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Microscope OCBD revelations

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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.

    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.
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    Last edited by evanparker; June 23, 2015, 07:57 AM. Reason: spe

    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.


      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.


        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.

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        Last edited by evanparker; June 23, 2015, 09:30 AM.


          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


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


              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?


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


                  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


                    I really like this thread. What a cool idea!
                    [MENTION=12001]evanparker[/MENTION] 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.



                      I absolutely love Spier and Mackay's OCBDs. They need to re-stock those puppies.


                        S&M OCBD was going to be next purchase, but now I have to wait for someone to post a microscope pic!


                          Some reactions (in no particular order):

                          1) Dude.

                          2) Engineers are weird, man.

                          3) It's good to keep some engineers around.

                          4) I agree with [MENTION=2492]LosRockets[/MENTION] that the size and roll of those Land's End shirts are intriguing.

                          5) Do more!


                            I wasn't sure what to expect when opening up this thread, but then I was just pulled in and want to see where else this will go.

                            I would love to see some more from other OCBD's.


                              Originally posted by LosRockets View Post
                              I really like this thread. What a cool idea!
                              [MENTION=12001]evanparker[/MENTION] 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.

                              You're 100% right about your comparing the LE hyde park collars to the the j crew vintage oxford collars. They are *very* similar. Lands' End is trying to be more hip. Less doofy WASPy. More trendy WASPy. In general this is a good thing, in this one collar case it is really not.

                              Unless LE somehow *just* changed something, the picture is not Representative of how the collars are at all. The picture seems to show the "classic" LE oxford collar length, which is not what the hyde park offers. I think the view of the collar is taken from a different angle than the more-contemporary shirts. Or they switched photos, or photoshopped it incorrectly.

                              I just got a pair of them 4 months ago, and they have the yucky short collars. They're frankly OK for a regular shirt with no tie, but with a tie, it ruins the traditional oxford look quite a bit.... and yet I still love them. Pictured: me, this very morning, with a tie and and LE hyde park. Indulgent men's un-fashion selfie.

                              I would hope lands' end would change them however, aside from the collar, they are quite close to being superb. My next closest concern on them is just the general lack of contrast in the stitch of the cloth, and that's sort of a super minor issue in real life. The LE hyde park shirts are actually really really great at "$49" because they often dip into actual $29 territory with a sale. $29 for a really really great shirt is a price I would gladly fork over. Over and over.

                              Before lunch, i promise to post some of the microscope results from a couple of other shirts. I will post pics from the infamous LL Bean No-iron hair shirt, as well as a picture of the cloth from their non iron 'pin point' oxford. One more will be a teal colored Brooks Brothers shirts I have. Another will be a 'classic' purple Lands End shirt I thrifted.

                              I may also post a couple of the extra shots I got from some other shirts, or perhaps even a couple other interesting sartorial items.
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                              Last edited by evanparker; June 24, 2015, 08:52 AM.