants as well. (shorter, tighter, lower rise, omission of cuffs and pleats) The irony is that you see this occurring at the higher end of men’s retail. By higher end, I mean above t-shirts, sweats, athletic gear, etc.

  11. Mac Mcconnell | January 25, 2023 at 2:10 pm |

    They don’t look better, but they do hide bellies and butt cracks. These guys should just buy trasteful camp shirts. 🙂

  12. Frederick J Johnson | January 25, 2023 at 2:58 pm |

    My favorite sport jacket is a brown hounds tooth weave, 3/2 roll, non pleated, natural shoulder, side vented, Norman Hilton model from the “old” NYC A&F thrifted years ago. I can remember when A&F stores first opened in the Malls and such jackets were still available along with solid and striped OCBD’s and some wonderful ties.

  13. Richard Gage, prominent architect, is known to sport the Clifford Collar OCBD. It looks pretty good but I do prefer the traditional length.

  14. Y’all are putting the best construction on this, because you are intelligent and business minded/fiscally responsible. I say it’s strictly a matter of the globalization of poor taste.

  15. Robert Rindler | January 25, 2023 at 5:25 pm |

    Excellent article
    I miss the specialty stores
    Thank the shirt gods we have Mercer shirts! Just like the J. Press & Brooks Bros shirts I wore in the 60s& 70s

  16. whiskeydent | January 25, 2023 at 5:28 pm |

    They derisively call our clothes “dad style.” I call theirs “daughter style.” Try it out on some smug punk in tight clothes. You will be pleased with the result.

    • G. Ellery Cobbold | January 29, 2023 at 11:55 am |

      Sadly, as men’s clothing has become shorter and closer-fitting, women’s clothing has, as well. Most of my female students look like they have been vacuum sealed into their clothes. I call it ‘the mail-order steak look.’

      I recently bought three Squeeze OCBDs. When I tried them on, I was pleasantly surprised to find them baggier than the ‘Baggier Is Better’ Mercer OCBD I wore to the shop. The collar points are longer, too, though it takes a bit of work to get the roll just right when you’re wearing a tie. Maybe that will improve over time.

  17. This post gave me a reason to mention a couple more wonderful all-cotton (i.e., ocbd) American-made shirtmakers that never made it past the 1990s: Sero and Norman. (The two makers were equals to Troy but superior to Gant and Pulitzer.) To me, all the lore of a Brooks Brothers ocbd was because of how well its cut, cotton and collar was unlike anything else.

  18. A very nice reminiscence. I would like to read more. Thank you.

  19. Though your OCBD includes a pocket, you don’t mention my biggest peeve -that more manufacturers are routinely dispensing with the traditional left breast pocket (on the candy bar principle?). I might not notice a .125″ shorter collar, but one’s shirt pocket is a practical utility, and you feel its lack. Another pet peeve: by the time I was in high school I had access to and could wear all of my father’s dresser-full of Brooks, Gitman, Gants – and I remember there were many more stripes in various inventive combinations. For some reason, clothiers now seem to think they should offer solids and stripes in a few traditional colors, but reserve their more inventive combinations for checks and tattersalls – patterns I won’t wear.

  20. JB,

    No conspiracy theory here, just common greed.

    Another term for the candy bar effect is “shrinkage”. Less fabric + lower labor costs (less sewing) = more profit.

    Or as Charlie Sheen put it in the movie “Wall Street”:

    “How much is enough, Gordon? How many yachts can you waterski behind?”

  21. Mr. Grant is correct about the collar length– around 3″. The collar points of the original “polo shirt” (OCBD) wouldn’t have been more than that. If the mythology (legend) is true, then the shirt that Mr. Brooks replicated– (the one famously worn by a polo player in England)– would have been a typical “English spread” of that era, around 2.5″-2.75.”

    The “roll” of the original polo shirt was not the exaggerated ‘S-shaped’ hill-and-valley roll that’s frequently exalted. The “roll” would have referred to the week, gentle knoll at the toward the very top of the collar (front), where it meets the band.

  22. * edit: wee (not ‘week’).

  23. I know it’s heresy, but I’m okay with some polyester in my shirts. I have shirts with polyester and it does a nice job keeping the wrinkles down. Today’s polyester threads are a lot softer than the ones used in the seventies and eighties. You really can’t tell the fiber content without looking at the tag. I have a dress shirt with 81% cotton and 19% polyester. Without having to iron, it gives me just a slight bit of rumple that looks great. I also have a linen-poly blend blazer that drapes beautifully. I don’t know how anyone can wear a 100% linen without looking completely wrinkled. I really hate the new wrinkle free all cotton shirts. The cotton is treated with some weird chemical that makes the fabric stiff and uncomfortable like the poly blends from the 70’s. I would take a modern cotton-poly blend over the wrinkle free all cotton shirts any day.

