Welsh designer Jeff Banks, left, has just launched a capsule collection of eight white shirts for the high street, at Debenhams. The Ebbw Vale-born style icon spoke to WM
Tell us about the collection
Every good tailor will emphasise the importance of a good white shirt as a wardrobe staple.
The aim of this collection is to allow men to find the perfect shirt for them, regardless of the occasion.
The white shirt is an iconic fundamental part of most looks, whether it be with a fantastic suit or teamed with jeans and a jacket for a relaxed, off-duty look.
Each cotton shirt in this collection varies in fit as well as cuff, collar, pocket and button detail, and they come available as both tailored and slim fit, with eight variations of collar style; including button down, modernist, point, two-button, city, cutaway, full cutaway and half cutaway.
What do you love about the classic white shirt?
I think every man should have at least a couple of plain white shirts in his wardrobe.
Having been watching the TV series Mad Men the whole of last year it brought back memories of the early ’60s, when every businessman in New York had a clean white laundered shirt in the top drawer of his desk.
Me, I used to carry spare white shirts with me in a special box on the back of my scooter just in case I went from one party to another over the weekend.
On a recent visit to New York it occurred to me how difficult it was to get a great selection of white shirts all in one place which is why I came up with the white shirt bar.
Who wears it well and what are your tips for getting the look?
Daniel Craig as James Bond in Skyfall. The whole poster campaign shows Bond in a white shirt and tie.
My favourite shirt is the slim fit body with cut-away collar – it should be worn with the top button undone and the tie looser. Shaken not stirred.
How has your own fashion sense developed over the years?
I’ve always been obsessed with the clothes I wear, ever since I was 15 when I even used to get my school uniform made to measure, even my shoes were hand-made by Syds of Battersea.
I’ve always been particularly interested in the subtle moves in fashion and one of the style icons who I think was one of the smartest men was King Edward VIII.
He couldn’t hack it as king, but he abdicated in style.
What do you think about the way Welsh men dress in general?
I think Steve Jones looks pretty smooth and is obviously a big hit with the ladies.
Also I think Anthony Hopkins looks good as an older guy. Welsh men in generally have not been known for their sartorial elegance but on a recent trip to Cardiff I was amazed how guys are upping the ante in the style stakes.
It all bodes well.
Have you seen MTV’s The Valleys yet?
I haven’t seen it but I hear it’s a bit extreme and makes me want to move back to Wales.
Who’s the best dressed celebrity male?
I think David Beckham takes some topping as he always pays particular attention to the way he looks.
Vernon Kay has a smooth Oceans 11 look off to a tee and Paul Weller always looks very sharp, especially when he has on his Jeff Banks suits, of course.
And the worst?
Boris Johnston – he always looks as if he has slept in his suit.
And Simon Cowell who insists on wearing his high waist trousers.
Jeff Banks’ white shirts start at £25 each, or three for £60. The collection is available in collar sizes 141/2 to 18 across Debenhams stores nationwide, and at www.debenhams.com