Japanese denim shirts – Permanent Style

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A couple of years ago, we discontinued the denim shirts sold on PS largely because of issues with producing and storing the cloth. Since then we’ve been working on alternatives, and finally settled on a Japanese-woven cotton last year. 

These are two shirts we’ve produced with it – a pale blue and a washed black, made by 100 Hands. I’m particularly pleased with the colours. 

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A lot of denim shirts come in blues that are stronger or darker than this, and I find them less useful. Or put it another way – there’s nothing wrong with those colours, but this shade’s similarity to a blue dress shirt or a blue oxford makes it incredibly useful. 

You can wear it in every situation where you’d otherwise wear a blue oxford shirt, but it brings a different style, a different flavour. A suggestion of western clothing or even work wear, rather than uptown preppiness. 

A denim shirt like this with jeans is one of my favourite combinations, as readers will be aware. I’ve destroyed several from Al Bazar as well as several PS denim ones through relentless wear over the years. 

The combination with jeans and the biscuit-coloured cashmere is just so nice. 

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The new black shirt, meanwhile, is deliberately washed to give it an immediate soft colour, and only subtle fading around the seams and edges. 

It will fade a little more over time, but the aim was to offer something that was consistent and predictable – that had a ready-made fade and wouldn’t change its style over time. 

Black cottons like this are a lot easier to wear when they’re faded – in the same way as black jeans. They’re softer, lower contrast, and as a result sit better with things like the grey tweed jacket and brown flannels below. A strong, flat black would be starker and even cheap-looking. 

It also means in a combination like this you leave the strong black to leathers – the belt and the shoes. 

The new denim shirts have the same body fit as all the other PS shirts. Or rather, the same body fit as the Selvedge Chambray, and the same as the Oxfords after a couple of washes. As regular readers will know, the oxfords have a little shrinkage so are made a little bigger to start with. The new denims are the same as the chambray, i.e. pretty much no shrinkage. 

The only style difference with the new denim shirts is the point collar. I didn’t want to do a button-down for these, but liked the look of the button-downs when unbuttoned. So we started with that shape, and just reduced the length. 

I like the result. The points tuck nicely under jacket lapels, and the length (8cm) is midway between the puny things mainstream brands usually offer, and the vintage leisure-shirt look that you see occasionally, but I find a little overwhelming. 

I wouldn’t wear these shirts with a tie very often, but you could; there’s a couple centimetres of tie gap when the collar is fastened. 

The shirts cost £230 plus VAT, and are available now on the shop site here. You can find the size chart there too. 

One thing to note is that although we call the blue a denim, it’s a plain weave whereas the black is a twill. It just suited the colour more. 

The make is the same as the PS Chambray shirts from 100 Hands, with a lot of handwork – not just functional things like hand-attached collars and sleeves (to give 3D shape and work in more excess) but buttonholes and buttons, plus hand-stitching on many of the seams, including the front placket. 

This hand work is particularly nice on the washed black, as the stitches are highlighted by the fading, just like the waves at the edge of the cuff or collar. 

The jackets shown are my Eduardo de Simone cashmere and Anthology grey tweed (the latter with both shirts). The trousers are char-brown flannels from Fox/Whitcomb and nineties Levi’s 501s. The shoes are both from Edward Green: brown-suede Piccadilly and black-cordovan Greenwich. 

The combination of the black shirt, brown trousers and grey jacket is a very ‘cold-colour’ one, and I find myself swapping round those colours (together with cream) all the time. 

I’ve also included an image below of the other time I’ve shown this black shirt, in all-black outfit last summer, when we were working on the prototype.

Other shop updates

  • Friday Polos – Restocking in two weeks, with an additional mid-grey
  • Tapered T-shirts – No firm date unfortunately, but hopefully soon. Big issues getting production out of Japan
  • Chambray shirts – Restock coming later this month
  • Hand-framed Cotton Sweater – Restock coming later this month
  • Finest Polos – Restock coming later this month
  • Casual Style Guide – Restock coming next month
  • Suede Overshirt – Sold out but new stock ordered for September
  • Dartmoor and Finest Crewneck – Restocked in cream and grey, and navy and dark grey, respectively
  • Oxford shirts and cloth Restocked in white, blue, blue stripe, green stripe and pink stripe

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