We were sent these Jacamo shirts for the purpose of this review.
Like a lot of blokes, I tend to develop an attachment to certain shirts. I wear them until they are shapeless and tatty and, even then, still sometimes keep them for ‘doing the garden in’. I just can’t part with them. I can still remember my first, favourite green plaid work shirt. I bought it too big as a teenager from an army surplus shop in Carlisle, and it had that special mixture of robustness and familiar comfort that makes a shirt a bit of kit and not just an item of clothing. As I got older, it became my ‘drinking shirt’ and went with me to innumerable festivals, country fairs and Saturday afternoon beer gardens. It was only retired when it, literally, fell apart at the seams sometime in my twenties.
So when I was offered an opportunity to try out some shirts from Jacamo, I decided that the practical, blue-collar charms of my first, old favourite would inform my choice and be my benchmark of quality. After much deliberation of the Jacamo catalogue, I chose to review a small selection of work-style shirts: The Firetrap Strike Overshirt, a Freddie Flintoff by Jaccamo plaid shirt, and a hooded plaid shirt of Jacamo’s own branding. I also knew that if I was going to give these shirts a fair test run, I had to expose them to a few of my favourite things: Beer, grilled meat and pagan celebrations. Without further ado, my wife and I decided to nip up to Marsden for the bi-annual Imbolc festival that takes place on the first Saturday of February and we took the shirts with us.
The first port of call was checking into The Carriage House, a friendly, quirky, Bed and Breakfast pub just outside Marsden. The fact that it has established itself a reputation for selling Turkish food had not escaped me, and I wasted no time before I got stuck into some mezze and grilled izgara for lunch.
The Firetrap workshirt proved a trusty pal for the serious job of demolishing kebabs. Its build quality and material make it into a kind of ‘shirt jacket’ that definitely offers the strength and durability that I look for in a shirt, while at the same time being soft and comfortable. In an XL, I thought the sizing was about right, if perhaps a little snug for my tastes. The zipped breast pocket and internal phone pocket are nice features that go with the slightly industrial feel of the shirt.
When we went down to the festival, worn under a coat, the Firebox felt warm and well cut. It certainly kept me snug throughout the spectacular display of theatrics, pyrotechnics and tribal drumming that is the magnificent Marsden Imbolc festival. If you’re ever up in Yorkshire when it’s on, I can’t recommend it highly enough. Imbolc marks the point in the year halfway between the winter solstice and the spring equinox when we all need a little reminder that winter will, eventually, pass and give way to lighter, warmer times.
With Jack Frost firmly put in his place by the Green man, and the goddess appeased, it was back to the Carriage House for a change of shirt and a few pints of Black Sheep. I think the finer material and slightly more urban cut of this shirt gives it a bit of taproom chic. The drawstring hood is an unusual feature, but might have its uses, and it certainly isn’t intrusive. The contemporary blue/black of the large plaid check is very much to my taste and I could easily see this being a great shirt to have with you to chuck on over a t-shirt on a summer’s evening when the sun goes down. Again, sizing seems about right at XL, although the cut of the shirt is slightly more tailored than the Firebox.
My final shirt was worn to breakfast. The dusting of snow on the moorland outside and the slightly muddy-feeling in my head called for comfort and warmth. The Jacamo brand plaid workshirt was just the ticket. Slightly more generously cut, and of a thicker, more flock cotton, this shirt (and a full English breakfast) helped to get me through the worst of the effects of the previous night’s excesses. I like its traditional feel, and I can see this being a firm favourite for Autumnal days out in the woods with my longbow, or sitting round the campfire flipping a few burgers.
The shirts that I tried out were comfortable and well-made for the price. I expect to get many years of wear out of them. While I can’t comment on night clubbers’ attire or formal, white-collar office wear (which Jacamo also do), I can say that if you fancy a few pints and a bit of pagan japery, the Jacamo catalogue has got you covered.