The Land Ends Ahead

HP Collar Roll

I have been purchasing staples such as OCBDs, chinos, and cords from Lands’ End for years, but it seems that times are changing. No longer can I turn to Lands’ End for OCBDs, or any button-down shirt for that matter that isn’t destined for weekend wear, because of their small collars (Not like the collar roll pictured above which is from Lands’ End.). Now I have to add chinos to this list of items that I cannot depend on them for. These changes didn’t happen overnight, but I have finally realized that a lot of what I loved about Lands’ End is gone and it isn’t coming back anytime soon.

The first change that caught me by surprise is when they discontinued the Lands’ End Original Oxford (See label below.). This was my go to shirt. This change happened back in 2012. At first I thought that they were just out of stock. No big deal. However, a Lands’ End employees commented on my blog confirming that the the shirts were gone and that they had no plans to bring them back. They also said that the no-iron version would remain available, but you and I both know that just won’t do.
LE-Original-Oxford-Ligth-Blue-300x225Luckily, they still produced the Hyde Park OCBD in the must-iron variety. I purchased a few Hyde Park OCBDs (See packaged below) and was pleased with them. The material was stiffer than the material they used for the Original Oxfords and they cost about $20 more, but it was still a good value when I compared them to my other options (Brooks Brothers, J.Press, Mercer, etc.). Then things took a turn for the worse.
Lands" End Hyde parkA couple months later I picked up a few more Hyde Park OCBDs. It was not the same shirt. The collar length was now extremely short (from 3 1/4” to 2 3/4”). So short that the wonderful collar roll that I had once been able to obtain with their shirts like the one in the top picture was no more. This impact of this change was huge. Much bigger than just discontinuing the shirt I preferred (Which I am still very upset about.). They had now officially removed themselves from the you-can-buy-OCBDS-from-these-stores list and ended up on the avoid-these-OCBDs list. You can read some of the discontent in my comments section here:Lands’ End: The Original OCBD & The Hyde Park OCBD
Lands End CommentsIf you don’t follow my blog regularly you may not know that I have been searching for a pair of collegiate fit chinos. The important part to know is that I need chinos that are readily available so that I can easily repeat the alteration process. Lands’ Ends tailored fit plain front chinos fit the bill…or so I thought, but a few weeks ago they decided to discontinue these and replace them with Lighthouse Chinos. Are these the same pants with a different name? Who could know? It is this type of disregard for their customer base that liked that model that concerns me the most.

The writing has been on the wall for a few years, but what it says is now coming true. What is says, is that Lands’ End is not a company that values tradition, reliability, and consistency. They will change fit, proportions, color names, or simply discontinue a product with no notice. If they currently carry an item that you like I encourage you to stock up before it is too late. You can always make a return. At least their customer service is still excellent.

oxford cloth button down
is a simple man interested in simple, classic, and traditional style.

11 Comments on "The Land Ends Ahead"

  1. JGH says:

    Sad but true. Where can one now buy a new OCBD that is decent and not too expensive? Kamakura is tempting even though their shirts are a bit more expensive, but since they ship from Japan the cost to import puts the cost of 3 shirts over $200. Way too much for me.

  2. David says:

    YES! Very disappointed with the direction Lands’ End is going. They’ve all but stopped making suits. And they’re cheap anyway. They used to have a wide selection of suits. They used to have a custom shirt program. And, yes, the OCBD’s used to have longer collars.

    A few years ago, on their site, I couldn’t find a must iron blue candy stripe OCBD, which you know they used to have. I wrote them an email and it was replied that they only had them in non-iron and that lots of customers like that. If they only had a clue.

    Now they’ve moved away from a normal collar to a shorter/trendier collar. I’ll admit I bought three of them last year (I liked the price and overall fit), but like most of us, I’m pretty sure I’ll be looking elsewhere next time.

    Final thought; what bugs me about Lands’ End is that they could dominate the OCBD market if they wanted to. If they only brought back what they where doing 10 years ago they could be raking it in with the OCBD crowd.

  3. prepwithtwist says:

    It’s so VERY difficult to find a good, decently priced, must iron, OCBD with a longer collar. I prefer the 3.5″ to 3.75″ range. This makes me so sad and I really don’t know what my options are anymore. The new shorter, trendier collars just look silly, especially with a tie. Any help and input folks can give is welcomed.

