Broke and Bespoke

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Luxire: Dialing in the Perfect OCBD 

Frequent and astute readers of this blog will no doubt have noticed a trend on here of late. I have been wearing OCBDs almost exclusively for several months now. There’s something about a great collar roll that conditioned my return to the classic style. And the preponderance of great pictures on the internet of beautiful collar rolls by Kamakura and Barba hasn’t hurt either.

Early on in my days of dressing in shirt, tie, and sport coat (long before this blog existed), OCBDs were my shirt of choice. As I dove deeper into the world of #menswear I, like many others, began to favor the more Italian look of the soft, wide spread and cutaway collars that were ubiquitous on tumblr’s menswear tag for a couple of years.

Lately, as my own style has grown more staid, I’ve once again come to favor the OCBD. Until recently, my favorites have been by Brooks Brothers in their Slim and Extra Slim fits. Unfortunately, I don’t find them in wearable condition in the thrift shops that much. That, coupled with the declining frequency with which I’ve been going thrifting, left ebay as the most solid affordable option. But even on ebay prices for a good specimen can command $20-30, and there aren’t that many regularly available in my size. Faced with the relative drought of great BB OCBDs in the used market, I toyed with going retail. 

At peak sale price, the USA-made non-non-iron ones at Brooks Brothers can be had new for about $50, and even then, one is limited to about 3 or 4 fabric choices. At that price, I figured I might as well look into Kamakura too, since they seem to be ‘out-Brooksing Brooks’ in the OCBD department these days. But I found the Kamakura sizing to be strange, and after asking around a bit determined that their shirts probably wouldn’t fit me very well. In order to fit my neck, the sleeves would have been way too long.

Given the aforementioned constraints regarding the Brooks Brothers OCBD—and the fact that if I had my druthers, I would change the measurements a little—I began thinking about going custom. The brand that popped immediately to mind was Luxire (I reviewed a shirt from them a while back which you can read here). I already knew their quality and value were top-notch, and a quick perusal of their affiliate thread on StyleForvm illustrated that there is no customization request or micromeasurement they won’t/can’t tweak for their customers. Dreams of the perfect OCBD began keeping me awake at night.

A return visit to the Luxire website confirmed for me that some of their least expensive oxford cloths cost significantly less than a Kamakura shirt at retail, and pushed me over the edge in my decision to order some custom OCBDs for myself. I dove in with gusto and placed an order for 4 shirts (you’ve been seeing them pictured on here in the last couple of weeks), specifying nothing more than 3.5” collar points and one button barrel cuffs, both of which were to be unlined. I also attached a couple of sample photos of great OCBDs to my order as a reference for how I wanted the finished product to look (btw, this is something that Luxire is very good at accommodating, and not just with shirts, but pants and jackets as well).

Several weeks later my shirts arrived, and I was not disappointed at all. Compared to some of the Luxire-heads over on The StyleForvm, my order requests were fairly small (for instance, you can request the taper of the neckband from back to front, something which hadn’t even occurred to me), but I was very happy with my shirts nevertheless. I was most impressed with the details that came standard, including thick mother of pearl buttons that are attached very firmly with a thick shank, and a bar tack at the bottom of the side seams.

Needless to say, I’ve caught the fever, and just dropped a mint on a second large order of spring and summer weight shirts. This time, since some of the fabrics are much lighter weight than the robust oxfords in my first order, I opted for a light unfused interlining in the collars, neckbands, and cuffs. I’ll report back with pics once those arrive.

In the meantime, I can’t recommend highly enough giving Luxire a try if you’re looking for an OCBD made to your exact specifications (e.g., locker loop, back collar button, flapped chest pocket, etc.). The ‘Classic Blue Oxford’ is just $59 shipped, which is quite a bit cheaper than either Brooks or Kamakura OCBDs at full retail, and just about $10 more than BB’s on deepest sale. I’ve heard that turnaround at Luxire can be as fast as 10 days. My order took several weeks to arrive, but that was plenty fast enough for me and the results were more than worth the wait.  

* Fabrics used in the photos clockwise from top left: Blue University Stripes Oxford (by Brembana, $79) , Blueish Green University Stripes Oxford (by Brembana, $79), Classic Grey Oxford ($69), and Pale Pink Classic Oxford ($79). 

Some outtakes from my visit to Red Cotton Denim’s workshop the other day. There’s some very cool stuff in the works over there…

So I Haven’t Lost All of my Thrifting Mojo…

The other day, half in jest, I mentioned to my wife that I ‘needed’ a cashmere navy blazer or sport coat. She responded, appropriately, with a hearty guffaw. My desire, however, was further confirmed for me by how much I was tempted by one on the StyleForvm sales board later that day. It was, though a great deal, still priced higher than what I could justify spending on a sport coat right now.

The next day, I popped into a thrift I don’t visit very often and came upon this great vintage Brooks Brothers 100% cashmere blazer in my size for $20. It’s got all the great classic American details that distinguish the old Brooks blazer: 3 patch pockets, lightly padded natural shoulder, no darts, a very American 3 roll 2 lapel, swelled seams, etc. I’ve put it together here with my regular uniform these days of an OCBD, simple tie (I’m a sucker for brown and blue ties), jeans, and suede shoes. 

