Editor’s Note: All shirts were dry cleaned with light starch at an eco-friendly dry cleaner and delivered on a hanger, not folded. The same ties and suit will be worn across the board so that you can compare apples to apples. All images were, to my tremendous humility, posted without a filter so you can see what is.
I present the J. Press White Oxford Dress Shirt. The tasting notes: this is a dress shirt. It collaborates with a tie perfectly. There are shirts that, when engaging a tie, do not move. This shirt is as comfortable with the ties shown as open collar. More about how the J. Press Oxford is one of the crown jewels in a second, but first I have to tell you, this shirt wears as well as any shirt you will ever own. It reads distinction, it looks like you spent money, but what J. Press has done here is create an Oxford that carries itself with as much comfort as the pedigree it represents. I roll my sleeves up almost immediately at work, with this shirt I forgot to. There is no mistaking this shirt as department store, and there is no confusion about its intent. This is a dress shirt that demonstrates formality while the experience of it is informal.
Let’s skip to the end. The J. Press White OCBD (hereafter referred to as the “WOCBD”) was not always the first WOCBD you thought of. But I am looking at a pile of samples here, it is impossible to do a review without a relative comparison, and the J. Press WOCBD has ascended to the throne as it were. This may not be the only choice for everyone, but you cannot build a classic Ivy wardrobe for men without at least one.
The elephant in the room is of course the BB WOCBD. We are only comparing what you can buy new today. Of course, there were decades where the WOCBD ASSUMPTION was BB. But we know what happened. And we as a market have given Brooks a chance to respond, and we have reviewed them, and we have paid homage. It is time to move on.
From the Dalai Lama: Open your arms to change, but don’t let go of your values.
The collar roll. Here is the shirt unbuttoned without a tie, so you can see as pure a roll as possible:
So the collar roll is very much perfect. Very much. The shirt come in classic fit, meaning it suits adults who have had bread within the last week. The shirt isn’t listed as non-iron specifically, but the directions are to wash and iron if necessary. 100% cotton of course, but no non-iron sheen to it at all. The shirt FEELS IVY. It moves Ivy. The design of the shirt, you can feel the legacy. There are not ways to substitute this. Eyes have been laid on this shirt, eyes that have also seen the real Ivy League.
Here is the shirt with a tie, so that you can see the spread. I will use the same tie and same four-in-hand throughout the series so you can tell apples to apples. As you can see, the collar length frames the tie with the exact Ivy scale.
The buttons have a pearl finish and are smooth securely sewn. The button holes are also reinforced with stitching. Here is the shirt juxtaposed with a suit jacket:
That roll is not because I arranged it for the photo, that is how the shirt naturally postures itself.
The bow tie is far from dead, and the J. Press WOCBD is the perfect canvas for it:
Finally, the shirt at the end of the day:
The tails are long enough to stay tucked in all day (mine did a solid 8 hours) but if you want that I-never-completely-dress-down-for-anything jam that I like, leaving it on in the evening untucked is a wonderful presentation to raise a 14 year old daughter who wants to go on her first date with. She went. So did I. Shirt performed perfectly, as did her suitor.
J. Press is REMARKABLY consistent. There were some disturbing inconsistencies in the pairs of shirts that we tested, but J. Press issues the same shirt twice. Thankfully. In terms of value, the shirt retails for $135, and you can order them if you click here. There are places to cut cornerstones, but your dress WOCBD’s are NOT included amongst them. I have sampled every WOCBD I can get my hands on, and some discount and department store lines are somewhat indistinguishable from the blue ribbon. None of them are in this category. This shirt is noticeably superior even to the untrained eye.
The buttons are equidistant, so you can be comfortable with the collar unbuttoned. The shirt is made in the USA. Oh, here’s the back:
Conclusion: The reign of BB and its WOCBD is over. There are equals to the J. Press WOCBD, but there are no shirts better. The shirt is not elitist in price point so beginners can treat themselves to several, and those with a few more years out of school under our belts should consider the J. Press White Oxford and The Fundamental to the Ivy wardrobe now. You need to collect some diverse brands for different uses, but you cannot be authentically Ivy with this shirt.
GREAT review. And thanks in advance for all that follow given how comprehensive this one is. Only thing I’d add is that trim fit options exist as well as flap pocket options, and at the same price point. I prefer the standard pocket to the flap for whatever reason.
Hmmm. Half-Windsor (.5W). I must give that a try. The shirt does appear to fit you well. I’m wondering, if it were to shrink a bit, how that might effect the fit at the neck and the length of the collar points/button points. So JP shirts are available without pocket flaps. I did knot know that;) Thanks.
My mistake. In the first draft it was a half windsor, but four in hand is a better knot for wocbd so I changed it – JB
Be still my heart.
I have been a JP shirt fan for years; price to value there is nothing I have found better.
