Review: Mercer & Sons Shirtmakers Pima Cotton Oxford Button-Down
Without further adieu, I present probably the best made "OCBD" I've had the pleasure of wearing.
|Not my shirt, but one from their "Peek Into Our Closet" section.|
Mercer & Sons Shirtmakers have been making quality shirts the old fashioned way since 1982. This requires a great deal of handwork. Is it worth it? Yes. The shirts come complete with a nicely rolled unlined collar, six button front, barrel cuffs with the buttons close to the bottom instead of the centre, and none of those pesky sleeve placket buttons. The pima cotton oxford is beefy as hell and feels like it could take a beating. It's like a shirt that came straight from the JFK era. What's not obvious at first glance is the "v" turned up placket bottom, 1/32" edge stitching, "pearl edge" lock stitch buttonholes requiring 164 stitches, and cross stitched buttons. All of this sounds very fancy and may confuse some of my readers, but in summary: A shirt from them, even at $95, is a good investment that will last a long time.
Much has been made of Mercer's generously cut shirts. To be honest, I didn't notice much of a difference between it and my Brooks Brothers Traditional Fit shirts besides that the tails were a bit longer on the Mercer. That still gives them the advantage, fit wise. Although David thought he had me converted to full cut shirts, I still prefer something trimmer overall, even knowing it may cut down on the life expectancy of the shirt. I'm more confident knowing there isn't a lot of excess fabric around my midsection. The "military tuck" helps a bit, but only so much.
That said, there are options to trim down the shirt to your liking. You can take 2" off from the torso circumference. Although not listed on the website, you can also ask them to use a body pattern from a smaller shirt. For example, a 15"/35" body on a 16"/35" shirt. There are also lots of other detail options available for a small surcharge, including a J. Press style button flap pocket, French cuffs, short sleeves, mitred cuffs, back side pleats or none at all, four button pullover style, etc.
Although they are known for making a full roll 3 7/16" button-down collar, they also make a straight collar which is also unlined. They now have modified spread collars available as well. In the future, I'll have to consider getting one. (Though, I'd probably consider slimming it down with the options they provide.)
Despite what I've heard from others about shrinkage problems from Mercer, my sleeves have shrunk down to and remained at the correct 35" after a few washes. Possibly even a hair longer than that. The collar is also perfectly comfortable around my neck. David Mercer seems to stand behind his products, so I doubt he'd do anything but make it right if there were a problem. The only one I had was a slightly misaligned cuff button, but it was easily fixed by re-sewing the button to its proper place. Not worth sending it back, though I did let him know about it.
Overall, a Mercer & Sons shirt is a fine investment. Those looking for an old-fashioned full cut shirt that will hold up well will not be disappointed. Big thanks to David Mercer for sending this to me to give my thoughts on.
Price: $83.25, postage paid, for first time buyers! Otherwise $95 + $15.95 shipping.