• New England Shirt Company Factory


    Bob Kidder believes in American manufacturing. So much so that when it came time to put his money where his mouth is, he actually bought a shirt factory—the famed former Alden Street Shelburne Shirt factory to be exact. Although the 200 year-old mill has been caught in the crossfire of multiple custody battles, it has remained in continuous operation for the last 75 years. Kidder, no stranger to menswear with stints at high-end brands like Hart Schaffner Marx, bought it in 2009 when its future was anything but certain. Now he, along with a group of skilled, dedicated craftspeople using vintage sewing machines, nurture a healthy private label business under the appellation New England Shirt Company. “It’s all single needle shirting,” says Kidder. “A slightly modern version of classic American style—it’s not fussy.”

    In addition to their own label, Kidder and company manufacture for upwards of 150 men’s labels and click n’ mortar shops in the U.S., Jack Robie being one of them. I had the pleasure of designing two popovers for Jack Robie this summer—a blue oxford cloth and red bengal stripe poplin. I trekked up to Fall River, Massachusetts last spring to put the final brushstrokes on them. Both turned out beautifully and can be had at the One Orange pop-up shop on Nantucket as well as at JackRobie.com.

    Jun 5, 2013 | Permalink (12) View/Leave Comments

    Brooks Borthers left a comment on 10/14/2013 at 11:32 AM:

    I afarted mommy

    Alex left a comment on 6/18/2013 at 6:44 PM:

    Wharf makes has their shirts made here if I am not mistaken, and they are very nice. I have not found a better Oxford considering the brands mentioned above.

    F.E. Castleberry left a comment on 6/15/2013 at 2:12 PM:

    @Cam—I’d be surprised if J.Press York St. or Gant were making shirts in the USA at this point.

    Timothy left a comment on 6/15/2013 at 11:53 AM:

    @F.E. & CL—My comment re: Gitman Bros. shirts was just one part of my more general statements. That said, Gitman, like most makers these days, produces a range of fits….from slim to Big and Tall - so, I’m sure with a little trial and error (which is required with any maker), the desired fit can be found.

    cam left a comment on 6/14/2013 at 7:39 PM:

    fwiw, j press york st and gant have some ocbds on sale currently for under $100. although i couldn’t find any information on these being made in america. do you happen to know mr. castleberry?

    F.E. Castleberry left a comment on 6/14/2013 at 7:27 PM:

    @Cam—Good find!

    cam left a comment on 6/14/2013 at 7:08 PM:

    mr. castleberry, they are on their web-site for purchase http://www.brooksbrothers.com/Classic-All-Cotton-Regular-Fit-Oxford-Dress-Shirt/E482,default,pd.html?dwvar_E482_Color=BLUE&contentpos=11&cgid;=

    F.E. Castleberry left a comment on 6/14/2013 at 4:05 PM:

    @Cam—I’d need to see proof of this claim.

    @Timothy—Gitman Brothers shirts can be purchased from SierraTradingPost.com as you have shared. I would argue that spending over $100 on a Made in America shirt is not always “needlessly overpaying.” There is a point of view in design. Some resonate with some more than others. Not once did you mention how Gitman Brothers shirts fit—and that’s an important factor for a young gentleman like C.L. Young.

    cam left a comment on 6/14/2013 at 3:33 PM:

    @CL Young - i’m not sure what you would consider “well under” the $100 mark but i do believe brooks brothers offers an ocbd for around $70 or $80 that is made in america.

    Timothy left a comment on 6/14/2013 at 3:17 PM:

    @CL - yes, made in the USA shirts can certainly be had for less than many retailers sell them for. Even among New England Shirt Co. shirts there is a wide price range. Fred/Jack Robie charge around $135 for theirs, while L.L. Bean charges $105 for theirs. I’ve bought a couple solid NESCo. oxfords for $90 from Portland Dry Goods in Maine. Gitman Bros. made in the USA oxfords can be had for under $60 at places like sierratradingpost.com. And so on. Part of it is marketing and profit taking, part of it is a lack of education from the consumer’s standpoint. Folks need to shop around and resist the trumped up romance of needlessly overpaying simply because of the made in the usa tagline…

    F.E. Castleberry left a comment on 6/14/2013 at 1:23 PM:

    @C.L. Young—You raise a good question. A “Made in America” shirt can certainly be produced for well under $100…it’s being done now! Of course, by “produced” I mean manufactured. Now, can a “Made in America” shirt retail for under $100? Possibly. That business would have to sell a high volume of shirts (hundreds a month) from an online shop (in order to minimize overhead and fixed costs). Even then, the quality of the shirt could suffer by using cheaper cloth, cheaper buttons, fewer details, etc. By then, who would actually care that it was made in America…the shirt itself wouldn’t be something you’d be proud to wear (and I certainly wouldn’t be proud to make it).

