The OCBD Re-up

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I get a lot of questions about the OCBDs that I wear. The answer is not one that most people want to hear which is that they are 99% all old Lands’ End shirts that are no longer available. My supply of these shirts is however running low and I need some new shirts. Lucky for me there are a few sales going on to help me out.
Michael Spencer OCBDFirst up is friend of the blog and advertiser Michael Spencer. He is currently running a $40 off per shirt 4th of July sale that continues through the 15th of July. This drops the price to $95 per shirt which is a solid value. I currently own two Michael Spencer shirts and love them both (see pics above & below). I did a review last year which you can find here (OCBD Michael Spencer Reivew).  I also posted a review from Steve a reader and commenter of the blog which is also very helpful (Michael Spencer Review). I like the classic fit and the softly lined collar myself, but he offers all the options including unlined. If you don’t have one in your closet I recommend trying a candy stripe with a flap pocket. I think that this is a killer look.
IMG_6317Next up are the fellas that like to put a squeeze on our pocketbooks, J.Press. While J.Press does not currently have their OCBDs on sale they do have sales on lots of their dress shirts with a price of around $82.50. I stepped out of my typical solid blue OCBD and went crazy ordering a blue and red striped pinpoint shirt. Check out the sale here (J.Press Sale).

I did this post because not only do I understand the struggle, but I am still going through it. The all-cotton OCBD without non-iron treatment and a collar length greater than 3 inches is not as easy to find as it used to be and the price reflects that. So not only am I glad that there are still companies out there making them, but that they throw us the occasional sale to ease the pain. Stock up while the getting is good.

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Jerrod Swanton is a simple man interested in simple, classic, and traditional style.

11 Comments on "The OCBD Re-up"

  1. Topher Paul says:

    I’ve been interested in Michael Spencer shirts for a while. With the sale, I think I’ll pick one up. I usually get my OCBDs from Mercer & Sons. They are a very full cut so I have them trim it in by 4” on each side and they are still big on me (which is what I like). J.Press makes my business shirts and I will try their OCBDs when some of my Mercer shirts finally go. Because my J. Press shirts are also custom, they are not wrinkle resistant (but I also like that) and made domestically like the Mercer’s. You pay more but you know it’s not laced with chemicals and the costs support a local economy. My challenge is that the prices limit how many I get so I focus on the core colors and stripes.

  2. Tim says:

    How is the current JPress collar? The latest word is that they are shorter than before, and stiffened with glue (aka fusing). Let’s see if we can get any first hand confirmation.

  3. RP says:

    The best contemporary, inexpensive, must-iron OCBD I’ve found is from Spier & Mackay. Sub-$50 with a great collar roll, though the fabric is too thick for comfortable summer wear in my locale. Also, even when air-dried, the sleeves and body will shrink; I plan to size up 0.5” in the neck when they’re back in stock.

    Lands’ End Hyde Park and Sail Rigger OCBDs are decent if you go sans tie. The contemporary fit still has 3” collar points.

  4. Joel Vau says:

    Jerrod

    I was surprised that you got a Classic fit Spencer. Thought you liked them slimmer. But perhaps it is slimmer than I think? A BB Madison fits me perfectly. Can you suggest how those two compare?

  5. Jon DiBenedetto says:

    I have a lot of old J. Press one’s as I visit New Haven often: fun town! I hope they haven’t, as someone noted, shortened the collars. I haven’t stopped in the new location yet.

  6. RWK says:

    I’m with you on preferring lined vs. unlined for my oxford shirts. I remember from a recent interview over at ivy-style.com with a former Brooks Brothers purchaser (who now works for J. Press) that the fabric BB used to use for their famous unlined oxford shirts was lost years ago when they were acquired by M&S and the company stopped purchasing their particular oxford cloth from the English mill that had been weaving it. The subject of the interview stressed that, apparently, the specific oxford cloth BB used was so thick and so tightly woven that it stood up just fine without a lining; something all of the modern oxford cloth he’s encountered is just not able to do.

  7. Andrew says:

    I stocked up on several of the discontinued BB OCBD’s at their “4 for $199″ sale. Depending on your size and your fit preference, you might be able to still find a few on their site.

    There are a couple of EBay stores that sell the old BB model for between $55-65, New With Tags. Last I checked they had solid blue, blue uni, and red uni – again depending on your size requirements.

    If you want to spend less money, I’ve had good luck with Lands End Sail Rigger model. A bit more casual, but sturdy and they fit me well. Normally I do tailored fit but for the Sail Riggers I take regular fit, for what that’s worth. They are $40 but LE often has sales up to 40% off. I think $24 for a nice sturdy casual OCBD with a locker loop is a steal.

  8. oxford cloth button down says:

    Joel – I would say that the classic fit is very similar to the Madison fit. I think it may be a touch slimmer than the Madison fit as I think that BB runs larger than advertised in neck specifically.

    RP – Thanks for the tip on Spier & Mackay. I will have to give them a look!

  9. andrew says:

    if you have the time and interest, i think ordering shirts online and customizing the fit and features to suit you is a great advantage. want a cuff that’s slightly larger to accommodate a dive watch? finicky about the number of pleats at the end of your sleeve, the width or style of cuff, front pocket flaps, want a little more or less girth? I have had very good results with shirts from Mercer, Michael Spencer, and Proper Cloth. Mercer has the longest collar points, the most voluminous standard fit, the least front buttons (you can change that), and the least automated ordering process. But, the fabric might be the best of the lot. Michael Spencer is most similar to Mercer but has slightly shorter collars, and they are much easier to customize online. Proper Cloth’s standard prices are a lot lower than these ($85 vs. $135-140), similar to Michael Spencer in terms of the ease of customization. Proper Cloth’s collar points are shorter than the other two, so the collars don’t roll quite as much, and their heaviest oxford cloth fabrics are a little heavier than either of these other two. The degree to which you can customize at Proper Cloth is amazing.

    Brooks Brothers has some of its original polo shirts (not wrinkle-free cotton, unlined collars/cuffs/placket, fabric a bit lighter-weight than the others i mentioned above…alas, no breast pocket) on sale for $100 right now. the Brooks shirts are good and are available in a four cuts, from relatively narrow regent to very roomy ‘traditional’ that’s comparable to the standard Mercer or Michael Spencer ‘traditional,’ but that’s the extent of the customization.

    when my old unlined/unfused brooks brothers shirts started fraying and getting small holes about 5 years ago, and I went in this direction, i stopped sending shirts to a commercial laundry. commercial diminishes a shirt’s lifespan and shrinks cotton. i wash, damp dry, hang them up, and iron them myself. they last A LOT longer this way (less need to buy more shirts), and I save almost $400 a year in laundry bills.

  10. JJ says:

    If I’m correct in my assumption, EBay Seller ‘fstop44’ is factory seconds or leftovers from B.B. Plenty of OCBDs in 14.5 and 15…..most are must iron for ~$65. Some non-iron and 346 line stuff is mixed in.

    • Andrew says:

      I’ve bought a couple from fstop44, didn’t notice any issues. It seems to me they are more overstock than seconds. Another Ebay seller is smsmith007…a lot of BB, some with minor defects…have not tried them yet.

      Jerrod, I might take your suggestion and try an MS next time I replenish, now that I know they have a trim fit.

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