Amongst the vintage deadstock dress shirts I picked up recently on Ebay were two 1960s era Hathaway button downs in white. Both of these shirts had some serious yellowing from age and having been in an attic for nigh on 40 years they had that distinctive sour sooty smell.
I decided to open one up and check out the shirt and prepare it for wearing if it was possible to ‘rejunvenate’ it.
I love the Hathaway printed tissue paper fixed into a carboard collar ring – a really nice touch. I posted a while back about the Hathaway Eye Patch Gent who was the company’s famous logo for many years.
When I took the shirt out of the packet the buttons had left their mark and each button hole had a kind of tide mark of yellow, and there was yellow colouration on the front where the shirt had been folded.
The Hathaway shirt as presented here shys away from the almost identikit Brooks Brothers model that most other manufacturers followed. At first I wasn’t sure about this, but the quality of the oxford broadcloth is excellent and I quite like the idiosyncrancies like no box pleat at the back, and the peculiar elliptical front tails. The shirt also has no button placket unlike jut about every other button down shirt I’ve ever seen. having said that I had one of these in blue oxford in the early 80s from FLIP but with a store brand in and I don’t think I realised it was a Hathaway at the time.
Thankfully the modern world has brought us the non bleach oxygen technology of Vanish. A few hours soak in the mix in super hot water and the shirt came out like something from a before and after ad on TV – the difference was amazing. The shirt was literally brilliant white again, the little red stitched Hathaway ‘H’s hadn’t faded or bled (as they would have with traditional bleach) and ironed up a treat.
Now, I’d always thought the shallower collar with short collar point that Ralph Lauren insists on using was a kind of late 70s update on the preferable deeper collars of other makers, but interestingly here the Hathaway has the same size collar as the Polo models. Maybe this was Ralphy’s inspiration? Who knows. It means that there is little of the much desired (lusted after even?) collar roll, but in it’s way this Hathaway is a really well made shirt that is going to look great with the Corbin cashmere herringbone sports jacket I recently aquired from the States.
Ok, so it’s not a SERO or GANT but hey, I’ve got another identical one still in its packet, too!