Thrifted: A Piece of Clothing History

Every now and then you get rewarded for your patience. This was exactly the case when I found this shirt at my local thrift store. I saw it, and immediately got excited. It was blue, it had a button down collar and a flap pocket. Two, it was 100% cotton and it had an interesting label. Not just one label, but three labels.Woodhouse Clothiers Hanging up

The first label caught my eye in the store, because it referenced what appeared to be a local clothing store shop in Columbus, OH. I live about an hour’s drive from Columbus and I wasn’t familiar with the store. I was definitely interested in learning about it due to the nice quality of the shirt. Of course, I purchased it.Woodhouse Lynch Clothiers

Later that night, a quick internet search provided me with some information. The store, Woodhouse Lynch Clothiers was located in Downtown Columbus and opened in 1972 by Mr. Tom lynch. From the article I found it sounded like the type of establishment that I would love. Mr. Lynch cared about preserving conservative clothing and taking very good care of his customers. It seemed that he ran not just a store, but a club of sorts.  In the article he mentions that he has dressed every Ohio governor and Columbus mayor since the opening of his store. Disappointingly, the article was about the closing of the store. The article was dated 2008 (Here is the full story).


The second label I did not research until later on. The first label referenced the store, this one seemed to reference the supplier of the fabric or the maker of the shirt. I was familiar with this as it is common, or rather was common for a brand to make a shirt for a local store.The label reads Retford imported cotton. I did not turn up much information on this label. There was a lot of information about Retford.  A town located  in Nottinghamshire in England, but I have not yet verified the connection. I did see a few other shirts with various Retford Classic or Retford imported cotton on Ebay, Etsy, and other forums. There was no specific information listed with them. Though I did see it associated with the third label in my research.Kenneth Gordon

The third label was the smallest of the three. I did not notice it until very recently. It is located on the back of the size tag. This label is for Kenneth Gordon in New Orleans. I am familiar with Kenneth Gordon. I believe that it is comparable to Gitman Bros., Brooks Brothers, and Troy shirtmakers. I read that Gitman Bros. and Kenneth Gordon were owned by the same person. However, I am not certain of this. I do know that shirts were manufactured in the U.S.A and that Kenneth Gordon seems to have a solid reputation. Kenneth Gordon shirts are still for sale today, but not all of them are still manufactured in the U.S.A. This discovery made a nice addition to the piece’s history.

This is why I thrift. Not only did I get an excellent shirt, but I now own a piece of local history. It are finds such as this that  keep me motivated to go out on Saturday mornings knowing that I will probably come home empty handed. I know that if I remain patient and persistent that I will eventually experience moments of success such as this.

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

4 Comments on "Thrifted: A Piece of Clothing History"

  1. Young Ivy says:

    Great shirt. As for the labels Kenneth Gordon made the shirt and supplied it to the retalier in Columbus. It was standard practice then for the shop to have their own label where the manufacturers label would be today. The retford label I think, most likely relates to the weave of the cotton. In the same way that we have Oxford cotton shirts today in the past it was also possible to get a Cambridge weave. It is definitely possible that Retford was another variety of cotton weave available at the time. From the pictures it looks like a chambray-like cotton weave?

    Like the blog. Keep up the good work.

    • oxford cloth button down says:

      Thanks for the comment. It is a chambray-ilke weave, but it also seems like it could be a really worn broadcloth. I should investigate further.

  2. Young Ivy says:

    Great stuff. Might be worth asking over at Talk Ivy. There are much much more knowledgable people than me posting over there. I’m sure one of them will be able to fill you in.

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