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.

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