03 December 2015

Checks and Layers

Some of you who've been hanging around for a while may remember a few years back my interest in a buffalo-plaid wool shirt that J. Crew was selling under its Wallace & Barnes sub-brand. I thought it was rather overpriced, and even after it went on sale, I could not find my size available. I consoled myself with a vintage Woolrich shirt that I found on eBay, but it never quite satisfied me, because unfortunately I have a problem with being satisfied. (That's something we probably don't need to get into here...)

Eventually the item sold out. Jump to this fall, and it's back (if it's not the exact same item, it's very, very close), and at a slightly lower but still somewhat overly ambitious $148. (I'm not a retailing expert, but J. Crew's aspirational pricing is probably a significant factor in their recent struggles.) For the sake of comparison, the traditional Woolrich buffalo plaid shirt is currently selling for $119, though they have gone and ruined it with that light blue inner collar lining, perhaps to drive customers to the more recent made-in-USA version, which is going for $195.

Or, if all of those are too rich for your blood, you could head over to your local Old Navy (or visit online) for a much more reasonably priced facsimile. At its $50 "regular" price, this is kind of a no-brainer, though it's very easy to get it for less during one of their many sales; I picked up one for half price during their pre-Thanksgiving sale. To be fair and accurate, their version is only 50% wool (the rest is polyester and "other fibers"), so it's going to pill a little more than a shirt with a higher wool content, but you wouldn't wear this next to your skin anyway (layering, right?) so you won't really feel the difference, and the fabric is substantial and heavy so it will provide some decent warmth.

I will say that in person, the red is slightly darker than it looks in the photos, and I find that a bit disappointing, but it's a trifle. I'm not sure how long this will last, but for $25 I'm going to wear the hell out of it.

No comments: