Seeking long, ethically-manufactured button-downs
July 26, 2016 11:17 AM   Subscribe

I am seeking a shirt with specific attributes --

- Button-down, woven shirt
- Button-down collar
- Long or 3/4 sleeves
- LONG torso that stays tucked in
- Cotton fabric, or at least a blend that won't reek after an hour of wear
- Fits a slim torso (dress size 2)
- Made in a non-sweatshop setting by adults

Does this shirt exist?
posted by delight to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (5 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Muffy Aldrich of the Daily Prep - er, now Salt Water New England - posted about the Tradlands button-down for women earlier today, along with a $25 off coupon. I don't know anything beyond what she wrote, but it seems like it meets your material and ethical concerns. The actual shop link has measurements.
posted by Pandora Kouti at 11:30 AM on July 26, 2016

I recently came across this list of "ethical alternatives to fast fashion companies." Maybe it will help you narrow down makers?
posted by MonkeyToes at 11:33 AM on July 26, 2016 [1 favorite]

Does this shirt exist?

It might. But it might not, and you might spend a ton of time coming to that conclusion.

This is a great case for your local tailor. Building a relationship with a tailor was one of the best values I've ever spent time and money on. They're not that expensive, if you take into account quality. And you'll be contributing to your (very) local economy. I had a pattern made a while back, and it really wasn't that expensive. I'm gearing up to get several more made soon. Here's the process I followed:

1. Find a shirt that kind of fits you and you like the look of. Make sure it's a big bigger than you need it to be in all the problem areas (for me, its the torso; I've got long arms so shirts that fit my arms, look giant and blouse-y). This first purchase doesn't have to be ethically produced (and if that worries you, donate a bunch of money to a charity that deals with sweat shop labor; this is just the springboard to sweatshop free goods).
2. Take that shirt to a tailor in your area that comes well regarded (If you're having trouble finding a personal reference, call around to your higher end vintage shops; they'll know someone).
3. Have them fit the shirt to you (this can take a couple days to a couple weeks based on their timeline and workload).
4. Go back and try it on, bring it home and wear it a bit. If it feels great and ticks off all of your fit requirements. Take notes if it doesn't, so you can be specific in what you'd like changed. Repeat steps 3-4 if you need to (and if you have to repeat those steps a bunch, you need a different should only take a visit or two).
5. Now you have a master garment; have your tailor make a pattern from that shirt. Sometimes, based on how the shirt is constructed, they might need to deconstruct it; if it was high quality to begin with, they might not need to.

Poof! Now you can work with your tailor with different colors, fabrics, slightly different cuts. And you'll start a nice little collection of shirts that will last you markedly longer than store-purchased shirts. Bonus points that you're not just creating a livable-wage job for someone, but most probably an actual middle class job (depending on where you live).
posted by furnace.heart at 12:00 PM on July 26, 2016 [1 favorite]

try the slim stretch button down from Everlane, they are ethically made and have a good return policy if you don't like it.
It has all your wants except for the button collar.
posted by rmless at 12:06 PM on July 26, 2016

Button down collar makes this tough for ready-to-wear in women's sizes, but there's LL Bean, Brooks Brothers, Tradlands, Ann Mashburn and Claridge and King. Can't vouch for these individually, but they're all expensive enough to suggest they might not be made in sweatshops.

p.s. a useful search term is "OCBD" or "oxford cloth button down". You're not necessarily looking for oxford cloth, but most nice button downs are oxford cloth. The reason is that button down is considered less formal (the buttons stop the collar flapping up when you're playing sport, supposedly), and oxford is a less formal weave than poplin or twill, because it has more texture.
posted by caek at 12:57 PM on July 26, 2016

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