Friday, 30 September 2016
John Simons - Best of British Button-Down
You'll Struggle to Find Better
If you want the very best of British button-down shirts then let me point you in the direction of John Simons, the traditional men's outfitters close to Baker Street in London. It's been a while since we covered them. I think the last mention was when they were collaborating with Aertex.
John Simons was established in 1955 by the actual John Simons, and is currently run by John and son Paul. The clothes they stock have never wavered from the timeless British, Anglo-American and classic continental clobber that you and I are drawn to. It was John who gave the name 'Harrington' to the Baracuta G9 jackets he was selling. He named the jacket after the Rodney Harrington character, played by Ryan O'Neal, in Peyton Place. Harrington wore a Baracuta jacket. Now that's how we all refer to them.
John Simons' own-brand Oxford cloth button-down shirts are second-to-none. As you may be able to discern from these photographs of my striped John Simons shirt — made in London. The unlined collar has what shirt scientists call a perfect roll, and a depth that gives a first-rate fit, even around my puny 15" neck. They know what we're after with this type of shirt; nothing too tight, no trendy touches to draw attention (in the wrong way), but you do get a buttoned breast pocket and box pleat at the back — which all adds up to the sort of dependable shirt you can always reach for.
As John Simons say of these shirts, they're 'the result of 60 years' experience in the menswear industry'. They also go on to say: 'You'll struggle to find better.'
They're right, you know.
John Simons - A Modernist
If you're unfamiliar with the influence of John Simons on the modernist look, allow adherents Kevin Rowland, Paul Weller and Paul Smith to provide a little background in this video, though you might think Robert Elms gets a bit carried away with the sociological import.