Shirts – bear with me

I recently moved from the ‘Why have I got so many shirts? I can only wear one at a time‘ state to the ‘Why have I got so many shirts with fraying cuffs and collars? I must get some more‘ state.

I usually buy shirts in Jermyn Street in London and I usually buy them from Charles Tyrwhitt (bare with me – we will get to something environmental soon).

So there I was in Charles Tyrwhitt asking for what 19″ neck, 37″ arms, shirts they had and I was told they could order them. I said, I can order them, my hope was that in a shirt shop I could actually look at some shirts. Do you find this these days? The last Barbour I bought I tried to buy a few yards away from Jermyn Street on Piccadilly but they didn’t have much of a range in store. I was told they could order them and I told them I could order them, so I did.

But the advantage of doing shirt shopping in Jermyn Street (where I once, many years ago, accidently encountered the then minister Richard Benyon (I wonder where he gets his shirts?) and had a useful chat) is that there are other shirt shops available when one lets you down.

Thomas Pink or TJ Lewin? Lewin was closer and, hooray!, they had shirts of the size I wanted (well, needed actually) and they had a very good deal of five for £120 – yes, five! So I bought five shirts and that’ll be it for a few more years. By the way, there were some other people specifically looking for 19″ collars in Lewin – it seems to be the place to go for svelte types like myself.

Now, if you don’t buy reasonably smart shirts (and then you are indeed a lucky man (or woman) and don’t have access to someone who does) you might not know how much unwrapping is involved once you get your shirts home.

There is some cardboard, some tissue paper and some bits of what look like plastic to me. To be fair, I think there is a bit less of this stuff invovled in these shirts than there used to be. Has anyone else noticed that? I think someone may have been making an effort to reduce the waste involved. If so, good for them.

But there is still quite a bit of plastic. And I’ve now unwrapped five shirts.

I’d be surprised if this pile of plastic couldn’t be further reduced.

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10 Replies to “Shirts – bear with me”

  1. I'm against the use of too much plastic but I readily admit it is better than the multitude of pins that were used to pack the probably cheaper shirts I used to have to buy, and I often used to find some the hard way. Thankfully I now go around in mostly 'technical fabrics'. I'm not sure but perhaps they are also made from petroleum products, similar to plastic.

  2. I always used to buy my clothes in charity shops - the Dorothy House shop in Moorland Road in Bath was a favourite haunt - but finding stuff big enough was always a problem because not enough Big Fat Men were dying contrary to constant public health angst and when I had a Tax Inspection I related this to the Tax Inspector - who was shall we say a Big Girl - she didn't look all that pleased despite the fact that my frugality matched my income

  3. Hi Mark - bad typo? - bare or bear...?

    I buy nearly all my clothes in charity shops, especially the smart stuff......there are so many of these in Cambridge that I find I can get decent, essentially new things really easily, have no packaging as I bring my own bag, try them on and donate to charity at the same time..........

  4. I have never been one for smart shirts, preferring something in a tattersall type check of nice soft material. The price of shirts astonishes me! I am currently working through a batch of 10 assorted check colours which cost me £55 about three years ago from a local agricultural merchants! Not stylish, but warm , comfy ,cottonish, mostly made in Romania and packed in a cellophane bag with a bit of cardboard and no pins!! MY good lady tends to sew up all bar the top three buttons as I never undo them when I take a shirt off anyway, works for me, and with my Wellies and shorts I am well on my way to the final of the 'best dressed man in the village competition'. Do not even get me started on Barbour jackets! My first one (a Solway Zipper bought in 1973) lasted through a lot of hard use until 1988. The second one ( a Border jacket) lasted five years of moderate use. The next time I went to buy a replacement I found I could buy FIVE of an unbranded wax jacket in my Agric merchants for the price of a similar Barbour, I bought one ( in 1994) and it still hangs in my garden shed today, although I have upgraded to a cheap tweed coat for birding and stuff. I noticed the decline in Barbour quality and escalating price, when they became trendy for the aspirational country set. I do not buy them anymore. I am just about to stock up on E European shirts again as part of my stockpiling for any Brexit debacle!!

  5. noticed a couple of years ago that M&S (good old 'mother') had addressed this issue a bit with shirts and other stuff. Part of their 'plan A' I believe.

  6. On a more serious note, I'm increasingly sceptical about the 'think globally, act locally' truism that shifts all the blame back onto us as consumers. Have you noticed the rush of multi-national companies all promising to reduce plastic in the face of David Attenborough and others TV programmes ? No, nor have I - what I have noted is them fighting every inch, no millimetre, of the way to oppose any measure that might faintly disrupt business plans heavily reliant on the throwaway society - eg deposits on plastic bottles. And, no, it isn't for your convenience whatever they tell - its so your 'convenient' high mark/ long shelf life up ready meal fits neater non the logistics trolley in the delivery lorry.

    Its like 'the polluter pays' - if you believe that, watch out for flying pigs - have you noticed power companies dividends dropping as they invest to decarbonise ? No, its us and the Government paying (with our taxes).

  7. You can get ten for a fiver at the local market, you know. £120 for five? A fool and their money...

  8. None of the main men’s shirt makers seem to have much of a environmental or sustainability policy/ strategy. No option for shirts made with certified Better Cotton Initiative
    Let alone organic cotton shirts
    One of the few places I’ve seen is here - but not at £120 for 5!

  9. You can get much cheaper Tyrwhitt, TM Lewin and Thomas Pink shirts in TK Maxx. I don't believe in paying full price for anything with a designer label as they're a rip off.


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