Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Classic Spring and Summer Long Sleeve Button-Downs

Drying in the Sun - A Wardrobe of Casual Button-Downs for Spring and Summer. Photo by Salt Water New England


22 comments:

  1. May I ask a question of our gracious web-hostess and fellow readers? I wear Oxford cloth button-downs to work everyday--mostly Mercer & Sons, J Press, a few old Brooks Brothers. I like my clothes to last. What do you find is the best way to care for them? Out to a cleaners? Washer, dryer, and iron? Or just washed and hung to dry? Anyone worry about wrinkles?

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    1. I always let the older, classic BB OCBD "air dry." Unfortunately, Claudio Del Vecchio, the current "arrogant, I know better than all of you" owner of BB (scion of the Luxotiica family fortune) has instructed all of his vendors to cut down on the amount of material in EVERY garment BB now sells. Likewise the material is thinner and less durable so using a dryer is now far more hazardous to the long term health of the garment.

      Yes, the shirts will be wrinkled. However, I starch my shirts myself (when I wear them with a suit or blazer) using a 50/50 mix of water and Sta-Flo liquid starch. You can either drench the shirt in that solution or use a spray bottle to do so and then, iron-dry the shirts to a state of crispness. I received many, many compliments on my shirts and people were generally stunned to learn I ironed them myself.

      On another note, given what CDV now charges for his OCBD shirts at BB, IMO, one is far better served by purchasing this type of shirt from Mercer & Sons as they have NOT shortened the length of the collars and thus, they still show that classic button down roll that we prefer.

      I used to be a loyal Brooks Bros. fan and customer, but no longer. What I buy there now is very little and then and only much scrutiny, do I make my purchases. Over the last few years, my buying has been generally limited to the 100% cotton polo shirts for summer wear.

      In the last 5-10 years, with the exception of men's suits and ties (still made by hand in Long Island City, NY), almost everything else sold by BB has turned to crap and CLAUDIO DEL VECCHIO is personally to blame.

      BTW, due to his gross egomaniacal mis-management, the company is now in serious financial trouble and may become another of those retail failures we read so much about.

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    2. Slightly off topic, but regarding BB's women's selections: Back in the fall, they offered a women's jacket in a sumptuous pale blue tweed that I really wanted. When I tried it on, although the body fit perfectly, the sleeves were uncomfortably tight. It also looked quite odd, with skin tight sleeves and a tailored but not tight body. Since I don't have disproportionately large arms, I can only attribute the oddness of the fit to the design of the jacket.

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    3. Bitsy: not the design, but rather CDV's instructions to his buyers and they to the vendors. "Use as little material as possible." Many, many of the professional sales people at BB, who CDV is doing his best to get rid of by reducing their compensation have repeatedly told the buyers that BB garment sizings are no longer true to the labels.

      CDV's response to anything remotely suggesting an improvement? "if you don't like it here, move on." Rather non-constructive, don't you think?

      Men's shirt sizes, including the traditional "MADISON" fit with the red & white labels are notorious for their stunning lack of fit across the chest, shoulder and sleeve lengths.

      The only way BB will change back to its once great iconic place in fashion is the day CDV sells the company back to an AMERICAN. He and his Italian senior staff in Connecticut are well known for their arrogance and lack of people skills when dealing with both employees and customers.

      Brooks Bros., a once great marque slowly circling the drain.

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  2. Ideally, if you can, wash them in warm, or cold, and hang them to dry. Then, iron them when they're dry. It's time consuming, but it's the way they last for a long time. Dry cleaning them too much isn't good for them, and neither are too many turns in a hot dryer.

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  3. Cleaners Michael, cleaners.....in a pinch I wash, hang dry, iron myself, but so much easier, cleaners.

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  4. Regular machine wash with unscented laundry soap; in the dryer for five minutes; air dry on a hanger; and only iron if the event calls for it.

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  5. Lately, I have put clothes in lowest dryer setting & throwing in those wool dryer balls. Your clothes get cool-air dried. Touch up with iron, and you are set. A compromise when weather prohibits line drying, or if you don’t have access to a line (city dwelling). Obviously, your dryer should not be packed. You’ll end up with a load of damp clothes! Not sure about your work environment, but in the industry in which I work, financial/investment services, wrinkles are a no-no. Other industries/sectors may be more relaxed.

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  6. I once had a couple of OCBDs that were called, as I recall, popovers and at the time they needed to be professionally done and so they went to the cleaners but my other OCBDs were laundered at the same establishment. Maybe I'm confused as to terminology. I do know that when I pick up our daughter's clothes, I pick them up at the laundry but she can pick them up at the same establishment and she says she had to stop by the cleaners to get her clothes. Am I confused, as usual?

