Don’t unpack your sweaters just yet (what’s known as premature unpackulation), as there’s still plenty of heat in the forecast, at least here on the East Coast.
But it’ll be time soon enough. And remember, there’s more to the Ivy sweater genre than just Shaggy Dogs. Take playwright Neil Simon, for example, who’s pictured above wearing a cable crew (which staunch trads find too girly, not to mention the unchained collar).
Here’s a contemporary young fellow in cable crew, recently posted to our FB group:
If it gets to warm, you can always channel the ’80s and tie it around your shoulder. — CC
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In related news, Jack at Rowing Blazers is trolling purists with his take on the Shaggy Dog! Will they take the bait??
@DCG: consider me “trolled”; I think it’s awful; who at Squeeze authorized it?
My vote goes to O’Connell’s shetlands: the saddle shoulder, the available “80s” colors, and you can smell the lanolin in the wool; they’re not inexpensive and they run a bit small (the website dutifully advises to order one size up), but they are otherwise the real deal, in my opinion.
@Paul Yes I too prefer the O’Connell’s shetland to all, that includes by Shaggy Dog and Gant Rugger shetlands.
I’ve already got out my saddle shoulder linen and linen-silk blend sweaters. I cannot wait until it’s time (those rare few weeks on this wretched Left Coast), when it will be Shetland Season.
Cables too “girly?” I thought that they were first found on fisherman’s sweaters.
While it may be less rugged than Shetland, and I admit that my wife has a few, I still think a cashmere cable-knit crew neck would be quite nice. I used to have a couple of (wool) cable crew-necks, but at this point I am down to a cotton and linen V-neck tennis sweater in cable. But even that would be too warm for this humid 93 degree day in Virginia.
Your thoughts, gentlemen, on this new fangled invention of the zip neck sweater?
Would you ever deign to admit it as a latter day entrant to the ‘trad’ wardrobe?
And why do those who wear one always seem to have a shirt underneath? To me they are a polo neck with added ventilation. I would never wear a collared shirt under a high necked item of knitwear (roll neck, polo neck, turtle neck, whatever). Shirts underneath the zip neck no. Crew neck vest or a t-shirt yes.
@Le Moomin: Zip neck sweaters are an abomination and they look exactly as awful as our collective and individual perceptions tell us they do. Perhaps they have some function, but it could be better served by a better designed and more stylish alternative; the turtleneck, or the shawl collared sweater for instance.
I would say that yr juxtaposition and query has more to do with a confusion between traditionalism and dowdiness. Traditionalism has style and grace; dowdiness is utterly lacking in either, as well as typically being bereft of class.
& a signifier of this lack.
George Plimpton was pretty Trad and even wore a cable knit sweater while plugging pop corn:
I’ve got a soft spot for cashmere cable-knit crewmecks, particularly the brightly colored ones that show up at Ralph Lauren every season. The tag price is steep, but you’ll find loads of NWT sweaters from recent seasons on eBay for half the marked cost or less.
Zip collar sweaters vs shawl collar – shawl will always remind me of Starsky. And you can’t wear them with a sports coat. And a tie underneath them looks like one is either overdressed for the fireside chat or underdressed for Tuesday’s staff meeting.
@ Le Moomin
When I see a fellow in a zipped sweater, I think that he’s 1.) wearing a gift or 2.) his wife picks out all of his clothes.
Cable knit crewnecks: very nice. I have a silver/gray cashmere number that I love.
Shetlands: O’Connell’s are the dog’s danglies, and the pink Shaggy Dog I scored a couple years ago is a close second, but only for its color.
shetland sweaters are one of the reasons why i will always treasure discovering ivy style. it is still sweater season in the southern hemisphere and my jamieson’s shetlands are aging really well. it is always a pleasure to wear them
I knew the mention of a zip neck would rattle a few cages (which is why I mentioned it).
@Evan Everhart I tend to think of them as functional rather than dowdy, Evan, as I think they have their place on a practical level. As I said above, if you think of the higher necked version as a ‘polo neck with added ventilation’ then they have their uses for golf, cycling, out for a walk, and doing chores. They’re the kind of thing you can get away with during transitional seasons where a colder morning may give way to a cooler afternoon. Not classy as you say perhaps, but they do a job in the right context. But no, they’re definitely at the more casual or ‘this’ll have to do’ end of the spectrum for me.
@Terry O’Reilly They do seem to be a default choice for a lot of men who don’t seem to care or don’t seem to have put much thought into things. PJ O Rourke in his book “How the Hell Did This Happen?” goes into a lengthy diatribe about the clothes worn by the male candidates in the last Presidential election when they weren’t in suits, and does not spare the old zip neck. It’s all part of the problem that politicians across the western hemisphere have in trying to dress ‘smart-casual’.
