The Young Man’s Guide To Tennis Sweaters

 5354_Cream_23In the market for a tennis sweater, even though you don’t play tennis, or even cricket? Here’s some of what’s out there.

Above, Bills Khakis cotton sweater, $325.

Below, wool vest from Cable Car Clothiers, $298:


Wool sweater by Smart Turnout, $280:


Brooks Brothers Red Fleece, on sale $49:


Ralph Lauren Wimbledon umpire vest, on sale $149:


Fred Perry, $199:


This post has been brought to you by a 21-year-old, who realizes you probably need to be older than that to afford most of these sweaters. — CHRISTIAN CHENSVOLD


43 Comments on "The Young Man’s Guide To Tennis Sweaters"

  1. Specialist cricket suppliers in the UK often have a range of sweaters usually at ‘sensible’ prices. You can then top it off with a traditional cap. Of course if you wear one of these you will be quizzed on the laws of cricket.

  2. I did a story on cricket in Southern California for the LA Times a while back. It’s still one of my favorites (and that’s my headline).

    Skip the intro written by editor down to where the story begins:

  3. Does anyone know where to find a classic wool cricket sweater (with sleeves) with the traditional navy and maroon stripes? I came across one years ago from RL, but I haven’t seen anyone offer anything like it ever since.

  4. Christian: tha pic of you cracked me up; let me say that you are a man who has definitely grown-into-himself, so to speak.

  5. I suppose I’m at the age now where I look at a photo like that and can’t believe I was ever so young. Pretty trad, given all the experimenting I’d done and still had to do. Olive chinos! Wish I could remember what shoes I might have been wearing at that time….

    Grandparents drank old-fashioneds, then my folks, then me. I found the family’s favorite affordable brand of bourbon, Ancient Age, for the first time recently, a mere $16 or so in Manhattan. First time I’d ever seen it here. I went back a bit later and they were all gone and no word on when they’d be back in stock. Guess others were onto it.

  6. … And lest I be accused of lies and misrepresentation I confess to eradicating a zit from my forehead in iPhoto.

  7. I knew I was forgetting someone….

  8. First time I saw one was pulled over the driver seat of my grandfather’s Volvo. He used it as a seat cover. They’re too anachronistic for my taste,

  9. CC, ha! I thought your drink was a Roy Rogers! 🙂

  10. I agree with AEV. And young men don’t wear tennis sweaters, unless they are auditioning for a play or something. Looks like a bad costume.

  11. Bags' Groove | March 14, 2015 at 2:29 pm |

    Cricketers wear them, mainly English cricketers, because it’s invariably too hot to wear them in the places where the best cricketers currently play.

  12. Malvernlink | March 14, 2015 at 3:32 pm |

    “hideous” “anachronistic” “bad costume” I find these comments amusing coming from people that dress in clothing based on a style, Ivy League, which is nearly 100 years old. Tennis/cricket sweaters are just as traditional as Shetland crew necks. I’m not saying you have to accept every element of Ivy League apparel and wear it. I like and wear white bucks, but was never a big fan of saddle shoes. I’m sure a lot of the attitudes are generational. I was in high school in the early 60s when everyone at my school wore Ivy League style clothing. We should all hope more young men will take to wearing Ivy Style clothing so that it continues to be made.

    Yes, I still wear tennis sweaters and Shetland crew necks. (but not at the same time)

  13. I enjoy wearing tennis/cricket style sweaters and sweater vests, and, in response to the negative comments, that for every season in the last 5 years has sold out its cricket sweaters, especially the vests, so it appears that they remain quite popular with a variety of age groups

  14. If that is true, it is because Polo very wisely produce exactly three sweaters, and two of those were sold to costume departments of a local dinner theaters.

  15. I just “acquired” an internal memo that I reproduce here for the benefit of readers.
    Smythe & Knobblebottom Knitting Co. announce their new line for the 2016 season: the “Traditional and Modern” line of cricket jumpers. Available in both sleeveless and long-sleeved versions, our jumpers are knitted in England on our 200-year-old looms, using only the finest Scottish wool. For our friends across the pond, we are proud to offer our cricket jumpers in ten exciting colourways, each built on our cream wool base. We have the Traditional, in navy blue and maroon trim; the Ivy League series, available in each of the school colors of America’s famous Ivy League schools; and the Prep, in pink and green trim.

    Exclusive to us is our collaboration with famous men’s fashion personality F.C. Castleberry. The Smythe & Knobblebottom x Castleberry jumper is in our Prep colourway with paint spattering, hand-applied by Mr Castleberry himself. Each Smythe & Knobblebottom x Castleberry jumper is numbered and comes with a certificate of authenticity. Sure to turn heads, the Smythe & Knobblebottom x Castleberry cricket jumper will set #menswear on fire!

  16. Henry
    Well done! But, I’ll still wear my cricket/tennis jumper/ sweaters with various colour/color stripes/ lines/ bands/ strips/ belts/ bars/ streaks/ veins/ flashes/ blazes around the collar.

