The OCBD Shirt Series, Part VI: Our Recommendations
After reviewing so many companies, we thought it’d be useful to say which we recommend the most. Obviously much depends on your taste, build, and budget. The great thing about having such a varied market, however, is that there’s almost something for everyone. 
If you want something traditional, I recommend either Mercer & Sons or O’Connell’s. Mercer & Sons has a great oxford cloth that’s a bit more variegated in color and nubby in texture than the standard stuff you’d find at Brooks Brothers or J. Press. They also have a fully sized, unlined collar that gives the kind of wrinkly, carefree roll that enthusiasts find so charming. The only problem is that Mercer & Sons’ shirts fit very, very full, so you if you use them, you may have to turn to their made-to-order service. That’s where you can size the body down two and taper it further by two or four inches. To find out if this might work for you, email Mercer and ask for their shirt measurements.
The other exceptional option is O’Connell’s, who has one of the best button down collars I’ve seen. Ethan there tells me that they’re also working on a new model based on mid-century Brooks Brothers designs. That should be released sometime by the end of this year, and we’ll be certain to announce it when it does.
For something slim fitting, I really like Kamakura. They make two fits – a regular cut and a slim fit. I suspect the slim fit is just the regular cut, but with darts in the back. Admittedly, darts look a bit strange to me on an OCBD, but the body of the shirt still fits fairly well, so long as you have a slim stomach. Either way, both the regular and slim fits have great looking collars. See it worn here at Ivy Style.
You may also want to consider Brooks Brothers’ slim and extra-slim fits once they go on sale. I like Kamakura’s shirts better, but on the downside, they never go on sale. Brooks Brothers’ oxfords, on the other hand, regularly get discounted to about $50 a pop.
Conversely, if money is no object, you can check out Harry Stedman, who makes a pretty nice design from a hodgepodge of classic American details. Just note that they fit pretty slim, so if you’re a regular 36, you may want to opt for a 38 or simply a size small.  
If you want something dressy, try Ledbury. Theirs isn’t a conventional OCBD like the others we’ve covered here. The fabric is a smoother Thomas Mason cloth that’s somewhat reminiscent of Royal Oxford, and the shirt doesn’t have details such as box pleats or chest pockets. All in all, it’s just a dressier looking shirt, which can be good depending on what you’re going for. 
For something affordable, I like Land’s End’s tailored fit oxfords. Their fabric feels better than what Uniqlo and Lands’ End Canvas offers, and the fit isn’t as trendy. Though, depending on your style, Uniqlo and Lands’ End Canvas’ slimmer fits and shorter collars might work better for you. Either way, be sure to wait for sales. Lands’ End oxfords can be had for about $30 or $35, while Uniqlo and Lands’ End Canvas will often be sold for about $20.
Finally, if you want to get something custom made, I can recommend Cottonwork and Ascot Chang from personal experience. Cottonwork, as I’ve noted, does online made to measure, while Ascot Chang does full bespoke. The second tends to have an advantage in terms of executing an ideal fit, but the first will be considerably more affordable. Both do good work, however. You may also want to look into other custom shirtmakers, such as CEGO, Geneva, Anto, Dege & Skinner, and many others. Check StyleForum for recommendations, and perhaps acquaint yourself with the process of buying custom shirts through these posts I wrote last year. 

The OCBD Shirt Series, Part VI: Our Recommendations

After reviewing so many companies, we thought it’d be useful to say which we recommend the most. Obviously much depends on your taste, build, and budget. The great thing about having such a varied market, however, is that there’s almost something for everyone. 

If you want something traditional, I recommend either Mercer & Sons or O’Connell’s. Mercer & Sons has a great oxford cloth that’s a bit more variegated in color and nubby in texture than the standard stuff you’d find at Brooks Brothers or J. Press. They also have a fully sized, unlined collar that gives the kind of wrinkly, carefree roll that enthusiasts find so charming. The only problem is that Mercer & Sons’ shirts fit very, very full, so you if you use them, you may have to turn to their made-to-order service. That’s where you can size the body down two and taper it further by two or four inches. To find out if this might work for you, email Mercer and ask for their shirt measurements.

The other exceptional option is O’Connell’s, who has one of the best button down collars I’ve seen. Ethan there tells me that they’re also working on a new model based on mid-century Brooks Brothers designs. That should be released sometime by the end of this year, and we’ll be certain to announce it when it does.

For something slim fitting, I really like Kamakura. They make two fits – a regular cut and a slim fit. I suspect the slim fit is just the regular cut, but with darts in the back. Admittedly, darts look a bit strange to me on an OCBD, but the body of the shirt still fits fairly well, so long as you have a slim stomach. Either way, both the regular and slim fits have great looking collars. See it worn here at Ivy Style.

You may also want to consider Brooks Brothers’ slim and extra-slim fits once they go on sale. I like Kamakura’s shirts better, but on the downside, they never go on sale. Brooks Brothers’ oxfords, on the other hand, regularly get discounted to about $50 a pop.

Conversely, if money is no object, you can check out Harry Stedman, who makes a pretty nice design from a hodgepodge of classic American details. Just note that they fit pretty slim, so if you’re a regular 36, you may want to opt for a 38 or simply a size small.  