    • The Amazing Tom | January 26, 2023 at 5:29 pm |

      Uncle Ralph has released two new oxford fabrics. Both are performance. One is a cotton blend. The non-cotton is very comfortable. Looks really good. Another person in our practice just purchased one after he saw mine.
      I have not worn the cotton blend yet, but it looks good.
      Press has re-introduced blended fabrics for tailored clothing.

  24. Note JFK’s OCBD collar — this is the classic roll. Not the billowing, aggrandized that resembles a capital ‘S.’


  25. There is a scene in the original Odd Couple movie in which Walter Matthau wears a dress shirt with really long and deep tails. They don’t make ‘em like that anymore.

  26. Kenneth C Pollock | January 27, 2023 at 9:46 am |

    “I define an OCBD as a gentleman’s shirt made of 100% cotton Oxford cloth. It has a three to three-and-one-quarter inch (3.00–3.25”) button-down collar that arches slightly when buttoned.”

    WRONG. Far too short. Even 3 5/8 inches is an acceptable length for the collar. Even the standard Brooks BD collar length is 3 3/8 inches and many of its closest competitors are 3 1/2 inches.

  27. “Uncle Ralph has released two new oxford fabrics. Both are performance. One is a cotton blend. The non-cotton is very comfortable. Looks really good. Another person in our practice just purchased one after he saw mine.
    I have not worn the cotton blend yet, but it looks good.
    Press has re-introduced blended fabrics for tailored clothing.”

    Say more.

  28. Mac McConnell | January 27, 2023 at 6:04 pm |

    Poly and cotton don’t bond, the poly will peel with wear.

  29. Poly is great for sporting and outdoor endeavors. However, it should stay on the tennis court or fishing boat.

    Learn to iron. Look good. Be happy. If I can iron a shirt well, you can too. I am much more like Walter Matthau than Tony Randall.

    • For those who haven’t seen it: If you’ve never ironed a shirt, this essay from the May 1987 Lands’ End catalog may provide some tips. If, on the other hand, you’ve secretly enjoyed ironing’s small triumphs, you’ll discover in its author a kindred spirit.

      The Pleasure of Ironing a Fine Cotton Shirt.
      by Roy Earnshaw
      My wife is still asleep. I’ve exercised (quietly), showered, eaten breakfast. Now comes time for a familiar early morning ritual.

      I take a cotton dress shirt from the closet, a wrinkled cotton dress shirt, shrug it off its hanger, and drape it over the ironing board.

      Some men might smirk at the sight of me preparing to iron. “What? You iron your own shirts? John Wayne never would’ve!”

      Well, call me a pantywaist, but I happen to enjoy it.

      I plug in the iron, check the water level, turn the setting to — what else — cotton. Then pause for a few moments to let it get hot.

      The room where I iron is a barren one. No furniture, just the ironing board. A “room we haven’t figured out what to do with yet,” having just recently bought this house. I suppose one day it will fill up with things, but right now I like it this way. Its spartan aspect seems well suited to the art of ironing.

      I start with the left sleeve, first spritzing on water with a sprayer, then ironing it so flat, it almost looks as if I could pick it up and slice bread with it.

      I turn it over, do the other side, then the cuff. Then on to the other sleeve, while the ironed one dangles just above the dusty wood floor.

      (My wife tells me my technique is all wrong, but then so did my golf coach, my typing teacher, other authority figures. I take a perverse pleasure in doing things my own incorrect way.)

      Now the back yoke, and a couple swipes at the collar. The easy parts. And then I sweep the shirt up off the board and down again, with its back spread out flat before me.

      Sometimes I botch the back pleat, and have to do it two or three times. But no one is watching.

      The ironing board cover bothers me. It’s a cheap one, full of childish flowers in jarring hues. Orange. Chartreuse. Purple. The colors of fast food restaurants. I miss the plain white one my mother used to have, with its humble dignity and burn smudges.

      I press on. (No letters please — bad puns harm no one.) The cotton cloth is soft, sturdy in my fingers, and responsive to the iron. I swear, it enjoys being ironed! Almost seems to purr. It has a wonderful, tightly-woven texture to it, and glistens with the heat of the iron, and the soft light of the room.

      Again I sweep the shirt up off the board, and down again, to do the right front, skating in and out around the buttons, then the left, using plenty of water and going over the stubborn placket again and again, bearing down, until it finally yields and becomes flat, neat. I am finished.

