All posts in Men’s Clothing Reviews

A Quick Preview

O'Connell's OCBD

I have been slacking off. That’s not totally true. I have been busy. Just not with the blog. I do have a few things in the works so I thought I’d give you a preview real quick.

Here’s what’s coming. I snagged a J.Press Pennant label tweed from the sales section. It’s hard for me to find RTW sport coats that fit. This line might be the one for me. I have a lightweight unlined OCBD from O’Connell’s for the approaching warm weather and a pair of their chinos on deck. Both look promising. That’s it for now. Reviews to come soon!

J.Press Pennant Label Tweed Sport Coat

O'Connell's OCBD

OCBDs Under $100

People seem to be excited for the new J.Crew gitant-fit OCBD (see it here). It reminds of the the warm welcome that the Gap Giant fit OCBD received a few years ago (see here). I get it. An affordable all-cotton-must-iron OCBD with collar roll is not easy to find these days. I have my doubts that this the best OCBD for your dollar though. Below are a few thoughts and a few options for OCBDs under $100.

I heard about the new J.Crew OCBD through the grapevine. I took a look. It looks pretty good, but I am not sold on that collar for $98 (top image). I wondered if they were a better buy than the alpha sized not made in the USA $98 Brooks Brothers OCBD (pictured above). The collar size looks better here. I know that nobody is planning on plopping down $100 for either shirt. Just waiting on that inevitable sale price. The Brooks are Currently $78 on sale (see them here) , but I have seen them on sale for 4 for $250 which gets the price down just under $65 a piece. I guess the question is how low will the J.Crew price go?

There are a few more players in the all-cotton must-iron OCBD for under $100 and not all of them are alpha sized. For example, you have Spier & Mackay which get a lot of fanfare starting at $58 (see here). I have never tried one. My size is never available, but I digress. From what I have seen they look good. You can get a custom fit one from Ratio for $79, but only in white (see here). Other colors are $89-$139. You could also go to Proper cloth for $95 (see here). Both of these have a really nice collar roll and you can add most of the bells and whistles. I think that about does it for under $100 options. Am I forgetting anyone?

Based on the above I think that Ratio or Proper Cloth are the best bang for you dollar. However if the custom sizing and return process are a turn off than it is probably Spier & Mackay. If, you can get one. I have also heard that making returns at Spiers is painful. If the Brooks Brothers alpha sizing works for then it’s not a bad deal in my book. If all the above fails then I might turn to the new J.Crew OCBD.

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

A close-up of a white shirt

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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

A ruler and a piece of fabric

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A ruler on a white fabric

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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. 

An Overview of the New Brooks Brothers Oxford

Brooks Brothers OCBD Overview 2023

This week we have a guest post from OCBD blog reader and trad, ivy, prep enthusiast M.J. Lacayo (IG profile).

The quintessential shirt for ivy and prep enthusiasts, many mourned the loss of the Brooks
Brothers rendition made popular during the early 2000s. The declaration of bankruptcy during
the global pandemic neutered much of the ability for Brooks Brothers to recover, and the oxford
shirt was deemed to be lost, leaving loyal customers with non-iron, alpha sized imitations.

However, the OCBD has made a reappearance. Manufactured in the United States, the classic, all
cotton, and must iron shirt has finally returned (It even has a front pocket, finally!). I aim to
display the differences between this era, the previous one, and that of long ago.

At a glance, there are some minor changes to this new version of OCBD. It lacks a locker loop,
rear collar button, and gussets. However, the collar and cuff portions of the shirt are different. To
the hand they feel a little thicker, and lightly lined. If any of these are a deal breaker, congrats,
you saved a hefty $198. It doesn’t look like they will be on sale anytime soon, and now fall
under Brooks Brothers’ “new” sizing system; Slim (Milano) Regular (Regent), and Traditional

No gusset on the 2023 OCBD

The Old New Vs the New New

The old OCBD rendition (debuted around 2016 I believe) was the staple shirt for the brand,
many loved the traditional styling with all the precise details. It retailed for $140 and did go on
sale often. As a previous article noted, you can still find some of the older OCBD’s on ebay with
minor milling flaws and for a great price. I would recommend shopping there until that well runs
dry before going for the newer OCBD offering. This version had a nice, soft hand, and an
unlined collar and cuffs. It was durable for sure, and it won many hearts due to its more vintage
design and construction.

