Brooks Brothers: “American Made Heritage OCBD Dress Shirt” Review

This week we are lucky to have another guest post from trad, ivy, prep enthusiast M.J. Lacayo (IG profile).

Recently, Brooks Brothers has tried to capture some of the IVY PREP flame with their new iteration of the Oxford Cloth Button Down Shirt, and for once, I’m pleased. Ever since the “Fall” of Brooks Brothers in 2020, the oldest American Haberdashery has struggled to keep its identity and has fallen to the wayside of trying to capture the attention of the youth, rather than keep its most loyal customers. With the disastrous release of their “Original Polo® Button-Down Oxford Shirt” which came in a weirdly fitting alpha sized fragile oxford cloth, many fans of the brand, like me, were left defeated. The beloved OCBD was to never come back.

Two months ago, Brooks Brothers finally debuted their OCBD in full colors, made out of an untreated pure cotton with Mother of Pearl Buttons and their perfect collar roll, the brand had finally listened to its customers. I quickly placed an order for it at the store and wrote a review of it on this blog a couple of posts back (AN OVERVIEW OF THE NEW BROOKS BROTHERS OXFORD). Personally, I was satisfied. The brand had finally produced something worth wanting without messing it up through some bureaucratic penny-pinching move. Yes, the missing gussets, lined cuffs and collar were annoying, but they at least brought it back. One day, while checking out their new arrivals, I was greeted with a newer OCBD. This time, a more traditional six button front, gusseted sides, and generous shirt tails. I placed an order immediately.

The shirt is practically the same as the one I reviewed earlier, that being, the same fabric, buttons, and fit. Funnily enough, the Heritage OCBD only comes in a Traditional Fit, so if you’re on the slimmer side, not only could you use it as a shirt, but a makeshift parachute. I fit in between a Regent (Regular) or Madison (Traditional) fits depending on how many hamburgers I had that day, so I’m familiar with this cut. Seeing that the shirt is only offered in blue and white and only comes in the traditional fit, I feel that it will stay that way, as it is not common for Brooks Brothers to debut a new product without having all the fits available to purchase. 

Mail Time

After waiting a couple of days for my shirt to arrive, everything looked pristine. I really like “extras” with my purchase, so I appreciated this little card attached to the shirt. 

Apart from everything else, including the whopping $198.00 price tag, I found a bit of glue residue on the collar, which, for first impressions, was a bit disappointing.

Thankfully, a regular cold wash was enough to get rid of the residue and the shirt was good as new. 

Collar Roll

I seemingly ignored the collar in my previous review, so here are the measurements.

The length of the collar measures 3 ¼ inches long. For some odd reason, the left collar is more curved than the right collar which looks straighter. It’s impossible to notice once buttoned down. Thankfully, the collar has its beautiful S curve that we all know and love. If the buttonholes were down closer to the tips of the collar, we would’ve gotten a full S shape! I ordered a 16.5 neck, but from what I’ve read, Brooks Brothers leaves some extra room and doesn’t give you an exact 16.5” neck. From end to end, it measured 18.5”, and from button to buttonhole (center) it measured 17.5”. I don’t have a problem with this at all, and I’m not left with an excess collar gap. When I wore it with a tie at work, there wasn’t any puckering in the back. 

Regrettably, the collar isn’t unlined like the 2016 oxfords, yet, they seem to have pulled back on the heaviness of the lining compared to the pink OCBD I covered. 

Collar Length

Total Collar Length

Collar Length from Button to Buttonhole

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Collar roll is still there, if the buttonholes were cut a little lower, it would’ve made for an even better roll!

Torso, Sleeves, and Length

For the Heritage OCBD, the total length from the top of the collar down to the hem was 34.5 inches. The torso from pit to pit measured 24.5”, midsection 23.5”, placket 1.5” wide, pocket 4.5” x 4.5” and the spacing between the 1st and 2nd button was 3 ½” while the following are 4 ¼”. Obviously, being a Traditional Fit, the sleeves are going to be very roomy but taper down to the wrist like any normal shirt (measurements were taken at shoulder, mid sleeve, and cuff). Regarding true-to-size sleeve length, they measured from the shoulder seam down to the cuff at 25” and measured 35” from the center of the box pleat down to the end of the cuff.

Thankfully, the cuff isn’t fused or as heavily lined at the Pink OCBD!

In my last review, I covered the length more than any other feature on the shirts. I don’t wish to reclaim my findings so I’ll shorthand it. My 90s Brooks Brothers OCBD is the longest in the middle, but has less fabric on the sides, so if it were to come untucked, it would be via the sides at first. It is the widest one of the group. 

90s OCBD Compared to the Heritage OCBD.

