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CPO Shirts and Shirt-Jackets

Guppy

I'll Lock Up
Messages
4,287
Location
Cleveland, OH
It's been about two years since I discovered heavy wool shirts, and by now I have a pretty good selection of them added to my wardrobe. When I was a kid, I couldn't stand wearing anything wool. Wool back then was always itchy on my skin, and I hated it. Somehow, either wool has gotten softer, or my skin has gotten less sensitive. Maybe because body hair helps put a buffer between the fabric and the skin that I didn't have when I was little? Anyway, I love wool now.

When it comes to CPO shirts, I prefer them without handwarmer pockets, making the ones I like to wear more pure shirts than shirt-jackets.

Gustin

Gustin is said to have ripped off the pattern for their CPO shirts from Engineered Garments. I really like the design, and the pocket on the sleeve makes them stand out from the rest. I'm not sure what I might put in that pocket, but it looks cool.

The older Gustin CPOs had 3 pocket front, with asymmetric breast pockets, and a second, lower pocket below the right breast. They've switched to two symmetric breast pockets, and I like that look much better. Gustin uses snaps instead of buttons. I'm not sure why, but my guess is that it's a lot cheaper to apply snaps on a garment than it is to sew button holes. The snaps they use are of high quality, and work well. I do see used Gustin CPO shirts with snap issues, so I guess it's best to be careful when unsnapping them, lest you end up busting the bottom half apart.

About a year ago, I was exploring their brand for the first time, and found their #6 multi-color wool CPO shirt on their website, and had to have one. The problem with that being, they last made a batch of them in 2016, and on the archive page for the campaign it said that this would be the last batch they could ever produce because they had bought up the last of the fabric from Pendleton. Gustin do small runs, producing only enough to cover the pre-orders, which makes it especially difficult to track down something if you missed out on it when it was offered. It became my grail CPO.


1670901409314.png


Around the time I started lusting after the #6, they ran a campaign for the #22 Italian Plush CPO, and two other fabrics, but the Italian Plush was the one that I found most appealing, so I ordered it. Receiving it, made me only want the #6 even more, because I loved it so much. It's also a great shirt to wear in colder weather.


8d004d39a38059d0118a65c17aebd75d[1].jpg

It seemed like it would be just about impossible to find a #6 multi-color Pendleton in the wild, but I set up some searches and hunted daily for one. There was one on eBay for a nice price, and I think it's still there, in size XS, which would be way too small for me, but it gave me hope while annoying me every time it popped up again in my searches. Finally, one showed up on Poshmark, in my size, four days ago, and I jumped on it.

It arrived today, and is now my favorite shirt, and probably will be for a while. The Pendleton wool has the feel of a military uniform, and the cut of the shirt, especially the pocket flaps gives it a classic look, evocative of the WWI era. It fits me very well, and the wool isn't coarse or itchy, and I just love it.

Gustin keeps making more of their CPO in different fabrics and colors, and I'll keep watching them to see if they do anything else that I like. They're around $175.

Taylor Stitch

Taylor Stitch make some really nice clothes, and what I like most about them is their fit, which for my body is just about perfect. I've picked up a bunch of their stuff in the last few years.

TS make a few wool shirts that fall into this category. The most CPO-like is their Mariner shirt. They also have the Leeward shirt and the Explorer shirt. These are all offered regularly, updated seasonally in different colors and fabrics, which makes it easier to buy a few of them.

The Maritime shirt is the heaviest and densest wool, which makes it my favorite to reach for. A few years ago, TS were making them out of super heavy 17 and 19oz fabric, but they have gone thinner in recent years, down to 15oz and 11oz. They're still warm and should be heavy enough, but I often prefer the heavier older ones in my closet. You can wear them as an outer layer, and if you're active and warm blooded they're all you need down into the upper 30s (F)/10s (C). They are cut a bit generously and especially if you size up you can layer under them a bit. In my exact size the fit is flattering. The style is classic, yet contemporary. The construction and materials are good, ranging from 100% wool to 80/20 wool-nylon blends.