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  7. I only use our dry cleaner for sport coats and my best "occasion" shirts for use with ties. For work, I am fortunate to work in a casual environment and usually overdressed by comparison! My OCBDs (Sero, Ralph Lauren, Nantucket Whaler) and Sero blends get the "quick/delicate" setting with minimal detergent and low heat dryer cycle; gas dryer, even better. Ironing seems to shorten the life of the shirt, so a light steam works well. Modern appliances are a must for this routine, but good shirts will last for a long time with normal use.

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  8. Wish Mercer would consider making these wonderful shirts for women! I even inquired if I would be able to get away with a men's size, (I'm a size 4 top in women's) but was told to not bother as they would still be too oversized. Maybe someday...

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  9. I'm an old, late 60's kind of guy and, at one time, heavy starch was the rage. However, today, it's plain ironing or, at the most, sizing does the trick.

    Best wishes to all!

    Bob
    Williamsville-Newfane, VT

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    1. I am a bit younger but still seek the heavy starch. Chatting with the dry cleaner the other day he point out that he can't use the starch that he used in the late 70-early 80 due to environmental concerns. I told him I missed the idea of heavy starch that meant the shirt could stand on its own. He said those days were long gone.

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    2. If you want to achieve that crispness, go to the supermarket and start buying STA-FLO liquid starch (it's a light, sky blue color). If you want to get the crispness you desire, mix the starch and water at a 50/50 ratio and use a spray bottle to drench you shirts. You can use the iron on the Permanent Press setting to "iron-dry" the shirt. At a 50/50 ratio, I guarantee the shirts will stand up in a corner by themselves.

      When ironing the cuffs, be sure to open them and iron them (not flat) but in a rolled, circular method on the narrow end of the ironing board. This will prevent a flat cuff where repeated ironings will stress the thread of the corners of said cuffs, eventually causing them to fray. The circular rounded ironed cuffs will last as long as the shirt.

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  10. I've always cared for my husband's shirts that way. Great reading other tips here on this blog. Are you on Instagram as well? I'd like to follow along. ~ Van

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  11. Allow me to return to the shirts themselves. I have the seersucker but in pink. Under a blazer it's a more festive shirt. In addition there is a Tropical Pink, Green, Blue and Yellow Check that is quite nice.

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  12. Whenever conversations turn to laundry, I always wonder why people need to wash their shirts on a 50 degree cycle for over 2 hours with detergent and stain remover. Just how dirty are their shirts getting?

    Let's be honest, unless you're wearing a shirt for manual labour or in a strenuous environment, you're not really going to dirty it to any extreme.

    Personally, I wash all my shirts on a 30 degree 'quicker' wash with a splash of non-bio liquid. They are then air dried on the line and hung straight on hangers. If the shirt has a few light creases in I leave them in. If the creases are a bit heavier, I hang the shirt in the bathroom while I shower. I only ever iron the shirt if it's for a special occasion. Not even my office shirts see the iron. I can usually get about 5 years out of a run-of-the-mill work shirt. Something a bit more special might last me 2 or 3 times that.

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    1. Well, I certainly don't do manual labor in the dress shirts that I've been wearing for my office job but the collars really stain badly and after all day, the shirt doesn't smell that great either. I'm sure it's just me, though. But they just get washed on the normal cycle with an extra rinse. Takes about an hour. Plain all-cotton (not wash & wear) shirts are washed in cold water but chiefly just to even out the loads. No-iron shirts go in at regular temperature. All shirts are ironed and some get spray starch on the front. I also scrub the collars, which helps some, but most tricks to prevent stains don't seem to work for me. I'm probably not saying the incantation correctly as I scrub, scrub, scrub.

      I am retiring, finally, the first week of March and I have no idea if I will keep up those standards.

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  13. My husband I wear Ralph oxfords, which I launder here at home. I use powdered Tide, agitate for 5 minutes, soak for 10, agitate for 3 more minutes. Hang to dry, starch and iron. --Holly in PA

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  14. If they are willing to suggest that you email or fax your credit card information to them they cannot be trusted to handle customer data. There is nothing whiny about it. As far as public spectacle, consumers should be fully aware that this company is unwilling to follow basic security procedures. As a vendor they should be aware of PCI compliance and they should do what they can to make sure consumer data isn’t at risk.

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  15. Then shop elsewhere. It's up to you. They do not have an obligation to change their system.

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  16. I buy used BB oxfords on eBay, washed on hand wash cycle in cold water and dried on medium setting. I usually buy them a little bigger so there’s room for shrinkage. I like how the shirts feel out of the dryer and I dont leave them in too long so they don’t get worn out.

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