The California Shirt

Photos courtesy of Carolina Mariana

Photos courtesy of Carolina Mariana

Consideration is defined as “careful thought, typically over a period of time.”

For the past decade, my central focus has been men’s clothing. For a time in 2009 and 2010, I traveled a twelve-state territory in the center of the country selling shirts and ties to high-end men’s boutiques. Prior to this experience, it had been my dream to build button-downs with flourishes that I liked in a well-made men’s shirt. Through my experience as a traveling salesman, I learned that many of those flourishes were just that, ostentatious and superfluous to the function and quality of the shirt itself. What has remained exists in this first offering from the newly formed company which bears my name, Max Wastler.

Know, first, who you are, and then adorn yourself accordingly. - Epictetus

I spent my entire childhood shopping. I would pore over catalogs, magazines, and racks of clothing, obsessing over every detail. I inherited my father’s extensive mental checklist for quality and value and my mother’s inherent ability to foresee a trend. As I grew older, I began modifying my tastes to suit the fashions of the day, learning the implied messages that clothing sends.

From early on, the shirt was the center of this obsession. It’s the billboard. When we meet, it’s the first thing we see. It expresses so much, so quickly. It covers the core of our being: the heart, the lungs, the stomach, and the arms. I have owned every kind of shirt you can imagine, and in the process, I have learned some valuable lessons. These lessons largely informed my first offering, The California Shirt.

Blue Years ago, a mentor of mine told me, “A man needs two things in this life: a blue shirt and a blue shirt.” He was right.

Gingham Long associated with scooter-cruising Mods and before them, fellow Kansan, Dorothy Gale, gingham has reemerged in recent years as a staple of men’s shirting. Prior to this, in 2008, I wore a navy gingham shirt to a wedding. A groomsman told me I looked like a picnic table. By the time we were dancing, he had the crowd chanting, “Go, Picnic Table, Go, Picnic Table, Go!”

Durable In 2010, a shirt sat atop my mother’s clothing donation pile. Examining it, I recognized it as one I had spent the last year selling. With signatures like double-track stitching on the collar, a chalk button, a box pleat, a trim fit, and a “Made in U.S.A” label. In 1989, after moving our family to a new city to start a new job, my father had this shirt made, a rare move for a man who never buys anything for himself. While flipping through my high school yearbooks not too long ago, I discovered I had worn this shirt, his hand-me-down on my first day of high school. My brother wore it after me, and after rescuing it from the donation pile, I have continued wearing it to this day. I hope my shirts last you and your family a quarter-century or more.

Seasons of Love How do you measure a year? In 2016, I moved from Chicago to Los Angeles. Upon arriving, I mentioned to a friend that my wardrobe was too heavy, and he replied, pointing to the linen shirt I was wearing, “you’re going to need more of these.” I designed this with two flap pockets to keep my phone from falling out of my breast pocket, and to stash my favorite pair of wayfarers or an ice-cold stubbie of Coors Banquet Beer.

The California Shirt Now you know why I call this lightweight yet durable shirt “The California Shirt.”

For more details on the shirt itself, visit The Shop.

Max Wastler’s Guarantee For me, the sale isn’t complete until the goods are worn out and you are still satisfied. I am committed to delivering well-made, well-considered, dependable products. If you are not satisfied with one of my products at the time you receive it, or if it does not perform to your satisfaction, please return it for a repair, replacement, or refund. If you are uncomfortable doing so, I will gladly repair anything worn or torn at a reasonable charge. Above everything, I want to avoid having a dissatisfied customer.