      Now, the final pleasure of slipping into the toasty shirt. Especially keen now, in the February cool of the house. It almost crackles as I button it up, tuck it in.

      The finches in the back room start to peep as first light looks in the windows. Time for me to go. But I leave with a sense of contentment, knowing that whatever large debacles or small frustrations await me, I have at least done one small piece of good work today.

  30. MacMcConnell | January 28, 2023 at 12:12 pm |

    We had this conversation before. I know you know how and the correct sequence of ironing a shirt. My mother taught me in seventh grade back in 64 when I started aquiring lots of BDs. I press mine while watch the news or sporting events on TV.

    Cotton is king.

    • Also a great way to spend some time indoors if it’s cold and blustery outside.

    • Sorry I’m late to respond Mac. I remember the ironing convo too. Do I remember correctly that you’re a military brat like me? I wonder if the military’s demand for a sharp look made our moms great ironing teachers.

  31. That collar point must be longer than 3”. I do like the lazier? less accentuated roll. The collar is proportional to the lapels, which appear to be too wide for the period. At first glance the tie seems too narrow for the collar and lapels. At some point we become accustomed.

  32. JFK looked much, much better (sartorially) during the U.S. Senate years. He wore button downed oxfords (and yes, I’ll concede they were Brooksy 3 1/4” points), suits that featured 4” lapels, and fuller fitting pants. He, like most elegant, well-dressed men, took his cues from old(er) Brooks — and the Apparel Arts & Gentry look.

    If the pictures accurately reveal the evolution of his tastes, it was around 1961 that he opted for narrow(er) lapels and ties. Somebody talked him into those narrow forward point collars, even as everyone around him (Bobby, Kenny, Lem, Ted Sorensen, Teddy, Abraham Ribicoff, Myer Feldman, Walt Rostow, Bundy, Richard Goodwin) wore sack suits and button downed oxfords. Goodwin and Bobby were especially slouchy, whereas Ribicoff and Dillon, a liberal Republican, could have passed for Ivy-favoring British aristocrats.

  33. You always remember your first… mine was a $45 Brooks Brothers white OCBD. I bought two to wear with 3 shetland sweaters (one of which is still with me) circa 1992 when I was still in law school. According to the Department of Labor, such a shirt should sell for just under $100 today. Brooks charges nearly $200 for the real thing (a sport sized model is less expensive). Most of mine are Brooks or J. Press. I hope to add a Mercer for mostly sentimental reasons to the wardrobe at some point of whites, blues, pinks, yellow, university stripe in blue and pink and finally a dark blue tattersall.

  34. I hate to be the crank, but why does slim-fit and tapered-fit clothing get so much hate? Maybe you older guys and not so old guys with generous body proportions like wearing huge and roomy shirts, but as for me and my house, I like clothes to fit and flatter me. I don’t need or want something tight, but I definitely enjoy clothes that look tailored for my body, even if that means getting the tapered or slim-fit versions of shirts. I’m just saying. Just because it doesn’t work for you doesn’t mean you should completely discount and slander it.

    • If the shirt fits, wear it. The problem for me is that I have in the past, mistakenly interpreted “slim” to mean not so billowing in the waist, at the bellybutton. But what it really means is too narrow in the chest, shoulders, and sleeves. So, I “military tuck” the shirt and all is well, especially when wearing a coat/jacket. The alternatives are to go mtm, or take the shirt to a good alterations tailor for a mild nip and tuck job. It’s better to have more material to wok with than less.

    • James H Grant | January 31, 2023 at 4:08 pm |

      Tarik: Thanks for your comments. If you will read my definition of an OCBD, I state that it is my definition. It might not be yours. I prefer full fitting traditional shirts, but there are plenty of ‘trim fit’ shirts on the market from reputable shirt manufacturers. To each his own. Or, as the ancient Romans said, “De gustibus non est disputandum.”

    • Marcus Whittal | February 1, 2023 at 4:42 am |


      When in Rome, do as the Romans do.

    • Charles Dana | February 1, 2023 at 1:41 pm |

      Tarik, you’re on solid Ivy ground. Tapered shirts were a staple during the heyday of Ivy League style. In the 1960s, “tapered” OCBDs (and other types of shirts) were frequently marketed as an alternative to regular-fit shirts. Not tight, not skinny, but merely “tapered.” The adjective popped up often in advertisements of the day. One year, when my mom took me to Penney’s to get new clothes for the upcoming school year, I remember asking her what “tapered” meant, because I saw that word on signs in the shirt department. (I also remember when, in 1965, she bought me a “bleeding” Madras shirt. Also at Penney’s. I don’t recall if it was tapered.)

