February 28 2010
Despite being an easy-going kind of guy in every other area, my partner Dan morphs into a high priest of correctness when it comes to his shirts. The son of an Edinburgh tailor, he will declaim at length on what he regards as the decline in the manufacturing standards of men’s attire, and especially of shirts. So it came as something of a surprise to him when, on a business trip to Sydney last year, he found himself more intrigued by the shirts on the backs of his Australian counterparts than the spreadsheets they were showing him.
It turns out that the shirt-wearing Australian professional man wears Austen Brothers’ “Jermyn Street-style” shirts. The Austens were originally based in London, but the high overheads of opening a store in the centre of town forced the brothers – David and Ian – back to their native Australia to open their first store in Sydney’s central business district.
More accurately, David went to Vietnam where this former mathematician lives full time and is therefore on hand to supervise the construction, detailing and sewing of all Austen Brothers’ shirts, ensuring that they reach a premium standard.
Dan bought a whole suitcase full of them, plus a couple of women’s shirts for me: the Slim Fit Mayfair Stripe ($70) and Pink Royal Twill ($70). Since then, Dan has all his Jermyn Street shirts shipped all the way from Sydney, Australia.