• Hi, I am the owner and main administrator of Styleforum. If you find the forum useful and fun, please help support it by buying through the posted links on the forum. Our main, very popular sales thread, where the latest and best sales are listed, are posted HERE

    Purchases made through some of our links earns a commission for the forum and allows us to do the work of maintaining and improving it. Finally, thanks for being a part of this community. We realize that there are many choices today on the internet, and we have all of you to thank for making Styleforum the foremost destination for discussions of menswear.
  • This site contains affiliate links for which Styleforum may be compensated.
  • STYLE. COMMUNITY. GREAT CLOTHING.

    Bored of counting likes on social networks? At Styleforum, you’ll find rousing discussions that go beyond strings of emojis.

    Click Here to join Styleforum's thousands of style enthusiasts today!

    Styleforum is supported in part by commission earning affiliate links sitewide. Please support us by using them. You may learn more here.

The Madras Shirt thread

srivats

Distinguished Member
Joined
Jul 29, 2008
Messages
3,907
Reaction score
52
Hear ye, Hear ye madras lovers!! This is a thread just for madras shirts (and trousers). Madras shirts are my favourite for spring and summer wear. Short-sleeved shirts are a fantastic choice in place of the ubiquitos polo and they go great with khakis/linen pants. For some reason, they get very little love here and I thought I'd start a thread for Madras shirts. What you see sold today as Madras shirts are actually "evolved madras", if I can call it that. The original madras shirts were actually made of linen-like loosely woven, fine cotton fabric from Madras, India. The shirts were very colorful plaids, stripes and checks. The colors are muted and soft, and the whites are never as bright as the modern madras. Originally, they were all vegetable dyed (that tended to fade and bleed with washing). The cloth is lightweight, airy, printed fabric , loosely woven of short-staple, highly durable cotton. If you have visited that Madras (or chennai as it is called now), you'd know that it is so hot and humid for 9-10 months a year. If you had visited during summer, you'd also know that the temps. routinely hit 105-110F in summer. I know, because I am from Madras (spent 23 years of my life there and still go atleast once an year). The plaids were an expression of India’s fondness for Scottish tartans of regiments occupying India in the 1800’s. The Indians reinterpreted the plaid according to the local color palette. According to AAAC, Ellerton Jette, president of Hathaway shirts found the shirts on a trip to England and introduced the madras plaids in American in the 1930’s. Consumers started retuning the shirts when they discovered that they faded. David Ogilvy, advertising icon, publicized the shirts as "guaranteed to fade". "Magical things happen to this shirt when you wash it", Ogilvy wrote, and the madras shirt and great advertising have been with us since. I know that most of you are thinking about patchwork madras that seems to be everywhere these days. Some of it is done well, but mostly it looks garish and ugly, more so when worn by hipster wannabes. However, you can still get subdued but excellent patchwork madras from certain places if you look hard enough. The famous 'bleeding madras' of yesteryear was really wonderful - sadly they don't make it anymore. By the 60s-70s they had perfected the vegetable dyeing process so that it would not run, but customers actually liked the look (patina?) the shirts took when the colors slightly bled with washing giving the shirt a very nice, lived in look. So they started making shirts that would actually run and fade a little. My father has a bunch of these shirts that he bought in the mid 70s and still wears proudly. I have a few that I stole from him but when I was growing up, we did not see any of this 'bleeding madras' fabric. People have mostly forgotten this beautiful cloth and while you can get very vibrant shirts in great colors in the nice plaids/checks/stripes, they do not bleed or fade, which, to me is a BIG part of the appeal of madras shirts. Brooks brothers Black Fleece line makes some excellent short (and long) sleeved madras shirts that are actually pretty authentic. I own a few of them and like them very much. I have a few NOS shirts from O'connells that I got a few years back and the colors are really beautiful (nothing extreme). The shirts looked fantastic new and even better now. I'll try and take some photos and post them here soon. However, to start things off, here is how the shirts looked when new (from O'connels website):
q9h35.jpg
9Et6X.jpg
ovKwd.jpg
rHqKD.jpg
BdRvG.jpg
MLVCq.jpg
If you have any information to add to this, please add here. Shirt pr0n is also welcome
smile.gif
 

somatoform

Distinguished Member
Joined
May 7, 2007
Messages
2,318
Reaction score
170
Originally Posted by srivats
Here is a nice source for some great (non-bleeding) madras shirts:
http://www.dann-online.com/summer_madras_.htm

I am going to try them in spring 2010. Here are a few samples:

bJa1L.jpg
O36Xe.jpg
DSfvI.jpg


gfEc3.jpg
Sr3PL.jpg
nnbgK.jpg


Love the bottom row left color. They also have a nice seer-sucker in navy. But hate that everything (with the exception of one) is short-sleeve.
 

srivats

Distinguished Member
Joined
Jul 29, 2008
Messages
3,907
Reaction score
52
Originally Posted by somatoform
Love the bottom row left color. They also have a nice seer-sucker in navy. But hate that everything (with the exception of one) is short-sleeve.
Madras shirts are traditionally short sleeved, to account for the temperatures they are worn in. Long sleeved will be nice if you can find some! I love wearing short sleeved shirts in summer and spring. But then again, I don't wear a SC everyday.
 

