J. Simons

In 1971 I purchased a Ben Sherman shirt for the first time, combining it with a Levi cord jacket, Levi jeans and Adidas Sambas. It was a marriage made in heaven and was worn by nearly everyone in the 14 to 16 year old in north eastern villages. It made you think you were cool, which was highly debatable, considering the fact that you were living a pit village. Over the years I tried all sorts of dubious styles of shirts but none have ever really come close to the button down shirt. It is impossible for me to tell you why this shirt is so great they just look and feel so much better than anything else. This iconic shirt can be found at most good clothing retailers with all the big brands selling their version of this classic. You could also dabble on the internet to try and find some rare gems, but personally I prefer going to various shops to check out their current stocking. But remember we are not sheep, so if you want a button down that is a bit different; you may have to look long and hard and put in a bit of research. You should listen to the advice of Graham Marsh who argues that you should only wear button downs that have been made in America and not in some third world sweat shop. Ideally, you should have a Brooks Brothers Oxford cloth at the top of your list but sadly, like most of their products, they are now made outside the U.S which is rather disappointing. However, don’t be deterred there are still some great made in America brands such as Gitman, Mercer and Sons, O’Connell’s, Mettlers, Todd Shelton etc. For me however, the best button down shirt is made by John Simons Apparel Company and can be found at his shop in Marylebone, London. This peach of a shirt features no logo and has a flapped pocket over the left breast which makes it look a little bit different from the rest of the button downs out there. While you can buy this shirt online, a trip to his shop is an absolute essential; God if this shop was in Newcastle I could not imagine has much money Mr. Simons would have made. It is highly doubtful that you are ever going to see anyone wearing this sublime shirt in Newcastle, but I live in hope. So the next time you’re out and looking don’t focus on the price or the logo, spend a bit of time exploring what is out there and you never know you may just discover a shirt that has permanent style.