Note how nicely pressed it is, courtesy of the Rowenta iron Santa saw fit to bring me. More on the later.
I couldn't find out much about this "Louie" label, but my gut tells me it was a house line from Louis Boston. It's Italian, clearly expensive, and in keeping with the overall style of the clothing that came out of that store in the 90s.
It's touched with all the little details you might expect to find on a custom shirt, like these reinforced tabs at the shirt tails,
nicely rounded cuffs, and very thick buttons.
The contrast club collar is appropriately short, though the collar band is fairly wide, giving it a bit of a 90s look, but in a very Alan Flusser kind of way that I can happily accept.
So, what's this got to do with patience? Readers may remember that back in December of 2009 I received my first made to measure shirt from online outfit Deo Veritas. That shirt, with it's contrast button down collar and three button contrast cuffs, caused no end of stink amongst the commenters who rightly pegged me for a rube. But I liked that shirt and still do. If I weren't an inch bigger in the waist than I was then I'd still wear it. Shortly following, I ordered two more. They arrived in January of 2010. Both were ordered with contrast club collars, and both arrived with a collar round at the tips and long in the points. Not exactly what I or many of you would call a club collar, they too sparked no end of comment. While ironing the shirt pictured today, it occurred to me that this is more what I was after when I placed that second order with Deo Veritas. A similar shirt, in blue and white stripes, but with a better cut club collar and a roomier fit. Back then, I preferred closer fitting shirts, but the older I get the more I appreciate some room to move. Not to take anything away from my experiences with Deo Veritas. The service and quality were great, and I would still recommend them to anyone that asks.
The point, which I'm sure I've made before, is that too much thrift shopping will spoil you. After years of having committed myself to the effort and time commitment, I know that almost anything I want will turn up eventually, even something as unusual as a striped shirt with contrast club collar and round cuffs. It makes it hard to pay full whack for anything after a while. The shirt I had made for $75 languishes now in my closet, while it's $5 replacement will enter the regular rotation. As this photo of laundry drying in the shower proves, blue and white shirts are a silly thing to by at high prices:
So here come the bad advice. What about a gift certificate? Christmas having just passed, I'm sure many of you have some to spend, and the fact that you read this blog means there is a likelihood that you were given that gift certificate because someone knows you're just too damn picky to be given clothing as a gift. When given no choice but to pick out new things, how does one use free money most effectively? I'm of the belief that gift certificates may be best spent on some sort of crazy frivolity, something you would never sensibly by yourself.
Despite being a fully grown man, my parents still insist on giving me money in an envelope for my birthday. I have long since given up on politely scoffing at the act, and instead accept it graciously and then use it to pay some bill or other. This year, that money was presented in the form of a gift certificate to the Andover Shop (filled out on the old Royal typewriter no less). My father said " now you have to spend it on yourself. Maybe you can go get some new shirts." Well, I just proveed that new shirts are a wasted opportunity. What about that doeskin navy blazer by Southwick I've been eyeing? A good, solid choice, and investment to last me years no doubt. But then good friend and fellow veteran thrift shopper Zach pointed out " The chances of you finding a nice Southwick blazer in 42 regular at a thrift shop are pretty good. Get something crazy." And he's right. Something like pink cords with the wales set horizontally, forward pleats and side tabs, that's more like it.
Nothing allows for a heavy dose of frivolity now and then like a lifetime of patient cheapness.
p.s. my apologies for my recent absence. Call it a self imposed Christmas vacation. I needed it, trust me.
p.p.s. look for a revamp of the Shop next week, after my self imposed Christmas vacation ends.