The British shirtmaker has masterminded the quintessential white dress shirt
Renowned British architect and proponent of minimalism John Pawson was converted to white shirts after apprenticing for Shiro Kuramata, the influential Japanese designer who wore a heavily-starched white shirt every day. ‘Colour is just harder,’ Pawson mused, ‘there’s a directness to white.’
White shirts are, indeed, the archetypal shirt; the foundation of a man’s formal wardrobe. At once a white shirt is timelessly elegant, yet eminently effortless to wear. Keep it simple, as the minimalists would say.
And although British shirtmaker Thomas Pink is more colourful in name and nature – with a penchant for vibrant hues and bold patterns rooted in the brand’s 1980s heyday –its crisp white dress shirts consistently remain bestsellers.
Thomas Pink was founded in 1984 by three Irish brothers living in the British capital. Their mission was to establish a brand with the pedigree of a traditional English shirtmaker but without the eye-watering price tags or snooty attitudes. Decades later – and in spite of a brief hiatus before a revival in 2021 – this founding ethos remains unchanged, and Thomas Pink still has the air of a disruptor of Jermyn Street, where it returned with a bricks-and-mortar store in late 2022. The brand’s signature evening shirt, however, is a by-the-book formal white shirt. The Tailored Fit Evening Bib Front Cotton Poplin Shirt, to give it its full name, has all the high-quality elements of a Thomas Pink shirt and exemplifies the brand’s “10 points” philosophy. While we won’t go into all 10 points here, these brand pillars include intricate craftsmanship details rarely found in a non-Savile Row label, and subtle branding details such as the signature pink “gusset” triangle that anchors the shirt. The Evening Shirt is made from 100 per cent cotton poplin, woven in Italy, with a contrasting textured finish on the cuffs for a certain je ne sais quoi. And the long bib panel, an essential design detail of the traditional dress shirt, tucks neatly into formal trousers and won’t budge or ruin an elegant silhouette – no matter how messy the after party gets.
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