The new OCBD does feel heftier and sturdier as a whole. As previously stated, the collar and
cuffs feel lined, but nothing too disturbing. It certainly does not feel like the collars from their
non-iron OCBDs of long ago, so that’s a plus. When thrifting, I look for the 2016 version in a
Madison fit and got the 2023 version in a traditional. The differences in fit are minor to say the
least, but the new traditional fit is a tiny bit wider and longer than the Madison fit.

2016 Brooks Brothers OCBD
2023 Brooks Brothers OCBD

The Old Old Vs the New New

Confused yet? The Old Old OCBD I refer to dates back to the ones sold during the 90s, and has
the same, if not identical features of the new OCBD (the 90s version lacks MOP buttons). They
have the exact same proportions too. It seems like the designers at Brooks Brothers skipped the
early 2000s version and opted to replicate the 90s style and fit.

One minor thing to note, the new OCBD has the care tag inside the side seam rather than at the
bottom or on the size tag itself as seen on the 90s version. I know, it’s a minor distinction, but I
like the placket design more since it doesn’t get in the way of having a nicely tucked shirt. No
matter, a seam ripper and some thread will do the trick and I’ll remove it myself. As with any
shirt, I recommend a cold wash and dry hang for these 100% cotton shirts, as throwing it in the
dryer will surely shrink it.

Circa 1990s OCBD
Similar widths, the OCBD is pretty long!

To those looking to relive the good ol’ days of the Brooks Brothers OCBD, you can’t go wrong
with this one. However, I would dare say to look at the secondhand market first before paying
such a heavy asking price for the new one. They currently come in solid colors like white, blue,
pink, and striped in blue and red. If they threw out some more colors in solids and stripes, they
would be setting a strong foundation for success. For the meanwhile, however, I guess we’ll have
to deal with the pastels.

A Summers Tweed by J.Press Pennant Label

I have been watching the developments of the Pennant Label at J.Press with interest. I posted about their sport coats during my 3/2 roll roundup not long ago. I emailed them to get a few more details about the jacket and the line itself. The fine folks over at J.Press were kind enough to send me one of their summer tweeds to test out.

Let me tell you what they told me about the summer tweed. By they I mean none other than Robert Squillaro the Sr. Vice President & Chief Merchandising Officer at J.Press (Check him out at Ivy Style). What he told me is that this jacket is obviously aimed at a younger audience than J.Press’s main line and that it is meant to ride the fence between sport coat and a jacket. It’s not made in the USA like most things at Press, but that was a decision that they had to make to keep it affordable. I really appreciated all of the inside baseball from Robert.

What do I think about the summer tweed? First and foremost, it has a classic 3/2 roll ivy silhouette. So classic that when I put it on it conjured up images of Brooks Brothers No.1 from 1901. The jacket is dart-less, the edges are swelled, the quarters are open which is rare these days, and the shoulders are soft. It is lightweight and unlined. You can even see some light through the weave if you hold it up. Although it would still be a little hot to wear in the full heat of summer. However, I think that’s true for all sport coats and blazers no matter the material. It would work nicely on a cool summer morning and in any air conditioned office.

How it fits. It’s alpha sized so fit is going to vary. I am a 37S and the small fits me a lot better than I anticipated. It covers my rear which was my number one worry. The shoulders are a touch big but because it’s unstructured the shoulders are very forgiving and it’s hardly noticeable. The downside is that because it’s unstructured you will get some creasing around the trap and shoulder area. Being unlined makes it cooler but also a tad challenging to get on and off. Lined sleeves would have fixed that but would have also made it warmer. The button stance is maybe a touch high. As with any jacket I need get the sleeves taken up. I might benefit from a touch of waist suppression, but I doubt that I will do that. I would call this size small a 37S/38S (see measurements below).

Overall I am a big fan. Its versatility is what I like most after the shape. The tweed material makes it both casual and sophisticated. I can dress it up with a tie and khakis, but at the same time it would look great simply thrown on with jeans and an OCBD. While they call it a summer tweed I will be wearing this fall, winter, and spring.

Measurements for size small:
Pit-to-Pit: 17.5″
Chest: 20″
Length: 28.5″