OCBD Options

Frayed OCBD

As I am currently assessing my own OCBD needs I thought that this would be the perfect time to put a list of the current OCBD options together. While I like to think that I have my finger on the pulse of the OCBD market this list illustrates that there are a lot of options. In fact, there are so many options that it can almost be overwhelming (and they say that we Trads are always screaming that the sky is falling!).

I would love to hear your feedback on any of the OCBDs listed below, especially the made to order options. I have always found made to order to be a little intimidating as it seems like there is a lot of room for error and a lot of waiting involved. Also, I did not include any alpha sized or non-iron options, but if I left somebody off the please list let me know!

OCBD Options 2016

Gitman Bros: $155 (see here)OCBD

O’Connell’s: $145 (see here)

J.Press: $110 (see here)

Brooks Brothers: $95 (see here)

Kamakura: $79 (see here)

Michael Spencer: $135 (see here)

Mercer & Sons: $125 (see here)

Ratio: Start at $98 (see here)

Proper cloth: Starting at $85 (see here)

Luxire: Starting at $69.99 (see here)

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

23 Comments on "OCBD Options"

  1. SFSteve says:

    I’m familiar with three of these makers. Each one will appeal to different purchasers for different reasons. Regarding your “room for error” concerns: I think that some of the MTO options offer what amount to “satisfaction guaranteed” assurances so you needn’t be too worried. One thing’s certain: the days of getting a nice shirt off the shelf for $39.50 (or less on sale!) are gone for good.

  2. Roger C. Russell II says:

    -I Have worn Gitman Bros. a lot. They have great cloth and every feature of the shirt you would probably like except a very key feature, the collar.. The collar does not have the roll I see you guys require. Also, they are pricey for something not perfect.
    -i can not see Brroks as a consistent source for the future. You will probably find your self hunting dead stock, and one day that will run out.
    -O’Connell’s, Michael Spencer, and Mercer and Son’s all seem perfect but they are not cheap. Financing a weeks worth of work shirts becomes a big deal, but may be worth it.
    -Kamakura sounds like an option for you. The price is good, and I hear great things about them. You describe your self as having a slight build so their issue of being cut slim may work with you. I lift weights and could never use Kamakura. My arms and shoulders change too much, and I like to look tailored but very comfortable.
    -I am intrigued by Luxire. I had never heard of them. I would inquire if you can get color swatches (from most of these companies). Also, study that collar on the OCBD because something about it looks off.
    Proper cloth is popular but I know very little about them. I mostly see patterned shirts in their advertisments.

  3. Gazza79 says:

    Jerrod, thank you for the list. It is interesting to see the “usual suspects” and some newcomers presented side by side with a price comparison. I own OCBDs from Brooks, O’Connell’s, Kamakura, and Gitman. I know Gitman makes many of O’Connell’s shirts for them. When I look at the two of them I cannot tell too many differences. I will add that O’Connell’s unfused and unlined OCBD is my current favorite. I love the color, the collar roll, and the cloth. It feels special whenever I wear it.

    I love Kamakura as well, but I wear a 17-35 and their sizing does not quite properly fit me. Their 42-90 is advertised as a 16.5-35.5, which works well for me as a casual shirt. Also, as I have told anyone who will listen, their blue is very, very bright. It is practically electric.

    Brooks Brothers is a crapshoot. I bought a large quantity of their white OCBDs when they were still “regular” fit and not “Madison” or whatever. Their collar roll is okay and I like carrying on whatever tradition Brooks can still claim. However, the other OCBD colors from Brooks generally have collars cut way too short to roll properly.

    Not on your list, but I have been very happy with the J. Press OCBDs. I know some people are not happy with their direction but I have had very good luck.

    Thank you again for the post. I have considered Mercer and Sons for some time and I think I might finally pull the trigger.

  4. oxford cloth button down says:

    Thanks for all of the input. It is greatly appreciated. Gazza79, I don’t know how I forgot Press!

  5. Gazza79 says:

    No worries, I am sure Squeeze will forgive you!

  6. ZJP says:

    Some info on Ratio: you have to specifically request the long unlined button down collar. It comes with 3.5 inch points and no lining or fusing at all. Second, as far as I know, it is $98 flat, even if you add details like a flap pocket, locker loop, back collar button,etc. Finally, they are made at the Brooks Brothers factory in North Carolina.