    C.L. Young left a comment on 6/13/2013 at 7:29 PM:

    This is a great feature! Although I embrace “American-made”, it doesn’t always embrace my pocket book in a more affordable way. But in saying this, I realize that products typically run the gamut of econo, standard, and top of the line. These shirts are excellently made (I can tell).
    Frankly, it would be nice if one can have excellent quality of workmanship and materials in something mundane as a button-down without spending the amount that a custom-made shirt might cost.
    I understand the dynamics of factoring in cost of labor, materials, workmanship, etc. but can an “American-made” shirt be produced for well under the $100 mark?


  • Published in Quest, June 2013


    Quest magazine, New York’s last magazine devoted to “Society,” just published a feature on the rowing blazers book my colleague Jack Carlson and I have been working on for the last two years. These are the first photographs from the project to see the light of day. The on-location shoots in New England, Netherlands, and England have yielded some of my favorite portraiture work to date. Look for the coffee table book in 2014.

    May 27, 2013 | Permalink (17) View/Leave Comments

    Hunter left a comment on 10/18/2013 at 11:21 AM:

    I love that you visited Kent School to get a photo of Kyle in his KSBC outfit. But he isnt the only Kent alum in the spread, Emerson Curry rowed for KSBC as well.  Well done all around.

    Danger left a comment on 6/14/2013 at 11:47 AM:

    @ f.e. castleberry - what’s the title of the book, so that i can keep a look out?

    RP left a comment on 6/11/2013 at 10:38 AM:

    The photos look wonderful. Will have to make sure to pick up a hard-copy of the issue before its taken off newsstands in the city.

    Chens left a comment on 6/10/2013 at 11:21 AM:

    Ah yes, I should’ve known.

    F.E. Castleberry left a comment on 6/8/2013 at 9:14 AM:

    @Chens—The question begs to be asked, whose check?

    Chens left a comment on 6/8/2013 at 9:05 AM:

    Hope the check clears.

    KGC left a comment on 6/7/2013 at 6:10 PM:

    As a rower and lover of fashion I love how the two mix so well. Amazing photos !

    Victoria left a comment on 6/7/2013 at 5:26 PM:

    The feature looks great! Can’t wait for 2014

    Eric W. left a comment on 6/7/2013 at 5:24 PM:

    Amazing book! Can’t wait to order 10 copies.

    F.E. Castleberry left a comment on 6/7/2013 at 5:23 PM:

    @Al—Thank you. I did style every rower I photographed in their own clothes—from pinning blazers to tying ties to popping collars to nipping and tucking.

    Al left a comment on 6/7/2013 at 5:12 PM:


    Great photos! It looks like you’ve put some serious work into them. Just out of curiosity, did you style the rowers’ outfits as well, or just photograph them in their own choices of attire?

    F.E. Castleberry left a comment on 6/7/2013 at 2:37 PM:

    @BG—I was at Dartmouth for this shoot about 2 years ago. Emerson Curry did row for Dartmouth before graduating in 2008. Since then, he’s been coaching Dartmouth crew.

    @Makaga—It’s possible there will be a book tour. If so, NYC is on the list.

    @Fred—We’re still currently talking to several publishing houses.

    M Arthur left a comment on 6/6/2013 at 10:51 PM:

    The kilts shot is the best!

    BG left a comment on 6/6/2013 at 4:58 PM:

    Looks like you were up at Dartmouth - when did that happen? Is that a Dartmouth rower?

    Joseph left a comment on 6/6/2013 at 4:20 PM:

    Congrats on this feature in Quest and you upcoming coffee table book - very exciting!

    Makaga left a comment on 6/6/2013 at 12:44 PM:

    Very stoked to see this book.  Will you have a book signing in NYC when it comes out?

    Fred left a comment on 6/6/2013 at 12:28 PM:

    interesting. who’s publishing the book?


  • Summer with The Grey Lady


    Maybe it's the therapeutic outdoor morning showers, or the privilege of getting the sunrise before anybody else on the east coast, or the simple fact that it is devoid of a tether to whatever "real world" you left behind at Hyannis. Nantucket is magical in the summer. Worry seems to roll off your shoulders, like beads of sweat erratically migrating down your cocktail.

    The island, aside from its locals, is home to an inherently preppy summer colony. It is beloved in part for the geographical fact that it's a pain in the ass to get to. The harder the trek, the preppier the locale. And Nantucket is perhaps the preppiest (edging out Martha's Vineyard and its trailer parks). If you're not flying into ACK, you have to cross the moat to the WASP kingdom via an hour long ferry.

