It’s not easy to get a bespoke shirt made well in London. There aren’t many people that make them and the experience of using the few that do is often spoiled by inexplicable mistakes, excessive delays and annoying adjustments and re-adjustments.
So, I was excited earlier this year to stumble upon a new name (new to me that is, he’s been making shirts for half a century) while researching Esky’s best-dressed list for our April 2009 issue. The name I came across was Frank Foster, because he makes shirts for the photographer Nick Knight (number 12 on our list).
I went to meet Frank in his basement atelier/ storeroom in London’s St. James and was impressed by what he said, and, daftly, by the fact that he used to make shirts for Cary Grant. Impressed enough to place an order, which was quite a leap of faith given that the shirts are £125 each, there’s a minimum order of five and you have to pay up front.
Here are the five shirts I ordered, all in fabrics from his extensive stock, much of which is old, rare and special. On initial inspection they look great, and notably better than my other bespoke shirts. When Frank says, “My shirts are as beautiful on the inside as they are on the outside,” he’s not exaggerating. However, only time will tell how they wear and whether they fit after they’ve been washed. I’ll report back.
www.frankfostershirts.com but ring to make an appointment