Of the all the OCBD shirts that I own, the J. Press are my favorite. They seemed a bit large for their tagged size (17 x 34) when new, but after a few washes in hot water and a few runs through the dryer on high heat they are perfect. Though I do not think they will shrink much more, I air dry them because I like how they feel afterward: slightly stiff and rumpled, and they soften after a few minutes of wear. I will wear and buy other brands when a good opportunity presents itself: I got two Land’s End Hyde Park oxfords for $13 each right before they stopped making them. They are not as good as the J. Press shirts, maybe 60% as good, but at one tenth of the price they were a good buy. One issue with the Press oxfords: the button holes on the collar points have ripped after only about a year and a half (seems premature). Has anyone else had this issue? I always unbutton them when washing and I don’t think I did anything too physically stressful to the shirts.
Ne Plus Ultra
Summa Cum Laude
Actually, I have found that the cuffs are a little tight if you wear a somewhat large faced watch.
My 17 year old has outgrown his WOCBDs. And with graduation coming up I am looking for some quality replacements. I have considered this shirt, but my young man is a beanpole. Do you think this will work and if not, is there a similar quality slimmer fit shirt you can recommend? A slim cut looks like a traditional cut on his frame. Thank you.
Hi Robin! They have a slim fit as well. It’s a classic, they always work. – JB
I just wish they’d offer more striped color options, like yellow, green and brown.
Stand by, I think I have good news! – JB
The J. Press shirt looks terrific. It’s Brooks’s loss that they don’t currently offer a high quality example in neck-sleeve sizes and without non-iron chemicals. I haven’t yet tried the J. Press version, but based on this review, I’ll have to now, as soon as they restock my size.
Looking forward to more WOCBD reviews.
Agreed. And please let me know what you think of the shirt? THANKS – JB
@Frederick J Johnson
You’re absolutely right.
I’d like to think that that’s J.Press’s way of indirectly telling us what they think of watches that are even”somewhat” large.
Totally. – JB
As a longtime visitor here, I’ve been dismayed by the site’s direction and much of the content under the new proprietor. But I have to say: I really like this review. Well done, JB. I look forward to more. However, you still need a copy editor! First graf, next to last sentence: its intent, not it’s intent. And same error in the conclusion: its WOCBD, not it’s WOCBD.
How much is it going to ruffle your grammar police badge to learn that graf is not a word? – JB
As an aside, you stop by AN AWFUL LOT for someone who is dismayed. And I know you caught the post where pretty much everyone except you agreed they would send corrections via email so that the rest of the readership wouldn’t have to wade through it in the comments. xoxo – JB
The current J. Press OCBD is indeed quite a nice item and, as far as I know, the best non-custom or MTM version available, although I don’t really buy any other brand off the shelf since Brooks Brothers went down hill some years ago. I hope to acquire more from Press over time.
Also a big fan of J. Press shirts; patiently waiting for my size to be restocked, because why not buy more? Sizing is accurate and only a little shrinkage with cold-water washing and air drying. @Nutmeg Andy, haven’t seen any unusual ripping, yet, to include my older shirts.
Does anyone know who is making them for J. Press these days? Just curious.
Hi Tom! They don’t disclose that, but whoever it is, they know what they are doing. – JB
For those who have been regular BB buyers, but are considering alternatives now that they are all alpha sized – I wonder if you would compare the JP Regular and Slim fits to the several BB fits. Or maybe someone with this knowledge can just chime in here in the comments.
I know some only wear the really loose classic fit, and I respect that. But for me the Regent has the perfect combination of good fit and slight bagginess.
Hi Andrew! The Classic fit is closet to the BB Madison fit and the Trim fit is in between the BB Regent & Milano fit. If that sounds like I have that level of expertise, I don’t – to be fair I had to ask 🙂 – JB
I have been replacing my worn, BB OCBD’s with J Press shirts for the past two years. They remind me of the BB shirts I began to buy after exiting law school in 1982. I like the fit, the collar roll, and the weight of the cotton fabric. I’m all in on this shirt.
Great review and I hate to disagree with you but…
The shirts are inconsistent. I took a recent delivery of two shirts. The blue flap pocket Oxford lacked the rear collar button that the University striped version had. My previous shirt also had the rear collar button.
There is no doubt the quality of the material but I ended up having to cut out some labelling to make the shirts more comfortable.
Hi! It would appear you have a collector’s item. Check your email 🙂 – JB
Great review, thanks JB.
THANK YOU – JB
Alas, OCBD’s are impractical in places like Austin where the daytime highs are 85+ about 6 months of the year and 95+ for at least three. That’s partly why I have my eye on the “butcher” stripe, which has a late 70s good-guy-gone-bad vibe I like.
They have used different suppliers over the years and have not always had the same features like the third button on the collar. The flap pocket is almost always present. If you run into different features the shirt may just be from a prior year.
Either Gambert (Mel) or New England Shirt Co. Probably.
We miss Skip Gambert. A lot.
Individualized and Gitman are still at it.
How do they compare w/ Mercer’s? My impression is that Mercers
have slightly longer points and hence more roll. I tried to order
from Mercer but to fit my shoulder and neck I would have to go
with a 54″ chest. Way huge! My other shirts have 50″ chests
and they fit well. Not too full.
