Shirts: New and Lingwood

Thursday, January 3, 2013
I've had the good fortune to be a customer of New and Lingwood since the age of about 13, and still have a set of now fairly useless plain white detachable-collar shirts that they provided me with in my school days. It used be that I would cheerfully buy socks and occasionally shirts from them (on chit, of course) generally unaware that I was buying from a shirtmaker with considerable expertise and pedigree.

Since leaving school, I've not continued as a regular customer at their Jermyn Street shop, but now seems like the time to recommence the relationship, and what better way to start than with a couple of shirts purchased in their pre-Christmas sale.

I went for the 'tailored' option - which generally suits me a little better and, indeed, they proved to be an excellent fit. The 'tailored' range, however, is not only about the shape: with this option New and Lingwood have gone for a generally more modern approach: a slightly more cutaway collar than their classic style, square cut tails with no reinforced gusset and a French placket (a style where one side of the shirt simply buttons over the other, without a separate placket). 

The collar is a plus, since the standard New and Lingwood is not quite as cutaway as I like, the shape of the tails are a matter of little interest to me - the key point is that they are still properly lengthy so that they tuck well in. The French placket is an interesting one; it lacks the neat symmetrical look of a traditional placket, but is more redolent of a dress shirt (which almost always have French plackets) and is, arguably, a 'cleaner' look. Of course, when wearing a tie it doesn't much matter either way, and I'm not sure I'd go for the French placket given the choice, but it's an interesting variation and is starting to grow on me with a couple of wears.

I went for two shirts, one a business-like pale blue stripe with double-cuffs to wear with a suit and tie, and the second a blue check with button-cuffs to wear more casually. The quality of materials and manufacture is clear in both, though the checked one is a slightly thinner cotton probably more suited to summer-wear, while the stripe is a heavier weave with a nice luster that contrasts nicely with the soft suiting fabrics that I favour. 

The next step, of course, is to go all-out and get New and Lingwood to just make me some bespoke shirts. That's definitely on the cards for 2013.