  4. Flo says:

    @David–if Lands End would bring back a lot of what they were doing 10 years ago, they would dominate the market the whole way around.

    I still buy quite a bit from LE, but I’m also returning more as well. The inconsistency in their products is atrocious, I never know for sure what size to buy half the time, just have to keep my fingers crossed. Time to go back to basics–LE, are you listening????

    I bought my husband an OCBD a couple of years ago that they had on clearance, and he hated it, he said the material was just not the right weight.

  5. Erik says:

    Kamakura and Brooks are my current preferences, thought they’re not exactly cheap. I love Kama’s collar and overall quality, but their sizing is a little odd. I currently wear the Tokyo Classic fit, but they don’t feature all of your standard dimensions in every style. That’s the only style that offers my 16.5×33 shirt size. However, the other downside is that while their shirt is slightly better than Brooks’, they are never on sale and are not made in the US. So, that’s something to consider. I still like Brooks for ordering 4 at 50% off.

    I find it disappointing that LE & LL Bean have left behind traditional and rugged casual clothing for cheaply made basics that the majority of their construction cost is spent on non-iron treatment. I’m not anti-non iron, I just think options are needed. The good news is that once that skinny tie, small collar thing subsides (probably post-2015) collar sizes will probably lengthen back out. But, due to demand and increasing production costs, I doubt we’ll see the lines of old with either of the classic catalog brands.

  6. Dutch Uncle says:

    prepwithtwist:

    The solution is to buy one extra shirt and sacrifice it so that a tailor/seamstress can use the material from the front, back, and sleeves to produce you some proper collars. All he/she needs is a pencil, a piece of paper, and a proper collar to trace.

  7. William Stonerock says:

    Hmmm…This is a common lament on quite a few menswear blogs. The sad fact is that what we want is in the minority. Clothing companies only make changes if they are assured that it will result in more money. Some of these changes are the result of manufacturing (cheaper material, cheaper construction, alphabet soup origin country) and some are the result of trying to increase market share based on looking at actual sales (slimmer fits, non-iron, slim collar). There are a few companies that still make what our minority want, but it comes at a very real cost. I hate to say it, but it seems that acceptance of new styles or MTM are about your only options. It will only get worse so embrace the change and try to make it work.

  8. Hollywood Argyle says:

    My feelings exactly. I used to love my Lands End clothes; now, I almost never order from them. My old LE shirts have wonderful fits and proper collar lengths, but as nice as the current Hyde Park shirt is in all other respects, the wimpy collar makes it a no-go. I, too, have noticed that you can’t depend on the label for an accurate fit. Very disappointing.

    I have some BB shirts, and the fit & collar length are good. Unfortunately, the shades of blue, pink, and yellow they offer in Oxford cloth are the wrong shades for my complexion (the blue candy stripe is OK, though).

    I have some PRL, but I hate the pony on the breast, which severely limits my options.

    I, too, long for the death of the skinny/narrow trend. Perhaps now that the execrable Mad Men TV show is set to end, we can stop emulating those fashions (I actually like the late 50s-early 60s style, but choose not to wear it).

  9. oxford cloth button down says:

    William – I agree with you to a certain point. I do not have the research to back me up, but I would have to guess that the majority of Lands’ End’s customers would not really notice if the collar length was .5″-.75″ longer, or if their blazers and sport coats had soft shoulders and no darts for that matter.

    I do agree with you that they probably need to offer a lot of non-iron stuff, because people want it. I also have no problem with them offering more modern styling as long as they add these products instead of altering or discontinuing their core products.

  10. Oliver says:

    I too was really disappointed by the move to a small collar – it will look very dated in the next 3-5 years.

    The loss of the tailored non-iron chinos was also disappointing.

    Would it be possible to start a petition? LE customer service is dismal at best.

  11. William Stonerock says:

    I also wish they would simply add to their existing catalog instead of replacing standard items. I would be really curious to know the financials on something like that. Having lived and worked in Japan for the past decade, I am now no longer surprised at any large company simply making sweeping changes based on the whim of one person in charge. Is this what is happening to companies in the US now? How much more expensive would it be to carry less of one item and more of another if both will eventually sell? Is it a result of “opportunity cost” that makes the change or is it simply change for change’s sake to try and stay relevant in an industry increasingly based on whimsy?

I would like to hear from you