Perennials: Knitwear

Perennials: Knitwear

 

If you’re thinking about wardrobe essentials, then knitwear has to be a consideration. For most of us – particularly those who live in changeable climates – knitwear is not just an evergreen staple for its style factor, but for its sheer usefulness, too. We recently sang the praises of the shawl collar cardigan, lauding it for its versatility and casual elegance. But now it’s time to look at the rest of the knitwear that has been enshrined in our newly launched Perennials collection (‘here today, here tomorrow’).

As with everything that appears in the Perennials collection, our selection of jumpers comprises only those which we deem truly essential. Among the styles that made the cut are the roll neck ‘submariner’ jumper, and the brushed Shetland crew neck. Both of these are tried and tested classics, long favoured by men the world over. If you’re looking to start from scratch in the knitwear department, then you really can’t go wrong with these sartorial stalwarts.

A roll neck jumper.

While a relatively simple piece of knitwear, the roll neck jumper is a garment which comes replete with cultural connotations, ingrained associations, and emotional resonances. There’s drama in its minimalism, and that is what makes it so impactful. No adornment or superfluous embellishment, just a simple high collar that frames the face. It might bring to mind anything from beatniks to sea captains, British Invasion bands to existentialist philosophers. And it is these connotations that sometimes give people pause. There can be something contrived – ridiculous, even – about the way it puts your head on a little woolly plinth. However, this is exactly what makes it such an endlessly stylish choice. Unlike a crew neck, or a v-neck, it shows no shirt collar or t-shirt underneath, meaning there is something pure and uninterrupted about it. Whereas other styles of jumper are defined by their interaction with their neighbouring garments, the roll neck sends a single, unified message.

The ones we have chosen for our Perennials collection are what we call the ‘submariner’ – a style that (surprise, surprise) originated with submarine crews in the 20th century. These are typified by a much greater heft than their lightweight merino cousins, designed to insulate one from the harshness of winter at sea (though you’re probably more likely to wear yours sat in your home office than on the hunt for Red October). The collar of our submariner jumper is also nice and high, rising right up to the chin to shield against any chilly drafts. Knitted in Scotland from a weighty lambswool yarn, these are heavy duty garments, design to withstand whatever you can throw at them.

A brushed Shetland jumper.

Moving on to another classic, and we have the brushed Shetland jumper. Taking its name from the islands on which it originated, the brushed Shetland was a staple of midcentury ivy style, and has endured as a failsafe go-to in wardrobes across the globe. It’s a simple crew neck style (traditionally knitted from hardy Shetland yarn) that’s been gently brushed to raise the woolen fibres, resulting in a signature shaggy finish. This unusual texture is guaranteed to add some visual interest to an otherwise understated ensemble. Men’s clothing is very often a po faced affair, with few opportunities to have fun and be expressive, but there is something lighthearted and whimsical about the brushed Shetland which is very appealing. It’s not a piece of clothing that takes itself too seriously, yet it’s been an unfailingly stylish choice for decades.

This brushed texture has an advantage beyond aesthetics, too. The brushing process increases what’s called the ‘loft’ of the fabric, and thus its ability to trap and retain heat. Where the submariner jumper relies on densely knit, heavyweight wool to generate its insulating properties, the brushed Shetland makes use of the space between its fibres to keep its wearer warm.

 

Every item in our Perennials collection has an implicit assurance, both of lasting quality and enduring style. So whichever piece of knitwear you choose, be sure that you will be wearing it for many years to come.

 

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