These are exciting times for menswear, with a lot of innovative designs that really push the envelope. Still, most men continue to wear primarily traditional shirts and pants. Most of the time, I follow this tradition. But I do like quirky touches.
That’s why I was so excited to find a very unusual shirting fabric at Mood Fabrics recently, an Alexander Wang cotton blend plaid with a distressed effect I’d never seen before. It looks like the fabric has been eaten away by acid or eroded by nature. It was both traditional and avant-garde and I loved it.
I decided that the best way to use the shirting would be to make a traditional, somewhat preppy shirt with it. I decided to use a vintage Sixties pattern from my stash, Simplicity 6955 (below, Version 4). My shirt is short sleeved, loose fitting, with a button-down collar, front-button placket, and shaped hem. (This shirt style would look good in any traditional cotton plaid shirting, and you can check out what Mood Fabrics has available online here.)
I made a few alterations to the pattern, adding a sloping shoulder adjustment to the back, narrowing the sleeve a tad, and shortening the torso roughly one inch. Otherwise, I followed the pattern as printed. I added genuine mother of pearl buttons to front placket and collar tips. I made my buttonholes with my vintage Singer buttonhole attachment.
I really love my new shirt, and I think it looks good both with a white undershirt on underneath (which contrasts more dramatically with the blue fabric and provides more modest coverage) as well as without (which will be welcome come the summer for extra coolness). Either way, it’s a preppy classic with a twist!
Undershirt or no undershirt — which do you prefer (if you can tell the difference)?
What’s your take on the “distressed” look in clothing? Do you like it or would you prefer your new clothes look new?
See you next month!