    Despite the inconveniences, The Grey lady more than quadruples in size come June. Frankly, it gets crazy around the Fourth. But that's not to say you can't get alone. This secluded beach I photographed Alise Shoemaker* on a couple years ago is on the South Shore somewhere between Nobadeer and Tom Nevers. It's a great spot if you can find it. Odds are good that you'll have it all to yourself for a picnic, skinny dipping, or whatever else bakes your (crab) cake. As for how to get there exactly, well, it wouldn’t be preppy if I made it that easy.

    *click on the image above to download a wallpaper version

    May 17, 2013 | Permalink (12) View/Leave Comments

    Kelly left a comment on 6/6/2013 at 6:17 PM:

    that’s my beach! I’m not telling…. ;)

    howie left a comment on 5/27/2013 at 9:12 PM:

    George - it’s a Sankaty Light.

    F.E. Castleberry left a comment on 5/26/2013 at 11:51 AM:

    @Victoria—It’s more like a “family campground.”

    Victoria left a comment on 5/25/2013 at 10:54 PM:

    I’ve been going to the Vineyard my whole life, where is this trailer park you speak of, because I’ve yet to find one?

    Alex left a comment on 5/25/2013 at 5:59 PM:

    @F.E. Castleberry do you know what model year it is? I believe I saw one around my neighborhood the other day, I assumed it was some sort of old Jeep.

    Josh left a comment on 5/25/2013 at 2:21 PM:

    This photograph is your new calling card.

    George left a comment on 5/24/2013 at 7:51 PM:

    Please tell me that is NOT a Schlitz on the dash…

    Alexander left a comment on 5/24/2013 at 2:46 PM:

    @MGM - Agreed! Love the photography FE but it’d be great to see (even more) creative writing.

    MGM left a comment on 5/24/2013 at 9:33 AM:

    Great writing, FEC.  You should write more!

    F.E. Castleberry left a comment on 5/22/2013 at 5:49 PM:

    @Sam—This is a Chevy Silverado.

    @Alexander—Nice insider tip.

    Sam left a comment on 5/22/2013 at 4:19 PM:

    I love that truck. Does anyone know what it is?

    Alexander left a comment on 5/22/2013 at 3:59 PM:

    One of my favorite things to do on ACK is a late evening BBQ at Great Point. You can only get to it with a beach vehicle permit, so it’s definitely off the beaten path.

    Technically you’re not supposed to be there after sundown if you’re not a fisherman, but the cops will give you a break if you drop a pole in the sand and let the lure bob around in the Atlantic. The late night ride back is the best part.


  • Bad Taste


    Mar 22, 2013 | Permalink (0) View/Leave Comments

    Kick off the comments by using the stationery below to pen your thoughts.


  • Social Primer FW13 Inspiration


    This week I’m down in The Holy City (perhaps nicknamed by virtue of the prominence of churches on the low-rise cityscape) for Charleston Fashion Week. Friend and colleague, K. Cooper Ray is showing his Social Primer Fall/Winter 2013 tailored clothing collection and I’m styling, shooting, and providing the proverbial second opinion. Inspired by the plight of the young Peter Ashley (protagonist of Charleston’s DuBose Heyward’s novel of the same name), pretty dandies from Anna Karenina’s Count Vronsky to England’s Prince Harry round out the muses for the season.

    SP Smoking is American made and Charleston inspired—and it is looking incredible. Showstoppers include a red velvet smoking jacket with peak lapels and a fox head needlepoint cummerbund in navy. Although he plays with the boundaries of traditional tuxedo attire by introducing utilizing midnight blue, “Reagan red,” and oyster in his suiting, Ray remains true to the hallmark of evening-wear, the black tie. It is currently a madhouse at headquarters but we are fighting the good fight down to the very last minute before showtime Friday night at 8:00pm. For God, for country, for Charleston.

    Mar 18, 2013 | Permalink (4) View/Leave Comments

    F.E. Castleberry left a comment on 3/27/2013 at 5:03 PM:

    @Angel—It’s not weird at all…we were holed up at his headquarters for three days straight prepping for his show and his show wasn’t at the Charleston Fashion Week tent. It was at the Charleston private library.

    Angel left a comment on 3/27/2013 at 11:37 AM:

    Thats weird, cause I didn’t see you or Cooper all week. Oh well.

    Angel’s Point of View

    Rake left a comment on 3/25/2013 at 4:18 PM:

    Interested to see the collection.

    Hope @ Fairhope Supply Co. left a comment on 3/24/2013 at 11:10 PM:

    Reagan Red brings good memories and good feelings of a happier America.  Have fun in Charleston!


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