Finally, @John Burton, I’ve seen Steve McQueen and Daniel Craig in shawl collar cardigans, but yes my defining image is Paul Michael Glaser wearing one in the pouring rain in the opening credits to Starsky and Hutch.
Sorry, I meant colder mornings giving way to a warmer afternoon.
The white whale is a cable shetland by way of Shetland Woollen Co. Seen above surface on occasion. Out there to be found. Not unlike the Plimpton’s gray gem.
@Le Moomin – if you remember the opening credits of Starsky and Hutch, then hats off. Impressive!
@John Burton I couldn’t have been very old, but that image week after week, of PMG and David Soul inching forward menacingly with guns drawn, PMG’s cardigan sodden, dripping and by now three sizes too big- it’s powerful stuff my friend!
Last year, I bought three solid color (grey and navy) crews by Jamieson’s of Shetland from END. in Scotland. Otherwise, nothing on their website for me…I’m too old. I’m normally a 42, but their sizing put me in a 44 and they’re just right (thanks, Live Chat). Two day delivery and shipping is free over $250. These are the Shetlands that I grew up wearing. I like the prices, too.
@Jim: thanks for the link to End; the shetlands (and Faire Isles) look, as you say, like the ones we grew up wearing. Are you in a position to offer any comparison between Jamieson’s and O’Connell’s?
Le Moomin – Interesting subject. While zippered sweaters are not really traditional, at least in my experience, I suppose they are comfortable and arguably better than a hoodie. However, the people I see in zip-neck sweaters around here are not generally well-dressed otherwise either. I think it goes with the Dockers khakis and no-iron, short-collared button-down with puffy shoes look that seems to predominate these days, as someone mentioned recently in the comments on another post. Even in the heyday, a lot of people wore what we think of as Ivy simply because that is what they saw around them and was available in the local department stores and shops. For most, what to wear does nor seem to be a conscious decision.
Tie it around your shoulders – please don’t!
@Paul – No experience with O’Connell’s shetlands, only their sport coats and odd trousers. We’re all lucky that they are a holdout for the Southwick three button sack, so I have to think that I’d be happy with their sweaters, too. After all, Trad/Ivy/Prep is what they do.
@ Le Moomin:
To begin with, I’d say that it’s in rather poor taste to use the phrase “rattle a few cages” in reference to the readership here, at least most of us, and to make a statement merely as a provocateur is also not in the best of taste.
@ Charlottesville; absolutely yes! The zippered sweater reeks of dockers clad, non-iron, middle management functionary/bureaucratic clothing of the most pedestrian sort. It makes me think of the manager from that television show, The Office.
The zip neck sweater may have some sort of functionality, but it has no style, or pedigree, or class, it is the hoodie (less functional than it, actually) or “jogger pants” (almost as ugly as it) of pull-over sweaters, whatever it is made up in. I’d class zip-neck sweaters with space age cross trainers from Fila, or Skechers, or polyester basketball shorts with draw-string waists for that matter. I’d say, that I am allergic to them.
@ Terry O’Reilly: I’d say that you hit the nail on the head, as far as that type of sweater falling consistently within the category of items procured by wives for un-witting victims…I mean husbands.
I noticed that Lands’ End has saddle shoulders available on their drifter crewnecks again this year. I recall this not being the case the last time I searched for sweaters, though they may have brought the saddle shoulder back last year. I’m not certain.
Either way, I purchased several this past Labor Day weekend for as little as twenty dollars on sale. LE also has a decent Rugby shirt available with no logo in classic colors.
My final word upon the subject of zip-neck sweaters, here; I don’t care if other people wear them; that’s between them and their maker (hopefully not J Press, though perhaps Brooks Brothers might), or wife, but I thing they’re the ugliest things around, and I know what I think when I see someone wearing one; “there’s a person who has given up, or who didn’t care in the first place.”
Also, if memory serves, this subject was broached before someplace in the comments, around the time of the presidential debates for the last election; some fellow wore a red zip-neck sweater and started some sort of pseudo-fad for them, along with the fire-storm of disgust and argument against them on here.
@ University Stripe: Thanks for the heads up on the Drifter Sweaters triumphant saddle-shouldered return Sir!
I know where some of my pay check is going. Ha! I had better go check the color selection.
Also, did the body lengths look OK?
Be sure to search for “drifter” in the search bar. There are multiple men’s Drifter crewnecks listed, and they vary in available colors.
I cannot vouch for sizing—they appear to fit the models, but I ordered online and will not be able to say for certain until they arrive.
Thanks University Stripe!
