There’s nothing wrong with still wearing Jack Wills

It has served us well, and still can

Fashion has changed since the delightful days of being 14 and 15 years old. No longer can clothes be bought because they look good, fit well and are, according to the mass general public, quite fashionable. An item of clothing is now only deemed to be acceptable if your friends have never heard of it, or if it looks like something you’ve pulled out of a bin, or borrowed off Macklemore for the weekend. What ever happened to the reliable brands that acted as more than just a symbol of where you shop and what you like to wear?

They’re just nice clothes

Jack Wills was one of those brands. All conquering when it hit the scene, and managed to grow into something more than a brand. Brought together friendships, symbolised class and allowed your mum to settle Christmas in one big blow out online, from hoodies to hats, pillows to pencil cases.

A Christmas treat

The last few years have seen it ridiculed and dismissed as a mainstream line that is embarrassing to wear seriously, which i profoundly disagree with. As one of those 14-year-olds who had everything from JW headphones to black and pink rulers, here are the reasons why Wills wearers should not hide in the shadows, and why those ex wearers should take a look back and be grateful for what it did for their younger selves.

The ‘JW’ initials were impossible to mock

 As some may remember, many brands fell victim to the childish but immensely entertaining spontaneous name-changing through initials, ultimately making them unwearable around your friends or at school. Just off the top of my head – Superdry (SD) changed to ‘Small Dick’, while the infamous GAP was naturally referred to as ‘Gay And Proud’. Since its explosive arrival into schools and 15-year-old house parties and sleepovers, the initials JW are, as far as I am aware, yet to be tampered with, and were an unquestionable statement of popularity. “Oh, hey mate, new YSL top? Didn’t know ‘You Smelt Loathsome’ *chuckles to himself*.” JW. Just Winning.

Impossible to mock

The hoodies saved those who struggled on non-school uniform day

The day that everyone claims to have loved but secretly despised it. Are tracksuit bottoms and a t-shirt too slobbish despite being comfy? Is a shirt and jeans making me look desperately keen to impress? Jack Wills appeared to have found a loop-hole here. The hoodie and jeans combo allowed one to be comfy but still maintain some standards in front of your chums. Zip-up or not, the Jack Wills hoodie made those awkward days comfortable and stress-free. Rugby players would be bantering with the front row math fanatics. ‘Mean Girl’ wannabes would be braiding the hair of the chemistry chicks. No need to thank them nerds, they were just doing their job.

 It’s not often you like EVERYTHING you click on

Remember scrolling through the site during study period because dear ol’ grandma needs to get you something for your birthday, and you suddenly realise that the checkout trolley is getting rather full? Nanny better be feeling very generous this year, because you just couldn’t stop clicking. A Wadsworth Oxford Gingham shirt? Yes please. The Finchdale Heritage V neck jumper? Don’t mind if I do. The Barberry yellow and green pin-striped tapered chinos? Oh stop it.

No matter the colour, material or outlandish design, every item was a necessity, despite probably only being suitable for one event in your life that you won’t experience until your mid 20s. “But why do you need a £200 Ordway Boating Blazer? You can’t even swim!” Just because Mum, just because.

Buying those trousers was a no brainer

Socks became a fashion statement in themselves

No more cheap and cheerful bumper packs of Debenhams plain black socks for you. Before the rise of JW, socks were simply a solution to chilly ankles and a slightly sandpapered little toe from the inside of your shoes. Not anymore. A slight lift of the left trouser leg reveals a glimmer of your own personality – a great sense of humour combined with that sense of style and care with what you wear.

Whether it be striped, chequered, cotton or wool, your lower tibia has never looked better. Sure other places did them, but the prestige and importance you felt looking at them online made you feel like a wealthy businessman lounging in his penthouse office who had nothing better to do all day. “Yes I know its £15 a pair mother, but the end of year disco is no time or place for half measures.” The focus on the sock propped you up a notch on the ladder of fame, from smart dresser to complete outfit specialist, letting everyone know that you really were the guy to be.

One shop would cater for every termly need

Why bother scrawling the internet flicking between sites, or marching from store to store umming and erring when you just had to say two letters to your parents, and that was you set? Christmas and birthdays were a chance to get an up-to-date and fashionable wardrobe for any occasion. Sleepover, party, school trip to the National Gallery: you’ve got it covered.

And seeing as you were mere teenagers, the likelihood of you growing a substantial amount both upwards and outwards was absolutely fine, because the summer catalogue would be flung through your letterbox in a few months – a perfect time to restock with some JW flip flops and sun glasses. And no, they’re not “just like the ones in TK Maxx”. Where’s the Union Jack? Please.

Festival? It’s got to be JW

And now?

For those haters who have completely abandoned their old ways, venturing into thrift shops for a sheep skin jacket stinking of piss, I can see what you’re going for. After obsessing over one brand for years, it’s completely normal to want a change, even if that is going clubbing in a shirt that someone’s died in.

As for me, I’ve taken a much more sensible route. No I don’t shop at JW as much as I used to, and I highly encourage my mother not to fill my stocking with JW shampoo and slippers, but I don’t see the point in pretending that it’s too mainstream for me – they make nice clothes, and despite the odd ludicrous pricing of certain jumpers and shirts, it’s a brand that has served me well, and will continue to do so.