Yesterday J. Press sent out an email blast about its famous Shaggy Dog, everyone’s favorite Ivy sweater. The mailer neglected to mention, however, that the sweater is back in this dark green color that had been unavailable for a long time, according to a source at the company.
It’s a fitting hue, since you’ll need plenty green to afford it. Shaggies, which have risen steadily over the past several years, now set you back a whopping $230.
At $245 the York Street Shaggies are priced even higher. They also have a different look to them, kind of a darker wash to the yarn. Garment-dyed comes to mind, if that’s the right term. York Street also provides some creative twists (welcome novelties to some, sacrilege to others), such as this tri-color version:
If someone has a vintage Press catalog handy, it would be interesting to run the price of Shaggy Dogs through the years through an inflation-adjuster. — CC
“If someone has a vintage Press catalog handy…”
Someone does, and his initials are HTJ.
There’s at least one other guy, known as RVP.
1981 Shaggy Dog = $49.50. CPI calculator (Bureau of Labor Statistics) puts this at $127.36 in 2013.
These were $14.50 in 1960 (http://www.acontinuouslean.com/2008/05/07/the-summer-of-1962/).
According to the CPI inflation adjustor, that $114.00 in today’s dollars.
$230.00+ for a Shetland wool sweater is absurd – only a massively under-educated consumer would ever waste their money like that. And, these sweaters fit terribly – a “medium” fits like a modern “extra large” – why?
Wouldn’t it have been better if the tri-tone Shaggy Dog sweater had a green right arm, a red left arm, and a black body?
These are still too much, but at $80-90 less than J. Press, they’re closer to a decent value:
The O’Connell ones are actually sized by chest size (38″, 40″, etc.), rather than S-M-L-XL, something I’ve only seen in vintage sweaters.
Hilarious. As if shetland yarns in a multitude of shades of green haven’t been available year after year for decade after decade. Recent scarcity (“unavailable until we discovered it wasn’t!”) is an old but tired marketing ploy. It really is too bad it works.
Having said all that, that’s a great looking shade of green. If Press ever decided to do a brushed shetland with saddle shoulders, I’m all in.
That is just ridiculous money. Especially when you consider that their sport coats were about that price 5 years ago.
Although I have had a few sweaters that lasted years (usually the chunky outdoor ones), the majority succomb to elbow holes or other wear before too long.
One hungry moth could really cost you at that price.
I just ordered this sweater. Couldn’t resist. The color was the deciding factor. After S&H, NY & NYC sales tax, it was $265! Insanity!
I bought my first Shaggy Dog in 1957. For many years Dennis Black from the Cambridge store would call each year when they arrived and I would stop in to purchase. I knew him when he was manager of Brooks Brothers in Boston. I always wore one every year to the Harvard -Yale game. One year I stopped on the way to the game and wore it out of the store. It was a warm Saturday for November and I removed my coat. A drunken Yalie behind me promptly puked on the new Shaggy. I cannot recall the color before or after the incident.
On York St. Shaggy Dogs, I bought one during their recent sweater sale and compared it to a fairly recent J. Press Shaggy Dog. Fit on the York St. version is predictably much slimmer for the same size, but especially (and uncomfortably) so on the arms. I laid the York St. on top of the J. Press (same size) and it was noticeably smaller in all dimensions (except the same sized neck-hole). Also, while both sweaters had labels that said “Made in Scotland”, the J. Press said “100% Real Shetland Wool” while there was no label on the York St. that said it was Shetland, only “100% Pure New Wool”. in addition, the York St. is saddle shouldered, while the J. Press Shaggy Dog was not. I’ll be returning the York St. due to the fit.
Few things worse than a puky Shaggy.
Not vintage, however, the 2001 catalog has them at $85. I still have my Dark Green from the mid 80’s. I agree with the fit issue for any bought in the 90’s forward. In my opinion O’Connell’s has the best Shetland at $165. Great fit.
For $230, they should include a good shag. Now there’s a marketing move!
So who in Scotland manufactures the “Shaggy Dog”? Always seemed similar to the “Drumohr” brand sweaters that The Andover Shop sells/sold?
My 1960s preference was for the cable knit shetland wool crew neck sweaters[$18.50 in 1964] manufactured by the now long defunct “Lord Jeff” brand which were sold in the 1960s in many colors and in great quantity by Jack Harper Custom Shop along with a made in England detacable hooded rope toggle coat called a “Donkey” duffle coat[$29.95 in 1964].
