The Flap Pocket OCBD That I’ve Never Seen

Brooks Brothers Flap Pocket OCBD

Anyone who has spent anytime here in Tradsville knows what a flap pocket OCBD is and who makes it. If you are new around here it’s the shirt above with the flap over the chest pocket and it’s made by J.Press. It’s not the only OCBD with a flap pocket, but it is the flap pocket OCBD.

Not too long ago while doing some online vintage shopping at Placid Vintage I spotted a vintage Brooks Brothers OCBD with a flap pocket. I did a double take. I had never heard about a Brooks flap pocket let alone seen one. Sure I had seen flap pocket OCBDs from brands new and old like Ralph Lauren, Michael Spencer, Kamakura, LL Bean, Ratio, Gant, etc., but never Brooks. This OCBD appeared to be a custom makeup, but still I was shocked.

BB Flap Pocket OCBD

Here is why this is so interesting to me. J.Press added the flap pocket during the 1950s to distinguish itself from the competition. What I had always assumed is that the competition was Brooks Brothers. Now here is the competition adding the detail to their shirts that J.Press added to be different. That had to be extremely flattering and a little aggravating or maybe the other way around.

Brooks Brothers Flap Pocket

I thought about this some more. Maybe Brooks wasn’t their competition at this time. There were plenty of other popular OCBDs back then such as Troy Guild, Gant, Sero, and many more. So maybe I am reading more into that than there is to be read. A revisionist history per se. Then I found an old Ivy Style turned J.Press blog post seems to confirm that Brooks was indeed competition. That blog post also contains some interesting OCBD history about how J.Press, Gant, and Sero origins were all intertwined. You can check that post out here. The moral of this story is that yes Brooks Brothers did make a flap pocket OCBD.

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

10 Comments on "The Flap Pocket OCBD That I’ve Never Seen"

  1. Jonathan says:

    Jerrod, a while back you did the locker loop vs the back of the collar button.. what I like about my flap ocbd’s is that you get all three accoutrements!

  2. JDV says:

    Bravo. Great find. Got my first flap pocket from J. Press last summer but the sleeves came true to measure w/out the old Brooks extra bit for shrinkage and it now is too short. Waited too long to return it. Wore only 5 or so times and it is for sale on ebay. Ready to get another one soon, this one with an inch longer sleeves. As a fan of the old “Law & Order” show, ADA Jack McCoy wore a flap pocket point collar very often. Looks great. Assume that was made by J. Press but they no longer make a non-button-down flap pocket, to the best of my knowledge. LL Bean made one at one time also, ca. 1990s.

    • oxford cloth button down says:

      I am going to have to go take a look at this shirt from Law & Order. Good luck on your next flap pocket!

  3. Irving Steinberg says:

    Great post as always. Interesting observations. I have a 6 button, probably 1987 or 88 Cambray button down shirt that has 2 flapped front chest pockets. You can see it in the Fall 1987 catalog:

    I imagine there must be all sorts of oddities and exceptions to what we consider the bb norm, like a madras plaid camp shirt, with a loop collar from the 60s I found on eBay, so un brooks like, but proudly sporting their label, or a 1950s Brooks “Makers” fuzzy light cream “Irish donegal wool cloth” labeled sport coat with a rainbow of colored dots throughout the trad, 3/2, soft shouldered 1950s tweed coat. If only it fit me . Keep up the posts. Cheer!

  4. Tie Clip says:

    Jerrod, nice find. Never seen one myself, but many interesting amalgamations have come from the MTM shirt programs of Traditional American clothiers.
    e.g. Irving Press, the uncle of Richard Press, using the J. Press MTM shirting program “regularly availed himself of the opportunity to choose button-down shirts with sleeves able to accommodate his treasured gold-framed IEP cufflinks”.

    I honestly think that this flap pocket without the button would wear slightly better underneath knitwear, but I don’t think that was it’s initial purpose…
    What are your thoughts on button down collar shirts with French cuffs Jerrod? I’m thinking of having a few made up soon based on BB button down collars, so I’ll let you know if they turn out well.

  5. Daniel says:

    I love how… sometimes I’ll show my friend a silk jacket, and he’ll say “wow, I’ve never seen that before!” and with you it’s some obscure detail like a unique kind of stripe on an ocbd, or a brand that you’ve never seen do a pocket flap on an ocbd before, and you’ll say “wow, I’ve never seen that before!” and it’s news, because you’ve seen everything, and it’s genuinely interesting, because obviously, now that you mention it, of course, I haven’t seen it either.

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