Diary of an actress #22: Actor Freddie Fox launches The Definitive White Shirt in St James's, London
St James’s is home to the famous Jermyn Street, which boasts the highest number of world renowned shirt makers on one luxury shopping street, offering the best quality shirts worldwide. According to Richard Harvie, owner of Harvie & Hudson, “The white shirt remains the best seller in St James’s”. At Turnbull & Asser nearly half of all shirts sold, both ready to wear and bespoke, are white.
Popularised by the likes of award winning films James Bond, The Great Gatsby and television series Downton Abbey, the St James’s shirt makers offer a huge variety of white shirts, in the highest quality of cloths. Every design element of the shirt including collar, cuffs, buttons, shape and fit can be created to the specification of the most discerning gentleman. The secrets to many celebrated icons’ stylish looks come from their visits to the area from all over the world to have their shirts personally crafted.
A white shirt is synonymous with a message of virtue, precision and power; a bespoke white shirt from Jermyn Street can enhance and define the physique, allowing the shirt to fit all proportions perfectly, even taking into account the size of your watch. Customers often discover that after experiencing a made to measure shirt for the first time, they continue to invest in bespoke. Damien Whitmore the Director of Public Affairs and Programming, Victoria and Albert Museum says, "The white shirt represents the foundations of a man's wardrobe and has been for centuries. It seems like such a simple item, but the details are what make it the very epitome of style and elegance."
Each St James’s shirt maker has their own signature design, for which they are known. A shirt exhibiting a three-button cuff is a trademark look of Turnbull & Asser; a ready to wear version of this shirt costs £145. Mother of Pearl buttons complement Emma Willis’ signature look for £290. Emmett’s signature shirt, at £95, is made using Baby Twill White, a weave known for its soft texture that becomes even more supple over time. In contrast, Budd’s distinctive shirt, £115, is made of white poplin two fold cotton with a classic Budd forward collar. New & Lingwood’s signature style involves a curved collar ending in a point, allowing the collar to lay properly on the upper breast bone, and costs £95. Harvie & Hudson’s iconic shirt is the plush and luxurious white Herringbone and a white ready to wear version costs £64.50. Favourbrook’s 1850’s Victorian Morning Wing Collar Dress Shirt at £90 has an accentuated high collar and emphasised wing lapels that create a stunning effect when paired with a silk cravat. Along with the medium weight white cotton poplin, covered buttons and French-cuffs, the straight cut tailoring creates an elegant profile. Hilditch & Key’s bestseller is the Carlton with their classic collar and double cuff, made with the finest two-fold cotton poplin and real shell buttons.
Royal Warrant holder Stephen Quin from Turnbull & Asser believes that “Every man should have at least three white shirts in their wardrobe”, with the best accessory to complement the white shirt being a silk tie.
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