A Better Shirt – Ape to Gentleman for Hawes & Curtis

Hawes & Curtis

InstA Jermyn Street History – Hawes & Curtis

When a brand can count the Duke of Windsor, Cary Grant, Clark Gable, Bing Crosby, Lord Mountbatten, Frank Sinatra and Fred Astaire as former customers, one must pay respect. For these types of sartorially well-versed gentleman don’t take their wardrobes lightly. The brand I’m referring to is Hawes & Curtis – a Jermyn Street, London atelier founded in 1913 by two accomplished outfitters, Ralph Hawes and George Frederick Curtis.

“I want to thank both you and Mr. Hawes for all the trouble you have taken over fitting me out. I am delighted with the results and enclose a cheque to the value of £113.18.6d for the amount I owe you.”
Lord Mountbatten

Noted for its shirtmaking (and other gentleman’s garments) abilities, Hawes & Curtis’ talents were officially recognised in 1922 when it earned its first of four Royal Warrants after becoming the Duke of Windsor’s shirtmaker of choice. In turn, the brand created the famous spread collar, designed uniquely to accommodate the Duke of Windsor’s ties and the “Windsor knot” he inspired.

A period of Hawes & Curtis Jermyn Street domination followed, but from 1985 to 2001 the company stuttered until its 2002 revival – spearheaded by award-winning businessman and entrepreneur Touker Suleyman, who purchased the brand.

Hawes & Curtis – Today

Today, Hawes & Curtis produces a variety of British-inspired menswear collections, available in more than 20 stores in the UK, including the flagship store which remains in the heart of London on Jermyn Street.

Despite the brand now offering a wide variety of clothing, its shirtmaking heritage and prowess is my main area of appreciation. Its new AW18 collection, for example, offers technologically-advanced shirting such as Stretch Shirts, specially engineered to flatter your physique whilst maximising comfort. All in luxe cotton fabric with added stretch for freedom of movement.

Beyond the “newness”, there is of course a wide variety of shirts, including classic dress designs crafted from time-honoured materials in multiple collar styles, fits, sleeve lengths, cuffs and colourways.

In the photographs featured here, I’m wearing their formal, 2 ply 100s poplin cotton shirt in a slim fit with a single cuff, semi-cutaway collar, removable collar stiffeners, in both blue and white. Poplin is the original Jermyn Street fabric – smooth, silky and crisp in texture – and the basis for most Hawes & Curtis shirts. They are exceptionally comfortable to wear, and a special finish makes the shirts easier to iron and ensures the quality of the cotton lasts a long time. And let’s not forget its perfect partner: the navy and red double striped tie, which is 100% silk.


What of the price, you might be asking? Well, each shirt is priced at £49, or £30 each when you buy 4. The tie is £29.00 or 2 for £49. Incredible value for money.

The Value Proposition

There are some strong arguments for purchasing Made in England clothing, particularly when it comes to a bespoke suit (Savile Row) or a pair of Goodyear-welted shoes (Northampton). But shirting? The need for Made in England doesn’t resonate so deeply for me. Sure, there are some great British shirtmakers – Emma Willis, Turnbull & Asser and Budd are all popular here at Ape – but they come at a premium price point. And much like Apple’s “Designed by Apple in California. Assembled in China.” approach, Hawes & Curtis would be “Designed by Hawes & Curtis in Jermyn Street. Assembled in Turkey.” Is that so bad? If the quality is there, I think not. It’s all about affordability; how far does your budget stretch? Hawes & Curtis is a true value proposition.

Furthermore, Ape has an exclusive discount code for our readers. Enter GENTLEMAN20 at checkout – the discount code applies to 20% off everything excluding sale items. And is valid until November 16th, 2018.


In partnership with Hawes & Curtis

Chris Beastall

Chris is the Founder and Editor of Ape to Gentleman. His interests lie in men's style, male grooming and leading a better lifestyle - through minimalist, basic and clean design.