Sunday, August 5, 2012

On the Topic of CPO Shirts

As the season begins to change and the weather takes a change for the worse, I find myself thinking about the small updates, that the wardrobe needs for fall. One thing I've been wanting for quite some time now is a sturdy woolen overshirt or rather a CPO shirt or CPO jacket. What got me started was probably seeing some from Engineered Garments or Post O'alls make-ups years ago, but then I read this small anecdote from a member on the forum AskAndyAboutClothes 

"Back in the early 60's most young people I knew wore a wool CPO shirt on very casual fall occasions, typically with khakis, penny loafers and an OCBD. While it will never replace a Shetland sweater, I've recently grown nostalgic and thought I might like to wear one again."

After reading this it all made sense and fell into place. Or maybe it didn't, but I felt that I wanted one even more. It's going to be a perfect layering piece over a OCBD shirt.

Right now I think my best bet is one  by Fidelity, which can be had for pennies in the US, however I'm a bit unsure about the fit. It might just have very short sleeves and a billowy fit judging from the poor pictures, I've been able to find. But the quality is definitely good - 22 oz melton wool (basically the same weight as a heavy commercial peacoat) and made in the US by a company that has been handling contracts for the US navy.

I got really excited, when I saw one from something called Fidelity by Gerald and Stewart in a shop in Denmark. I don't know much about this brand, if it's a private label, designer collaboration or some sort of Fidelity fashion offshoot. But the fit was awful. It was tiny  and I could barely fit into a size XL, though my normal size is something along the lines of L or M. It wasn't any good as an overshirt at least.

Another option I quite like, although it isn't authentic in any way, is the collaboration between the Woodlands Shop in Oregon and 3Sixteen. It's obviously not a CPO, but it's very wearable as an overshirt. Furthermore the fit looks a lot better than the aforementioned options and the quality is still good using Pendleton wool. Another plus are the colours - They're great.

Again, I realise, that this isn't a CPO either, but I've over the years created a saying, that goes "When in doubt, go for Filson". Filson is just great and their Jac-shirt looks like it fits the bill. They basically never do anything that isn't good - but they do quite a lot of things nowadays that aren't made in the States unfortunately.

Other options include Japanese repro brands like The Real McCoys and Buzz Rickson obviously, but they come with a hefty price tag.

Like this one from Buzz

If you want to read more about the CPO, you can gather more information here and if you've got some information on a good and hopefully better alternative, please do share them.

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