First things first, I want to establish the aim of this post. I want to get a new shirt, a button-up, something vaguely smart – and in particular an oxford. I’m not picky, I just know what I want, and it’s killing me that I’m having so much trouble finding it.
So the criteria that I’m going for:-
- An Oxford shirt – i.e. the slightly thicker cottony material. Heavier than most traditional dress shirts. But excellently classic and softens with age.
- 100% cotton. I don’t care about this non-iron rubbish. Well made shirts (which happen to be 100% cotton) are wonderfully soft, and need no ironing (or very little ironing). I have a couple Thomas Pink shirts – they have a fantastic herringbone weave, and they do not need ironing, ever, unless I’ve tried to crease them big time.
- Slim fit – or not something horrendously baggy. I’m not huge, I’ve not got a 50″ chest, so then why are a lot of standard shirts designed with the over-average man in mind. They are just baggy. Not even cool. I bought a 15.5″ collared Ralph Lauren Yarmouth oxford a month or two back. The neck fits fine. That’s about it. It’s just like a small tent. I wish it would fit better. I know you can get slim fit or custom fit shirts, but I was just so blissfully unaware of how big they could be.
- Blue. I would like a blue shirt. Light blue. The classic oxford blue shirt colour. Not striped. Not pink. Blue.
So anyway the search so far has found little. Back last October when I went to Boston to row Head of the Charles with Pembroke, I hit up the Brooks Brothers HotC stand (for they are a sponsor of the event) and camera across some fantastic oxfords at half price ($40!). Suffice to say I only bought one – in light blue and white stripes. It’s a totally awesome shirt. Size small (yes, none of this collar size business (but that’s probably because it’s a more casual shirt)), slim fit, wonderfully soft material, button down collar (and with a button at the back!), the little golden fleece logo in burgundy, and the buttons are perfect, not too thick and cheap looking. The only gripe I have with it is the white collar. That said however, I have grown to like it. Ultimately, what I want is exactly the same shirt in blue. Preferably with a blue collar. I can get this I guess (pretty sure this is the one I want), but it’s much harder to get Brooks in the UK, and it’s not the cheapest shirt.
So anyway the search continues. I found some Ralph Lauren shirts that I rather liked. Very similar to the Brooks Brothers one, but obviously a different brand (and hopefully not too much of a different fit). So far they seem to be about the same price – making it even harder to differentiate. Oh and also, none of the shirts I can find in a shop to look at/try on. Are oxfords far too much of an American thing? Even here in Cambridge?
Anyway, so I eventually found one of the Ralph Lauren ones on eBay, actually I found one in that perfect blue, one in pink, both new, both from the same seller and both ending with 5 minutes of one another. I would have happily bought both except that the blue one went for almost twice the price than the pink one. Twice the price. £48 instead of £26! How is that even possible. Anyway I showed my disgust by only winning the pink one. Suffice to say I hope it will be awesome, and will be as wonderfully soft, versatile, and perfect as I imagine it to be, though pink. I don’t need any more pink shirts though. I guess I’ll just have to wait and see how it goes when it arrives.