Broke and Bespoke

A site meant to inspire penurious sartorialists everywhere... Follow me on Twitter @brokeandbespoke


* Unless otherwise noted, all images and written content are my own. Please credit brokeandbespoke if you use any of said content and link back to brokeandbespoke.tumblr.com
Good deals can be found outside of the thrift shop as well…
Shirt: Uniqlo OCBD (older model), sale $19.90
Sweater: J. Crew Lambswool Fair Isle, clearance ~$40
Scarf: Moon of England Limited Edition Cashmere Houndstooth Scarf, STP ~$30 (these are not as nice, in my opinion, as the Johnston’s of Elgin ones often available at STP for about the same price)
Vest: Lands’ End Wool Blend Down Vest, clearance $50

Good deals can be found outside of the thrift shop as well…

Shirt: Uniqlo OCBD (older model), sale $19.90

Sweater: J. Crew Lambswool Fair Isle, clearance ~$40

Scarf: Moon of England Limited Edition Cashmere Houndstooth Scarf, STP ~$30 (these are not as nice, in my opinion, as the Johnston’s of Elgin ones often available at STP for about the same price)

Vest: Lands’ End Wool Blend Down Vest, clearance $50

Uniqlo’s OCBD is on sale for $19.90
Uniqlo’s OCBD is currently on sale for a hair under $20. They’re not the best, and they’re not the worst, and at $20 I think they’re well worth it if: 1) you don’t plan on wearing it with a tie as the collar points are a bit short, and the roll isn’t that great (bow ties are ok in my book, since they cover up a bit of the roll); 2) you fit well into their S, M, L, XL sizing—for what it’s worth the L fits someone who’s a 16/34 quite well, and comes in a bit slimmer and shorter than Brooks Brothers’ Slim Fit OCBD. The latter is a bonus if you ever plan on wearing yours untucked. 
I own several of these OCBDs from over the years (they used to be a fuller cut) and they hold up really well to hard wear and frequent washing (no loose threads or buttons yet). They’re a great affordable, casual beat-around shirt. 

Uniqlo’s OCBD is on sale for $19.90

Uniqlo’s OCBD is currently on sale for a hair under $20. They’re not the best, and they’re not the worst, and at $20 I think they’re well worth it if: 1) you don’t plan on wearing it with a tie as the collar points are a bit short, and the roll isn’t that great (bow ties are ok in my book, since they cover up a bit of the roll); 2) you fit well into their S, M, L, XL sizing—for what it’s worth the L fits someone who’s a 16/34 quite well, and comes in a bit slimmer and shorter than Brooks Brothers’ Slim Fit OCBD. The latter is a bonus if you ever plan on wearing yours untucked. 

I own several of these OCBDs from over the years (they used to be a fuller cut) and they hold up really well to hard wear and frequent washing (no loose threads or buttons yet). They’re a great affordable, casual beat-around shirt. 

Fair Isle and an OCBD.

Fair Isle and an OCBD.

Blazer: Southwick for The Andover Shop, thrifted $17

Shirt: Uniqlo OCBD, $19

Tie: Lands’ End, thrifted $2

Jeans: Red Cotton Denim, courtesy of Red Cotton Denim

Socks: Richer Poorer, Fab.com

Shoes: Meermin, courtesy of Meermin

Upstairs, downstairs.


Pants: Dockers Alpha Khakis, $35

Socks: Uniqlo, $3

Shoes: Vintage Florsheim Royal Imperial Longwings, thrifted $9 (IIRC)

Uniqlo and Everlane White T-Shirt Update

So I’ve been wearing a lot of white T-shirts lately while working around the house. I’ve got my own washer and dryer now too, so I’m much more cavalier about wearing and washing whatever white T-shirt is to hand.

I wrote some time ago about my tireless quest to find the perfect white T. So far, my favorite is probably Brooks Brothers’ white Supima cotton undershirt. But it’s pretty expensive for a white t-shirt since you have to buy 3, and a 3-pack costs $40. I bought the 3 that I own at a thrift store new in the packaging for $3. I left some behind because I wasn’t sure how much I’d like them, and regret it to this day.

The day I wrote my white T-shirt post I had just picked up some 'Premium Cotton' white Ts at Uniqlo on sale for $7.90 and promised I’d check back in with you folks about how they were getting along. Now, several washes later, they’re holding up well and constitute a pretty good value for a white T-shirt—especially if you can get them on sale. They’re a little thicker feeling than the Brooks Brothers ones, and even though both are made of 100% cotton, the Uniqlo one doesn’t feel as if it breathes quite as well as the BB one. It’s a prefectly serviceable white T-shirt though, and I’ll probably pick up a few more the next time I’m at Uniqlo.

Not long after the Uniqlo purchase, I also picked up one of the white T-shirts from Everlane using some credit that they had given me. The Everlane shirt is the most expensive of the bunch at $15. Of the 3 brands mentioned in this post, it’s the only one made in the USA, and is considerably thinner and noticeably softer than all the others. Also, it looked a little more off-white or creamy in color to me than the bright white of the Uniqlo and Brooks Brothers shirts. I somehow immediately got a little streak of green ink near the collar of the shirt, and now wear it mostly to cook or do other kinds of work where I don’t care if my shirt gets dirty or not.

The Everlane shirt is probably the most comfortable of the bunch, but the thinness of the fabric would make me feel a little self-conscious about wearing it around all the time in public. It’s slightly more see through than the others. But $15 for a plain white T-shirt is, to me at least, a bit much to be asking for such a thing. That said, if you’re savvy and have a broad social network, Everlane does offer referral credits for people who sign up through you and make purchases. If you’re successful with that they become the cheapest of the three, by which I mean free.

