The St. James area of London is home to Trafalgar Square, Piccadilly Circus, Green Park, Buckingham Palace and one of the last bastions of true blue-blooded bespoke shirt makers. White Shirt Week, which began February 11, is, of course, a celebration of the definitive white shirt.
The earliest recorded white shirts can be traced back to 3000 BC First Dynasty Egyptian tombs. In the Middle Ages, white shirts were worn like typical undershirts, but by the 19th they had become status symbols to distinguish oneself from manual labourers who couldn’t afford to keep shirts spotless.
Featured in the photo is British stage and screen actor Freddie Fox sporting a definitive white Jermyn Street shirt. To learn more, trolley over to stjameslondon.co.uk.
Here’s a bit about the individual St. James Street shirt makers, because we can’t make this stuff up.
“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.”