There’s a quiet modesty to London retailer Clutch Cafe that I’m starting to find addictive. While other (admittedly great) stores focus on seasons, unceasingly peddling the new, Clutch seems content to sit back with a strong coffee and an incomprehensible Japanese magazine about motorhomes, in a shirt that whispers, rather than screams its heritage.
Clutch Cafe don’t sell ‘household names’ like Engineered Garments, Needles, Noma T.D. or Sasquatchfabrix. They sell Soundman, Jelado, Belafonte and Coherence. Small, artisanal imprints. Brands which command fewer column inches, but remain extremely considered, superbly made and offer a tranquil, egoless prospect.
This cotton twill shirt from Pherrow’s captures perfectly what I’m on about. At first glance it’s a chambray shirt. And you’re not mistaken in this. But look again and lose yourself in the labyrinthine details. Look at that chunky button stand. Look at those chunky buttons for that matter. The shape is as boxy as they come, which means popping-over will be a cinch. Then there are those brilliantly positioned pockets and that subtly rounded hem, the whole thing is perfection. I rarely wear shirts buttoned to the top these days, but I feel like this piece demands it. It’s so simple and precise, yet utterly casual and relaxed — I need this in my lifestyle.
The other day I was on some Japanese site looking at an EG harness. Not, you understand, one of those things from last season with a pair of pockets on. This thing is from AW20 and has no pockets. It’s just a harness. A collection of straps to be worn over outerwear, for a reason I’m yet to conceive.
I suspect it was seeing this ridiculous, nonfunctional harness thing that made me pivot to today’s more practical, more reserved state of mind. I’ve eye-rolled myself into wanting the simple perfect chambray shirt. I need to buy it quick, before I’m inevitably seduced by the prospect of another leopard-print gilet.