It was the mid 2000s and suddenly a type of button-down shirt made tsunamis across the fashion world: chambray.
Chambray is the classic denim looking shirt that’s softer and was at the time oh-so-chic. Ever fashion blogger I was following back then fawned over this and that brand’s chambray shirts and when they got their hands on on (or many) there was alway a review, gloating about the suppleness of the material and how it literally goes with everything. Everyone who wanted to be anyone should have a chambray shirt. Oh and props for being old-school if you also had a denim shirt, but while it’s not as comfortable it’s still pretty cool. Older denim shirts that looked nearly threadbare through use were just as prized since they were similar to chambray in the looks department.
I’d bought my blue shirt from Banana Republic just before the flood gates opened on the fashion event for the next 5 years. When you see words popping up here and there, it’s easy to tell when a Trend is coming. My shirt was on sale and while it didn’t look half as nice as the coveted lighter blue J Crew chambray, it was at least a blue denim-ish looking shirt. I was in the ballpark.
For a while I felt some resentment because clearly my blue shirt didn’t have the Chambray title, nor was it the right Chambray color (usually a lighter blue), but I got over it and wore my shirt. I usually flip up the sleeve cuffs. Sometimes I would even iron it, but I got used to the wrinkled look and now own it like a badge of honor. See how that button flap curls on the right hand side in the above photo? That is the shirt’s character I came to embrace. It defies me even when I do iron it, so I let it be.
This shirt is probably in the 15 year age range at least and as I was photographing it, I was amazed at how the seams are still all together. Wrinkled, but still together. It’s faded over time, which I like. There’s still tags on the inside that look newer than the shirt itself because the tags are polyester, but they say 100% cotton and dark blue. The buttons have yet to become loose. Despite its faded, wrinkled state this shirt is built like a tank.
I don’t even know if this counts as a denim shirt. I’m not versed enough in fabric knowledge to know if what I’m looking at is the cross-hatch weave that apparently dictates a denim shirt versus the long weave stitch of a chambray. It’s just a blue cotton button-down shirt I’ve worn for 15 or so years and will wear for many more.