My two favorite Maritime shirts are the Clifford Red, and the Heather Ash grey. Both are gorgeous and the heaviest I own at 17oz and 19oz.

instock_mens_q420_maritime_clifford_red_003_720x[1].jpg 60de079746d280716eb479ee11ab7afe[1].jpg

I have a couple others, also very good. It's always tempting to pick up another one.

TS Maritime shirts run about $188, but they often have sales and if you can get one during a closeout it's a no-brainer bargain that you shouldn't pass up on. While that's a lot to pay for a shirt, the value is there. If you pick one up used, they're an even better value. They're pretty hard to wear out.

The Explorer shirt and Leeward shirt are also good, not quite as heavy, but heavy, and still quite warm. The pattern is a bit different, more shirts than shirt-jacs. They're more like a heavy flannel.

Schott NYC

Schott make a CPO shirt as well, both lined and unlined. Their CPOs are made from 50% wool/50% polyester fabric, and they are not as heavy weight, but they are nice, warm, and look good. They also come in a huge variety of colors, making it a versatile choice, and it's nice to have a few different ones that you can rotate. They're less expensive than either TS or Gustin, at around $125 unlined/$155 lined. This makes them a good value, and a bargain, even if they're still not cheap. I prefer the unlined shirt over the lined one, but your mileage may vary. I size down in Schott sometimes, and size up other times, but with their CPO shirts I size down. Medium fits me perfectly, where I normally wear a Large.

Schott 7810

The quilted version is (was?) the 7115, but they don't seem to be offering it this year. They also have a faux sherpa lined version, which may have replaced it in their line.

Eat Dust

Out of Antwerp, Belgium, Eat Dust is a fashion boutique brand that makes some interesting stuff. Their fit tends to be both baggy and oversized, and often military-esque, but with something of an urban flavor to it. A lot of what they make isn't really my thing, but occasionally they come up with some stuff that I really like. It's all awfully expensive though, frankly a bit overpriced, and rarely discounted. If you don't want to look like a kid wearing dad's uniform, probably size down.

I picked up one of their Elba Wool Khaki shirts on closeout, for about 50% off their retail price (about $180 on sale) which was about as much as I would have wanted to spend on it. It's a good shirt, but quite a bit thinner material, more of an indoor shirt with good insulative value, than a heavyweight CPO.


Eat-Dust---CPO-Shirt-Elba-Wool---Khaki-08-1[1].jpg

And I had to have another one, made in this fabric, which they called "shepherd's wool" -- although I can only find a photo of the cardigan version they also offered. Somehow the other garments from this collection in the same fabric appear to have been scrubbed from the internet. At $325, it was the most expensive of the CPO shirts that I've purchased, and it's not the heaviest, thickest, or most durable. But it might be the prettiest, and it's certainly distinctive.

M-J-031-W21-SPW-066__0001_2_2048x2048_4ceca5c7-39f3-416a-9365-70579c4b0551_1024x1024@2x[1].jpg
And this thumbnail from my order confirmation email, which I blew up from 160x160px.
Eat Dust Shepherd's Wool Jacquard CPO.png


It reminds me of a modern art painting, and dazzle paint ship camouflage, and I can't help but love how crazy it is. It's not a very dense wool, but has a lot of loft, so it's reasonably warm although it doesn't do so much against the wind.

Others

I haven't tried them all, and don't have the space, money, or need to. There's so many, just about everyone makes a CPO. Some clothing makers market shirts that they call CPO shirts, but are neither heavyweight, nor wool, and I'm not sure what makes them a CPO shirt, but I don't consider them to be "real" examples of the style.

Of the brands I haven't tried, the one that interests me most is Filson, who make some mackinaw wool shirts and jackets, and of their products the one that I'm most interested in is their Northwest Wool shirt, which isn't properly a CPO, but fills the same niche, albeit in a lighter weight 7.3oz. But they're another awfully expensive brand, and with as many good options as I already have in my closet, it's hard to justify getting anything else. I wouldn't say no to one as a gift, of course.

I still have yet to try an authentic vintage military issued CPO. I'm curious but it's not a pressing need.

What else is out there? Anything that I've missed?
 