  7. Fading Fast says:

    Recently purchased a BB one and, overall, I like it. It has a substantial Oxford cloth feel, my favorite of all the blue colors (a very grey-blue), a nice collar roll and, generally, a quality feel. I washed it in warm water, dried it on low and pulled it out immediately from the drier and it had no wrinkles and a casual but not sloppy look to the collar (good for everything but, IMHO, to be worn with a suit and tie as I like my collars crisper for those situations). The two negatives are that it doesn’t have some classic details – locker loop, sleeve placket button nor collar button in the back – and it feels a bit stiff (as if they snuck some non-iron chemical into it), but hopefully they didn’t and the stiff feeling will fade with repeated washings. A solid B that will go up or down a half grade based on how it ages. My next one is going to be Kamakura as I’ve been impressed with their story and really want to try one.

  8. JDD says:

    I recently purchased 4 BB must-iron OCBDs during the Black Friday sale. This was my first venture into American-made, ~$100 shirts. After nearly a month, I can say that I am as impressed as I was upon unboxing. The cloth is thick, the roll is more than adequate (though not the classic 3.5″). And the colors are classic – I got the iconic grey/blue, yellow, blue U-stripe, and red U-stripe.

    A couple things to consider, however, that keep these shirts at a B+ instead of an A. The shirts do not have gauntlet buttons – a strong preference of mine, living in the south where these shirts will often have the sleeves rolled during summer. They don’t have a split yoke – again a matter of preference. And the cuffs and collars are lined.

    To my understanding, the MTO options (Michael Spencer especially) can provide all of these details

  9. JDD says:

    Also, you forgot uncle Ralph (whose OCBDs are often overlooked by the trad crowd but stand among the best).

    http://www.ralphlauren.com/product/index.jsp?productId=59954236

    • Hollywood Argyle says:

      I like a lot of things in the Polo Ralph Lauren line. I also liked the now-defunct Rugby and University Club lines. However, the one thing I cannot abide is a logo on my dress shirts!

      Having said that, I have a couple of pony-free PRL dress shirts, and they’re fine. Wish PRL would do proper sleeve lengths and not hybrids (e.g., 32/33), though.

  10. MrErikJ says:

    It’s good to see that, despite rising prices, there are still plenty of quality OCBDs available. Personally, I think I can keep my closet happily stocked with Michael Spencer, Kamakura, and J. Press (I also want to try O’Connell’s, but they’re a little steep for non-MTM). Each have their strengths and weaknesses, but none make a bad product. I would include Brooks, but I haven’t purchased an OCBD there in several years. Mine has a nice collar, but what I saw in store recently had pretty stubby collars. The non-American made pinpoints and broadcloth button downs I’ve purchased from them have been less than stellar. So, until I hear an update on quality, I’ll buy my shirts elsewhere.

  11. JOA says:

    Like ZJP, I can vouch for the Ratio shirt. I’ve only had it for about a month but I’ve been very impressed with it thus far.

    I also have had two Proper Cloth OCBDs made. Both use Thomas Mason Silver line oxford fabric (I bought a white and a light blue) and feature their Soft Ivy Button Down Collar (soft, unfused interlining, 3.5″ collar points). The fabric is beautiful and feels more like a royal oxford that the standard, heavier BB oxford (of which I have several as well). I highly recommend Proper Cloth for their customization and customer service, as well as an excellent product.

    I will soon give Michael Spencer a try as well.

    Good luck, Jerrod.

  12. Ezra Cornell says:

    Don’t overlook BB. I know it’s popular to bash the brand, but when it comes to the OCBD they do a very creditable job. The shirt on sale is a very good deal, and it holds up well to many washings (especially if you line dry it). The collar roll is very nice, and when I’ve been dissatisfied, I’ve exchanged it with no problem at all. They also come in a variety of sizings, (both sleeve-neck and their confusing “Madison fit,” “Milano fit,” etc.) so it is relatively easy to find one that fits to one’s liking.
    Kamakura is a fine shirt and an incredible deal. But as I mentioned earlier, the problem is that their sizings are very limited so it’s a lottery: if they have a size that suits you, you’re in. If not…then it doesn’t matter how great their story or their product is. The fabric feels a tad thinner than the BB, but it has a fine collar roll, and the blue is much bluer than the BB. It’s also quite slim fitting so be aware of that.
    I haven’t tried the others you listed so I will keep my review to these two and look forward to reports from others. This is a great public service you’re doing! :-)

  13. Ezra Cornell says:

    Forgot to mention one other point in favor of Kamakura — ALL their shirts are must-iron. Now I can support that!

