In Re: to style "staples", I find that a lot of them are more or less "these things look good on most people" instead of "you absolutely need this". White dress shirt? That's a staple. Desert boots? Pretty awesome, but I wear mine rarely. Even though it's a giant "staple", I don't have a navy suit because it's not THAT necessary.
Blue OCBD, though, that's just crazy, bro.
After ordering the incorrect sleeve length (more on that in a bit), returns/exchanges, waiting for the FedEx guy to come and a bunch of really unrelated issues, I finally got a chance to do an hands-on review of the much buzzed about Brooks Brothers Extra Slim Fit Oxford Dress Shirt.
In a nutshell: I like it, but with some reservations.
First up, the positives. The fabric feels great and is probably the nicest oxford I’ve worn so far. It looks great, too.
The fit is definitely slim and the armholes are high. Given my frame and prior issues with finding ready-to-wear shirts that don’t have massive bunching when tucked or arms that turn into windsails, this shirt does the best job so far.
As for my reservations, they’re more like warnings when you’re deciding on what size to buy.
I typically wear a 15.5 neck and 34/35 arm. Because of my experience with all-cotton, must-iron shirts shrinking on me, I prefer to buy 35” arm lengths. (For reference, I’m 5’11” and 150 lbs.) However, in this particular fit, I had to size down in the arm to 34” and probably should have sized up to 16” in the neck.
The 35” arm length’s cuffs came up almost up to my thumbnail. I figured even with shrinking, it’d be too long. After a washing/drying cycle, the 34” worked out perfectly.
For the neck, it almost shrank too much, making it a bit of a tighter fit than I’d like. Hence my suggestion to go up half-an-inch neckwise.
The oxford has a box pleat in the back and a one-piece yolk. This is a bit disappointing, to be honest. Also, the sleeves don’t have a gauntlet button, which even a lot of the cheaper-made RTW shirts have. I found this to be a surprising lack for a shirt Brooks Brothers intends to charge nearly $80 for.
The overall shirt length could be longer. I feel like it’s a compromise length to work both tucked in and tucked out. I actually link the fit of it looks better untucked as you can see in the photo below.
So, despite all these complaints and such, I’m a fan of the shirt. It’s comfortable (as long as I don’t button the top button) and works great for a weekend, non-work shirt to wear casually.
I don’t think I’ll be looking to the BB ESF line for dress shirts to wear with a tie, however, given the length of the shirt. For those, I’ll still be turning to the Nordstrom Smartcare Trim Fit line, which are a bit more roomy, but longer.
But if you’re of a shorter torso, or looking for a shirt you can wear tucked out, I’d give these a look.
I’m home sick today, but just received the oxfords I ordered during Brooks Brothers’ friends and family sale (ends today, code “03friend”). A few quick notes:
The fit is perfect. The armholes are narrower and no windsail sleeves. It looks fine on my slimmer torso (plus works around the beer gut).
The quality seems fairly good and better than the Nordstrom 1901 oxfords and heavier, too. For the on-sale price, I’d say they’re definitely a snag. Oh, and they’re manufactured in the USA (from imported fabrics).
Sadly, I have to exchange them. I ordered 15.5 x 35 (the size I am in Land’s End), but these were way longer in the arms than expected. The cuffs went literally down to my thumb knuckle. So, we’ll see how this exchange goes.