Roll Call Shirt Specials
Over the next month we’re releasing a selection of limited-run shirts for the Authentic Range. As with every design from Nigel Cabourn, each one has a story to tell…
As the name suggests, this one is inspired by a US Navy CPO shirt from the 1940s. First introduced in the ‘30s, CPO shirts were cold-weather over-shirts made from thick wool flannel, designed to be worn by high ranking naval officers known as Chief Petty Officers (hence the moniker). Whilst the first CPO shirts had just one chest pocket, it was the later, double-pocketed version which eventually outgrew it’s original purpose to become a favourite on dry land (helped in part by Steve McQueen in The Sand Pebbles and Al Pacino in the much overlooked gem of 1970s cinema, Scarecrow).
The Cabourn version takes that classic shirt/jacket shape, and lightens it up a few notches for summer. That thick wool has been replaced by a cotton/linen blend and side-entry pockets have been added.
Frankie’s Shirt was first introduced as part of Nigel’s ‘Whatever Happened to Sean Flynn’ limited collection in 2018, and is named after ‘Frankie’s House’, the flat in Saigon which was the base of legendary photojournalists like Sean Flynn and Tim Page in-between assignments during the Vietnam War.
This one was based on a vintage short-sleeved Brazilian beach shirt from the 1970s, which was made from terry towelling and had two square chest pockets on the front. For the Cabourn version, a third pocket has been added to the proceedings, and that towelling fabric has been swapped out for linen. Not only is this stuff highly breathable, but it’s also noticeably stronger than cotton.
The Mallory Shirt – Available from Monday 25th of May
The Mallory Shirt is a two-pocket work-shirt which borrows the shoulder and elbow panels from its older brother, the Mallory Jacket. This detail was originally inspired by a grainy black and white photograph of a sherpa who assisted with the 1953 Everest expedition, who was wearing a tweed jacket with panels on the shoulders and the elbows (to act as reinforcement when carrying ropes and rucksacks).
These panels reminded Nigel and his design team of a 1920s Hercules work-shirt, which had curved, or ‘scalloped’, reinforcement running down from the shoulders to the underarms. By fusing details from the Mallory jacket with a few nods to the world of vintage American work-wear (like the contrast stitching), the Mallory Shirt was born.
The Crazy Mallory Shirt – Available from Monday 25th of May
And for those who want something even more unique, there’s also the ‘Crazy’ version of the Mallory Shirt, which is made up of contrasting tones of linen chambray. This is a regular design quirk from Nigel and his team which they have employed on various standout pieces over the years, and is a tip of the hat to American shirt manufacturing during WW2. At a time when supplying demand was of the utmost importance, function outweighed aesthetic uniformity and military shirts would often be constructed out of varying shades of olive drab cotton.
The Crazy Mallory Shirt follows in this tradition, and, as it’s made from 100% linen, it’s ideal for those days when the sun is out in full force.
The Linen Checked CPO Shirt – Available from Monday 1st of June
And finally, then there’s this checked version of the CPO Shirt. As with the striped version, this isn’t just a reproduction of the CPO shirts of yore, and is instead a development on that design classic. A few features from 1940s work-wear have also been added in the shape of reinforced elbows (for extra protection) and a throat tab collar (to give the shirt a cleaner fit).
Sitting somewhere between a shirt and a jacket, it can be worn over a shirt for a bit of warmth once the sun goes down, or under a larger piece of outerwear when the heavy artillery is called for.