Please correct my email to the one we communicated with recently
I am doing a Mercer review in the near future 🙂 – JB
I’m going to have a custom Press flap button down made up when I’m next in NYC, but I’m very satisfied with the Mercers I have.
Good stuff. Very interesting. Very helpful. My first J Press felt a little tight in the chest when compared to my BB, Michael-Spencer, and Mercer, and the seller admitted that they run a bit tighter, so I returned it, but that was about 2 years ago, and two of those makers are gone now of course. And Press is, what, $30 less than Mercer per shirt? Might have to try one again. They once (not now of course) were made in the great Garland factory, I believe, but not totally sure about that. This review garnered a lot of comments. Good to see that, as well. Bravo.
Mercer’s has the benefit of a larger array of fabric choices. However I would like to try the J. Press OCBD. All of my other J. Press garments bring we joy so I imagine these will too. I hope that the prices stand firm. Mercer’s are now $185
T – Calm down lad.
Reading all the comments and queries about colors, stripes, and slim fits, I’m happy that I only wear white OCBDs and only in a full cut.
If the heat and humidity don’t permit you to wear Oxford cloth shirts, allow me to suggest J. Press’
broadcloth shirts in the same buttondown model as the oxfords:
Thanks for the suggestion, Philly. My guess is that J. Press probably made buttondown collar shirts in broadcloth before they made them in oxford cloth. Maybe Mr. Richard Press himself could confirm this.
Fantastic! I look forward to the one on khakis.
Nice shirt. I always considered oxford cloth more forgiving on those hazy, hot and humid Tidewater summer days. A nicely pressed shirt in oxford cloth tends to be in less contact with the skin than broadcloth and thus, at least for me, feels more comfortable and cool. They also look better throughout the day.
I just realized, your hairstyle is reminiscent of Max Headroom’s.
Other than his is blonde, straight, receding and slicked back, yeah, I see it. Cheers, JB
I’m beat up from football & 50 yrs old; these are cut too trim for me. Beyond the measurements made, these shirts look great & are well constructed. The old traditional cut from Brooks was the best shirt for my build & taste.
FYI these fantastic shirts are made by Gitman at the old Measure Up factory in Macon County, Tennessee.
I’ve tried J. Press shirts more than once and even though I favor the fabric and design, I’ve found the shoulders and chest too restrictive, even after purchasing a size up on both sleeve length and neck.
I note that J. Press has just introduced quite a few new colors in their OCBD line. The new colors shown on their website today include U-stripes in lavender, green, yellow, orange and pink as well as some multi-stripes and Tattersalls:
Plain white is still available,of course, but I am glad to see the broader selection.
How did the breast pocket wind up to the right side? The first picture is what I’d expect but the one being worn shows it on the right. Photo reversed?
Yes. It’s a thing with me. – JB
Sacksuit-I think broadcloth is lighter and more comfortable than oxford cloth during the summer, but pinpoint is the worst when it’s really hot. Charlottesville-the green and the red tape stripes in oxford cloth haven’t been around since BB in the late ‘80’s. I’ve been waiting. I’m pleased to see them change it up.
“Fundamental staples” are my idea of minimalism.
Mercer makes a far superior shirt for a bit more money. Better collar roll, better construction and by far the best OCBD fabric I’ve ever felt. Also can’t beat the customer service!
Don’t you mean “laundered” at what is called a dry cleaner, but not actually dry cleaned, which means without water?
I’d like to get a J. Press OCBD and likely will at “some point” b/c it just seems like you need at least one, but I’ve been SOOOO happy with my Proper Cloth pink stripe OCBD (a custom fit at the same price point) it’s hard to justify, but J. Press remains my “go to” for suits, jackets, sweaters, sports clothes, and MANY accessories, ties excepted.
I’ve started replacing my well worn Sero and Huntington OCBD with J Press shirts;been very pleased with the fit and quality. I particularly like their MTO service for those hard to find colors and options.
I’m still trying to catch them when a 17×33 is available. No luck so far, but I don’t check every day.
An excellent review – I have several of these, and they are indeed exceptional. I found Michael Spencer MTO to be a heftier cloth, which I preferred, but Michael himself has left this world, and his company is no more.
This review, though, highlights the one thing that irks me about the FB page and comments section; I twice gave the group a try, and twice was simply repelled by the binary attitude of what “is” and “is not” Ivy. It often gets nasty, and always sounds pretentious and condescending. I have followed this site since it’s inception, and early on commented once in a while, until the trolls turned my stomach. I went to an affluent Massachusetts high school, an Ivy League college, and have taught at boarding schools for 34 years – and the experts in the comments section and in the FB group usually only seem to know what they have read about, but in a language only tantalizingly similar to the one they speak.
Anyway, the website is still a fun and informative read – But I and my OCBDs will avoid the FB group and comments section. Peace and blessings to you all.