21 December 2011

A Shirt for Both of You: Mercer & Sons

Flagler College, St Augustine, FL, 1983

That's M.E. up there in her dorm room 27 years ago. I'd like to make it clear this was a self portrait. If I were in the room that can would not be Diet Pepsi. M.E. wasn't shy about picking through my college closet and here she's modeling a hand made linen shirt issued to me by the National Park Service for living-history events at Castillo de San Marcos. I still have it, and after 27 years the linen feels like melted butter on Wonder Bread.

The Mercer Roll

Women have longed shopped the boy's department for shirts. Cheaper than a blouse, better made, more fabric, and half the cost at the dry cleaners. What's not to like? David Mercer and I were talking about how women are hosed when it comes to, 'tapered', 'no-iron', 'over-priced' shirt options. And I said, "I don't think anything looks sexier than a woman in a man's shirt."

'Your favorite shirt is on the bed...' Haircut 100

So when you order your husband's shirt -- remember, its yours as well. It's too late to order for Christmas, but in my family of slackers we always celebrated Three Kings. A perfect holiday for the forgetful, lazy and overwhelmed since it arrives on January 6th. It's sort of the last chance to get Christmas right. (Trad Three Kings Story)

Who knows...maybe the shirt you order will last 27 years.


Anonymous said...

Big fan of the Mercer shirt. Not surprised they came out on top when you did you "Shirt-tasting".
His pink and yellow oxford cloth is a little brighter and thus better (to my eye) than the BB version.
Mercer is one of the relatively few vendors to offer pink universlty stripe. (No one has been able to answer why yellow uni stripe is so rare, to my satisfaction.)
RL is the undisputed king when it comes to stripings for oxford cloth, but I guess then can custom order in bulk.
Not unexpectedly, Mercer's prices have increased even more recently. Does this still reflect the relative scarcity in the cotton supply?

FLW said...

...and you'll be glad to have it in 27 years, when 27 Christmases filled with sweets or scotch or both (depending on your family dynamic) have left their mark on you. Those shirts that we younger men bought in the current heyday of "it don't fit unless it looks like I'm in a wet t-shirt contest" will not be so loyal, no matter how well they are made.

There are no royal warrants in America, of course, but Mercer certainly could earn an honorary one.

tintin said...

Anon- I don't want to mention names but they're a bevy of "Heritage" shirt makers out there getting $150 and up for alpha sized shirts. Mercer is still a bargain with unheard of options: Popover, button on back of collar, pockt flap, etc. I'm not so sure it's a matter of cotton prices as much as it is David wondering if he's priced too low. It's really a MTM shirt you're getting at half any other MTM price.

I've never understood the shortage of yellow uni stripe other than nobody buys it. If you see one -- grab it. Charvet is out of it. So is Individualized as well as BB, Cego, and the rest. I'm sure there's 100 yards of it sitting somewhere in the Garment District.

FLW- Great observations. I always thought David should hire me to run a small shop in London. Maybe in a train station. Shooting fish in a barrel.

Anonymous said...

The Mercers are truly great. A year ago, I received my first order of white and blue oxfords. Now they're finally broken in. I just placed another order since I'm tired of washing my shirts twice a week and I grew tired of wearing the shirts I bought in Italy that fit like saran wrap. I was hesitant about the baggy fit of the Mercer's at first, but now I get it. Perhaps that's what happens after turning 30, or perhaps that's what happens after breaking up with my Italian girlfriend? Nonetheless, the money I would have spent on the girl's x-mas gift was spent on Mercer shirts, which are guaranteed to last longer than most women.

Merry Christmas to you,

Main Line Sportsman said...

I cannot agree more that women look delicious in a man's white dress shirt....just devastating!

Anonymous said...

You still have your puffy shirt???? (apologies to Seinfeld) I had no choice: Hand it back when leaving. Ditto the knee britches and stockings. But I was with the Historic Restoration Society/Preservation Board, not the National Park System.

Gudrun Hall, God bless her, handmade mine from the best available old-world linen she could find. Thick and springy, superb wicking and stand-off from the skin.

M.E. looks killer in it. As, of course, she would. For all the reasons.


GSV JR said...

Are M&S fuller cut than BB? If so, I may be phoning the NPole...

Alice Olive said...

Love the light in M.E.'s portrait.

Anonymous said...

When you said "I don't think anything looks sexier than a woman in a man's shirt," I trust that you were NOT thinking of this:


(A funny, funny woman by the way...)

Anonymous said...

My college daughter just started wearing the pink Brooks Brothers oxford shirt, from the boys department (size 12), that I wore in college in 1974. It makes me so happy!
aka Madeline

Patsy said...

When the collars & cuffs frayed, my father put his dress shirts on the top shelf of his closet to indicate that they were fair game to my sisters and I.

Oh, to be able to sit cross legged like I could 27 years ago.

Dallas said...

lot of risky business fans out there.

freud would have a thing or two about this fetish.

sponsored by?

Merry Christmas all.

tintin said...

I can't believe one person hasn't commented on the fabulous Haircut 100 video. It breaks my cheese filled heart.

Farrago said...

I've just come back from a preemptive trip to confession. M.E., in a shirt, and all those sins of the flesh came boiling to a head. I suppose your reference to Haircut 100 might have been better paired with a cream colored Aran sweater.

Farrago said...

Oh, and the shirts aren't so bad. The navy/green check made and appearance today.

Anonymous said...

Check the right cuff. I mended the rip 27 years ago.... ME

Jennings and Gates said...

True. The shirt section of my closet looks like a men's department.