Boring old shirt, right? Wrong. Let’s start with the most important characteristic: 1. MAKERS LABEL/ BRAND: Labels are made of soft cloth and attached at the neckline, firmly stitched along two sides. Fabric content, wrinkle resistance and wash-ability are clearly marked. Information is embroidered on the cloth, rather than printed, which will last longer. Any brand which identifies itself as “Shirtmakers” is likely to be of higher quality in all respects. There are no other tags in side seams. These labels won’t bother the wearer or easily come loose. The name Ms. SERO clearly identifies it as being a 1970’s brand, when the Women’s Liberation movement was “new” again, gaining popularity, and the title Ms. was beginning to replace the use of Miss or Mrs..
2. FABRIC: The plaid is beautiful. The material has a light, very silky-soft hand. Part of this must be age, but part is due to the fact that this fabric is tightly-woven. It’s a poly/cotton blend, which adds washing convenience, but it’s obviously a higher quality textile, also. Wrinkle resistant fabric was a slightly more upscale feature at that time, as today. The mystery of its history is deepened by the appearance of a shadow stain illuminated by the digital camera photo. The quality of the fabric will be reflected in how well it will release the stain. That will require further investigation, as it was obviously overlooked when the evidence was found. Doesn’t look like blood, but . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
3. STYLE/DESIGN: The Peter Pan collar, of course, the plaid and the basic menswear cut; Classic elements of style which are often seen throughout the decades, though the Peter Pan collar design originated in 1905 and was first used in children’s clothing. It didn’t become iconic to women’s garments until the Pre- and Post-WW2 mid-century eras. Elements of menswear styling have been seen in women’s clothing ever since women began wearing shirts and pants.
4. TAILORING DETAILS: After the fabric quality passes muster, this is where the rubber really hits the road. The best clothing, even in very plain styles, will have “tells” indicating their value in fine tailoring methods. TOPSTITCHING can be a design element when it’s visible on the outside, but also strengthens seams and attachments. See the stitching on the collar, which will help it to maintain its shape without stiffening. The stitching is very even in appearance – a good sign. Let’s review the other photos, too. There is a YOKE at the shoulders, extending to the upper back but also crossing the tops of the shoulders. This is a design feature, but the double-thickness of fabric strengthens this area where arm movements put stress on the sleeve attachments and upper back seams. SEAM FINISHING – take a look at the photos of interior and exterior seams. You can see the stitching around the armholes, which looks like simple topstitching on the outside. But, when the seams are examined inside you can see that they are completely finished off. They lie completely flat inside and out with the double reinforcement of two rows of stitches. The shirt hem is also carefully finished.
Last of all, the vents at the sleeve cuffs are finished with a decorative PLACKET that reinforces both sides and the top of the opening – another area of stress which frequently frays and tears with wear. Also worth a mention is that the buttonholes are very well-finished and only the second one from the top, which would be the one most frequently opened and closed with normal wear, shows some fraying. I can and will repair that with some hand-done stitches.
All in all, this “simple” mid-priced shirt is a quality garment with styling and construction that make it flattering and comfortable to wear, as well as long-lasting. When was the last time you saw these features on clothing in a retail store? If you do and you like it, Grab It, but you see why I love true vintage garments. Stay tuned for more . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
P.S. I’ll update you on the stain removal story.
MORGANA MARTIN, THE MAGICVINTAGESPY