For those of you who aren’t already members at Everlane, feel free to sign up through my referral link here. Who knows, if enough of you buy something I may just order some more white T-shirts… 

Hot summer days are made for white t-shirts, jeans, and canvas sneakers…

T-shirt: Uniqlo, $7.99 

Jeans: Red Cotton Denim, c/o RDC (I’m going to be doing a longer feature piece on Camillo Love and RDC soon. I graduated in the same high school class as Camillo, and we recently reconnected through a mutual friend. His story is a great one…)

Shoes: Tretorn Nylite, ~$50  

Fit Pic Triptych.

Jacket: Southwick, thrifted $15

Shirt: Uniqlo, $20

Belt: Narragansett Leathers, $35

Jeans: Gustin Jeans, courtesy of Gustin

Socks: Corgi, Barneys New York outlet $7

Shoes: Red Wing Wabasha, Nordstrom Rack $55

The aforementioned white t-shirt.

The aforementioned white t-shirt.

In Praise of the White T-Shirt

It’s no secret that I love fine men’s tailoring. But I will forever have a spot in my heart for the truly classic basics. Lapel widths, gorge heights, and cuff size and trouser break will change over the years, but one thing that I know will always withstand the test of time and the cycles of fashion is the white t-shirt.

To me, there is perhaps no better casual looking outfit than a white t-shirt, a pair of jeans, and some canvas sneakers or, if you prefer, boots. If it gets chilly, throw on a hoodie, a leather jacket, a cardigan, or a crewneck sweater. Unless you are by necessity asked to wear a suit, you needn’t ever wear anything else really. It’s a look that’s been around for a long time, doesn’t change much, and always looks great.

Finding nice white t-shirts can be harder than it seems though. Despite their stunning ubiquity, the white t-shirt can fall prey to many temptations that lead it down the path of sartorial underperformance.

The most frequent white t-shirt-as-centerpiece-of-outfit failure is the white t-shirt that loses its whiteness over time. This is an inevitability. Dulling through repeated washings, and stains of various sorts will ruin your favorite white t-shirt. It’s a fact—albeit, a sad one—that we all must endure. There is no real solution to this other than to stock up on a white t-shirt if you find one that you really love. 

The second most common failing among white t-shirts that I’ve come across is the it’s-too-much-on-the-undershirt-side-of-the-white-t-shirt-equation conundrum. Not all white t-shirts are created equal. Some are made to be t-shirts (Hanes Beefy-T and American Apparel come to mind here), but of the many brands that make such white t-shirts only a select few may fit your build in a way that is most flattering. This is a process of trial and error you must go through yourself. But regardless of shape and cut, the white t-shirts that are too thin (e.g., Fruit of the Loom), too stretchy (e.g., Fruit of the Loom and Hanes), too short (e.g., Jockey and Hanes), and too long are the ones I cast into undershirt purgatory. These are not the lone wolf garments worn to flatter one’s uppers. These are just crappy undershirts to be worn while cleaning the bathroom, gardening, or cooking over a splattery pot of tomato-based sauce.

But…and this is a big but…don’t discount all undershirts as sub par for the purposes at hand. Some shirts that are packaged and sold as undershirts do perform well as the centerpiece of the simple 3-4 piece outfit described above. My favorite white t-shirt to date is the Brooks Brothers white undershirt. Jesse Thorn of PutThisOn swears by the Kirkland brand of white undershirts you can get at Costco. I used to love the Cambridge Classics undershirts once peddled by the now-defunct chain Mervyn’s cum Mervyn’s California.

In my never-ending quest for the perfect white t-shirt (you never know when one company will change its production, or discontinue a shirt altogether) I picked a couple up yesterday at Uniqlo. Not the ones that come in the ziploc bags there (those are cotton/poly and don’t breathe well on hot days), but their ‘Premium Cotton Short Sleeve Crew Neck T-Shirt.’ They stand out from the crowd a little because of the interesting stitching used on the sleeves and hem as shown above, and they’re currently on sale for $7.90, which is a $2 savings over their regular price. I’ve got high hopes for this white t-shirt, and if it endures a washing and comes out on the other side fitting as nice—or better—than it does now, I’ll be sure to go back and pick up a few more.

 

Pink and Green.

Pink and Green.

Jacket: 1/3 of Indochino Suit (review here)
Shirt: Uniqlo OCBD, $20
Bow Tie: Handmade Ikat Madras, gift from my wife, who was also the maker
Pants: Uniqlo Garment Dyed Jeans, $30

Jacket: 1/3 of Indochino Suit (review here)

Shirt: Uniqlo OCBD, $20

Bow Tie: Handmade Ikat Madras, gift from my wife, who was also the maker

Pants: Uniqlo Garment Dyed Jeans, $30

Dusty pastels from Uniqlo are an affordable way to break into the Cucinelli color palette without breaking the bank. The color of the pants is not represented too well here, as I adjusted the colors a bit, but if you’re looking for those dusky pinks, dirty minty greens, and sun-washed lavenders and Cucinelli’s price point is too high (many of us are mere financial mortals, after all), I say definitely give Uniqlo a try.

Dusty pastels from Uniqlo are an affordable way to break into the Cucinelli color palette without breaking the bank. The color of the pants is not represented too well here, as I adjusted the colors a bit, but if you’re looking for those dusky pinks, dirty minty greens, and sun-washed lavenders and Cucinelli’s price point is too high (many of us are mere financial mortals, after all), I say definitely give Uniqlo a try.

Sometimes a folded white pocket square is all you need.

Sometimes a folded white pocket square is all you need.

Traditional but for the square…

Traditional but for the square…