Have you ever had a garment that just seems to attract all of the bad luck?
I recently experienced this for the first time, with a shirt that I bought a couple of months ago.
It was a lilac coloured oxford cloth button down shirt, the Vintage Oxford model by Nautica.
I’d bought it because I already had one of the same model, from the same brand, that I quite liked. It’s in a mid blue, and you’ll have seen me sporting it every so often on my Instagram.
The cloth is serviceable, it’s little wide in the body, but at least it doesn’t pull. I wear jackets over shirts most of the time, so this doesn’t bother me too much.
Most importantly, it has a good collar point length with a nice roll to it.
So, I thought to myself I’d keep an eye out for more.
And I came across one on eBay, deadstock and vintage. Lilac in colour.
I figured I was in luck.
N.B. Find humour in this. I’m sharing the story so you can have a laugh (and maybe commiserate with stories of your own horror garments)!
Episode 1: The Chemical Nose Overload
It arrived, complete with all original packaging, and the first issue happened as soon as I unwrapped it.
The shirt reeked.
It was completely permeated with that nasty chemical smell you sometimes get from the cloth factory.
Like industrial glue mixed with a handful of other olfactory assaults.
I don’t know how to explain it better than that, but if you know, you know.
It was so persistent, touching the fabric caused my hands to catch the awful chemical stench.
Regardless, I put the shirt straight into the washing machine.
Cold wash, by itself.
I didn’t want the chance of that smell getting into any other clothes.
One wash down, I hung it out to dry, but noticed the chemical smell was still there.
This meant I’d be airing it off, outside, for a few days.
Away of the sun after drying, of course.
Three days later, the chemical hazard area still lingered.
Back to the wash, for wash number two.
The second time was the charm, and the shirt was finally ready to press.
Episode 2: Iron the Terrible
After the shirt dried again, I brought it inside to the ironing board.
Where I proceeded to labour a heck of a lot at pressing it.
It was a largely failed endeavour.
Some cloths are advertised as wrinkle resistant, but this shirt’s cloth was a wrinkle magnet.
Many of the creases simply refused to come out, short of my iron burning through the cloth.
I decided I’d just try wearing it, soften the fabric a little, and give it a go again later.
I noticed then, that the sleeve length had shrunk enough to make moving my arms a trifle uncomfortable.
I should probably have abandoned this shirt at that point, but I soldiered on with it.
It was a nice shirt, after all.
And I could wear it under layers.
I ended up getting a bit of engine grease on it during the first wear, and it had to go back to the wash.
Three washes, one wear.
At least, I figured, the cloth might be more pressable now.
I washed, aired and returned the shirt to the ironing board.
Where I noticed the first of the pulls in the fabric.
A thread had already come loose and caused an unsightly pleat across the sleeve.
One that would never press out.
The shirt did have an easier time of pressing, overall, the second time around.
Apart from the damaged sleeve.
Well, I thought, at least that one will be covered by a jacket most of the time.
Episode 3: A Stain on Its Honour
A few wears later, I sprayed some of my favourite fragrance, Areej le Dore’s Malik al Taif, and a bit of it hit my collar.
That particular fragrance has a very high concentration of natural oils, which means it can stain clothing.
And it stained my collar.
I wasn’t too concerned, as I’m well acquainted with Sard stain remover and how good it can be for getting stains off of my clothing when I’ve been playing with cars, bikes or doing other manual work.
At this point, I had six wears from the shirt.
At least the wear count finally outweighed the wash count, which was about to hit five.
I sprayed some Sard on the collar, let it do its work, and washed the shirt.
It would be the final wash.
Because, once it dried in the outside air, and I brought it back to the ironing board, I saw that disaster had struck.
Where there was previously one pulled thread, now there were several.
The shirt that was already difficult to press was now impossible to press, due to the pleating that was now occurring on various panels.
This episode made me decide that perhaps these Nautica Vintage Oxford shirts aren’t for me.
It’s a shame, because the collar and fit are quite decent on me.
The search for a decently priced RTW shirt with a proper collar length continues…