The 2022 Pink OCBD which I reviewed last is the same length and width as the Heritage one. Lastly, the 2016 era OCBD was the shortest. Note, only the 2016 OCBD and the 2022 Heritage OCBD have gussets. 

2022 Pink OCBD Compared to the Heritage OCBD

2016 OCBD Compared to the Heritage OCBD

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2016 OCBD Gussets Vs 2022 Heritage OCBD Gussets, the Heritage model has a more substantial gusset. I really like the sharper “curve” of the Heritage’s shirt tails, appears very similar to the Oxfords of old. 

Wash, Care, and Wear

Made out of 100% cotton, I washed the shirt in a cold cycle and hung dried it promptly after in order to avoid the risk of shrinking the shirt. I personally dislike it when someone blames the company for their shrunken shirt, as if cotton would magically retain its form after multiple runs in the dryer. But that’s beyond the point. I will say that ironing this shirt is a pain, and you will not have a perfectly pressed shirt, but one that is less wrinkly. This is fine however, being that it’s a thicker cotton and it will resist wrinkling throughout the day, as is seen in my experience at work.

The first outing with this shirt was a rough one, I was reorganizing the shelves in the back room, going up and down the stairs with boxes and hangers and the such, bending down to pick things up, and reaching up to bring things down. Throughout the day my full range of motion was not restricted nor did the shirt ever come untucked (finally!). I have the body heat of a brick oven, so when I broke out in a sweat, the shirt dried out relatively fast. Obviously, everyone will have different experiences with their body temps so my experience will not be like yours, but it is worth noting. As I threw it in the wash again and again, the shirt began to soften up nicely. Personally, I am beyond satisfied with the heavier fabric that Brooks Brothers has opted for, even if it’s not made of Supima Cotton.

Who are the Makers? And the Mystery of Supima Cotton

Being a recent development, one of my supervisors at the store notified me that the previous iteration of the OCBD and this Heritage model are being made by our friends over at the Garland factory. Although being shut down during the pandemic, Garland has seemingly done the impossible and started up operations in making shirts and the such. Their website shows a variety of big-name brands that they currently work with in producing the products we know and love. Welcome back.

During my trials I have been asked by members of the IVY PREP community whether the shirt is being advertised or has any evidence of the fabric being made out of the venerated Supima Cotton. Brooks Brothers has historically stuck to the brand and has it labelled throughout its most of its staple items like dress, sport, and polo shirts, its chinos and shorts, and sweaters. However, nowhere on the tags, advertisement, or even on the display cards does it clearly state that the shirt’s fabric is made out of Supima Cotton. I would dare speculate that this was a way to cut costs on an already expensive shirt, and the brand opted for a no name maker. It is regrettable to see this, as Brooks Brothers’ most loyal fans will probably turn their noses up to the non Supima shirt.

Final Thoughts

Is this shirt for you? Its difficult to say, there are so many options in the Oxford Cloth market that this new shirt doesn’t warrant much excitement, the Heritage OCBD is a very small fish in a very large pond that is dominated by other, more consistent brands. Will they ever bring a rear collar button model? Or flap pockets and a loop? Could there be an option to customize the shirt to your liking? It’s hard to tell what the direction is for Brooks Brothers with this new debut, and what that means for the future of the brand. My store recently acquired a whole stock of American made Oxfords and we have already seen a warm welcome back from fans of the brand. However, the steep price for a plain white or blue shirt doesn’t excite the senses, and personally, it leaves me wanting more. Hopefully, if the MiUSA line of shirts succeeds, we might see a larger selection of colors, stripes, and patterns. Personally, I am pleased with the shirt through all its facets, I can only hope that we may find ourselves in a revival and possibly, a pink university stripe shirt… 

Thank you to the community for your questions and I hope that I did a good enough job in reviewing this shirt, I would also like to thank Mr. Jerrod Swanton for allowing me to contribute my work on his site. 

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

4 Comments on "Brooks Brothers: “American Made Heritage OCBD Dress Shirt” Review"

  1. Mark sullivan says:

    I worked at Jos A. Bank Clothiers from 1978 through 1998. Started when there were seven stores in Baltimore, Washington & Philadelphia. Clothing factories in Baltimore, and the two decades of expansion. The glory years of traditional quality products, before it became what it is today.
    Nice review of the BB OCBC, an old favorite from the 70s & 80s.

  2. JDV says:

    But not the real traditional fit. Today they call Madison, traditional. Unless they reverted only on this shirt.

  3. austin says:

    Thanks for the post! Love your work!

    Question, do you happen to have any pictures of you wearing this new OBCD? preferably both untucked and tucked. curious to see how it drapes overall.


    • oxford cloth button down says:

      Thanks, Austin. This is a guest post so I don’t have pictures and unfortunately they have changed their OCBD again since this post.

I would like to hear from you