  14. A10ACN says:

    Dissatisfied with the fit of all my BB OTR shirts, even when tailored, I set down the MTO path. Went to a BB store with that department (not all do). Was directed to a young college age lady sitting at the desk, told her what I wanted to do. She dug out the swatch book and basically said, “pick”. I said, let’s make this easy, I just want a traditional BB OCBD, must iron, that is fitted. She didn’t get it. She seemed confused that I wouldn’t want a non-iron fabric. When I asked about different details and fabrics she finally gave up and went to get one of the tailors. He seemed to know what I was after and at least started right away on getting me fitted with measurements and try shirts. Using those and questioning he took the order. I had many questions on fit. One of they both highly recommended was a slightly smaller collar, even though I said I wanted traditional. I gave in and the order was placed. X weeks later, the shirt arrived and I went to pick it up. I wasn’t impressed by the fabric, it seemed a bit thinner than other oxfords. Trying it on with the same two assistants, I didn’t like the feel of the collar and the way the front of the shirt pulled across my upper chest. I’ve been told that BB MTO is just taking the collar from one shirt, putting it on the body of another and adjusting from there. I don’t know but this shirt has never felt right. I noted what I saw and felt and was assured everything was fine and they could adjust as needed on future orders. I was told to wash it, wear it and see how it all worked for me. I had it professionally laundered and it came back about the way I remembered. I wore it untucked for awhile and then during a trip a friend’s wife washed it and dried it. It came right out of the dryer and went on a hanger. She even gave it a light press later. I am fairly certain the shirt shrank just a bit because what was a not-quite-happy fit became a just-doesn’t-quite fit. The collar was too tight and the pull across the chest was more pronounced. The length may be a bit shorter but I didn’t measure. I’ll be taking the shirt back to see what BB says. All in all not impressed thus far.

    Conversely I sought out J. Press here in DC. I walked in and was immediately met by a trad dressed gentleman and told him what I wanted, traditional J. Press OCBD MTO. He knew exactly what I wanted and measured me straight off. From there he and another well dressed gentleman made some observations about my body fit and some recommendations. Good hearted banter and ribbing between them as they argued each others’ very minor recommendations and the shirt making process (not the fit). Just a very different atmosphere than the awkwardness at BB. Once finished with the measuring the first gentleman walked me through fit options to make the shirt better for me while keeping the traditional style. Then he asked me about, but more guided me, through style details available with comments like, “the traditional J. Press style…’ (comparing J. Press to BB and Mercer for example). He knew trad style, he knew his product, and he knew the differences with the competitors. He never once disdained the competitors other than discussing how BB OTR shirting had changed and so forth. He showed me the swatch book but basically just showed me the cloth the shirt would be ordered in as he knew exactly what I was asking for from the very beginning. I left quite pleased and feeling like I’d been well taken care of. X weeks later I get the call and come by to pick up the shirt. It was nicely packaged, to the point that I was surprised that the SA said he had looked over the shirt when it came it, as it appeared that it had arrived individually wrapped from the factory. I don’t know if it arrived that way and the SA had repackaged it or if they wrap and pack at the store when they arrive but it gave the appearance of a special ordered individual shirt and the SA telling me that he had examined the shirt beforehand demonstrated that extra care and responsibility for my order. They were a bit busy when I arrived but as soon as things calmed, I tried on the shirt and the same two SAs were there to observe and critique each other. The first thing I noticed was the fabric- very thick, with great texture and a nice weave. It has a slight sheen to it that spoke of quality. The collar was long with a nice roll. The buttons were nice and thick, at least the equal to BB. Trying the shirt on it instantly felt…right. The neck was comfortable buttoned or unbuttoned. No pulling or otherwise ill fitting areas. The only things noted were some slight ‘winglets’ in the underarms where the shirt had been tapered to order on the sides and then abruptly stopped at a point leaving some material. It wasn’t noticeable unless I raised my arms, but just appeared odd. One of the cuffs was a bit tight when I extended my arm but that was my fault with the instructions for measurements, so no fault in manufacturing. Both SAs were impressed with the material and liked the fit on me. They debated the fabric, due to the very obvious quality, and I raised the question of it being Royal Oxford. They both disagreed and quickly explained the differences with Royal Oxford. Once again demonstrating their knowledge of the product they sold. I kept looking at the shirt on me in the mirror. Despite the issues above, it was one of the few times I’ve felt that a shirt fit me and looked right in the store. I have a distaste for wearing brand new clothes, they always feel stiff and uncomfortable on my skin. This shirt, though newly made, fit so well and the material was so comfortable, that I seriously debated wearing it out the door. I decided not and the SA, after noting the points to tweak about the shirt on the original order, told me he would follow up on the ‘winglets’ with the factory to see if it was something they could adjust for any future orders. He then rewrapped the shirt and sent me out the door with instructions to wash it and see how it fits and if there’s anything that needed changing and over all making me feel as If I’d made a great purchase of a great shirt. I have not washed it yet to give a follow up, but I tried it on again the other day and it still fits and feels great. I feel certain that if any issues come up they will be attended to by the store, which is a feeling not really discussed much in this digital retail age with stated promises and small print guarantees. Sure most quality places WILL listen to complaints and endeavor to ‘give the customer what he wants’ but we all have felt that dread involved with a return or a minor complaint about a purchase that makes us decide if its worth the time and asspain to resolve it. I don’t have that with this purchase and look forward to being treated like a client instead of a customer at J. Press.

