One of the greatest privileges of being the eldest daughter was that I was allowed to stay up later than my kid sister, who shuffled obediently up to bed around 7:15pm. The soundtrack to those golden hours of sanctioned entitlement included smooth jazz fusion hits by the likes of Bob James (who I imagined was over in New York in a black leather blouson playing the theme tune to Taxi on a gigantic Yamaha keyboard) and the lively, cockney jeers of Dennis Waterman singing “I could be so good for you” to the opening scenes of Minder. Arthur Daley and awkward strip club scenes aside, the show that had me pleading for extra time downstairs was always M*A*S*H.
As soon as the soft, melancholy chords to the instrumental of Johnny Mandel’s ‘Suicide is Painless’ came crackling through the TV, dad would firmly issue the dreaded order of “Right you, get to bed,” so I’d sulk and head upstairs, annoyed at the injustice of being sent up so early. Luckily for me, dad got slack with the rules as time went on, so I was finally able to enjoy this dark, 1970s comedy drama, set in an American army hospital drama during the Korean War. Of course, I was too young to comprehend the sexual tension between Hawkeye and Hot Lips, but one thing I definitely did understand and appreciate, was the outfits.
Alongside the stretchers and dog tags, the cast were dressed in a sea of dusty khaki greens, faded grey marls and sun-bleached beiges – it was a cotton lover's paradise. The most memorable wardrobe element for me was always the double pocket shirts, worn open, with a grotty white t-shirt underneath. This laid-back military style looked so edgy and sensual, especially against suntanned skin that glowed on set thanks to the humidity, but strangely, still looks equally as fantastic on a freshly showered, clean-cut civilian in 2019.
Back in the olden days, blokes used to store belongings in their waistcoats. The thought of ruining the clean lines of a dress shirt with the addition of pockets would’ve had most dandies sniffing the smelling salts. It wasn’t until the decline of the three-piece suit in the 1950s that good ‘ole shirt pockets became a little more acceptable for the male half of the chattering classes, and they’ve remained popular ever since. You can always trust a bloke with chest pockets on his shirt, especially ones with a button-down flap. Pockets on a shirt means you're doing something – they’re the place to store that chewed-up pencil, 20 B&H or a notepad. They’re useful, and if positioned and proportioned correctly perform a real function, for real men who need a bit of reliable practicality and a safe place for the tools of modern life.
Drake’s have reimagined the traditional work shirt for Spring/Summer 2019 in a sturdy, premium quality cotton twill. With a twin seamed front button placket and generous, vented chest pockets, it’s bound to become one of those pieces you’ll wonder how you ever lived without. Think David Niven in The Best of Enemies, Sergeant Hartman kicking back with a beer after roll call in Full Metal Jacket or better still, an artfully dishevelled 1975 Bryan Ferry, with Jerry Hall draped over his shoulder wearing nothing but lip gloss and a feather boa – because with a garment like this one, that straddles the worlds of smart and casual so effortlessly, you can tear up the sartorial rule book. Its versatile appeal lies in how you choose to wear it.