I’m a bit of a fatty, not grossly overweight but certainly not a waif like cat walk model, and as my years are advancing I doubt that I stand much chance of ever being a size zero again. It is for this reason that I tend to favour work shirts over westerns, and why certain brands simply do not work for me at all, a shame as I miss out on lots of clothing which would normally peak my interest but long ago I reconciled that it bothers me less to miss out on some slim cut shirts and jeans that it does to miss out on beer and quality hamburgers.
Also, I’m not sure if it is a symptom of getting older or simply the adoption of checked pattern shirts by a section of people broadly termed as “hipsters” by some, but I am over flannel. Don’t get me wrong, I can still appreciate a nice simple buffalo check and a nice heavy flannel can be a winter wardrobe essential not to mention that I have a wardrobe containing vintage flannels by brands like Frost proof and Five Brothers, what I mean when I say that I am over flannel is perhaps more accurately that I am over being a flannel collector. I used to buy flannel shirts like they were on a limited time offer, I convinced myself that I needed a different colour and weight for every conceivable situation and outfit, I was wrong. The point of this anti flannel collector ranting is that I now feel far more comfortable in a nice clean cut denim or chambray work shirt, my belief is that they are more versatile in a sense of being both easier to dress up and dress down, they evolve more noticeably and you stand less chance of being mistaken for a sales assistant from Urban Outfitters.
I have owned a fair few chambrays in my time, which makes them one of those items that I qualify myself as an expert on despite having almost no knowledge about at all, only empirical evidence and experience. To first state what I have learned about the fabric itself via the interweb, it was first used around 5000BC in Mesopotamia and is traditionally made using dyed warp and white weft threads, it can be made from cotton, silk, synthetic fibres or a combination of any of these, so there is instantly more to it than I suspected. Different manufacturers do their own take on chambray, Iron Heart make a super heavy version which entirely goes against the common impression of it being a lightweight material where other manufacturers experiment with varying weights and dyes but the traditional chambray shirt is a light blue work shirt as favoured by the United States Navy, and this is the style with most appeals to me.
The Trophy Clothing chambray is the traditional style USN but with a few subtle tweaks to satisfy the wearer and make it a distinct interpretation rather than a direct reproduction. The material itself is a loose weave with plenty of texture and character in a similar way to the denim produced by the same company, it is a 100% cotton chambray and weighs in at around 6 to 7oz. The tweaks begin with a real differentiator in the form of none mirrored chest pockets, I know that this is a deal breaker for some people who prefer symmetry but personally I like the distinctive appearance that the unbalance gives, the second tweak comes in the form of subtly placed constructional stitches using a dark green cotton to contrast at points which require strengthening along with the chain stitch run off. The last tweak, and the one which really sells this shirt to me, is the cut. I have tried reproduction chambrays and found that they have a tendency to fit like an unflattering sack, the balance between flattering cut and sloppy mess is a difficult one to attain in a traditional work shirt so getting the cut right is a skill in itself. Thankfully Trophy have nailed it and then some.
This shirt attains its FWA status by being timeless, well constructed, subtle and at the same time deceptively distinct. When I go out socialising (drinking beer) with friends, this is the first shirt I reach for.