ENGINEERED GARMENTS SHIRTING: 19TH CENTURY BD SHIRT

Engineered Garments 19th Century BD Shirts.

The jewel in Engineered Garments shirting crown would certainly have to be the 19th Century BD Shirt for me. It’s one of their staple garments that appears each season and like their other shirts has only a few subtle, but distinctive details that set it apart from the crowd.

Along with the Rounded Collar and Tab Collar shirts it’s one of Engineered’s smarter, preppier shirts, but unlike those aforementioned styles this shirt is simpler and can generally be worn more casually.

Engineered Garments 19th Century BD Shirts.

My obsession with this shirt has been gathering momentum recently especially with the new Autumn/Winter items arriving in stores in testing floral prints. The BD shirt is often Daiki’s playground for using some of the more garish madras, plaids, and checks, offsetting the simplicity of the shirt style and setting it apart from more traditional button-down offers such as Gitman, Ralph or Brooks Brothers. Another reason is I’ve recently bought a couple of the Workaday versions of the shirt which are good ‘all rounders’ produced in great quality oxford cloth in simple colours and patterns. I also find the cut more pleasing than the mainline version even though it’s necessary to size down for Workaday. For those interested, the Workaday shirts (which are also significantly cheaper than the mainline equivalent) can be found at The Bureau Belfast.

Engineered Garments 19th Century BD Shirt, Floral Print.
Engineered Garments Workaday 19th Century BD Shirt, White Oxford Cloth.

Other features that set this style apart are two large curved plackets at the bottom of the shirt making up for it’s distinct lack of buttons down the front and giving the style a more ‘historic’ feel. I’ve heard some people complain in the past that the shirt’s buttons cease too early as the last one is around the naval area. I really don’t find this an issue with such exaggerated overlapping plackets – the shirt always looks neat and tidy when tucked in and I’ve never had an issue with it splaying open at the waist band. I find the bigger issue for smarter occasions (like all E.G. styles) is the incredibly high hem, but it’s another payoff for the more casual untucked approach.

Engineered Garments Workaday 19th Century BD Shirt, Blue Chambray from The Bureau Belfast.

One last detail I’d like to discuss is single needle tailoring, which is generally considered superior to that of twin needle/chain stitching for a few reasons; the seam lays flatter than chain stitched seams, looks cleaner, and is less prone to puckering after washing. Single needle stitching is also every bit as strong as twin needle as there are still two rows of stitching, but one is hidden inside the fabric. It is, however, more labour intensive to produce which is why it’s generally only found on higher quality dress shirts. Single needle tailoring can also be found on the Rounded Collar shirt.

Single needle stitching detail on the 19th Century BD Shirt. The outer, single stitch seam is on the left and the right image shows the double stitching on the inside seam.
Twin needle/chain stitching detail of the Tab Collar shirt. Note the coarseness of the stitch rows on the inside seam on the right. Single needle stitching offers a flatter, smoother finish.

Alongside the Workshirt, this is certainly my favourite Engineered Garments shirt style. My plan is to, style by style, take a more in-depth look at Engineered’s shirting styles in future posts.

GOLDEN GARB Nº1: DANIEL PLAINVIEW

Golden Garb is going to be a series of ongoing posts about the iconic and inspiring clothing of great characters and gentlemen, be they real or fictional, who have had an impact on my own personal style, taste and wardrobe over the years. First up, it’s mineral prospector-turned-oil tycoon, Mr. Daniel Plainview:

One of my favourite films, There will be blood, was released in the U.K. at a time when my interest in workwear inspired clothing and particularly the design work of Daiki Suzuki and Takeshi Ohfuchi was really beginning to gather momentum. The films painstakingly authentic costume design by Mark Bridges only served to fuel this interest further and the film stayed with me long after multiple trips to the cinema to see it, thanks in no small part to the clothing.

I became fixated on certain garments from the film, the work shirts and waistcoats in particular. By no means did i want to dress up as Daniel Plainview (that would be a bit odd… right?) but I was certainly looking to inject a whiff of the ‘turn of the century oil baron’ in to my wardrobe as I loved the mix of work wear and smart attire.

Post O’alls had alot of this kind of clothing already in their collections. Their Engineers shirt matching Daniel’s work shirt particularly well. One detail I love about this shirt is the shaped watch pocket on the left breast. Still handy today for shades!

Daniel’s original work shirts from the film, for sale at the Golden Closet
Post O’alls Engineers shirt which clearly takes reference from the same period.

Work shirts aside though there was one item from the film that really caught my attention more than anything else. A waxed cotton (I presume), double breasted Mackinaw coat with a cord shawl collar that Daniel wears when he’s scouting for oil pipe locations in the desert.

Plotting the pipeline to the Californian coast, the scenes in which Daniel wears his double breasted, shawl collar Mackinaw coat.
Mark Bridges’ sketches from his own site showcasing the carefully researched design work.

I looked for something similar to this for a long time scouting eBay and vintage shops regularly. After a year or so with no success I happened across a coat being sold through styleforum that captured the essence of Daniel’s coat perfectly. Sure enough it was a Daiki Suzuki creation for Woolrich Woolen Mills. A belted Mackinaw coat from fall/winter 07.

Woolrich Woolen Mills Mackinaw Coat

It’s a lot more heavy duty than the coat featured in the film, but a lot of the features were spot on. I couldn’t really wear it whilst scouting for oil pipes in the dessert as it’s super thick and very warm, but the amount of times I’ve found myself in that situation are so few and far between I was happily content with this winter version.

Since purchasing this coat I have of course found a multitude of variations and every one I find is annoyingly that little bit more accurate than the last. Here are some of the versions I’ve spotted along the way…

Nanamica’s Goretex shawl collar coat found at Present
The waxed Hill Climber jacket from Taylor Supply. The least accurate in style, but the closest in fabrics.
Engineered Garments shawl collar pea coat
My pick of the bunch is this Engineered Garments Mackinaw coat with a cord shawl collar and made from a brown ripstop material.

After seeing all these variations I was still pretty satisfied with my original match. It’s not the most accurate, but it’s a cracking coat, cuts an imposing silhouette and it’s super warm in winter.

Satisfied… until… I stumbled across the real thing on a website called the Golden Closet – a site selling movie memorabilia and outfits. That’s right folks, $6,500 will buy you Mr. Day Lewis’ jacket he wore during his Oscar winning turn as Daniel Plainview. I’m not gonna lie, I have been tempted, but a) it’s too small, b) it’s a piece of cinematic history to be treasured, not worn, and c) it’s $6,500 and unfortunately I’m not actually an oil tycoon and don’t have that kind of cash lying around.

The real deal

One day maybe someone out there will do a truly accurate replica of it, but until then I’m going to keep staring at the real one on the Golden Closet in between hunting for quail and constructing my make shift bowling alley from house ornaments. Have I taken this too far?

“I’m finished!”

 

LINEN LESSONS LEARNT

Engineered Garments Bedford Jacket in Linen

I’ve got a few Bedford jackets from Engineered Garments in different fabrics and cuts and they’re always a staple garment throughout the seasons and get lots of heavy wear. However, I’ve had to revise my thinking on this one, which is made from a really nice, loosely woven linen. I purchased it last spring and pretty much wore it every other day until late September. The fit is really loose and unstructured and goes with just about any outfit.

After a few wears this year however, I noticed the damage I’d done to it with such heavy wear.

The pocket I used to keep my keys in was the first hole I noticed. Sharp metal rubbing against soft linen: not good. Lesson 1.

Hole caused from having keys in my pocket

Next was on the right hip. Not quite there yet, but on it’s way to hole city. Heavy leather bag rubbing against soft linen: not good. Lesson 2.

More wear and tear on the right hip – probably from my bag

Last, but certainly not least, a huge hole under the left arm. I’ve never noticed this, but when I walk my left arm must be moving double speed to the rest of my body! Body parts moving against soft linen: not good. Lesson 3.

Wear and tear under the left arm
Detail of wear and tear under the arm

Trusting the quality of design and construction of Engineered Garments implicitly lead to me treat this jacket with the same disregard that I treat my other garments with. However, it’s important to remember the quality of certain fabrics and something like linen isn’t a fabric to constantly hammer. Ventile it ain’t. The jacket is pretty knackered now, but rather than trying to repair it I’m going to embrace it’s beaten up look as it’s taken on a somewhat artistic quality. Very Hockney (sans the talent).

FLORAL SUMMERY

Engineered Garments Blue Floral Pocket Square
Engineered Garments Beige Floral Pocket Square
Woolrich Woolen Mills Antique Flowers Ventura Scarf
Polo Ralph Lauren Tie
Engineered Garments Lava Print Popover Shirt

Some fantastic floral patterns for Summer that I’m hoping to get a little more use out of when the weather picks up!