The University Stripe/OCBD Challenge

niv

Active Member with Corp. Privileges
I recently bought university/bengal striped shirts from Mercer, Michael Spencer, O'Connell's (okay, not a stripe, but I thought I'd include it anyway) and BB (the new ones in Madison fit). I thought I'd give you a run down on the differences between the shirts. All were must iron and unfused and unlined. All are around the same price point.

A couple general points - I'm tall with long arms and wear a 17.5" x 37" mostly. My holy grail OCBD is the BB oxford from the 70s and 80s, my formative years. I prefer unlined, unfused oxfords with a bit of heft - I think of OCBDs as being on the rugged side of dress shirts. Also, I like for OCBDs to be large fitting. No slim fit for me!

Mercer

The blue striped shirt came with a couple other shirts as part of my first order from Mercer. The blue is a deep, almost purplish blue. The material is in the middle range among these shirts on a scale of weight and thickness and is very appealing. The shirt is nicely constructed and, to me, longs and fees as a OCBD should. The buttons are think although I've heard that they are plastic. If so, they're still quality buttons. I was able to order a long from Mercer so the shirt fit me correctly in length. It is on the large size compared to the BB in Madison fit. As I mentioned, I'm not a fan of slim shirts so I like the bulk.

My only issue is that the collar is tighter than the other shirts in the same size. Will order again but size up a bit in the collar. The collar had a very nice roll.

Good customer service overall although they didn't charge me in advance liked I asked (what retailers don't love to get paid in advance?) but charged me after I received the shirts which was no problem.

Michael Spencer

I've mentioned this before on this forum but the colors on their website is off. I only ordered one shirt to start with but it turned out a much softer, nicer pink than the swatch on their site. They need to hire a professional photographer and post better shots. The pink is not a BB pink (more lighter in hue and, for want of a better word, delicate). Still, it worked for me. The buttons were mother of pearl and I had to pay a little extra for this addition. They look attractive and I'm glad I opted for them. The shirt is the thickest of the bunch, which I like, and feels indestructible. Once again the shirt was a substantial length and it did give me the option to order a long (also an extra long, which is very unusual).

The shirt fit true to size and I will order again from them. I had no customer service issues so I can't speak to how efficient and accommodating they are.

O'Connell's

Unlike the others, this shirt is a solid blue. The color is very saturated and rich and one I like. This shirt has the softest material of the bunch and feels more like a pinpoint than an oxford. The shirt fits true to size although the length is short. I was not given a choice of length and it is definitely shorter than the BB OCBD which also does not give you this choice.

I would not order one of these shirts again. They are too insubstantial for an OCBD for me, although as I said the color was great and the construction top notch.

BB

I know, I know, no pocket. It bugs me too but I thought I'd order one anyway to check out these new to market shirts. I ordered aqua. I have a decent eye for color but I'm still having a difficult time telling that this shirt is aqua and not light blue. I'm going to walk over to the store in a little bit and ask them which one I'm wearing to make sure. If this turns out to be blue, I'll provide an update. Assuming its aqua the hue is, surprise, very light blue in appearance. I actually like this color and will keep the shirt regardless which color it is. Also, I'm wearing the shirt right now which makes returning it today more difficult. Except for the pocket, this shirt has it all, a nice traditional material more akin to (although thinner than) my Michael Spencer shirt than my O'Connell's. The collar has the appropriate shape, which is nice to see again from Brooks Bros. The website (which is often wrong in the descriptions of the items they're selling) says the buttons are mother of pearl. I have a hard time telling and would have otherwise thought they are just thin plastic.

I'm not planning to buy any more of these shirts except for the yellow stripe and that is because I don't have that color and I have an $80 gift card burning a hole in my wallet

Overall I'm generally pleased with the shirts but will be concentrating my future purchases with Mercer and Michael Spencer. It's nice to see the old baby is back!


PS - I apologize for the shifting tenses, I wrote this in a hurry at work...
 

niv

Active Member with Corp. Privileges
Went to BB. They weren't sure about the color of my shirt. We all lean towards aqua.
 

Charles Dana

Honors Member
Went to BB. They weren't sure about the color of my shirt. We all lean towards aqua.

"Aqua" is a difficult color to nail down because different merchants have different notions of what "aqua" is supposed to look like. Blue-green, with more blue than green? Or more green than blue? And should it lean darker or lighter? The definition changes from seller to seller, and also within one seller depending on the garment up for sale, or the season.
 

niv

Active Member with Corp. Privileges
I did find it funny that BB employees couldn't figure out the color either.
 

JLibourel

Honors Member and King Fop
I wasn't aware that Mercer offered a dark blue striped oxford. Your shirt sounds like their Classic Blue Bengal Stripe, which I have, but that is broadcloth, not oxford cloth.
 

niv

Active Member with Corp. Privileges
I wasn't aware that Mercer offered a dark blue striped oxford. Your shirt sounds like their Classic Blue Bengal Stripe, which I have, but that is broadcloth, not oxford cloth.

This is the shirt I'm referring to --- Loyal Blue and White Stripe Two-Ply
100% Pima Cotton Oxford
 

niv

Active Member with Corp. Privileges
Are the shirts not tagged with the color name along with the price?

Nope although an associate looked up the number on the computer and it did say green, which is definitely not the color of the shirt.
 

JLibourel

Honors Member and King Fop
"Loyal" blue? Can Rudy Red, Charcool Grey, and Buttercuff Yellow be far behind?

Oh, David Mercer likes these playful names. There is also Loyal Crimson, Red and Pink, so it is not a play on "Royal." There are also names like "Major Grey," and he has a Jim Bridger plaid shirting, probably in honor of Mercer's relocation to Bozeman, Montana. It looks like nothing I would have expected Ol' Jim to be wearing. I should have thought something in fringed buckskin to have been more the kind of thing he would have worn.

In any event, on my computer monitor, the Loyal Blue striping looks quite pale, not royal blue, nor yet how the OP described it, and Mercer's shirtings usually look darker on my computer than they do in reality.
 

rl1856

Senior Member
Thank you for starting this post.

You mention that several shirts are "true to size", but how do they fit relative to each other ? Can you rank them from fullest to trimmest ?
 

niv

Active Member with Corp. Privileges
Good point. My true to size is that is fit well for me. I guess that doesn't mean anything to anyone else. I'd measure them but some of them are at the cleaners.
 

peterc

Super Member
Thanks to the OP for a great post. I have been leaning to Mercer for a long time now. Looks like I need to take the plunge.
 
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