srivats

Distinguished Member
Joined
Jul 29, 2008
Messages
3,907
Reaction score
52
Here are some current shirts from J. Press. The colors are good, but the fabric is not. Definitely wearable shirts but they seem to lack the charm of the O'connells ones I posted above. But hey, atleast they try! Note to sellers: Not all plaid shirts are madras shirts!!
AXKRz.jpg
UjaBX.jpg
ZAjTf.jpg
gTx9a.jpg
KiCBK.jpg
This is the only one that is good in my eyes, but still not 100% right:
3jnLX.jpg
Here is an EXCELLENT Lands End article about Madras fabric: http://www.landsend.com/cd/fp/help/0...37091_,00.html Lands End also had a few shirts last year that were excellent. Sadly, I don't see them anymore on the website. I bought two shirts and I am very glad I did. Here is a pic (not mine) from the AAAC WAWN thread:
WEnGt.jpg
 

carisbrooke

New Member
Joined
Oct 21, 2007
Messages
3
Reaction score
0
Originally Posted by srivats
Here is a nice source for some great (non-bleeding) madras shirts:
http://www.dann-online.com/summer_madras_.htm

I am going to try them in spring 2010. Here are a few samples:


Great thread srivats!

I tried a Viyalla madras shirt from Dann Online last spring. The fit is VERY large. The "Medium" I tried fit more like an "Extra-Large" I was pretty disappointed with Dann Online's customer service too.
 

srivats

Distinguished Member
Joined
Jul 29, 2008
Messages
3,907
Reaction score
52
Originally Posted by carisbrooke
Great thread srivats!

I tried a Viyalla madras shirt from Dann Online last spring. The fit is VERY large. The "Medium" I tried fit more like an "Extra-Large" I was pretty disappointed with Dann Online's customer service too.


Thanks
smile.gif


Shame abt Dann online - the fabrics looks really cool. I was so hoping to buy from them
frown.gif
Do you know of any other sources?
 

carisbrooke

New Member
Joined
Oct 21, 2007
Messages
3
Reaction score
0
I see there are a few Viyella madras shirts on STP for around $30. I'm not sure if the fit is any better than the ones at Dann Online.
 

carisbrooke

New Member
Joined
Oct 21, 2007
Messages
3
Reaction score
0
Originally Posted by srivats
Thanks
smile.gif


Shame abt Dann online - the fabrics looks really cool. I was so hoping to buy from them
frown.gif
Do you know of any other sources?


Old-school bleeding madras seems to be almost extinct. The "Raj Madras Short-Sleeve Shirt" at Orvis looks OK. Orvis claims the cloth is "directly from Madras". I don't think it's bleeding madras though.

http://www.orvis.com/store/product.aspx?pf_id=65A3
 

srivats

Distinguished Member
Joined
Jul 29, 2008
Messages
3,907
Reaction score
52
Originally Posted by carisbrooke
Old-school bleeding madras seems to be almost extinct. The "Raj Madras Short-Sleeve Shirt" at Orvis looks OK. Orvis claims the cloth is "directly from Madras". I don't think it's bleeding madras though.

http://www.orvis.com/store/product.aspx?pf_id=65A3


Ooh, I like those.

edit: shoulder-to-shoulder is 20.5" and chest is a whopping 48" on a size medium
frown.gif
frown.gif
 

voxsartoria

Goon member
Timed Out
Joined
Jan 18, 2007
Messages
25,700
Reaction score
180
I like Madras for nearly everything...except shirts.

lookaround.gif



- B
 

voxsartoria

Goon member
Timed Out
Joined
Jan 18, 2007
Messages
25,700
Reaction score
180
Originally Posted by srivats
Madras the fabric, or Madras the place?

Also,
wow.gif
wow.gif
wow.gif


The fabric and the curry.

That's right: I like it for ties; jackets; pants...but I don't like it for shirts.


- B
 

pejsek

Senior Member
Joined
Jul 3, 2004
Messages
936
Reaction score
5
Originally Posted by voxsartoria
The fabric and the curry.

That's right: I like it for ties; jackets; pants...but I don't like it for shirts.


- B



Okay, I agree with this. And as much as I'm not really a huge fan of dry cleaning (I wash my linen Isaia suit in the bathtub), one of the best looks is ancient madras on its thirtieth trip to the dry cleaner.

The madras bow-tie is true old school summertime wear.

As for the curry, well, it's a bludgeon, but who doesn't like a bludgeon now and then?
 

Featured Sponsor

How important is full vs half canvas to you for heavier sport jackets?

  • Definitely full canvas only

    Votes: 91 37.8%
  • Half canvas is fine

    Votes: 89 36.9%
  • Really don't care

    Votes: 25 10.4%
  • Depends on fabric

    Votes: 40 16.6%
  • Depends on price

    Votes: 38 15.8%

Forum statistics

Threads
506,821
Messages
10,592,073
Members
224,329
Latest member
MerciRicard
Top