It can sometimes be surprisingly tough to find durable style essentials. That is, the type of piece you can wear over and over again thanks to its quality, reliability and yes, style. While there are a plethora of options out there for these types of things, from endless varieties of dark denim to great leather sneakers, how do you know which style or size or cut is right for you? That’s where Todd Shelton comes in — to take care of that guesswork for you, at least on the shirting front. You might be familiar with the brand — and this very shirt — from its inclusion in our Style Pick of the Week series, but we’re here today to go just a bit more in-depth. Why should that matter to you, my discerning menswear fan? For starters, the brand is all about the kind of style essentials this site (AKA yours truly) writes about in droves. For another, they’re a company that knows where its allegiances are forged — like a good number of stand-up, standout brands these days, that’s right here in America. And they sure do know how to craft a heck of an essential chambray shirt.
That’s definitely what makes the brand worth a look — the knowledge and intuition to stick to doing great basics very well. And if you’re wary of ordering a chambray shirt like this one online, fear not. In fact, that’s a highlight of this review process. When the brand initially reached out to me late last fall, I myself was a bit skeptical of ordering sight unseen. However, that’s where Todd Shelton’s ingenious Fit kit comes in remarkably handy. You can either choose from basic fit options (which include the rarely found Small/Medium, Medium/Large and so on), or register for the Fit Kit. Once you fill in some basic customer information, a kit is shipped out to you containing what you might call a test shirt. You try on said test shirt and follow their instructions to record your measurements, before sending the test shirt and the aforementioned measurements back to the brand using a free return label (again, another small key that makes a big difference).
The customizations even go so far as to include Stomach Taper, Sleeve Taper and options to add on a pocket. And after all those boxes are checked off, you get a shirt sent back to you within a matter of weeks, completely customized and, in my case, exceptionally well-fitting. It’s the little things like that — plus the big things, like made-in-America production — that warrant the higher price tag. And yes, $200 is a steep price tag for a shirt if you’re on a budget or want to spend less on clothes this year. But as always seems to come up, compare that price to what you might grab at some place like H&M — three or four or heck, five times over. That’s the silver lining, my friend.
Now as to the shirt itself. The Natural Chambray fabric has excellent texture to it, and the flecks of white in the fabric help differentiate it from a classic blue Oxford shirt. This makes it a little more rugged and unique-looking, but just because there’s some texture to the fabric doesn’t mean the shirt is scratchy or uncomfortable to wear. In fact, it’s soft and breathes fairly well for a chambray shirt. I went with a slimmer fit all-around, and it fits like a charm. The armholes are high and the sleeves and shoulders are trim but still comfortable. Be advised that if you do choose the Short length in terms of the shirt’s hem, it is indeed a tad on the short side (but again, that’s likely the result of human error from yours truly). In terms of other looks, the white buttons make it a bit dressier than the black buttons on my GAP chambray shirt, so it can be worn a bit more easily with a wool blazer.
The light blue color also makes it the ideal contrast to slim dark denim and a shawl-collar cardigan — perhaps one of my favorite ways to wear the shirt, as you can see at the top of the page. It can also be layered with ease over a white henley for a vintage-inspired look. And the color stands out well with some slim tan chinos, too. My guess is that it can also pair just fine with some great spring or summer shorts when warmer weather does roll around. So it really is a true four-season chambray shirt, as the texture and the nice roll of the buttondown collar help it stand up to beefier sweaters and dark denim during the fall and winter. When it finally does warm up, there’s plenty of potential to wear it with all kinds of outfits, as well. The bottom line is that if you’re initially on the fence about dropping a lot of cash on this shirt, think of it as a great investment (and it can be made even more versatile if you pick up the point-collar option). Plus, it’s not often you can team a made-in-America shirt with everything from khaki shorts to grey chinos and still stand out for the right reasons.
Get the Natural Chambray Shirt from Todd Shelton here.
Do you own anything from Todd Shelton? How would you wear and style this chambray shirt?