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Thread: Microscope OCBD revelations

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    Varsity Member evanparker's Avatar
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    Microscope OCBD revelations

    So long story short, i'm a mechanical engineer. I have a dumpy-clothes sort of office, and just couldn't even. I have long been trying to take the high-road with my work dress, but since i've found this forum, i've been definitely doing it a lot better. Right now, I definitley wear nicer clothes than everyone else, which frankly doesn't take much. Guy in cube next to me wears cut-off shorts and dirty nikes from 1990 to work ever day.

    I have found, as many others have, that for me the happy medium between "dressy" and "sharp" quite often is an OCBD shirt. By 'quite often', I mean, very often. I wear one for nearly every casual or professional occasion. I wore one yesterday to work, i'm wearing one for my date later tonight, and I'm wearing one now.

    The good thing about them is that even though I have preferences for certain models, none of them are completely lacking. a $49 Lands' End Supima OCBD can come close to the BB one in a lot of serious ways. On any particular one of the better brands of OCBD, there are any number of qualities that can lend itself to some type of wear in-particular. Maybe the collars are too short for a tie, but look great with one button open. Maybe it's a short length suitable for wearing un-tucked. They are all better at some certain thing, which makes all of the OCBD shirts I own, as a group, a useful sartorial tool.

    A few months back I went on a big hunt to figure out which one is the best, and went through maybe ten different types. I have good news on the hunt too, I really have a strong preference for the current Brooks Brothers one, and believe it or not the Lands End supima hyde park needs-irons are great too. Anyhow, now that I have a bunch of them floating around, I have been trying to analyze, as engineering types do, why they are the way they are.

    I do a lot of work with miniature parts, so I have a lot of magnifying tools available to me. I figured I would post some of the pictures of my investigation. I think some of them are very interesting. If anymod thinks this thread is a little further off-topic please feel free to give me the move-vous and i'll happily have my thread banished to the dungeon that is off-topic.

    To start, this is the fabric of the oh-so-essential Brooks Brothers USA needs-ironing OCBD's fabric.



    http://i.imgur.com/LFbQjGy.jpg

    What we can see in this photo is that there is a certain scale that makes this rad fabric so interesting. Notably, it's also bit coarse for a dress shirt fabric. The two-color two-texture thread thing is definitely at the heart of what makes it feel and look neat to the eye. Also important to note is that the oxford cloth t has a sort of basket weave pattern which is modified a bit. It's clearly two (small) colored threads down, and one big white one across. Since this is the penultimate example of the cloth, as far as BB being the original maker of the shirt, i think it's a great basis for comparison for the other shirts.


    link to Brooks Brothers, for the sake of clarity.
    It came from this shirt.
    Last edited by evanparker; June 23rd, 2015 at 06:57 AM. Reason: spe

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    Varsity Member evanparker's Avatar
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    So now, here is the "same" BB shirt, but the pink version. As we would expect, it looks very much the same, just with pink where the blue thread is.




    and the white version, note that there are no other contrast color threads in this. the "color threads" are all white.



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    Varsity Member evanparker's Avatar
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    so here is where things get interesting, even inside the Brooks brothers universe.

    This is from a fairly recent BB USA OCBD, with stripes. What we can see is that they get the stripe by simply changing the color of every other four rows of the 'contrast threads'. These eight strands are white, then the next eight are blue. if you look, the individual color sections look very similar to the ones in the white and blue shirts. It would make perfect sense to look similar, afterall it's probably the same machine making the fabric in the same manner.



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    Varsity Member evanparker's Avatar
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    So it gets even more interesting as we depart more from the BB line. This is a Lands' End "Men's Slim Fit Solid No Iron Supima Oxford Shirt" in their FRENCH BLUE color. THIS IS SO INTERESTING!!! the thick WHITE thread from the other blues is reversed!! This is how it's kind of the same color to the eye, but seems so much more saturated. I should note that this shirt is one of those ones that, in certain lighting, looks a little bit shiny.






    As well, this is a Lands' End SUPIMA hyde park shirt. notice how small all the threads are! the weave is very different in scale to the other OCBD's. This is why is seems so evenly light-blue, in a different (but totally fine) way. To the eye, it seems like such a less contrasty weave, even though it might actually have the same colors of thread. Thought I definitley have a compaint that the clor of this shirt leaves it looking less dimentional than the BB shirt, this shirt feels SO very soft. Much softer than the BB shirts. I would imagine that this is very much a function of the way the stitching was been constructed.

    Last edited by evanparker; June 23rd, 2015 at 08:30 AM.

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    Varsity Member evanparker's Avatar
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    On top of that I have one other LE oxford, it's an older one (old label "Lands' enD", long lapels called "original oxford") that is 70% cotton, 30% polyester. It is a RED oxford cloth, which is a bit unusual. It looks super neat, It has that same shimmer like the french blue one does. The shirt is not as soft as the cotton ones, but it feels much "neater" if that makes sense? The surface of the fabric feels less soft and fuzzy.

    But, upon close investigation it makes sense why the red one and the french blue both have that "sheen". The way the fabric is constructed up is super similar! As well, you can really see the lack of "fuzzy" stuff on the surface of the fabric.


    Though the color red is similar to this LE current model. I can't actually find a photo the exact shirt label on the internet.


    I have probably 5 or 10 more I can post, if anyone thinks any of this is interesting to them

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    This pretty much sums up my reaction. But seriously, very interesting. I would like to see the other shirts, too.

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    Dappered Veteran Vicious49's Avatar
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    I'm enjoying seeing the pics. Not sure if it really means anything to me but still cool, to see a blown up view of the stitching. You wouldn't happen to have a Kamakura shirt would you?

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    Varsity Member evanparker's Avatar
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    I don't, but if you would like to send me one, i'd be happy to take pictures of it :-D

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    Varsity Member evanparker's Avatar
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    Here is an interesting one! the J. Crew "vintage Oxford", which is a frankly pretty alright shirt. When you look at the magnification, it seems like it's barely an oxford at all! The "big" thread section of the wear isn't big at all, it's the same size small thread as the small section. This makes the cloth very soft, but also very flat to the eye, and to the touch.




    J Crew Vintage Oxford

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    I really like this thread. What a cool idea!
    @evanparker I have a question about the must-iron Lands End Hyde Park OCBDs. In their photos, such as the one you reference above, what stands out are the long collar points and nice lapel roll. I have some of the Lands End Supima must-iron, non-hyde park OCBDs and they don't have such elegant collars, they're probably closer to the JCrew Vintage oxford you referenced if anything. How would you compare the collars on your BB OCBDs to the Hyde Parks? Are they of similar height, length, and roll? If so, I've got to try them out. Right now I wear Spier & Mackay's OCBD, which is similarly priced and high-quality but I'm always looking for more options.

    Thanks!

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