Thursday, December 3, 2009

Lusting After: Epaulet x Mark McNairy Oxford

[Pictured: Epaulet and Mark McNairy Oxford available for $130.00.]

Epaulet and McNairy are always all over the blog so it should be no surprise that their oxford shirt callaboration finally made it into a "Lusting After" post.  Lots of people poo-poo the contrast collar shirt thanks to just how horribly 80's it looks in retrospect thanks to Wall Street.  In my humble opinion, the contrast collar (or two-tone) shirt still works, but it needs to be an oxford.  Simply, if im going to be jazzing up a shirt with some bells and whistles, I'd rather that shirt be inherently casual as to not overpower the entire outfit.  You can get contrast collar oxfords in Brooks Brothers new extra-slim fit (I have a few...$79.50 each), but this oxford from Epaulet is as good as you are going to find anywhere.  $130 isn't too bad considering the genuine pearl trocas buttons, domestic manufacturing and slim cut.  Plus the light blue contrasting color is a great twist on the classic white you always see.  I'd personally rather have one of these than 2 of the extra-slim's from Brooks Brothers.  I saw this shirt in person last weekend when I visited Epaulet and the digital pictures do not do it justice.  As far as I am concerned this is THE oxford shirt of the moment.

[Blue university stripe with contrasting light blue collar.]



  1. FYI, I think you linked the wrong Wall Street movie.

  2. hahhaha..good call Trip. Fixed.

  3. So, for $130 I can only get it "domestically" manufactured in small / med / large? They're kidding, right? Please tell me they're kidding...

  4. I think what Michael is trying to say is that for $130, one would expect to get a shirt that has exact neck and sleeve sizing (16/33.5) in order to get shirt that fits properly instead of having to "make due" with the inexact sizing of S/M/L shirts.

  5. Trip- Thanks for clarifying. Michael makes a good arguement, but as with a lot of these higher end shirts they are marketed at guys looking for a casual (untucked), slim option with great details not necessarily something "custom". Epaulet does better than most with offering extra-small and extra-large sizes. This shirt is not for everyone and I realize that.

  6. [L.A.S. said: "Elaborate?"]

    Of course. First though, let me apologize for the previous comment's tone. It comes off as condescending. Oh hell, it _was_ condescending. I should have waited until I had more time to compose an appropriate comment. Your blog has always welcomed intelligent discussion and I apologize that my comment may have stifled that. Along those lines I hope you will take what follows as only what I think-- how I see things-- and not as an opinion of the way anyone else should view them.

    I believe we should support US makers with our money. I believe equally, if not more so, that US makers should show those of us who support them the respect _we_, as their customers, deserve.

    I get a gut-level negative reaction when I see shirts priced north of $100 available in small / medium / large sizing only. I believe at this price point I should be spending my money with a maker who wants me to look as good as I possibly can in his product. In this particular case we have a button-down oxford, which isn’t the most formal of styles admittedly; nevertheless the maker has put some thought and effort into producing a shirt that is more, (in _his_ mind’s eye), than just “here’s something to throw on when you’re slumming”. The contrast collar quite nicely elevates the formality of the shirt to one that is declaring itself to be “blazer ready” when you want to look just that little bit… better.

    If that’s true, and if I’m a customer who cares enough about any of this to value the contrast collar as highly as the maker apparently does, than I think it’s only reasonable to think that I’m going to think about fit. If I was buying this from a chiwanese sweatshop I might, for a much cheaper price point, take a bit less in the way of fit but at the price point of this particular article I want a collar that I have the option of wearing with a tie and a sleeve length that will show just the right amount of sleeve should I choose to wear a jacket.

    I react negatively when I see the words “domestically made” and “made in the USA”, used as a justification in and of itself for price. I’m fully aware of how much more it costs to produce items here in the States, but “made in the USA” is justification for higher pricing on the consumer side _only_ when it means “and because it’s made in the USA it’s made to a standard of quality, fit, and finish that you won’t find anywhere else at in this price point!”. I think we’ve lost that ideal: the maker you’ve featured in this post isn’t alone. RL gets away with it, the guy in Houston gets away with it. Enough, already. They are implying that I should buy their goods and support them because they are who they are without living up to their responsibility to produce a product that makes me look better than products from other sources. Fit is everything. At the price point he and other US makers are asking it shouldn’t even _have_ to come up for discussions like this, it should be a given. I’m a 16-1/2 X 34. It’s insulting to ask a hundred thirty and tell me a “medium” will be good enough. If a medium’s “good enough” then $29.95 should be “good enough”. No one else gets away with this; trouser manufacturers, or… shoemakers. (!) (Heh… how would you feel if the maker of your high-end shoes told you that since your size 9-EE feet are between sizes 8 and 10, you’ll be good enough in a “medium”?)

  7. Michael- The bottom line on comments is that they are encouraged. I realize my point of view is not the same as everyones and all comments (yes, even those that may come off as condescending) are welcomed and will not be deleted. I must thank you for even taking the time to respond to my request to elaborate.

    On to your points: Everything you wrote is true and a legitimate criticism of the "made in the USA" zeitgeist we continually see on the majority of the menswear blogs. In this case I want to say the shirt is priced north of $100 due to its limited, exclusive nature. The reason I threw it up is because of the of quality, which I saw firsthand and the opportunity to highlight both a shop and designer I personally believe in.

    The issue of sizing here is critical and complicated. Most oxford shirts of this casual nature come in sizes small-large due to their said casual nature. The belief that the guy who wears this shirt is probably going sans jacket and tie is likely assumed, and while this may be an incorrect assumption the shirt is manufactured this way nonetheless (keep in mind this is all speculation on my part based on what I know about garments). Also, the exclusivity of this shirt puts the manufacturer in a bind. With only a few to sell, it makes econimic sense to make it in general sizes (as oppose to a variety of specific neck x sleeve sizes). Widening the net of potential buyers is obviously a smarter economic move. I agree that making a shirt in the USA shouldnt be an excuse to charge out-of-this-world prices and it is MY OWN FAULT that I used this as a justification in my own post, so I apologize for that.

    Moral of the story, at least in my mind, is that what we have hear is a classic oxford with just the right details to catch my eye. Not to mention, it brings together two entitites whom I respect and feel deserve press. Price is never an object in my "Lusting After" posts since, well, I'm just lusting. I hope that clears some of the concerns up and sets the record straight. Comments and discussion are something this blog thrives on and without readers it would not be even remotely as intersting as it is.

  8. This shirt shouldn't work but does. I enjoy it's Polo-ishness with a dash of Brooks Brothers and a sprinkle of Band of Outsiders in equal measure. :)

  9. Here are my thoughts.

    If I were in the market for this caliber (price-wise) of shirt, my first reaction would be similar to Michael's. I would want to buy a shirt that would be as versatile as possible. That meaning able to be worn with as many things as possible (untucked, tucked no tie, tie and jacket). s-m-l sizing makes that harder for people who don't fit easily into those categories.

    However, LAS's point about the limited run makes a ton of sense when I think about it.

    I like the shirt, and if I found it at the thrift store or had money to burn I'd definitely pick it up.

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