If you want something dressy, try Ledbury. Theirs isn’t a conventional OCBD like the others we’ve covered here. The fabric is a smoother Thomas Mason cloth that’s somewhat reminiscent of Royal Oxford, and the shirt doesn’t have details such as box pleats or chest pockets. All in all, it’s just a dressier looking shirt, which can be good depending on what you’re going for. 

For something affordable, I like Land’s End’s tailored fit oxfords. Their fabric feels better than what Uniqlo and Lands’ End Canvas offers, and the fit isn’t as trendy. Though, depending on your style, Uniqlo and Lands’ End Canvas’ slimmer fits and shorter collars might work better for you. Either way, be sure to wait for sales. Lands’ End oxfords can be had for about $30 or $35, while Uniqlo and Lands’ End Canvas will often be sold for about $20.

Finally, if you want to get something custom made, I can recommend Cottonwork and Ascot Chang from personal experience. Cottonwork, as I’ve noted, does online made to measure, while Ascot Chang does full bespoke. The second tends to have an advantage in terms of executing an ideal fit, but the first will be considerably more affordable. Both do good work, however. You may also want to look into other custom shirtmakers, such as CEGO, Geneva, Anto, Dege & Skinner, and many others. Check StyleForum for recommendations, and perhaps acquaint yourself with the process of buying custom shirts through these posts I wrote last year

It’s On Sale: Lands’ End Down Vests $18 Shipped
As we already mentioned, everything at Lands’ End is 40% off at the moment. That includes their down vests, which had already been marked down to $33 (for the patterned version) and $28 (for the solid). That makes their final price, with the additional 40% markdown, just about $18, with free shipping. Use the code DONNER and the PIN 1585. I’d generally recommend sizing down one size on these - I’m a 42 and can can comfortably layer a medium over a sweater or sweatshirt.
(Some other deals: over-the-calf dress cotton sock three-packs for $9, and wool for the same price, cotton casual sock 3-packs for $6, flannel trousers for $60, Chelsea boots $95, fake Indy boot $48, slim-fit chinos $15.) 

It’s On Sale: Lands’ End Down Vests $18 Shipped

As we already mentioned, everything at Lands’ End is 40% off at the moment. That includes their down vests, which had already been marked down to $33 (for the patterned version) and $28 (for the solid). That makes their final price, with the additional 40% markdown, just about $18, with free shipping. Use the code DONNER and the PIN 1585. I’d generally recommend sizing down one size on these - I’m a 42 and can can comfortably layer a medium over a sweater or sweatshirt.

(Some other deals: over-the-calf dress cotton sock three-packs for $9, and wool for the same price, cotton casual sock 3-packs for $6, flannel trousers for $60, Chelsea boots $95, fake Indy boot $48, slim-fit chinos $15.) 

thisfits:

Lands’ End Canvas Leather Lace-up Boots — $89.40 shipped after promo code
From: $149.00
When these boots were first released in August, I loved the look but worried about the quality. Googling for more information about Lands’ End footwear didn’t turn up very much, and what I did find tended not to be flattering. Initial reviews in the LEC thread on StyleForum weren’t promising, either.
You can imagine my surprise, then, when Valet endorsed the boots, and most of the reviews posted on the boots have been positive.
Valet’s first point implies that the regular price of $149 is fair for these boots, and you’ll have trouble finding any boot for less.
Today you can.
Promo code DEC13 (PIN: 1118) will knock 40% off the boots, plus free shipping. That’s just $89.40, before tax.
You’ll be hard-pressed to find a better deal, since Lands’ End rarely releases a promo code for more than 40% off (I don’t recall one, in any case), and Lands’ End Canvas almost never puts their shoes and boots on sale (perhaps, never).
Promo code expires tonight, so get on it.

An excellent deal for a handsome pair of boots.

thisfits:

Lands’ End Canvas Leather Lace-up Boots — $89.40 shipped after promo code

From: $149.00

When these boots were first released in August, I loved the look but worried about the quality. Googling for more information about Lands’ End footwear didn’t turn up very much, and what I did find tended not to be flattering. Initial reviews in the LEC thread on StyleForum weren’t promising, either.

You can imagine my surprise, then, when Valet endorsed the boots, and most of the reviews posted on the boots have been positive.

Valet’s first point implies that the regular price of $149 is fair for these boots, and you’ll have trouble finding any boot for less.

Today you can.

Promo code DEC13 (PIN: 1118) will knock 40% off the boots, plus free shipping. That’s just $89.40, before tax.

You’ll be hard-pressed to find a better deal, since Lands’ End rarely releases a promo code for more than 40% off (I don’t recall one, in any case), and Lands’ End Canvas almost never puts their shoes and boots on sale (perhaps, never).

Promo code expires tonight, so get on it.

An excellent deal for a handsome pair of boots.

