The chambray shirt is a true classic, described by GQ as “timelessly American.” It’s the original blue collar shirt, its fabric associated with the hard working Americans on whose backs this country was built.
Like many timeless classics, the chambray shirt’s origin is military. Through the Second World War, it was standard issue for U.S. sailors. After the war, college students on the G.I. Bill pressed their chambray shirts into civilian service–just as their army counterparts did with their khaki trousers.
A trip last weekend to Manready Mercantile brought a chambray shirt into my orbit. Remembering that I was fond of Flint and Tinder’s products, they showed me some of the company’s recent arrivals, which included chambray shirts in blue and gray.
As someone who hasn’t purchased a long sleeved shirt off-the-rack in more than a decade, I was skeptical. Despite my preference for custom shirts from Houston’s Hamilton Shirts, I’ve tried in vain to find off the rack button downs that fit. But the results have always been less than satisfying: sleeves too long and body too voluminous for my 5’11” frame, even in a size medium.
But the Flint and Tinder chambray shirt–made in Philadelphia–was none of those. It was slim enough to avoid looking tent-like in proportion but with enough room for movement. The sleeves met the shoulders at precisely the right point. And the lightweight fabric promised use throughout our Southeast Texas summers.