The Andover Shop WOCBD – a tailor’s Oxford

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:

Made in New England

… 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.

First, always, the roll. It was pitch perfect, both shirts. One thing I did notice right off the bat was that the yoke of the Andover is substantial compared to others. Yokes are there to help with both shape and wearability, and you do see and feel it.

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.

 

See? Framed perfectly. And I am telling you, the collar stayed that way all day.

 

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.

That space we were just talking about? Perfect here. I wear a lot of bow ties. When the neck doesn’t give you room to work, it chokes your knot, which sends your tie in all manner of direction. There are already enough spinning bow ties in the world. Here though, all good.

 

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.

Perfect length for the beach with Jackie.

Here, same day:

That roll is so consistent.

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.

 

JB

 

 

 

14 Comments on "The Andover Shop WOCBD – a tailor’s Oxford"

  1. Nice. The extra tie space is noticeable. Is it preferable over the others? I don’t know.
    That light blue tie looks great in the springtime sun.

  2. Evan Everhart | April 14, 2022 at 11:09 am | Reply

    Impressive! I know what my next shirt will be, but probably in their blue and white university stripe. My old Brooks primary is slipping into sport coat only territory, sadly. I presume these are must iron, of course…. Talk soon.

    Hey buddy! Yes, must iron. Talk soon! – JB

  3. Marc Chevalier | April 14, 2022 at 11:46 am | Reply

    @Hardbopper The extra tie space is what makes the collar have a better roll when a tie is worn. Without that space, the collar’s roll is far less pronounced with a tie.

  4. Details? Mitered yoke, box pleat width, locker loop, sleeve placket button or no, double row stitched cuffs, cuff shape, collar point length? Just jee whiz! There’s little info on web site and only blue and white solids available? I’m glad I still have several old OCBD classics, including vintage LE Hyde Parks that out-detail my BBs and other supposed high end brands.

  5. Great-looking shirt. Helpful photos. It’s also nice to see The Andover Shop is alive and well. As an aside: Not sure if that’s an oversight but it’s possible you meant to say the shirt was taken to the cleaners to get laundered (and starched). I’ve never heard of getting shirts dry cleaned.

  6. Marc Chevalier | April 14, 2022 at 1:04 pm | Reply

    @Ignatius Shirts can and do get dry cleaned. It’s not all that unusual anymore.

  7. Cotton shirts getting dry cleaned is defintely “a thing” but so are non-iron finishes. it’s not really the preferred way of washing these shirts, nor is it environmentally friendly (even with supposed “eco-friendly” cleanings). The traditional way to launder these shirts is the old-fashioned way, with water and a bit of detergent. I’m not at all sure why dry cleaning would be preferable for the stated reasons as “the vagaries of our own laundering” could also apply to dry cleaning done on different days, locations, formulas, etc. Don’t get me wrong, it’s totally fine if people want to dry clean their shirts but it’s not in any way preferable as far as I can tell.

  8. Same goes for starch, I guess, though that is perhaps more debatable. While wearing an artifically stiffened shirt might be preferable to some, it shortens the life of the garment. It seems to me that a proper review of a shirt would err on the side of its “natural” state but there is also nothing wrong with it per se. Just seems like an odd choice for “default care” outside of personal preference.

    It’s not default care. I just wanted as fair an apples to apples comparison as I could get. And I wanted to present the shirts in photographs in the best possible way. – JB

  9. This was a very useful review, and I am now torn between Press and Andover for my next Oxford purchase. The only solution is to buy both. Damn you.

    After you finish the OCBD’s, perhaps you could try out pinpoints and/or bengal- (bold-, butcher-, candy-, etc.) striped broadcloths, which will be cooler in the coming hot weather.

  10. This shirt is made (manufactured) by New England Shirt Co.

    http://www.newenglandshirtco.com

    Trivia: They made shirts (MTM) Ralph Lauren’s Rugby line.

    More trivia: They make shirts for J. Press

  11. How is the fit? I assume you try the same size in each – how does it compare to the J Press? It appears a little more tailored/less baggy in the pics.

    The cloth in the pics appears to have a richer finish. I don’t want to say shiny because that is a bad word, but maybe a bit more lustrous? Or is that just the lighting in the pics?

    Having stocked up on BB during sales (usually in the $50-70 range) when they still had neck/sleeve sizing, I am now free to experiment with one or two shirts at a time at a higher price point.

    Thanks in advance for any insight, and keep up the good work.

  12. When you’ve covered all the shirts, could you please tabulate the results based on the various qualities? That would be super.

  13. I always buy my OCBDs slightly oversized, was them hot, dry them hot, and never think about shrinkage affecting fit again.

  14. Can we please have accompanying pictures that highlight the actual shirt? These headshots are unneccessary, distracting and rather vain.

    If you knew how much I hate taking pictures of myself, you would be laughing at your note. But I tell you what, I will hire a model with the subscription you pay. – JB

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