Menswear of late has been dominated by hype-driven sportswear, replete with fanny-packs, orthopedic sneakers, and logo-emblazoned attire of every imaginable variety. That deluge of t-shirts and hoodies has a certain appeal (there’s a time and a place for most everything) but it can leave one longing for clothing with a quieter, more idiosyncratic charm. Which is what makes the almost 2-year-old brand Bode especially refreshing. Rather than chasing cool, Bode focuses on oft-overlooked textiles from the past. The results, perhaps surprisingly, are remarkably modern and—yes—extremely cool.
One of the brand’s most emblematic styles is a short-sleeved button-down shirt rendered in an array of unique deadstock fabrics. An elegant yet irreverent twist on the printed camp shirts that are currently enjoying a resurgence, Bode’s shirts are the perfect summer staple for men who value craft and provenance over buzz. New York–based designer Emily Bode travels the globe searching for artfully-made antique fabrics that have been left on the cutting room floor, picking up everything from African batiks and Japanese silks to American quilts. Because of the rarity of these textiles, most all of Bode’s pieces are one-of-a-kind—allowing you to own a small piece of history, and guaranteed to spark conversations at every barbeque and beachside bash you attend this season. Here, she highlights four shirts that are currently available and the stories behind them.
Floral Cross Stitch Bowling Shirt
“For this shirt ($428) we recreated a floral cross-stitch embroidery inspired by a 1950’s German linen. We were able to incorporate this delicate technique and produce this style using our factory in India and hand-dyed linen-cotton blend textile.”
New York Souvenir Shirt
“This shirt ($398) is made from a New York souvenir tablecloth from the 1950’s that I found in Upstate New York. The print is made up of a map of historic landmarks, buildings, people dancing in Harlem and other cityscapes.”
Bridge Scene and Lace Cutout Shirt
“This shirt ($408) is made from a 1940’s souvenir cross-stitched cotton tablecloth inset with lace panels. These textiles were popularized when service men stationed abroad in Asia brought gifts home for their wives and girlfriends. I still own the tablecloth my grandfather brought back from the Philippines for my grandmother when they were dating.”
Cream Antique Quaker Lace Shirt
“This shirt ($378) is made from antique Quaker Lace that I found in New Hampshire. It’s a 100% cotton material that was popularly used for bedspreads, tablecloths and curtains in the 1950’s.”