The Rugby Shirt
A lot of folks have been emailing looking for alternatives to t-shirts and oxfords for casual wear.  So let me take this opportunity to endorse the rugby shirt.
Like a lot of casual wear, the rugby shirt grew out of sporting clothing - they were, in fact, for playing rugby.  Of course, the rugby shirt you might buy at a Ralph Lauren store in Boston is quite different from the jersey a rugby union player wears in Melbourne.  (Please don’t correct me if that is not a thing that happens in Melbourne, rugby fans and Melbournians).
The rugby shirt is rugged, but it retains a bit of gentility.  It’s also often long-sleeved, and thus a great alternative to the polo for cooler times of year (fall through spring, essentially).  Find one with a good fit, pair it with a great pair of jeans, and you’ll look like you’re put together despite not trying to be put together at all.

I like this one from Lands’ End Canvas a lot, and it goes for a very reasonable price, to boot.  And of course Polo has quajillions.  Unless you’re a rugby fan, I’d recommend you stay away from crests and logos and stick with simple color combos in solids and bold stripes.

This jersey cotton one, from Alternative Apparel, is my favorite, though.  It comes in a few colors, but I like heather gray the best.  Alternative stuff is insanely soft and comfortable, and the fit is great, too.  It retails for $60, which is a fair bit of money… but it just so happens that because I use Alternative blanks for printing Sound of Young America t-shirts, I have a wholesale account with them.
So, how about this?  If we can get together 12 people who want to buy them, how about $39 each + $5 first-class shipping in the US?  I’d be willing to do the packing and so on.  If there’s a good response, maybe I can do this with Alternative every other month or so.  I love their stuff (for gentlemen and ladies) and my wife and I own a lot of it.
So…
If you’re in, email contact@putthison.com with how many of what you want in what color and what size.  If we get a dozen emails, I’ll put in the order this week and ship them out when they arrive.  I’m guessing we’ll be able to get them out in early January.  (And if there’s something else you want from AA, knock 20% off the retail price and that’s what I’ll charge ya plus $10 for shipping for your whole order - let me know the item number, eg: “aa1352”.)
If we can’t get enough people together, a failed but noble experiment :).

The Rugby Shirt

A lot of folks have been emailing looking for alternatives to t-shirts and oxfords for casual wear.  So let me take this opportunity to endorse the rugby shirt.

Like a lot of casual wear, the rugby shirt grew out of sporting clothing - they were, in fact, for playing rugby.  Of course, the rugby shirt you might buy at a Ralph Lauren store in Boston is quite different from the jersey a rugby union player wears in Melbourne.  (Please don’t correct me if that is not a thing that happens in Melbourne, rugby fans and Melbournians).

The rugby shirt is rugged, but it retains a bit of gentility.  It’s also often long-sleeved, and thus a great alternative to the polo for cooler times of year (fall through spring, essentially).  Find one with a good fit, pair it with a great pair of jeans, and you’ll look like you’re put together despite not trying to be put together at all.

I like this one from Lands’ End Canvas a lot, and it goes for a very reasonable price, to boot.  And of course Polo has quajillions.  Unless you’re a rugby fan, I’d recommend you stay away from crests and logos and stick with simple color combos in solids and bold stripes.

This jersey cotton one, from Alternative Apparel, is my favorite, though.  It comes in a few colors, but I like heather gray the best.  Alternative stuff is insanely soft and comfortable, and the fit is great, too.  It retails for $60, which is a fair bit of money… but it just so happens that because I use Alternative blanks for printing Sound of Young America t-shirts, I have a wholesale account with them.

So, how about this?  If we can get together 12 people who want to buy them, how about $39 each + $5 first-class shipping in the US?  I’d be willing to do the packing and so on.  If there’s a good response, maybe I can do this with Alternative every other month or so.  I love their stuff (for gentlemen and ladies) and my wife and I own a lot of it.

So…

If you’re in, email contact@putthison.com with how many of what you want in what color and what size.  If we get a dozen emails, I’ll put in the order this week and ship them out when they arrive.  I’m guessing we’ll be able to get them out in early January.  (And if there’s something else you want from AA, knock 20% off the retail price and that’s what I’ll charge ya plus $10 for shipping for your whole order - let me know the item number, eg: “aa1352”.)

If we can’t get enough people together, a failed but noble experiment :).

Great customer service at Lands’ End Canvas

After posting about Lands’ End Canvas last week, I decided to place a trial order with them.  My younger brother’s in college and desperately needs some clothes, so I thought I’d buy him some desert boots for Christmas.  I ordered him a pair in size 13, and went about my business.

I happened to call my brother today, and in passing asked him his shoe size.  Turns out the freak has size 14 feet (holy crap!).  “Sometimes,” he tells me as though the statement is not an absurdism, “I can squeeze into a 13 1/2.”

So I looked up my order confirmation in my inbox, and called the 800 number.  A friendly woman answered after one ring, and I told her my order number and problem.  “Unfortunately, we don’t carry that shoe in 14,” she said, “but I can cancel your order if you like.”

"Great."  I replied, expecting to have to give her my credit card number over again or something.

"Thanks so much for shopping with us.  So sorry it didn’t work out."

And that was it.  It took maybe three minutes, total, tops.  No robots, no hassles, just a friendly lady who answered in person after the first ring.

Customer service.  Love it.  Way to go, Lands’ End.