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Mending A Collar & The Virtue of Repair



I found a tear/ fraying on a blue OCBD this past week. It was on the collar, which generally is the worst place to find a blemish. I am not sure how long it has been there, but when I found it, I considered a few options. I considered letting it go, which sometimes, on an OCBD, isn't particularly noticeable. The edges of our OCBDs always are a bit frayed as they age. To me, this is when the shirt starts to really become great. The signs of your life lived showing on your OCBD is perfection, not imperfection. After evaluating the tear / fraying, I decided against letting it go. It was too long, too severe. If I let it go, in a few washings it would lead to a fairly severe opening up of the edge of the collar in a way which moves beyond some rough edges and more toward fairly severe fraying. That of course has it's place, I have shirts with this kind of wear, and they are great, but they generally weren't preventable. This tear, I caught in time, and the the rest of the shirt isn't heavily worn-in so to let one part on the collar go to a level of full worn-in-ness, wasn't something I wanted to do. So as to stop the worsening of it, I decided to mend it.



You can see the tear / fraying in the above picture. I am not sure exactly what caused it, it doesn't really matter. You can see it is fairly long and primed to open up and get worse. I think many men may find something like this and think to themselves that the shirt is done. They may think it can't be worn anymore. They may conclude that it's basically useless now. I understand that impetus because when you have something you like, who wants to discover there is something "wrong" with it? I completely understand this, and certainly would feel this way about certain massive problems, Yet, for something like this, I don't feel the same. The OCBD is a durable shirt, it is intended to last years, and I genuinely like the signs of natural wear that appear on a durable OCBD. Anything that you have for years will acquire some bumps and bruises if you are living life. Much like the case in regards to certain kinds of leather, these bumps and bruises give our OCBD character. It gives it life. It is a reminder in many ways of the life you live in it.



I have no problem wearing an OCBD with some fraying on it's edges, signs of life lived, or wearing an OCBD with some mending here and there. I genuinely like these shirts more than a brand new, unworn, right off the rack OCBD. As you can see in the above picture, I mended the tear / fraying with a matching light blue thread. I made sure to reinforce it strongly so that it should last many years. You can obviously tell there was mending done and I think it looks just great. If the open fraying and wear found on our OCBDs reflects a direct physical reminded of life lived. What does evidence of mending tell us? I think on one layer, it shows life lived and there is an additional layered stacked on top which shows a certain level of maintenance, care, longevity and a rejection of throw-away culture. Keeping, maintaining, fixing things that you enjoy is much more rewarding than throwing them out and buying something brand new. The constant buying of brand new replacements is disorienting to us at our core in a way that has an impact on us even if we can't directly feel it or understand it. That is what I believe. As for my newly mended collar, I think it looks fantastic. It is clean, tight, sturdy yet of course, not perfect. It shows life lived, but also something conserved and maintained. To me, it says something about care.