23 April 2010

Cheap Commodities

Readers may have read Tin Tin's recent post on the new old stock Brooks Brothers button downs available over at the venerable O'Connell's. A treasure trove of American style purity indeed, but at $90 a whack they are still, as are most sought after American made goods these days, priced well out of reach of many men, myself included. What can you do?

Land's End has the "Original Oxford" in white, blue and pink for $19.50 through 27 April, and the shipping is free if you use promo code MADRAS and pin#2199. I can't find them on the website, only in the print catalogue. Try 1.800.800.5800.

I bought one of these in blue on sale a while back. I dig it. The fits nice, like an old eighties shirt, but a little trimmer in the sleeves, which I like. The collar roll is pretty damn good, the cloth is that nice old fashioned oxford weave, real big threads, and so far the thing has held up to the washing machine and iron.

Oh yeah, that's the best part. They wrinkle, they require ironing. I've never been a fan of 'non-iron' shirts, and I know many of you feel the same. Apparently, the folks over at Lands End realize and appreciate this. From the recent catalogue:

The 100% cotton doesn't have a No Iron finish...so heads up, cotton purists (And No Iron fans may now rethink giving up ironing!)

and, in description of another shirt:

Like a classic pinpoint, this isn't No Iron...but the fabric feels so good, you may just look forward to breaking out your iron again.

So, not only are they saying that they still offer regular cloth for men who know what a proper shirt is, but they're also suggesting that owning one will turn fans of No Iron back on to the good stuff. You've got to hand it to them there.

Also, among their other shirt offerings are pinpoints in pink, navy and "iris" (read: purple) gingham check, and university stripes in the standard blue, but also the now hard-to-come-by pink, green and yellow.

Clearly, there is no comparison between a shirt like this and a real old Brooks Brothers. I would never even suggest such a thing. But for twenty bucks, these shirts are all wrinkly cotton, they fit well, they hold up and they look nice.

In closing, I don't normally like to do things like shill posts for catalogue retailers like Lands End, but I can't find the camera and after the last post I felt a change of subject was in order.


Dutch Uncle said...

Since I'm sure that you're not sufferng from any shortage of shirts in your wardrobe, I wonder why you wouldn't prefer having 1 BB shirt to 4 LE shirts. That's what I do.

Giuseppe said...

I'm actually not on the buying end of either of these, and I agree that 1 BB is worth at least 4 LE.

Just letting the kids know whats out there. And like I said, we needed a change of subject around here.

Scott Alexander said...

Interesting post. I'd certainly go for Brooks too, but Lands' End does have its share of quality items. Check out my recent post - Lands' Endeed


Elwood said...

The regular Lands End shirts suffer from a bit of puffy boxiness (which some prefer) but their admittedly pricier Canvas line is a huge improvement. Slimmer cut, shorter tails, pieced sleeves, etc. For 35 bucks not a bad purchase, and its available in grey stripe which is a bit of an oddity to me. Wouldn't be trying to sell you this if I hadn't just bought one myself.


James said...

The ones you describe are available here.

They have other oxfords on sale for as low as 14.99.

Young Fogey said...

I've been a happy Lands End customer for ages now. In fact, both the shirt and pants I'm wearing today are from Lands End. The shirt is, in fact, a lavender university stripe. My beloved pink university stripe is a little too frayed at the cuffs to wear to work, but it still makes the grade for the weekends.

I wish they didn't make virtually all of their clothes abroad, but many of their silk ties are handsewn in America. (There is no domestic silk industry, so the material is imported no matter who you buy it from.)

"Purists" (i.e., snooty, ignorant leftists who hate capitalism while benefitting from all its glories) won't buy from Lands End because now it's owned (gasp!) by a giant corporation: Sears. Smart people realize that Lands End provides quality merchandise at excellent prices, top-notch domestic customer support, and just about the most generous return policy to be found.

Or, to summarize:

Great clothes, great prices, great service.

What more can you ask for?

Basseq said...

One Brooks Brothers shirt may be "worth" four Lands End shirts, but that's a weird way of thinking about it: I don't think anyone's walking around saying, "I have $90 to spend and I don't NEED more shirts—would I rather have four Lands End or one Brooks Brothers?"

In this case, Lands End is a cheaper alternative. If you want one shirt, then you're spending $70 less. Not an insignificant different if you're just trying to find "the look."

Anonymous said...

Are these the shirts? http://www.landsend.com/pp/ButtondownOxfordDressShirt~10665_59.html

Lisa said...

I love to iron. It's that whole immediate-gratification-thing and the only time I actually watch a movie. I look forward to my Sunday "chore" as I watch with guiltless pleasure, a DVD AND get to starch something.

Dutch Uncle said...


But that IS precisely the point: We Trad addicts who frequent such blogs have more than enough clothing to last us till Doomsday, but we keep on acquiring. And we DO wonder whether we would rather have one BB shirt or a scad of LE knock-offs.

Young Fogey (and others),

The BB shirt is even boxier than the LE version (which I find uncomfortably restricting).

The BB collar points are millimetrically longer than the LE equivalent, which makes for a noticeably better appearance. Plus the LE roll is NEVER as good as the BB roll, even if you play around with the placement of the collar buttons.

Laguna Beach Fogey said...

Excellent advice. I get OCBDs from both BB and LE, amongst others.

-DG said...

I picked up a decent LE shirt with an orange and blue check pattern that I really like a few weeks ago. Since I am a PhD student and slowly replacing my wardrobe the BB shirts just aren't an option for me right now. Thanks for the post! I've been really enjoying your blog and others. Documenting my own foray into fashion as a scientist as well.


Basseq said...


Not a bad problem to have, for sure. If the value equation points to Brooks: great! But personally I like to know about some of the less expensive alternatives, my wardrobe not being trad-addict full just yet.