I just checked them out, they look longer in the body than my old ones. I hadn’t looked at any (new) sweaters in a long time. Though, that Dark Moss Green one is calling to me and at $25. plus S&H, I can’t honestly go wrong…..Do these run true to size? Has the sizing changed as the dimensions seem to have? I usually wear my sweaters without any roominess in them. My old Drifter is a Medium, but the body looks to be 2-3″ shorter in length in relation to the body than the one shown on the website. I wear a BB/JP 39R suit (true size) to a 40S/R (can fit).
Please email me at universitystripe at gmail (dot) com, and I will send some measurements when they arrive. I also ordered a Medium.
I love to wear sweaters but unfortunately they have a namby-pamby association in many people’s minds. Mister Rogers and Stuart Smalley are examples.
It’s really not fair because sweaters have a sporty, utilitarian heritage. There are even certain sweaters worn by the police and military that have nylon patches on the shoulders.
Jim is 100% right about the Jamieson Shetland sweaters. Great. Throwback Classic Ivy style.
@S.E. and Paul – I still have some Shetland crewnecks from Bean that were made in England and Scotland (obviously VERY old). They will outlive me.
I have to say, I do have a soft spot for fawn jumpers (and socks). Neil’s looks very cosy, perfect for sitting in one’s reading chair with a jolly good book. Much better than yesterday’s luminous yellow sweater-cum-cloak….
I investigated which 2016 GOP hopefull was guilty of the zip sweater, and the answer appears to be… all of them (except the eventual winner).
Three years back Ralph Lauren offered some wonderful, made-in-Scotland cashmere-wool brushed shetlands. Had a grey one I loved but was eaten by moths. Have since picked up a light blue one and a pink one in eBay, but finding a replacement for the grey remains my white whale.
If Neil Simon had wandered into a Vineyard Vines halfway through The Odd Couple, Felix would have been in a zip collar. And Simon would have been too. Not your father’s v neck (which may be the biggest contributor to The Resistance), the zip collar allows for a shirt and tie underneath, a tee shirt underneath. or any type of collar underneath. Think of it as a v neck where you get to sit in on the design meeting every time you put it on, and get to decide how low the v dips.
Just ordered my third shaggy dog, can’t wait for
a. it to arrive
b. temperatures that justify wearing it
After ordering I had a brief moment of doubt if I should’t have gone for O’Connell’s. Not because of a lack of quality of the dog, in fact it’s excellent and I love my navy and charcoal dogs, but they are really very warm. Maybe the O’Connells would be a bit more versatile?
@Eric Twardzik – Don’t forget Ken Bone:
The Ralph Lauren cashmere-lambswool-shetland blend “shaggy” crewneck was great.
The Andover Shop’s Shetlands should also be considered. They don’t have saddle shoulders, but they’re well made, durable and authentic. Their color selection is limited.
Well, I have been on a spending frenzy over the past fortnight and besides some outstanding eBay coups I obtained a nice shaggy-ish jumper from RL and a swishe challis tie with a gun and pheasant motif. eBay is awash with great stuff at the moment….
I already did all of my Autumn sweater hunting and procurement during the Summer via Ebay for vintage Shetlands. I’m well stocked, though not to say that there aren’t some choice items that I might consider taking the plunge for. I’ve been eyeing a few of the murkier green offerings from O’Connell’s for some time now.
And @ Old School Tie: Ebay is indeed awash in great stuff at present! As is Etsy. I know because I just delivered a pile of vintage black label BB and assorted JP ties and shirts and PRL khakis off with my Buddy “Schwammy”, and because I’m as always hunting.
I just found (entirely off topic from the originating article of this thread) a Brooks Brothers morning coat with silk bound edges in Vicuna, from 1910. I even found a photograph of it in the BB catalogue of that year (a photograph or a fine facsimile of one anyway), over at Style Forum of all places! Anyway, if I ever decide to get married again, I’ll be wearing that coat, and of course I’ll invent other ways to wear that thoroughly civilized garment on this thoroughly barbaric Left Coast. – Rant.
By the way, Kudos on the Swiss Challis tie, Old School Tie! Might I inquire as to the color?
@EE – olive. And rather lovely it is too, to offset an Orvis waistcoat (Harris) and an RL Morgan, herringbone (linen and silk), new – the seller could not fit into it as much as he hoped he would shed the few pounds necessary. The total for those two beauties did not even make double figures (GBP). I too procured some vintage JP ties, Burlington knot, nice and narrow. Yes to Etsy, bought two vintage collar pins masquerading as scarf pins with some bits and pieces hanging off them, for seven dollars including postage, the bits were just threaded onto the pins and easily removed. Happy hunting and bon chance!
Are you in Argentina? Wish I had known more about Ivy style when I lived down there.
sorry for the late response. yes, i’m in argentina. strange place to follow ivy style, i suppose.