Your Thirty Shirt Starter
Made by English RosesEmma Willis, the Jermyn Street shirtmaker -- ready-to-wear and bespoke -- believes that a man should have between twenty to thirty shirts in his collection. Speaking to Country Life, she says that a collection ought to include 'twelve business, six shooting, two evening and six summer-holiday linen shirts'. I'm way over budget! But that doesn't stop me looking...
Emma Willis shirts are made at their Gloucestershire workshop using Swiss cotton shirting from the likes of Alumo. Have you ever seen such a distinguished looking manufactory as Bearland House (below)?
Knowing your shirt is made by beautiful English roses in the heart of Gloucester is certainly easier on the conscience than trying not to think your shirts might have been made by shoe-less children in a corrugated iron prefab in East Asia. And you can salve you conscience even more by knowing that all the 'trimmings and components' are sourced in England, including real mother of pearl buttons.
They also make the Emma Willis nightwear and accessories at Bearland. The Antique Paisley Smoking Jacket (below) hand-made from soft paisley wool deserves a reem of superlatives written about it, but I need to stop digressing from the point of this post. I include here in case it disappears from sale and we miss the opportunity to show it to you. It's a beauty, no? I'd be happy to be wrapped in that all day up in my eyrie at Tweed Towers.
Building up Your ThirtyOkay — back to Emma Willis shirts. If you're building up your own collection of thirty shirts, let's assume you are covered for the plain white and blue. Next up you should consider the stripes: the Bengal and butcher. The Emma Willis Pink Butcher Stripe (below) is rather splendid. You see a blue fellow in the top photo.
Emma Willis shirts are cut by hand and constructed to pattern. The seams are sewn with eighteen stitches to the inch and collars are 'hand trimmed before turning to ensure clean cut, sharp points'.
They won't disappoint.
Style For SoldiersEverything about Emma Willis, the business, is perfect, but there's more. Emma is personally involved in the charity Style for Soldiers, a splendid rehabilitation programme at Headley Court in Surrey that provides work attire for injured Armed Services personnel. Emma provides bespoke shirts, and, where needed, 'a hand carved ebony walking stick with a buffalo horn handle, and silver band engraved with their regiment and initials'.
What an absolutely first-rate cause, for which we can (and should) assist.