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Canuck Panda

I'll Lock Up
Messages
4,234
I've got a bunch of Filson wool stuff. Their "jac shirts" are better than their mackinaws imo. The material is a bit thinner on the jac shirts but they feel denser and softer than the thicker macks. The cutting is not great, big sleeves and boxy torso. But they are built like a tank. I had some of them altered by my tailor and he told me they were some of the most overbuilt garments he'd seen. Interlocked stitches to seal the edges, then triple stitched at every seam. Excellent material, boxy cutting. I have an older Filson shirt that had holes from moth and wear, and now it's been repurposed as my chair cushion, very hearty stuff. They used to get most of their wool from Pendleton, another gem in Oregon. I hope these brands gets popular again.
 

Canuck Panda

I'll Lock Up
Messages
4,234
I've got a bunch of Filson wool stuff. Their "jac shirts" are better than their mackinaws imo. The material is a bit thinner on the jac shirts but they feel denser and softer than the thicker macks. The cutting is not great, big sleeves and boxy torso. But they are built like a tank. I had some of them altered by my tailor and he told me they were some of the most overbuilt garments he'd seen. Interlocked stitches to seal the edges, then triple stitched at every seam. Excellent material, boxy cutting. I have an older Filson shirt that had holes from moth and wear, and now it's been repurposed as my chair cushion, very hearty stuff. They used to get most of their wool from Pendleton, another gem in Oregon. I hope these brands gets popular again.
 

Guppy

I'll Lock Up
Messages
4,287
Location
Cleveland, OH
I've got a bunch of Filson wool stuff. Their "jac shirts" are better than their mackinaws imo. The material is a bit thinner on the jac shirts but they feel denser and softer than the thicker macks. The cutting is not great, big sleeves and boxy torso. But they are built like a tank. I had some of them altered by my tailor and he told me they were some of the most overbuilt garments he'd seen. Interlocked stitches to seal the edges, then triple stitched at every seam. Excellent material, boxy cutting. I have an older Filson shirt that had holes from moth and wear, and now it's been repurposed as my chair cushion, very hearty stuff. They used to get most of their wool from Pendleton, another gem in Oregon. I hope these brands gets popular again.
Would the boxy cut to be intended to allow generous room for layers under?
 

Canuck Panda

I'll Lock Up
Messages
4,234
Would the boxy cut to be intended to allow generous room for layers under?
The Filson Jac Shirts are definitely roomy enough for layering and moving around. Size 40 has 23" P2P and tapers down to 22" hem. Really high quality workmanship on them. Triple stitched seams every where. The older the manufacturer date, the thicker the fabric is likely to be, but older ones sometimes have holes that are beyond repair.

IMG_1035.JPG
 

TLW '90

Practically Family
Messages
620
Would the boxy cut to be intended to allow generous room for layers under?
Could be, but that wouldn't really work for me.
For me a Jack shirt is a mid layer not an outer layer, because they don't have hand pockets and that's a no-go for me when it comes to outer layers.
 

TLW '90

Practically Family
Messages
620
You may like a USGI OG-108 wool field shirt.
The earlier ones are thicker and supposedly nicer, but lately I've been wearing a 1977 example that I recently got NOS surplus and have really been happy with it.

They can be had for about $30 and are a great value, though you may have to go over it and trim stray threads.
If they were much more expensive I'd definitely be unhappy, but for only $30 I don't mind doing it.

20221117_105527.jpg


They are a little long in the arms, not bad and they are comfortable.
 

Guppy

I'll Lock Up
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4,287
Location
Cleveland, OH
Could be, but that wouldn't really work for me.
For me a Jack shirt is a mid layer not an outer layer, because they don't have hand pockets and that's a no-go for me when it comes to outer layers.
Some CPO shirts do have handwarmer pockets, although the examples I've discussed here all do not. It's a matter of preference, but if you do wear it as an outer garment, it's more practical if they have handwarmer pockets. If you wear them as a shirt under an outer coat, they're not really needed. I like the way the look without pockets.

You may like a USGI OG-108 wool field shirt.
The earlier ones are thicker and supposedly nicer, but lately I've been wearing a 1977 example that I recently got NOS surplus and have really been happy with it.

They can be had for about $30 and are a great value, though you may have to go over it and trim stray threads.
If they were much more expensive I'd definitely be unhappy, but for only $30 I don't mind doing it.

