HT Burt, Chorlton… as seen on Mary Queen of Shops

HT Burt, Chorlton… as seen on Mary Queen of ShopsUp until its appearance on Mary Queen of Shops, Chorlton menswear shop HT Burt was not a place anybody below retirement age would give a second glance, but I’ve just paid them a two visits in just a few weeks.

The draw is not the Hackett, though I do like Abercrombie & Fitch, but a good selection of very contemporary limited edition Van Buck ties. Sadly Van Buck’s website is a bit rubbish and fails to show the ties in all their glory, but I promise you will get comments.

And, given that tie wearing isn’t as fashionable as it used to be, a tie should be a talking point. There’s little point giving up the comfort of an open neck for the sake of something nobody notices. Ties almost certainly do convey a degree of seriousness, but they need not, as the FT’s Emma Jacobs argues, signal that the wearer is inherently conservative. Those without ties may be simplistic followers of fashion.

Anyway, back to HT Burt and Mary Portas, aka Mary Queen of Shops. It’s great TV, populist reality programming with a laudable business twist, but like most formats with a rigid programme template you eventually get the sense that you’re watching the same thing over and over.

It tends to turn out that the great guru has just one simple formula that she applies to all. In the case of Mary Portas, it’s use your connections to secure a deal with a trendy brand, here it was Hackett, and others will follow. But not only would it not have occurred to HT Burt to make an approach like that (hence the need for Mary), they would never have persuaded Hackett to supply them if Mary Portas hadn’t been involved.

So the wider lesson to the viewing public is that it’s not what, but who you know that counts… although you can always hire Mary yourself.

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