A Brief Guide to Buying British Clothes

Henry Hunt Gillet and M&S Jumper

Emily, Lucan and I have been buying only British made clothes now for 5 months and none of us can yet claim to have worn a completely British outfit. We have all come close. For example, I am missing British made undies which might not be an issue if I were tempted to go commando, but then I am also missing British made trousers – which in combination equates to a public order offence.

So far we have all had to supplement our British purchases with something from our original non-British stock. This is not because it is impossible for each of us to have a totally British wardrobe but more because our normal financial constraints mean that we cannot buy new clothes on a whim… however much we are tempted. This leads me to comment on the 3 common assumptions of buying British made clothes:

It costs a lot:

Liv Cardigan

It has to be admitted that, in our experience, British made clothing is generally more expensive than you may be used to on the high street, with the additional disadvantage of there being significantly less choice. Also, when you can’t try something on (as most of our purchases are online) it also makes buying something special really pretty tricky. That being said though we have picked up the odd bargain. For instance, I recently bought 3 long sleeve tops and a gillet from Henry Hunt. They were in their sale and I got all 4 items for less then £50. So it just goes to prove that there are British made bargains to be had, you just need to seek them out.

It is far better quality:

It also must be noted that the quality of the clothing we buy that is British made is significantly better than you would normally be used to. It has made us look far more at the quality of what we buy and far less at the quantity. However, the premise that British quality always being high has also had the rare occasion to be incorrect. I would say that the price of an item does not seem to be directly proportionate to the quality of it, as you would normally expect. For instance, I recently bought a pair of trainers made in the UK (RRP £90) and must admit that I was somewhat disappointed with the finish. On the flip side a simple fleece jumper bought for Lucan for £15 has been washed and worn more times than I can count and still looks brand new. For Britain’s manufacturing generally to continue to grow it is important that we continue to develop a reputation for fantastic quality.

You get better customer service

Silver Sense Pj’s

The final assumption about British made clothes is that you get better customer service. Again this, in general is very true. We have had beautiful hand written notes in some of the things we have bought and when we have spoken to the makers they have been keen to tell their story and share their passion. However, adversely we have also had some not so great service where, possibly because of the very small size, businesses have sometimes been slow in responding when we have had ordering issues. On the whole however knowing that when you call a British company you will get someone who cares about their product and cares that they are British made is a wonderful way to shop.

The issues that we have faced are very much in the minority and have in no way put us off buying British. They are issues we have all faced when buying either online or from smaller businesses, British or not. While British clothes are not easily available or vast in range they are, in my opinion, very well worth the time spent finding and waiting for them.

– James



  1. Morag Sims says

    You can get British knickers – ‘Kinky Knickers’ made with Nottingham lace: http://www.marksandspencer.com/Kinky-Knickers-Rise-Scallop-Shorts/dp/B00A8TRMHM
    Marks sell them but other shops do too – I first saw them in a shop in Eastbourne.

  2. Can you give the names of any websites where you can buy British clothing? thank you

    • Hi There,

      I am the founder of Brit Chic (www.britchicuk.co.uk) and we only sell British made clothing for children up to age 5 and children’s products.

  3. James, I don’t know whether you realise that your article about clothing is applicable to practically every British product in general – it costs more (almost always), is generally better quality( not always) and u get better service (almost always). Price is the key in a competitive market with all the complicated implications this entails!

  4. kiniki, Pants and Boxers British made and very good quality at a reasonable price.

  5. I applaud your tenacity in buying British. I was inspired by Michael Portillo’s British train journeys and the British manufacturers and producers he met and have tried to buy British if I could.
    It would be great if you could compile a directory of all your finds. Have you any plans to do this?

    • Hi Val. I remember that Train Journey program. It was very good. As far as plans to compile a directory, there are already loads of people doing just that who has far more resources than we do.

      Best James

  6. I discovered Liv last year and love it- I got 2 tops in a sale and one in particular is always admired whenever I wear it.

  7. Sunspel boxer shorts made in Long Eaton Nottingham

  8. Tomma Paul says

    New Balance trainers last for ages.

  9. Not boxers or underwear, but if it is pyjamas you’re interested in, try PJ Pan! Highly recommended.

  10. Katherine Finch says

    Have you tried Essanti washable slippers? Really comfortable british made slippers in lovely fabrics – http://www.slippers.co.uk

  11. If we all buy more and more British products, surely the prices will come down anyway. And we’ll have to buy them less often because they’ll last longer like they used to.

  12. We need a shop like American apparel,that sell only british made clothes

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