One of the pleasures of writing this blog is meeting entrepreneurs. I’m not sure I’d ever have the courage to strike out on my own and found a company, confident that I was filling a glaring hole in the market. So I’m always impressed by those that are.
Hamilton & Hare, founded in 2011 by Olivia Francis, certainly seems to have found a niche for luxury boxer shorts. I don’t wear boxers (see post on my underwear here) but I’m aware that’s an area of menswear dominated by cheap production of unimaginative product. A bit like short, black socks.
H&H has attempted to produce an alternative by concentrating on various aspects of the cut and construction that could lead to a better fit. Removing the third panel on the back of the boxer, for instance, to reduce bagginess; using elastic only around the sides of the waistband to make the fit cleaner and more size-specific; and double lining both parts of the fly to make it softer and more substantial. There are many other little details, like the overlapping hemline slit on the side of the leg that aids movement without exposing a slice of thigh.
Points for style, too. Pale blues and greys, mother-of-pearl buttons and that clean waistband all make the boxers look much neater than the traditional, baggy model. The overall shape owes much to Graham Tuckett, who apprenticed at Huntsman under Richard Anderson before going to work for high-street brands.
There are a couple of gimmicks, which aren’t really me. Each pair comes in a washbag, which can be used for that purpose, and a matching embroidered handkerchief. It’s nice not to have to waste packaging, and the hank is fine as a functional rather than decorative item, but when the boxers are £42 each I think there might be a few who would rather do without those extras and pay a little less.
The boxers are made, in Portugal, from high-grade cotton and I found they wore extremely well. I’m sure readers can think of someone in their lives for whom they would be a welcome Christmas upgrade to the wardrobe.