    • I’m with you, Tarik. As others have pointed out, there are plenty of tapered antecedents in the classic period. And aesthetically, one man’s shirt may be another man’s tent. But those short tails are truly a crime against all men of all body types!

    • Vic Hamilton | February 2, 2023 at 12:18 am |

      Ivy style isn’t just a matter of clothing, it’s a matter of propriety, and that excludes slim-fit and tapered-fit clothing.

    • Tarik,
      If we aren’t fans of tapered or slim-fit shirts, it’s not because we’re old guys with generous body proportions, it’s because we believe in tradition.

    • I’m with Tarik — I can’t wear slim fits anymore, but I do like things to fit and not blouse out too dramatically. When I put on and button a jacket over a full-cut shirt, it causes the shirt to rumple quite a lot at the chest in a way that just looks wrong to me. I can’t stand painted-on clothes, but I don’t look right wearing parachutes, either.

    • Tapered is good, tight is not. As I am somewhat “generously proportioned,” a little blousing provides me a tapered look.

  35. @Tarik,

    Good points and I was close to amending my above comments about JFK– especially after taking another look at the White House/Camelot years.

    “I like clothes to fit and flatter me.” Me too. When the best shirt maker (circling back) made OCBDs for stores’ stock, ** the fit was akin to the modern-day J. Press “trim fit.” Think Brooks Brothers “Regent” fit. Some taper(ing).

    So, yes– point well made and received.

    **Troy Shirtmakers Guild

  36. Mac Mcconnell | January 31, 2023 at 4:40 pm |

    Wear what you like, it’s your body and your style. I quit wearing Brooks standard BDs in college. As the body of the shirt increases with neck size and I developed a 18 inch neck playing college football. A Brooks shirt made me look like a Flying squirrel.

    I wear Gitman and O’Connell’s BDs, not tight, but not parachutes. In the ma1960s I don’t remember Sero, Sreighton or Gant having large bodies.

  37. PCBD just doesn’t sound right.
    Never has, never will.

  38. I don’t know much about BD shirts, or clothing in general. I never cared about ” clothes” – to me it was dealing with people that I enjoyed. People think I know more than I know. The difference in Chauncey Gardner and me is that I know how little I know.
    I thought what follows may be of interest to those who have contributed to this discussion.
    When I joined my father at Chipp in 1960 the oxford button down was the basic shirt we sold.
    It was made by Gant. Marty and Elliot Gant were close family friends. ( They attended my wedding and we were members of the same CC in New Haven.)
    My father told me that no one could “quite” do the oxford BD and get the Brooks roll.
    One day when my dad and Marty were sitting in my father’s office. I asked Marty why Gant couldn’t replicate the Brooks roll.
    He told me they had tried numerous times. They had taken Brooks BDs apart and traced each part but when they put it together it didn’d quite do it. When they put the pieces of the Brooks shirt they had taken apart back together, the roll was different.
    He said they couldn’t figure why it didn’t work.
    A mystery along with where lie the remains of Amelia Earhart and Judge Crater.

  39. We’re witnessing a shift (back) to/toward 1970s era dimensions, including wider lapels and ties, and pant bottoms. From hipster skinniness to hippie-ish voluminousness. Not unlike the shift from mid 1960s to early 1970s. It’s happening.

    • Yes. And as always, it’s a continuous bracketing of the target, but never finding the bullseye, and it is profitable. The masses have no concept of classicism, it’s proportions, it’s simplicity, it’s subtleties, complimentary mixing and matching of colors, patterns and textures, etc. It’s a reactionary rejection of the good which came before, a faddish and self-defeating defiance for the sake of defiance, a means of paying penance without doing the soul searching and the repentance, a cry for attention and relevance without doing the reading and thinking. It’s an expression of angst, and usually passes with time, but in extreme cases, without guidance, this can result in self mutilation, substance abuse, vandalism and other antisocial acts. There is nothing new under the sun.

    • I welcome the overdue departure from tight-fitting clothes. Pendulums can swing too far, though. Some friends have described the ’70s as The Decade That Taste Forgot. So long as polyester doesn’t return as a staple suiting fabric, we might be OK…

  40. G. Ellery Cobbold | February 5, 2023 at 8:22 pm |

    I grew up in the Deep South. Baggier is better down there because it helps you deal with the heat. Full-fitting khakis let your legs breathe. The same is true of full-fitting shirts. Wherever you live, if you’re a bigger guy or just run hot, you know why the traditional way is the right way.

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