The Perfect Button-down, Explained

February 19, 2017

The Perfect Button-down, Explained


What makes an ocbd

The OCBD – Oxford Cloth Button-Down – is a shirt that deserves a category of its own. It exists somewhere between formal and casual, the office and the weekend, an American college campus and a Tokyo coffee shop. It looks just as natural with a suit and a four-in-hand as it does with selvedge denim and work boots. American in origin but beloved around the globe, it is the single shirt suitable for any occasion.

The shirts became popular with students at American Ivy League universities, who prized them for the soft, unlined collars that were more casual and comfortable than the stiff, starched collars worn by their fathers. These young men continued wearing them after graduation, and they became a common sight in Madison Avenue ad agencies, Greenwich Village jazz clubs, and even The White House.

Though Brooks Brothers was the first, many retailers produced their own versions. Some added details that became iconic, like the locker loops and back buttons first introduced by Gant or the flap-pockets made famous by J. Press. No matter the maker, they always had that button-down collar.

But just because a shirt has a collar and two buttons doesn’t mean it’s a true OCBD – like any good work of art, it’s all about the details. Unfortunately, many modern manufactures have forgotten the specifics that make the OCBD so unique from the rest of men’s shirting.

We use this checklist to judge whether or not a shirt is a genuine OCBD – and all of our shirts pass it. 

University stripe ocbd with denim

But just because a shirt has a collar and two buttons doesn’t mean it’s a true OCBD – like any good work of art, it’s all about the details. 


Unlined Collar With a Real Roll

An OCBD’s collar should be unlined so that it is soft and produces a slight roll when fastened – a timeless, cool look appreciated by everyone from Miles Davis to John F. Kennedy.

Collar roll

 

Need-Iron Oxford Cloth

Non-iron shirts can often look plastic and artificial. A shirt that wrinkles as you move in it will look much more natural and casual at the end of the day.

Need-iron oxford cloth

Deep Cut Round Hem

A rounded, longer-cut hem will help your shirt stay tucked – and keep you looking sharp when you choose to untuck it, too.

Shirt hem length

Box Pleat

The box pleat is a rectangular strip of extra fabric at the back of the shirt that allows your arms to move more freely.

Locker Loop

The locker loop is found at the top of the box pleat, and was meant for hanging OCBDs in school gymnasiums. But when torn from the shirt and kept by a lover it became a symbol of courtship. You can use it however you like.

Locker loop, box pleat & button on the back of shirt collar

Open-Pocket or Flap-Pocket

Every OCBD should have a pocket to help dress it down. This can be a traditional, open pocket or a flap-pocket closed by a single button. In today’s world, these make perfect smartphone holsters.

Open shirt pocket

Button placket with seven buttons 

The 7-button stance allows the top buttons to be separated by 8cm – the perfect balance. Feel free to leave those top two unbuttoned in warm weather to show just the right amount of tan. Having a button placket makes a shirt appear less dressy. Our unlined placket is slightly wider at 4cm, which gives the shirt a sturdier, better-constructed look.

V-Detail at End of Placket

The extra cloth at the bottom of the fabric should be sewn up in small “v” shape – a hidden detail recognized by the diehards.

V-detail at the end of placket

Mother-of-Pearl Buttons

Genuine mother-of-pearl buttons have a weight and thickness that make them superior to flimsy, easily broken plastic buttons.

Mother-of-pearl buttons

 





Sizing Guide

How to find the right size

Our sizing is fairly standard, so ordering your usual size in a slim fit shirt should do the trick.

“I still have my doubts!" Compare your best fitting shirt to our size chart below and find the best match. This tends to be the most efficient way to get it right.

“But...I still want someone to talk to!" Don't hesitate to send us a message at service@leangarments.com or on facebook messenger. We will get back to you as soon as possible, answering any questions or doubts you may have.

XS S M L XL
Collar 39 40 41 42 43
Shoulder 43 45 47 49 51
Chest 49,5 52,5 55,5 58,5 61,5
Waist 45,5 48,5 51,5 54,5 57,5
Hips 47 50 53 56 59
Sleeve length
63
64
66
68
69
Shirt length 75 76 78 80 81