my collection of reverse seam shirts
"He took out a pile of shirts and began throwing them, one by one before us, shirts of sheer linen and thick silk and fine flannel which lost their folds as they fell and covered the table in many-colored disarray. While we admired he brought more and the soft rich heap mounted higher--shirts with stripes and scrolls and plaids in coral and apple-green and lavender and faint orange with monograms of Indian blue. Suddenly with a strained sound, Daisy bent her head into the shirts and began to cry stormily.
"'They're such beautiful shirts,' she sobbed, her voice muffled in the thick folds. 'It makes me sad because I've never seen such--such beautiful shirts before.'"
--The Great Gatsby
that famous scene from F. Scott Fitzgerald's novel is laden with meaning and a tragic sense of loss, but there's something comical about the whole thing too. it's also one of the great literary passages describing what sounds like a magnificent wardrobe. a great button-down is so important, and my everyday favorites are my steven alan reverse seam shirts.
minus the heavy undertones of unrequited love, all that shirt-throwing looks kinda fun.
(on a tangent: Robert Redford will always be the only Gatsby for me. eat your heart out, Leo!)
but back to the shirts. i first discovered steven alan's reverse seam shirts a few years ago, around the same time that i started writing this blog. since then, i've collected a small stash, and they've become a constant staple in my closet. steven alan shirts are cut with just enough room for that perfectly tomboyish, garconne fit. i think there's nothing worse than a too-tight button-down shirt on a woman. i love the signature quirky details like the reverse french seams, the twisted placket, and inside pocket...all of which allows the wearer to enjoy the spirit of the button-down without feeling constrained by it.
my reverse seam shirts across all seasons over the years...
r: the same jeans, vintage pumps, vintage belt
l: umm, i look like a 70s folk singer on the left, but whatever. wearing madewell jeans, steven alan vest, and loeffler randall boots
r: one of my favorite lavender check SA shirts, with j brand jeans, hope pumps, and louis vuitton SC bag
the cotton woven shirting materials are also low-maintenance (read: machine wash and tumble dry, no shrinkage), which means you could (and probably should) totally throw a shirting party à la Gatsby and Daisy and then pick one up the next day and wear it out the door. the natural, slightly rumpled texture of the cotton reminds you not to take life too seriously, that there are better things to do than ironing shirts. it's also nice that they're all still made in the US, and made well. many of mine are 3-4 years old at this point, and they all look great.
i'm about to pack for a work trip, and given that it will be in the 60s and 70s where i'm going, i'll be packing a week's worth of SA reverse seam shirts as the base of my wardrobe. might do another post on that this weekend.
do you have any button-down shirts by SA or others? how do you like to wear yours?
edit: many of you have asked about sizing on the steven alan shirts. see my responses below in the comments, and in my FAQ.