Repp Stripes and Collar Rolls

If it hasn’t been clear over the last week of posts, I bought some new OCBDs recently from Luxire (more on this to come)…

This is the ‘Classic Grey Oxford’. It’s a pretty thick fabric, and I think that helps give this unlined collar a bit more structure than the slightly lighter weight ‘Blueish Green University Stripe’ and ‘Pale Pink Classic Oxford’ shirts I posted previously. The vintage tie was, of course, thrifted.

Trad
Jacket: Vintage Brooks Bros. Cashmere Blazer, thrifted $20
Shirt: Luxire Blue University Stripe OCBD, $79
Tie: Vintage Robert Talbott for J. Coop Oakland, thrifted $2
Pocket Square: White Irish Linen, c/o Solosso

Trad

Jacket: Vintage Brooks Bros. Cashmere Blazer, thrifted $20

Shirt: Luxire Blue University Stripe OCBD, $79

Tie: Vintage Robert Talbott for J. Coop Oakland, thrifted $2

Pocket Square: White Irish Linen, c/o Solosso

Another sweet Luxire OCBD collar roll, this time in the Pale Pink Classic Oxford.

I just saw that I have over 15,000 followers now, and wanted to write a short note of thanks to everyone who checks in here!

Madras and End-on-End for Spring

I went thrifting for the first time in awhile the other day. This guy makes me feel like thrifting is no longer worth it around here (to you, Ian, I tip my cap…), and I just haven’t found the time or the energy to get behind it with the same verve as I used to.

I think this is both because I’ve become a much more discerning thrifter, and I rarely buy to flip any more. Things I would have bought no questions asked a couple of years ago, I now leave for someone else to add to their wardrobe, or to sell on ebay. Now that I have a steady job and too many clothes, I figure I ought to pay it forward as often as possible. But, as I’ve got a week off from work right now, one of the first things I did was check out a couple of thrifts that I haven’t been to in awhile. Old habits die hard, and so on.

Don’t get me wrong, this was no big score. But I did pick up a couple of things that I think will be great for the warmer weather. The first is this USA-made BB green end-on-end button down. I love wearing lightweight end-on-ends when the weather gets a little hot, and I can see myself in this one a lot over the next few months with the sleeves rolled up, paired with some jeans and sneakers. Maybe I’ll tuck it in, and wear it with no tie, an unstructured sport coat, and some suede loafers or chukkas. It was $9. There were a bunch of other BB shirts from the same donor I think, and I now regret leaving behind a whimsical patchwork OCBD. Oh well…

The next item is a great older madras tie from Lands’ End. Not only are the saturated colors and pattern stunning, but I love the imperfections in the weave itself like the blue spot you can see in the above picture. I think I’ll definitely be wearing this one as the temperatures rise here in the next month or so. The best part of this was that the store was having a 60% off all men’s clothing and accessories sale, so the tie cost me $1.14.

Three collars: Lands’ End, J. Crew, Jos. A. Bank (an old made in HK one with a soft collar and a nice roll—one of my favorite thrifted casual shirts).

Three collars: Lands’ End, J. Crew, Jos. A. Bank (an old made in HK one with a soft collar and a nice roll—one of my favorite thrifted casual shirts).

I love the last, welt (esp. the contrast of the stitching), grain, and color on these vintage Florsheim Royal Imperial derbys. They weigh a ton, but feel nearly indestructible for it. I think I’ll try to wear them a bit more often than I do, as they’re a perfect shoe for the more casual jeans, OCBD, and odd jacket look I’ve been favoring lately.

bloodnblue asked: Hi, that Luxire shirt looks awesome. How did you specify the collar and is the fabric Brembana's blue uni-stripe oxford?

I’ve received a number of questions asking about the collar dimensions and construction on the Luxire OCBD I’ve been posting pictures of the past couple of days. I thought it might be easiest to just publish the answer here for the sake of efficiency. 

I asked for an unlined collar with 3.5” collar points and a nice collar roll. I also sent along a couple of pictures of collar rolls I wanted roughly replicated with my order. I think the unlined collar works well with heavier fabrics like an oxford cloth, but if you wanted something lighter like a poplin or an end-on-end I think a light unfused lining might be preferable. You would still get a nice roll and it would likely loan the collar a bit more structural integrity, especially on hotter and/or more humid days.

The fabric used is the Brembana ‘Blueish Green University Stripe.’ The Blue University Stripe has a lighter blue stripe against a brighter white background. The ‘Blueish Green University Stripe’ has a slightly more vintage appeal to my eye.

For reference, here’s another picture of the collar in question:

image

Thanks, as always, for reading the blog, and I hope this answers your questions!

Jason

The Luxire OCBD: Another View

The Luxire OCBD: Another View

The Luxire OCBD Collar Roll. More on this to come…

It was a little cooler yesterday, so I swapped out the unlined sport coat for something a little warmer. OCBD, jeans, and suede loafers remain.