Lots of readers have been asking me about Everlane, a web-based clothing company with a very specific promise: that because they cut out the middle man, they can offer premium clothing at a modest price. The brand releases one product at a time, and focus on basics. Which makes a lot of sense, particularly from a marketing point of view – they make each product release an event, in the hopes people will share them. I was curious, but not quite curious enough to buy something. Luckily, the other day Everlane offered a sample of their new oxford shirt, so I jumped at the chance.
Here’s what I found: it’s a shirt that’s a reasonable buy at its price point, $55. If Everlane is promising more than that, this shirt won’t live up to its promise.
The Everlane oxford is a very casual shirt. It has a small-ish collar that’s very soft – I wouldn’t wear it with a tie. The tails are very short, clearly designed to be worn outside the trousers. The fabric is very lightweight for an oxford buttondown. The fit is quite slim – a size large fit me well around the middle, but was a little tight on my 42" chest, which is unusually thin. Unfortunately, since the shirts have S-M-L-XL sizing, the sleeves were just a tad short for me, and the collar just a tad big. I’d say the large is a 16 ½ x 35 or so, but with a chest sized for a man who wears a 40 coat.
One of the great values of an oxford buttowndown is its versatility. I wear mine with sportcoats, with a sweater, with jeans, with flannels, with almost everything besides a suit, nine months out of the year. Everlane’s offering is a decent weekend shirt, worn untucked with jeans, if it fits you. Unfortunately, the lack of neck and sleeve sizing makes it much more difficult to find the right fit, which is particularly important if you want or need to wear a tie.
Everlane’s quality promise is that they can make clothes that would be twice as expensive without their direct-to-consumer model. I don’t think I buy that. I’d say these shirts are comparable to Lands’ End Canvas, which are $5 less at retail (and often on sale – right now you could buy one for $21). They’re also pretty similar to Uniqlo’s offering, which is $29.90 at full price, and also regularly goes on sale.
If I want a sized shirt, so I can confidently wear it with a coat and tie (or just be confident that it will fit my neck and arms), I can go to Brooks Brothers, where oxfords retail for $80, but are frequently three for $200 or even less. Or I can go to Lands’ End, where for $49 I can get their excellent quality Hyde Park tailored-fit shirt for $49 (before sales).
So: if you’re long and thin, particularly in the chest, and are looking for a casual shirt, Everlane’s offering is worth the price. But don’t expect a miracle.