The Roll Call: Workshirts
We’ve just released a selection of work-shirts made as part of the Nigel Cabourn Authentic collection. Each based on different vintage pieces from the archives, they’ve each got a story to tell. With that in mind, here’s a quick breakdown of the shirts, and the inspirations behind them…
The POH Deck Shirt
Taking cues from a rare 1920s shirt in the Nigel Cabourn archives, the POH Deck Shirt is a popover shirt made from super-soft brushed cotton. The early 20th century was a progressive time for work-wear, and whilst fabrics were relatively low-tech by today’s standards, a lot of interesting ideas in regards to fit, shape and pocket-placement were brought to the table, with each brand having its own way of doing things.
With its short shape and over-the-head design, the POH Shirt pays homage to this bold era of work-wear, and thanks to those three patch pockets, works just as well as a shirt under a big coat as it does as a light jacket on warmer days.
The CPO Shirt
The CPO shirt is a true design classic. Originally created in the 1930s for the Chief Petty Officers of the US Navy (which explains the name), these functional work-shirts soon found their way onto dry land to become a favourite amongst dock workers, hunters and 1960s counter-culture types.
The Nigel Cabourn version takes the shape of the 1940s version, and then swaps out the usual thick wool for some comfortable brushed cotton. Reinforced elbows have also been added for increased durability, whilst the addition of a throat-tab collar gives the shirt a slightly cleaner fit.
A work-shirt with a not-so-subtle twist—Joe’s Shirt is a two-pocket shirt which has been constructed out of contrasting Oxford cloth fabric. This standout detail is an homage to American shirt manufacturing during the Second World War—a time when function far outweighed aesthetic uniformity and shirts would often be made out of different tones and shades of fabric.
And for anyone wondering about the name, Joe is one of Nigel’s old friends, and the man who sold him the vintage piece which this is based on.
The Nigel Cabourn x Closed Shirt
Founded in Italy back in 1968, Closed are a European brand who make really high quality casual clothing inspired by classic design. This season Nigel and his team worked with Closed on a collection of naval-inspired gear—making everything from sheepskin jackets to this over-the-head work-shirt.
Referencing Closed’s penchant for washed denim (the brand was one of the first to push stonewashing back in the early 80s), it’s made from indigo-hued cotton which has been laundered for that worn-in patina. It’s also got two pleated pockets on the front, and a smaller pocket on the shoulder as a nod to the functional pieces which inspired it.
The USMC Shirt
The original USMC shirts were tough herringbone twill utility shirts worn by the United States Marine Corps whilst carrying out day-to-day jobs. A bit of a lesser-spotted gem of military design, they’re instantly recognisable thanks to their trademark rectangular chest pockets (and film fans with eagle-eyes might have clocked the protagonist in Chris Marker’s new wave sci-fi masterpiece La Jetée wears one whilst skipping through time).
Anyway, the Nigel Cabourn USMC Shirt follows the classic design of the original, but swaps out that herringbone twill with some particularly comfortable brushed plaid cotton which wouldn’t look out of place on a vintage hunting shirt.