From the moment you open the packaging from cees n’ co you know you’re in for a treat. Everything from the wrapping around the box to the handwritten care instructions and the carefully packed shirt ooze quality and thoughtfulness. It came as no surprise then that the actual shirt was one of the most comfortable and well fitting button downs I’ve had the pleasure of sampling.
A little bit of background before we get into the shirt itself, cees n’ co was founded by Arien de Vries, an Amsterdam based designer born in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Having worked in Holland for many years as a costume designer, de Vries learnt the importance of making actors feel good in their costume both on stage and in front of camera. This in turn inspired the redefinition of a classic staple of the men’s wardrobe to make it feel even more timeless and comfortable, making the wearer feel good in any situation. The fit, the look, the feel and the fabric have all been given equal weight in the design process and it shows in the quality of the finished product.
Arien de Vries has clearly put an awful lot of thought into the entire cees n’ co experience, a sentiment immediately reflected in the aesthetic of the shirt itself. Simplicity is at the fore as there is no excess whatsoever in the finished product. From the front, the simple mother of pearl buttons, noticeable lack of a front pocket and semi cutaway collar all speak of good design and removing the unnecessary details. This is echoed again looking at the back, where the typical pleated design has been removed and replaced by flat fabric to maintain simplicity. The angular cuff with two buttons and unique serial number sewn into the collar add further design details to a remarkably well designed shirt.
As one would expect from a dress shirt that bridges the gap between casual and business, the fit of de Vries shirt looks quite slim though the designer maintains that the fit is ‘regular.’ The back of the shirt differs from some dress shirts in that there is no pleats, the back is smooth which takes nothing away from the quality of the fit while giving a little something different to the eye. As with some other garments designed in Holland rather than North America or Japan, the fit is also on the longer side with a great tail shirt bottom. Not only does this make the fit of the shirt better for anyone tall, it also resolves the problem of shirts losing their tucked state when the wearer reaches up.
One thing that feels instantly notable when pulling this shirt on for the first time is the quality of the fabric. de Vries has sourced a white poplin fabric for the construction of her shirts instead of an oxford or other cotton for the reason that poplin’s thinner and more numerous warp yarns provide a smooth, soft and strong feeling. The comfort of the poplin only increases following washing and ironing as well as the shirt will soften further while maintaining the strength and integrity of the fabric.
The whole package put together in the cees n co white dress shirt is great, but would quickly fade to ordinary if the combination of ingredients was put together with anything less than perfect. Luckily de Vries clearly considered this when she was working through her samples and starting production. It’s quite impressive to note the calibre of construction for a 99 euro shirt as the stitching feels hardy, buttons feel like they’re going to stay on for a long time and the fact that you can easily pick up a new pair of collar stays is very convenient should those wind up lost in the wash. The fabric really echoes the quality of construction and the whole shirt does have the timeless feel to it that de Vries was aiming for thanks to the overall level of craftsmanship.
As de Vries says in her description of the shirt, the cees n’ co button down is “Back to simplicity, but made with great expertise and craftsmanship. A shirt for every occasion, for business (under a suit, with or without tie) as well as casual. Cees n co strives to be the next favourite classic white shirt in his wardrobe.” We at REPOSITORY feel she’s done a pretty exceptional job, turning out a finished product that will definitely be the one I’ll be reaching for when I need a white shirt for a long time to come. The combination of fit, feel, look and fabric mentioned in the introduction comes together perfectly when you pull the shirt on. There’s not much higher praise we can offer this shirt than that.
One final thing to note before considering a purchase of this shirt is that there’s also an interesting sustainability aspect to the design process. When it comes time to say goodbye to your current iteration of the shirt, it can be returned to cees n’ co and a 15 euro deposit from your original pruchase will be returned to you. The shirts will then be retouched slightly and place on the second hand market for a second lease on life if possible or recycled for materials for new products if refurbishment is impossible. If you wear your shirt for over three years, this 15 euro deposit will end up going to a charitable organization instead. It’s a small touch, but one that also sets de Vries apart from many other designers.
To purchase your own perfect white shirt, we recommend clicking through to the cees n’ co website where you can also learn a little more about the designer and the shirt itself. The online shop offers a handy guide to taking measurements as well as a section where you can purchase your new shirt for 99 euros (before the removal of VAT, at which time it comes to closer to 80 euros). Should you be in the market for a new white button down shirt or two, we couldn’t recommend these highly enough.