View attachment 472632

They are a little long in the arms, not bad and they are comfortable.
Looks pretty good. My only problem with the military wool is that it tends to be coarser/scratchier. It wears like iron though, will last forever if cared for.

As I mentioned up top, it seems like the wool the industry is producing these days is softer, less itchy. I don't know if it's due to breeding, or just a matter of the industry opting to produce softer wool, or what, but it's something I've noticed. Some vintage wool that I've handled still is as itchy as I remember it being, so it seems to me more like something external has changed, rather than my subjective perceptions have changed.
 

Guppy

I'll Lock Up
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4,287
Location
Cleveland, OH
And I had to have another one, made in this fabric, which they called "shepherd's wool" -- although I can only find a photo of the cardigan version they also offered. Somehow the other garments from this collection in the same fabric appear to have been scrubbed from the internet. At $325, it was the most expensive of the CPO shirts that I've purchased, and it's not the heaviest, thickest, or most durable. But it might be the prettiest, and it's certainly distinctive.

View attachment 472285
And this thumbnail from my order confirmation email, which I blew up from 160x160px.
View attachment 472294

It reminds me of a modern art painting, and dazzle paint ship camouflage, and I can't help but love how crazy it is. It's not a very dense wool, but has a lot of loft, so it's reasonably warm although it doesn't do so much against the wind.
Apparently the Eat Dust CPO in Shepherd's Wool was offline temporarily, and it is back today, and discounted to an attractive price.

https://www.eatdustclothing.com/products/cpo-shirt-shepherds-wool-off-white-brown
M-I-023-W21-SPW-066__0000_1_1080x[1].jpg

Here's a better photo.
 

Guppy

I'll Lock Up
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4,287
Location
Cleveland, OH
So is it a shirt or a jacket? Shirt-Jac or Shacket is a hybrid that can be both. But I like philosophy, so analyzing and defining and categorization is a fun pastime for me.

1. Do you put it on to go outside, and take it off to go inside?
2. Do you wear anything else under it? If the answer is always, it's a jacket. No, or sometimes, it's a shirt
3. Do you button it up and leave it buttoned up? If yes, it's more of a shirt.
4. Does it have handwarmer pockets? If yes, it's more of a jacket.
5. Does it have a lining and an outer shell?. If no, it's more of a shirt. If yes, it's more of a jacket.
6. Can you tuck it into pants? If so, it's a shirt.
7. Would it make strangers uncomfortable if you started unbutton it in front of them? If so, it's a shirt.
 
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Edward

Bartender
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24,823
Location
London, UK
Interesting thread. Shirt jackets of this style have really taken off in menswear in the UK in recent years. I have a couple of sherpa-lined, plaid styles that I incorporated into my vintage look. They have a bit of a 50s outdoorsy look to them. Mine have handwarmers. I don't use those pockets for anything much more than stowing poo bags for the dog, but I like the look of them. As someone else has noted above, they give it more of a jacket feel. Like a variation on an insulated chore coat. Years ago I also had a few such overshirts without these pockets, which I wore like a cardigan in Winter, sometimes under a denim jacket, sometimes under a bigger overcoat. I moved away from those long ago now, I suppose around the same time I stopped wearing untucked shirts. I think ultimately that's why I much prefer them with handwarmers - to my irratinal mind that makes them a jacket, whereas without it's a shirt hanging loose, and I don't like that look.

The only frustrating thing is that these days you hunt for a 'shacket' - which used to mean an unlined, cotton sports jacket, cut from shirt-weight fabric and ideal for wearing in the Summer heat - and you get pages and pages of these..... I am, however, hopeful that eventually somebody is going to look at the market for these and realise that's a market to which they can sell a nice, brushed-cotton rendition of the men's Pendleton 49er. Had a couple of those years ago and loved them. Been looking for a pattern ever since so I can have some made for me in brushed cotton (machine washable!), but no luck so far. Not even repops - seems only the women's market has these available...
 

Spiegel

New in Town
Messages
6
It's been about two years since I discovered heavy wool shirts, and by now I have a pretty good selection of them added to my wardrobe. When I was a kid, I couldn't stand wearing anything wool. Wool back then was always itchy on my skin, and I hated it. Somehow, either wool has gotten softer, or my skin has gotten less sensitive. Maybe because body hair helps put a buffer between the fabric and the skin that I didn't have when I was little? Anyway, I love wool now.

