This was the first single for Haircut 100, a six-piece English band fronted by Nick Heyward, who was also their songwriter. Heyward, 20 years old when it was released, wrote love songs from his perspective, which often meant sticking a bunch of random words together and singing them with conviction. In this one, the chorus provides some clarity, but there is little sense of story or meaning in the verses.
Speaking with Trouser Press, Heyward explained: "The lyrics are spasmodic:
Feel the rhyme Take the time Go fighting to the top
Things like that are quick flashes of youth that don't bear any relation, but suddenly you get 'boy meets girl' and that explains the whole song."
"Favourite Shirts" doesn't appear in the lyric. It has nothing to do with the song, but did draw attention to their unusual fashion: pants pulled into their socks, fisherman's hats, preppy sweaters.
The hard-to-please British music press, loved this track, finding it quite different and refreshing. Augmented by a three-piece horn section, they created and energetic, soulful sound that was pure fun with no hint of pretense. Thanks to the positive press, this and the next three singles from the album all landed in the UK Top 10. Nick Heyward felt they had taken this sound as far as it could go, and left the band rather than making a similar follow-up album. His solo career was met with less enthusiasm, but he remained a working musician well into the 2010s.
Heyward does a nonsensical rap in this song, which was trendy in 1982 thanks in large part to Blondie's "Rapture." A sample of Heyward's rap:
Go number one Stick a honeybun Your mind begins to flop
Haircut 100 toured America and had some success with "Love Plus One," which reached #37 thanks to MTV, which had been on the air less than a year and gave the video plenty of spins. "Favourite Shirts" was their next single in America. MTV found the video, which shows the band in an empty bowling alley, far less compelling, and ignored it, dooming the song to a #101 chart showing.