10 December 2008

No Starch, on Hangers

There's been a bit of talk of late about the proper manner in which to wear an Oxford Cloth Button Down Collared Shirt. ( I am not a fan of the text-message driven fad of excessive abbreviation, so I refuse to use the term OCBD. Yes, I am a fuddy-duddy.)It seems many of you feel they should be professionally laundered, starched and pressed, then allowed to wrinkle. If you wear them regularly in a business setting I'll grant you that. But what makes Oxford Cloth so wonderful is its hard wearing versatility. Get an old fashioned, nice thick one and you can on occasion get away with no ironing at all, for the perfectly natural, oh-so-comfortable, soft rumpled look:

This is an old J.Press (I know, you all knew it by the flapped pocket) pink Oxford. The older this shirt gets, the better it looks and the less I iron it.

As for professional laundering and starching, I personally find it a pinch antithetical to the Oxford Cloth Button Down's inherent relaxed and casual appeal. I wash them and iron them myself, and they remain soft as a baby's a**. Save the heavy starch for spread collars and French cuffs.

p.s. this one has a third button at the back of the collar. Anyone know the origin or point of this superfluous third button?

11 comments:

longwing said...

Back in the day we called them oxfords, which I still prefer. I also iron at home without starch. I'll leave unironed on weekends sans tie, esp w/ shetland. Those that need starch should stick to pinpoints.

ms. mindless said...

i agree. unless the shirt is worn in a business setting, i much prefer the wrinkled look. the majority of my oxford shirts are $15 clearance numbers from ralph lauren outlets or old ones from land's end, so nowhere near as nice as a j. press, but i think with age, my oxfords are so much nicer!

Anonymous said...

Why are 100% cotton shirts so hard to find. I don't mind ironing. LL Bean sells nothing but NON-IRON and it took 6 months of wearing and using Fabric softener.

LL Bean sells on 100% untreated cloth shirt that I love. It is called the weekend oxford.

My take on no iron shirts is that I may be wearing a portable chemical factory.

Can anybody comment on this.

Giuseppe said...

As far as I'm concerned "no-iron" and "wrinkle-free" are dirty words.

Andrew said...

Add "stain resistant" to that list. And I, too, am having a hard time finding 100%, unadulterated, cotton oxfords at a reasonable price.

longwing said...

Anon, the Brooks oxfords bought in 3s while on sale are not too expensive.

Matt said...

My Oxfords are from the Gap outlet. $12 bucks, 100% cotton. they rumple nicely.

Miguel said...

I was always under the impression that the third button was to prevent your collar from creeping up and exposing your tie. This seems to happen to me a lot more on OCBDs because of the shrinkage and wrinkling...

I like Rugby's OCBDs because they fit my matchstick arms very slim and are long enough to tuck. Plus they usually get a healthy markdown come sale time.

Anonymous said...

In my humble opinion, the Hyde Park Oxford by Lands' End is the best entry-level oxford available. All cotton, non non-iron (or must-iron), single needle stitching and a nice collar roll. The only drawback is the locker loop, which I personally find unnecessary.

From what I've purchased, Lands' End seems to have comparable craftsmanship and quality control on par with Brooks Brothers, Ralph Lauren and J.Press. At $30 these shirts are a great option for somebody who is not willing to pay $75 or more for a shirt.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Miguel as regards the third button. They are occasionally seen on turn-ddown collar formal wear shirts as well.

I never iron my cotton shorts either, just wash and tumble dry but immediately take them out and hang them. They never get particularly rumpled either.

Anonymous said...

My father is a true-blue naval man, and he would starch his watch bands if he could! Subsequently, he passed down his love of sharp-creases, and proper gig-lines to me...I have to fight the urge to iron my freshly laundered oxfords regularly, however, I rarely have the time to iron and have learned to love the slightly rumpled look of my non-ironed oxfords. BTW, I picked up a few locker looped 100% cotton oxford Izod's on clearance for 8bucks a pop...not a bad show!