We quizzed James Harper on the importance of a good shirt

Images via James Harper
Words by Fashion Journal

Not all menswear is created equal.

Shopping is a co-ed sport, but there seems to be a shortage of wardrobe-stocking advice specifically for guys.

Not all menswear is created equal, and there are plenty of simple tricks to find your perfect style – or to help out a struggling man in your life.

We spoke to the experts at Melbourne’s James Harper and found the best ways to put together a sharp, powerful look.

What’s your top tip when shirt shopping?

Don’t shy away from colour. Blue and white have their place, but it’s time to add some colour to your wardrobe.

How do you match a tie to your shirt? Any particular rules?

At James Harper there are no rules! Be yourself and don’t be afraid to mix patterns together.

When’s the best time to wear a bow tie?

The bow tie became popular with doctors and surgeons to avoid the terrible faux pas of neckties flopping onto patients. All we can say is, you don’t need a PhD to wear one. If you like bow ties, any time is a good time.

What’s popular in men’s shirting at the moment?

The biggest trend would have to be statement prints, especially those featuring animals and natural elements. Men’s fashion really has a strong element of fun right now.

What’s a shirting trend you’ve had enough of?

The increasing amount of polyester added to men’s shirts. It’s unsustainable and who really wants to wear plastic against their skin?

How important are cufflinks?

Cufflinks are key when you want to make a fashion statement. They should always be unique and reflect your personality. Cufflinks show you’re a man who knows that details count.

You design everything in Melbourne. Why is that so important to you?

Design is a fundamental part of our ethos. In an increasingly homogenous fashion world, having a design team in-house means we have the ability to differentiate our label and have complete control over the aesthetic. We design everything, from the prints and garment specifications right down to little details like embossing on the buttons.

What’s your favourite material to work with and why?

It’s hard to narrow down. We like to work with natural fibres such as silk and cotton. Right now, we are developing a denim shirt with a cotton and Tencel blend. Tencel is a sustainable fibre that adds softness and drape to the cotton. It’s a win-win.

If I only own one blazer, what pattern should it be and why?

You can’t go past a windowpane check in blue or navy. These styles are versatile and can be easily paired with a dark floral shirt or white tee.


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