O'Connell's Clothing in Buffalo is well known to the cognoscenti as one of the few purveyors of honest and true Trad apparel. With Quoddy back ordered to God knows when - - I found a pair of Quoddy Camp Mocs ($175) at O'Connells and they were a shade under the Quoddy price ($209) to boot or to moc.
I check their web site every week because I'm sure as Hell not driving to Buffalo. Just last week I found something amazing. New Old Stock of Brooks Brothers shirts. I first heard someone say "piss shiver" when I was in the army. I swear I had a piss shiver when I saw these.
Bang the 1-800 and Ethan answers. Ethan always answers. "So what's the story on the Brooks shirts?" Ethan explains O'Connells was one of eight or so retailers who had a Brooks "store in store" concept from the late '80s to the mid '90s. They sold suits, ties, dress shirts and polos. I ask the big question, "Those Brooks shirts you have on your web site - - Are the collars lined?"
A quick primer. Unlined collars are very important to the obsessed Brooks Brothers oxford fan and here's why. It was that detail of a sloppy looking collar that actually made the shirt. In much the same way the bagginess did and still does. It is - - 110% American. Actually, it's North American but that's another story.
"Unlined" says Ethan. Pull out wallet, credit card, bing, bang, bong. Two days later it's here. A pink - I ordered pink - I haven't seen this pink in years. Softer in hue and almost peach when you hold it up to a recent purchase. Amazing.
Maybe it's better. Maybe it's not. The collar is 3 1/4" compared to 3" today. The shirt tail hits 33" compared to 32" today. But oddly the weight (on a kitchen scale) pegs the Old Stock at just over 11 ounces while the new oxford weighs in at just under 13 ounces. Odd that. Ethan thinks they were made in the early '90s somewhere in the south. Maybe Alabama but don't quote him.
If this interests you -- give Ethan a call. Chat him up and give it a go. No discount from this blog. I paid full freight - - so will you. But these little opportunities of history are hard to find in a world of J. Crew 'curatorial' washed horse pooh. You may wanna strike - - while the gettin is (a-hem) unlined.