In search of chambray shirts, with a meandering prologue
Dear Well Dressed People of the Interwebs,
I envy you. I don't think I'll ever be one of you. Just not quite capable of pulling it off. Don't think me a complete lost cause. I love this blog. My leathers match. The pants are a "straight fit." The outfits are reasonably color coordinated (I think). The watch is classic and not ostentatious (SNE039). I iron religiously. Still, were I to post a selfie in your WIWT section, I am sure I would be accused of the following:
-Shirts and pants that are too loose. Try as I might, I just can't adjust to the confining feel of fitted clothing.
-Clunky old man shoes (Clarks Cotrell, Keens, Brooks Cascadias on the weekend). I have bone spurs. I wear what feels comfiest.
-I can't quite bring myself to NOT tuck my shirt in. Actually, I can sometimes wear a henley untucked, but polos always get the tuck treatment, as does any button down shirt. Cascadias, jeans, and a tucked in polo definitely permit me admission to the dorky suburban dad runway show. I'm okay with that, sincerely I am.
-If I'm not at the office, I'm probably wearing a baseball cap. It's as much based on practicality and health as anything else. I'm 38, I'm balding, I'm uber-fair and freckled, but I like to spend time outside and I just don't want my scalp in the sun.
I have 3 young children, aged 5, 2, and 3 months. They're all complete loons. I commute two hours a day. An exciting day for me is getting to sleep 5 hours in a single night. I've given up on being fashion forward. I'm content with just looking at the pictures and thinking to myself "hey, that's cool."
But I haven't given up completely. Perhaps born out of some faintly smoldering urge to find my own style, perhaps in an effort to stress-reduce by streamlining certain aspects of daily living, I've started thinking about going the "uniform" route. Not full on Steve Jobs, but literally reducing my daily wardrobe to a VERY small handful of interchangeable pieces that I could wear to work and sometimes outside of the office. Lucky for me, my office is almost as lax as it gets when it comes to the dress code. I don't wear jeans to work much, simply because I'm a bit old-fashioned, but if you come in with an ironed pair of khakis and a long sleeve button down, people are likely to look at you and say, "hey, got a meeting today or something?"
I found a posting done a while back on steal the style from the TV show Hinterland, and it completely clicked with me. The chambray shirts, and the grey and navy wool ties. For the first time I thought, "I could do that." Perhaps paired more with chinos and cords given it will be office attire.
So that's my current quest. To use that post as my north star for a stripped down, almost uniform-esque closet.
But so far, finding the right chambray shirts has proven tough. First off, you just search that term and a lot of what comes up are denim shirts that look like something you'd find at Jay Leno's estate sale. That's not what I'm looking for. And some are just too pricey. I'm a bit cheap when it comes to clothes. Can anyone point me to some chambray shirts that fit the following criteria:
2) Don't need alterations
3) Not too tight
4) Not a heavy denim look, more of a medium weight
5) Wrinkle resistant (a lot of companies seem to advertise that and it's a load of B.S.)
Thanks in advance, and if you have any other advice, please feel free to fire it my way.
I bought a really nice and affordable chambray shirt from Gap last year. Medium weight so year round wear, clean looking, minimal wrinkles (but not wrinkle free). It was slim but they also had regular. I'm waiting for it to show up again so I can buy another.
Does it need to be a blue chambray? I have a great gray one I got from (i think) Gap on sale. Got a lot of use out of it this fall. Granted it's certainly not a summer-type chambray by any stretch, but it's a heavier chambray and definitely doesn't remotely look like denim.
I have a chambray shirt from Spier and Mackay but it wrinkles a bit. It looks good with some wrinkles in the arms.
Also from your post it seems like oxford cloth button downs (OCBDs) would be an option as well. These look great ironed or a little wrinkly. They can pull tie duty during the day then taken off for a casual happy hour and still look in place without being too dressed up.
Charles Tyrwhitt and Banana Republic both have chambray dress shirts in non-iron fabrics. Both companies offer slim fits and both run frequent promotions. Charles Tyrwhitt offer exact sleeve and neck measurements which is nice.
Jcrew make some great chambray button downs but not non-irons fabric. My favorite casual shirt is a chambray from JCrew. I also like it a little rumpled looking. I can't recommend that one enough.