    Mercer is probably next on the list but Proper’s many online options may move it up.

  15. Richard aka Tweeds says:

    Jerrod,
    The Gitman Bros. shirt is a great wearing shirt. I used to sell them in a gentlemen’s haberdashery in San Diego years ago. The weight of the cotton oxford is heavier than most 40/2 ply. They used shell buttons not white plastic buttons. The seams are butted over the shoulder and arms with feathered stitching. I iron my own shirts and never use starch because it is hard on the material. Like they say ” if it doesnt wrinkle send it back” . Check out the prices at Hunter and Coggins traditional men’s store in the Carolinas . Sometimes they are little cheaper from $135.00 to $145.00. Like I mentioned the shirt really wears well.

  16. Don says:

    The BB shirts I have are are well made, thick, and long-lasting. But I limit them to casual wear, usually under sweaters, because the lining and slightly shorter collar points are deal killers. (I never thought just a small difference in collar length would make a difference to the roll, but it does.)

    I’ve now switched to Mercer for all the shirts I wear to work, and I couldn’t be happier. The collars are perfect.

  17. Grandfather Wilkens says:

    A while back you wrote a post on the virtues of the Lands End Hyde Park OCDB (http://oxfordclothbuttondown.com/2012/03/lands-end-the-original-ocbd-the-hyde-park-ocbd/). I was wondering why it was omitted from your list as Lands End is still selling the Supima Hyde Park OCDB (http://www.landsend.com/products/mens-supima-hyde-park-oxford/id_10667?sku_0=::WHI)? Thanks and keep up the great work!

    • oxford cloth button down says:

      Thanks for the comment! Unfortunately, Lands’ End has drastically changed the size of its collar so that it can no longer be worn with a tie. This is the only reason that the Hyde Park did not make the list.

      • Grandfather Wilkens says:

        I was unaware of that, thanks for the heads up. Do you know when that occurred? I too am on the search for new OCBDs and unfortunately Brooks has very limited sizes in stock and no colors other than blue. I’m looking for white, blue, blue stripe, and ideally pink stripe as well. Thanks again.

        • oxford cloth button down says:

          You are welcome. I am having the same problem that you are in terms of Brooks Brothers not having the size or color that I want in stock. J.Press could work for you or maybe one of the other options that I listed. Finding an economic choice that checks all of the boxes is not an easy task these days!

  18. Hollywood Argyle says:

    One more addition: Deo Veritas has 13 solid Oxford cloths to choose from, starting at $95.

    http://www.deoveritas.com

    Full disclosure: I am not a customer and have no connection to the company.

  19. Adding our name to the list… Tailored Forward is making custom clothing, made in America available online at a fair price. Our shirts, including blue or white OCBD’s, are all $85 and made by Southwick (based in Mass, part of Brooks Brothers).

    If you want to try one out, check them here: http://www.tailoredforward.com/store/c2/Shirts.html

    NOTE: I am a co-founder of Tailored Forward.

I would like to hear from you