As you may have guessed from the title of my blog and the references that I have made to my “uniform” I am a huge fan of must-iron 100% cotton oxford cloth button-down (OCBD) shirts. What I like most about them is the level of comfort that they provide, which in my opinion is t-shirt level comfort and their ability to transcend time and setting, as you will seldom feel over or underdressed when wearing one – whether it be 50 years ago or 50 years from now. While I like to experiment with all sorts of ocbd’s from different brands, Lands’ End’s Original Oxford Dress Shirt used to be my go-to shirt. Sadly this is no longer true.
Lands’ End’s Original oxford cloth button-down shirt was my favorite as it was reasonably priced at $29.99 and was always available. However, that has changed over the course of the past year due to a few changes that they have made. The first change was that they discontinued my favorite color of blue. I prefer the standard blue to the light blue (which is actually more bright than light) as do most people who are interested in traditional clothing. Lands’ End reasons for discontinuing the standard blue are unbeknownst to me. Now here is where I might be off-base. It now appears that they have renamed the light blue, “blue.” It is hard for me to understand this decision as it is very confusing to long-time customers as well as upsetting for those of us who who only care for the standard blue. If I am wrong and the regular blue has returned, I sincerely apologize and would love to be contacted about this.
*As I am writing this post, I did a quick check on Lands’ End website and do not even see this shirt anymore. They are currently only available in the non-iron variety or must-iron, but with sizing that is limited to small, medium, and large. What is going on over there!
The picture above features the variation of LE’s blue oxfords starting with LE’s Original Oxford light blue (now blue), LE’s Original Oxford blue (discontinued), and finally the Hyde Park blue (formerly lake blue).
Now that my standard shirt has disappeared I have ventured out and purchased a few of Lands’ End’s high-end ocbd, the Hyde Park. I was weary of making this purchase do to the fact that it’s blue color had recently undergone a name change as well. What was once called lake blue is now simply called blue. This name change along with some image tweaking on the website made the blue appear to be much brighter than the lake blue used to appear. This prevented me from making my purchase sooner. However, after visiting a few style forums it was confirmed that the “new” blue was simply the lake blue renamed. I still don’t understand the reason behind renaming colors without providing a note on the website. Alright, enough complaining for now and on to the review.
I purchased two blue and one pink Hyde Park ocbd ( you get a discount when you purchase 3). I am very satisfied my purchases. The Hyde Park retails for $50 which is moderately priced when compared to Brooks Brothers or J.Press (with whom I believe it would like to compete). When I first tried these shirts on I immediately noticed that the collar roll on these shirts is excellent. I have even been asked if they are Brooks Brothers shirts which to me is the highest compliment a ocbd can get, next to being asked if it is a Mercer ocbd.
The next feature that I noticed was the weight of the fabric. The Hyde Park is substantially heavier than the LE Original Oxford. It is close to but not quite as heavy as my J.Press or Brooks Brothers ocbd. On a side note, unlike many others, I like the weight of the LE Original Oxford shirt. They are great for hot weather. The only downside to the weight of the Hyde Park ocbd when compared to Original Oxford is that the collar is a little more stiff. The Original Oxford has a collar which appears to be almost unlined.
The colors of the Hyde Park shirts are almost perfect. The blue is spot-on and is even better than the old blue of the Original Oxford. I was pleased with the color of the pink as it is much lighter and less”hot” than that of Brooks Brothers.
I have included three more pictures to illustrates the difference in the blues (See Below).
I may have erred in sizing when ordering the Hyde Park shirts, but this is my own fault. My LE Original Oxford’s have seen some shrinkage due to me accidentally leaving them in my outgoing laundry. Now they cannot comfortably accommodate a tie. I purchased a size up, from a 14.5 to a 15 in the neck which may have not been the best decision. I always launder my shirts in cold water and air-dry, but because I sized-up they may need 1 hot wash and dry to shrink them up a bit.
Overall, I am very pleased with my purchases. I have added three ocbds to my wardrobe. Now, I can remove the older shirts that either can no longer accommodate a tie or have accumulated too much pilling for a business setting. The shirts that I removed from my work selection will get plenty of action in casual settings before being demoted any further down the line.
I would however, like to reinforce my dissatisfaction with LE’s decision to rename or simply remove the standard blue color completely. If they have completely removed the must-iron Original Oxford from their offering, it leaves me truly wondering about the competence of LE. All of these decisions together signal to me that LE is re-evaluating their position in the market and are moving away from catering to their long-time customers and core-audience which I find disheartening. I will continue to monitor and report on LE as they are my favorite low-to-mid-end supplier of traditional clothing, I am hoping for better decisions in the future.