When it comes to CPO shirts, I prefer them without handwarmer pockets, making the ones I like to wear more pure shirts than shirt-jackets.

Gustin

Gustin is said to have ripped off the pattern for their CPO shirts from Engineered Garments. I really like the design, and the pocket on the sleeve makes them stand out from the rest. I'm not sure what I might put in that pocket, but it looks cool.

The older Gustin CPOs had 3 pocket front, with asymmetric breast pockets, and a second, lower pocket below the right breast. They've switched to two symmetric breast pockets, and I like that look much better. Gustin uses snaps instead of buttons. I'm not sure why, but my guess is that it's a lot cheaper to apply snaps on a garment than it is to sew button holes. The snaps they use are of high quality, and work well. I do see used Gustin CPO shirts with snap issues, so I guess it's best to be careful when unsnapping them, lest you end up busting the bottom half apart.

About a year ago, I was exploring their brand for the first time, and found their #6 multi-color wool CPO shirt on their website, and had to have one. The problem with that being, they last made a batch of them in 2016, and on the archive page for the campaign it said that this would be the last batch they could ever produce because they had bought up the last of the fabric from Pendleton. Gustin do small runs, producing only enough to cover the pre-orders, which makes it especially difficult to track down something if you missed out on it when it was offered. It became my grail CPO.
How did you find the fit of the Gustin CPO's compared to the measurements listed on there site?
 

Guppy

I'll Lock Up
Messages
4,287
Location
Cleveland, OH
How did you find the fit of the Gustin CPO's compared to the measurements listed on there site?
The measurements provided on their website are accurate. I went with a size large, my usual size.

Their CPO shirts are cut more generously than their normal shirt size, which is a bit slim -- I take an XL in their standard shirt size.

The sleeve length Gustin uses is slightly long for me, but not too much for it to be a problem. But the measurements work for their CPO to be worn as a regular shirt, rather than as an overshirt, for me.

If I wanted to wear it as a jacket over another shirt layer, I would size up to XL, but then I would likely have a problem with the sleeve length.
 

Guppy

I'll Lock Up
Messages
4,287
Location
Cleveland, OH
Another nice heavy wool shirt Jac is made by Dehen 1920. It's very expensive at $365, and they make it in a few other materials like moleskin and denim. But the wool ones are heavy, 22-24 oz, and I think they look handsome on me. I picked one up in oatmeal last fall, and... I like the handwarmer pockets. I also like the double layered elbows.
 

jchance

One of the Regulars
Messages
210
Location
Los Angeles
I own a Sunny Sports wool CPO (made in Japan) and it’s my favorite because it has handwarmer pockets that many CPOs lack. However, the wool is scratchy, which is typical of CPOs.

I also own a UES Tricotine CPO (cotton, not wool) at 15.15oz and it’s another one of my favorite shirts. The indigo is fading really quickly (see pic of 1 year of wearing, not mine), and the material feels like twill but soft, pretty hard to describe. It’s not as soft as a flannel but not as rough as a denim, somewhere in between. It’s comfortable enough that I can wear it to sleep.

I also own a Kiton 100% cashmere CPO but the fabric is too fragile and it has a ton of moth holes now. I’d never buy cashmere shirt again.

The SEH Kelly wool CPO that I have is so underwhelming: it’s loosely weaved and feels like I’m not wearing anything. I’ve been thinking of selling it.

I recently tried on Mister Freedom’s Crackerjack wool CPO and holy crap, that wool feels super soft. The sales rep told me that densely weaved wool can feel soft because the wool fiber, which is generally scratchy, is not sticky out. I’ve been thinking of getting one now.

Any other experience with soft wool CPO that you can share?
 

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realgone

Familiar Face
Messages
79
Location
Edmonton
More of a shirt-jac than a CPO, but the modern melton wool shirt from Anian is by far one of my favourite pieces in the closet. Thick, warm, tough. I barely wear by Pendletons since getting an Asian. I buy them a size up for a little more should room.
 

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