My Michael Spencer OCBDs

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I have now had my Michael Spencer OCBDs for two months. This has given me the chance to wear them each shirt several times. I wanted to do this because too often I am still in the honeymoon phase of a purchase. However, I will not you hold you in suspense any longer. I love them.

I had heard a lot about Michael Spencer before I ever tried one of their shirts. Opening up shop around the time that all of the sub-$100 OCBDs with any type of legitimate collar roll began to disappear these shirts were a natural-fit for the trad market. Forgive the pun, but with the unlined 3.5″ collar the buzz in the trad world was strong.
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Lined collar at top and Unlined collar underneath

Michael Spencer offers multiple fits and multiple collar types. The fits are Vintage, Classic, Modern Slim, and Extra Slim. There are also multiple collar types available, but for this post the only one that matter is the Legacy Button Down Collar which can be made lined or unlined. The Legacy collar has 3.5″ collar points, a 3.25″ spread, and 0.5″ tie space.

Of course I went with the Legacy collar, but I selected one lined collar and the other unlined in the Classic fit. I have never owned an unlined collar before. My knowledge of them was all second hand and it is primarily from the waxing poetics of Ivy Style purists that I learned of their fetished uncontrollable rolls and unmatched comfort. After wearing the unlined collar a few times I soon understood the appeal. The comfort was unmatched. The collar was not uncontrollable, but I could not always get the collar roll that I wanted to stick like I could with the lined shirt. This may be one area where I am not a purist. I actually preferred the lined collar, because it provided a more structured roll.

IMG_3296FullSizeRender (1)The pros far outweighed the cons for me. The only two cons that I could come up with are price and the wait. The shirts are $135, but at this time this is market price. I may not love it, but the fact that it is consistent among Brooks Brothers, Mercer, and J.Press makes me okay with it. As far as the wait goes I learned that I have been conditioned with OTR (off the rack) clothing to expect instant gratification. Ordering a shirt takes a little longer, but the wait was worth it and since the need for a shirt is seldom an emergency this is not a big deal.

If you have been holding out on trying a Michael Spencer I say give it a go. They have a great product, they are great to deal with, and you can count on a great roll. On top of that you can deck it out with all of the bells (locker loops) and whistles (flap pockets) that you want. It is great to have add another trustworthy source for OCBDs to the list.

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

13 Comments on "My Michael Spencer OCBDs"

  1. J.J. Rodale says:

    Please do not deprive us of a comparison of the Michael Spencer and Mercer shirts.

  2. Roger Russell says:

    They both look like wonderful shirts. I hear what you are saying about structured roll. However, I do not like the way a lined collar shirt ages. When a fused collar starts to age you can get bubbled patches and other not so nice looking problems.
    I will probably try J. Press next due to price point but only if the collars are not lined. This past week I purchased 3 Brooks Bothers O.C.B.D.’s. A salesman ordered 2 oldstock must iron shirts and then my third shirt is the new or Original Polo no pocket. I have tried it on twice and I do like some of its features. However I wish it came in one of their roomier cuts. I whent up have an inch in the neck to allow for shrinkage.

  3. MrErikJ says:

    I love Spencer shirts and they’re lovely people to deal with. I have no doubt my shirts will last a very long-time.

    I do agree with you regarding lined collars rolling and holding shape better. Unlined collars seem to look nice when worn unbuttoned without a tie, but I think the shape holds better when there’s a little bit of reinforcement in there. However, I’m not a purist and I’m sure someone would tell me I’m foolish for this preference.

  4. brian says:

    Roger Russel – the Michael Spencer shirts that are lined are not fused.

    OCBD – what do you think of the classic fit? I got a blue unlined in classic fit and while it is extremely comfortable in the shoulders it is still quite large in the waist and I may go with the modern slim next time (not the extra slim that would be too much).

    • Roger Russell says:

      Brian,
      I just realized by your question that I am interchangeable using the words (fused and lined). I can only surmise that I am ignorant of the difference. I own a pinpoint shirt that has bubbled in the collar now that it has aged. I know I do not want to have that problem again.
      My recent Brooks Brothers shirts, even the old stock appear to having nothing in the collar. As for the Polo ( or no pocket shirt) I am presently satisfied with the fit. The shoulders are great, however I have compared the arm width to my other shirts and I would say that it has about an inch and a half less fabric. Frankly I wish I had that extra fabric. I lift weights and I do not want to look like I am outgrowing my clothing. I just did a comparison on the waist and the Polo is probably 2 to 3 inches smaller in girth. I am okay with that and it does look better. I am assuming we have different body types. I am 5 feet 8 and 175 to 180.

      • brian says:

        Roger, yes most shirts are lined AND fused. MS offers unlined or lined but not fused. Lined but not fused means that the lining has simply been sewn in between the layers of cloth, whereas fusing is a heat treatment that literally fuses the interlining with the cloth.

        As for as fit, I just wish the waist was 2-3 inches slimmer, but it works just fine for me, I’m wearing it today. I had mine maid extra-long because I only wear it tucked in so a military tuck technique works pretty well and stays. I’m 6’3″ and 225 lbs so I’m not exactly small but was a little surprise how loose the waist still was on the classic fit. But I still love the shirt.

        • Roger Russell says:

          Brian,
          It just dawned on me that my new old stock shirts are the classic fit. I like the classic fit perhaps because that it what I grew up with. That does not mean it looks the best. I would say by appearance my Polo
          which is the Regent fit actually provides a more tailored look. Also, it sounds like it has the features you like.

    • Steve L. says:

      I find that the modern fit has plenty of room for me without bagging out over the waist of my pants or balling up in the back as I try to shift excess fabric in that direction. Whether this fit works for any individual is probably dependent on physique. It certainly does not look skinny; rather, to my eye, it is pleasingly neat.

  5. oxford cloth button down says:

    Brian – The classic fit works well for me. I could not go any slimmer, because of shoulders and back, but I don’t think that I would want it any trimmer around my waist either. Personal preferences and we are all built differently.

  6. GLH says:

    I have one Michael Spencer shirt. The sleeves were too short. I wear a 15.5-34, but in the MS shirt I guess I should’ve gone 35. Maybe it’s just me, but I doubt I order another one. I’ll stick with Mercer.

    • Steve L. says:

      That struck me as funny — the last (and I mean last) Mercer shirt I ordered was supposed to have 34″ sleeves but in fact had 35-1/2″ sleeves. Guess these things happen sometimes.

  7. Son of Ed. says:

    I own three MS shirts: two with lined collars and one with an unlined. The shirts are extremely well-built and stand up well to repeated wash/dry/wear. My unlined blue candy striped shirt is a traditional fit and the other two are the modern/trim fit. Very comfortable shirts, and although I believe their quality is unrivaled, I wish they were as customizable as Ratio(for instance, I like a high button stance, and MS will only raise theirs +0.25″ tops).

  8. Andrew says:

    Great shirts, thanks for this review. Mine are vintage fit, unlined. Oxford cloth fabric is on par with mercer, heavy yet breathable. mercer’s comparable fit feels slightly looser, is slightly longer, has less buttons, and has slightly longer collar points. Both take a while between order and delivery. Both can customize; left cuff looser to accommodate a dive watch, love that. Both wear very well, fortunately, considering how expensive they are.

    Suggestion – If you can iron them or have someone else who can, ditch the cleaner, damp dry, then dry them the rest of the way on hangers. They will last longer, won’t shrink, and feel better imo.

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