I actually prefer the “Green” over the “Dark Green” : http://www.jpressonline.com/shaggy-dog-green/ But I will not pay $230 for it. Even on sale it is too expensive. Perhaps if Press offers a sale for 40% off again this year like they did around 2010. I agree with AEV that O’Connell’s is the wiser choice.
I heard that Press will not be offering their dress shirts as made in America in the future (only the casual shirts). Is this ghastly rumor true?
I agree that O’Connell’s is a good choice (for damn near everything), but if you don’t need a size small there is always Harley of Scotland’s from Bahle’s for $115.
I purchased a brushed Shetland in that shade of green from Rugby when they liquidated their merchandise. I paid all of $40 for it. I ended up liking the color more than I thought I would.
That’s just the price of three of their flimsy ties.
The sweater is a far better investment.
That price accounts for 60% of a blazer by O’Connell’s. I believe in quality, but I require value. As nice as it looks, that’s an excessively priced sweater.
Incredible what people will gladly pay for theater tickets, dinner at a good restaurant, etc., but refuse to pay for an article of clothing that they can easıly wear for the rest of their life and pass down to their son.
They’re offering one at L.L. Bean (made in China) in a very similar hue this season. I have purchased this sweater in the past and I think it’s well made, making it a great value for $50.
What relevancy does the cost of other, completely unrelated things have to the cost of Shaggy Dogs? None. “Amazing what people are willing to spend to eat a banana every morning for a year, but aren’t willing to spend on a sweater that will last them forever!” No, it is not amazing.
The relevant question is whether a particular item is a good value for what that item is and/or whether its pricing is a ripoff. Considering how expensive J. Press has gotten in exchange for flatlining or fading quality in recent years, most would say it is not a good value. Particularly when there are less expensive equally good equivalents.
Side note: I doubt very much that you could wear a Shaggy Dog, or really any sweater, regularly for a lifetime and then pass it on for more wear. Things wear out. Sweaters are not a good watch or even a blazer. They get holes and pill and fade. Maybe you are very young and haven’t owned anything for very long, or maybe you are very old and walking around in tattered clothing unawares. Who knows! But either way you really should take the Shaggy Dog out of your will.
Terms like value and overpriced seem to be morally loaded.
The questions worth asking might be how much over wholesale are you willing to pay? And how much if any are you willing to pay over a competitor with a similar product?
I don’t engage in wrestling on the floor of the forest, or throw my swetares in the washing machine, so I’m stıll wearing sweaters I bought from LL Bean, Lands’ End, Eddie Bauer, and Norm Thompson in the 1970s.
I think dinner with the SO would be much more memorable than handing down a sweater to my son, who, presumably by the time he is the size to fit said sweater, has been raised well enough to figure out how to purchase his own.
Bought my first (and last) in 1966 for $33. I could get three shetlands at the Co-Op for a few dollars more back then.
I never understood the allure of the Shaggy Dog. Too hot, too scratchy, overpriced, and idiosyncratically sized — snug neck, snug body, floor length sleeves. I second OCBD’s suggestion of Harley’s from Bahles.
Drumohr made the Shaggy Dogs for Press until they went out of business. They were all made in numbered sizes back then. I bought 42 back then and have some medium and some large of recent manufacture, as the sizing has varied due to different suppliers — or so I’ve been told. I don’t understand the comments about the weird sizing — I’m 6′, wear a 42R usually and 34 sleeve length. They fit people built like me and I’m a popular size, so I’d say they’re made for “popular sizes.” They were pricey “back then” whenever that was. I had a few for dress-up events and wore the much-cheaper Co-Op sweaters everyday to class. For those who say “too hot” I can only say “Connecticut very cold.”
Prices: 2008 / $150. — 2005 / $95. — 2004 / $95. cable stitch $125. — 2001 / $85. cable $110. — 1999 / $79.50 cable $110 Made in Ireland — 1996 / $75. cable $110. Ireland, even numbered sized 38-50
Handing down to a son is a “values” issue. Things don’t have to fit “perfectly” and the donor need not be dead to pass along. And for those interested in the price of everything, down the road, today’s $230 Shaggy Dog will be $900 new. For even more fun, try moaning about the cost of a new Polo Coat with all the right details. Sure am happy I have Dad’s old one.
Ridiculously hot. Even in CT. Ill-fitting. Horribly over-priced. Crewneck (vs. v-neck) questionable on aesthetic grounds. Brilliant otherwise. Go Shaggy.
I purchased my first Shaggy Dog last Winter, and I pulled it out for this unseasonably brisk October morning.
I had thought I might not purchase another. After all, $230 is outrageous. But then I put it on, and oh, what the hell?
Maybe I’ll catch it on sale…