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 Post subject: "Baggier and better...?"
PostPosted: Thu Aug 02, 2018 10:13 pm 
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Throwing this out for the group.

Mercer & Sons, inarguably one of the last great USA-made OCBD manufacturers, has as its motto,"Baggier and better." Certainly, this implies that a loose fit is somehow superior (perhaps more traditional) than a slimmer fit.

For some time, I accepted this. Granted, I was born in the mid-60's, and didn't start to dress "preppy" (meaning, I became aware of OCBDs, khakis, Topsiders, etc.) until the early 80's. However, it's hard to argue with the fact that Troy Guild made some of the best OCBDs of the day, right? So, I recently found one of those (NOS) at a thrift store, in my size (16x34 - for reference, I'm 5' 11" tall and 175 lbs. with a 35" waist, wearing a 41R jacket). This shirt fits a lot more like a modern BB Regent (maybe - at a stretch - a Madison) than it does a Traditional. I'm pretty sure that Mercer makes 'em even baggier. I'm not in the mood to pull out the tape measure, however. This is just my personal impression. So...is "baggier and better" just a myth? Or, is it perhaps a byproduct of us getting baggier...(and not necessarily better)?

Discuss... ;)

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 Post subject: Re: "Baggier and better...?"
PostPosted: Fri Aug 03, 2018 8:06 am 
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I shop vintage a lot and often notice that yesterday's size L is more like today's size M. The evidence is only anecdotal, but I have an easier time finding vintage items that fit me (5-9, 155) than more recent items which tend to be size 42-up. There are a lot more jackets and suits size 40 and under in the vintage market than in clothes made since the 1990s.

Topsider, as a physician, I'm sure you can speak with more authority about the factors that have led to an increase in American obesity since the 1950s.

So, I think American men have become bigger. I find BB's "regent" fit is somewhat baggy, and it's supposed to be a slim fit. I've always wondered if Mercer's tagline is a subtle means of justifying a higher price for more cloth.


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 Post subject: Re: "Baggier and better...?"
PostPosted: Fri Aug 03, 2018 11:00 am 
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I've thought this for long time now!

Even got into it on OCBD's blog awhile ago with a couple of people, after he posted a photo of our friend Popinjay (who now works for Drakes in NYC).

My point was this, if you look at old year books from the heyday of the ivy look, or even something like Take Ivy, you see a lot of kids wearing slim fits. There were a ton of very tapered trousers for example, some of which were also very high wader! There seems to be a real disconnect between those of us on trad forums and blogs in Bills M2s, and those 60s college kids in their tight wheat jeans.

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 Post subject: Re: "Baggier and better...?"
PostPosted: Fri Aug 03, 2018 2:17 pm 
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It does depend on the time period. Just as lapel and tie widths have changed over time, so has the preferred look ranged from slim to fully cut to slim and back again. Even within the enduring frame of traditional menswear there are ebbs and flows.

It feels to me like the Ivy clothing of the 1950s was more relaxed—consider the baggy “chinos” of the Fifties—and I believe you’re on solid ground to say that Ivy style in the 1960s had a slimmer silhouette. The 1970s and ‘80s, when I came of age, returned to a fuller cut—the best example being the classic, voluminously designed Brooks Brothers oxford shirt, which was the standard bearer of that time and the one that Mercer has attempted to recreate. And so on.

There have also been variations within a given era. LC, you mentioned Take Ivy; regrettably, my copy does not have page numbers, but I can find a guy in madras shorts standing on the corner of Nassau Street in Princeton, another one in untucked mode getting on his bicycle, and a third in Bermudas with a laundry sack slung over his shoulder. Each is wearing a very generously cut oxford shirt. And take a look too at this photo of Ted and Bobby Kennedy from 1960, which to my mind should be in the dictionary under "how to wear an oxford shirt":

Image


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 Post subject: Re: "Baggier and better...?"
PostPosted: Sat Aug 04, 2018 5:08 pm 
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I've definitely gotten baggier.

I blame the 1960s.

Also corn syrup.

I've also gotten bigger in terms of muscle. It's from fly-fishing. You laugh, but try spending several hours at a clip, four or five times per week from May through October, clambering around river valleys or wading against moving water or humping a canoe or pontoon boat around, plus thousands of repetitions with the casting arm, and see what happens.

There is no question that my arms, chest and legs are more muscular than they used to be.

And that's just fine. It's the neck and midsection expansion, that has nothing to do with fishing and everything to do with diet, that causes me distress and angst.

Oh well, I'm 56, I'll start to shrivel up soon enough.

So keep those baggy shirts coming, because I look like a putz in a slim fit.


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 Post subject: Re: "Baggier and better...?"
PostPosted: Sun Aug 05, 2018 7:27 pm 
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I personally like a comfortable fit in my shirts which, for me, probably skews slimmer than for most. I love the fabric quality and selection plus the collar role of Mercer shirts. Unfortunately I have a thick neck and chest and need to size down in the body and have shirts further taken in the waist to get a good comfortable fit with Mercer.


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