  17. Nicest I have, and I have had a few, is cashmere with red and blue made by William Lockie. Heavy ’80s vintage Fila-Borg made in Italy is a close second

  18. Thank you, MAC!

    I’m just curious: for those who like cricket/tennis sweaters/jumpers, what is your preference for stripes? Neck only? Neck and waist? Neck and waist and wrists?

  19. Henry
    Personally I prefer stripes on the neck only. If I was to own just one the colors would be navy/burgundy or just navy. They are easier to wear.

    I own four or five of these, mostly RL from the mid 1970s to very early 1980s, the RLs are are bullet proof.

  20. I picked up a custom cricket sweater from Luke Eyres in the UK a couple years ago. They’ve got a nice little system for picking your style (sleeveless, wool, etc), colors, band widths, etc. And not that expensive actually – I think my sleeveless sweater was $150 all in with the shipping.

  21. WenhamWASP | March 18, 2015 at 3:25 pm |

    Tennis/cricket sweaters are simply classic and great! I got an amazing one (RL polo) this Christmas (it was on my list, not a surprise) and not only do I love it, I hear compliments about it practically every time I wear it! As Malvernlink rightly noted, tennis sweaters are truly part of Ivy League style for the last 100 years or so. I think some of you younger gents should remember that prep/Ivy style is about classic non-trending quality clothing (with major influences coming from Britain) that as the official preppy handbook puts it; “as a youth appears to dress as a older gentleman and as a retiree, appears to dress as a youth”. The same clothes are worn by 16 year olds as well as 66 year olds.

  22. Ah, but there are still a few of us who can appreciate the irony of that last line!

  23. I just got back from my local tennis courts, where I was the only one until a youth program showed up. It’s windy, freezing and miserable. But it’s time to get my serve ready for the season. I wore white sweatpants and a shawl cardigan.

    But that’s just me.

  24. But to have been thoroughly authentic, CC would had to have worn cream flannel trousers, not white sweat pants. Why must everything be “modern”? Why not mix the old and the new, as one sees fit?

    That AEV dislikes tennis/cricket sweaters makes them all the more appealing to me. Then again, my dislike of red pants might make them all the more appealing to him.

  25. Well my cardigan wasn’t white, so I hope I didn’t look too ridiculous, especially to the arriving students, none of whom was white, while we’re on the subject.

    My racket is actually apparently a classic:

    I had drinks last night with “Rowing Blazers” author Jack Carlson. He had plenty of stories about extreme retro-eccentricity at Oxford. We can all heave a sigh of relief that Young Fogeyism is alive and well in those hallowed halls.

  26. What’s wrong with wearing tennis whites? It’s a nice nod to tradition, without requiring that you wear the same thing that early tennis players did.

  27. Incidentally, in going through the Ivy-Style archives, I found a post called What The Deuce: A Tennis Image Miscellany that features many tennis sweaters. Sure, they’re slightly(?) anachronistic, but isn’t wearing a tie also anachronistic?

  28. Hyperbole, AEV. Four syllables, so be careful!

  29. What tennis racket question did I dodge? Who’s dressing in 1940s apparel?

    Certainly not this guy:

    More of a 20s/30s vibe…

  30. We also talked about other people. You would’ve loved it.

  31. AEV, outside of the drama you apparently get a kick out of creating, and occasional humor you provide (at other peoples expense), why do you even visit clothing blogs? Why do you come here? Wherever you appear online, so do the rants.

  32. AEV is one sly fellow. He not only uses scare quotes, he uses British-style single ones!

    Hot off the presses at Mr. Porter today, just for him:

  33. I was telling C. That I thought that they have become the ascot of the sweater world.

  34. I have been wearing tennis sweaters for 30+ years now, and I see no reason to stop. I think mine are a bit more classic than most of those shown above. I still see several tennis sweaters at the clubs where I play tennis, both on and off the court.

    To me, it looks a lot more natural than seeing an older guy in a modern nylon windbreaker.

  35. Watch out, Anonymous—AEV might castigate you for being “dressed up in some sort of 1940s movie costume and look[ing] utterly ridiculous”!

    After you convert to the Church of AEV and burn your tennis sweaters as a form of atonement (and to prevent them from falling into the hands of sartorial heretics), make sure to insult people you see wearing tennis sweaters for the sin of wearing them—at a tennis club, of all places. In 2015, no less!

  36. Went to a Lacoste preview today. They have a super-cool limited edition wood-graphite tennis racket “handmade by a French artisan.” Only 600, each one numbered.

    Available exclusively at the Miami store…

  37. AEV,

    I visit this website because I like the articles, images, old adverts, most of the comments.

    I was going to reply to your post yesterday, but the thought of you hitting refresh waiting for my response…. well, that was more satisfying than anything I was going to say. 😉

  38. Today I noticed that for spring 2015 RL is offering on a completely creme colored cricket sweater with no stripes at all.

  39. Roger Frazee | April 5, 2017 at 12:58 pm |

    I like banding on neck and sleeves. I too believe this is a non trending classic like an oxford shirt in white,blue or stripes

  40. elder prep | June 8, 2019 at 2:22 pm |

    Please, no critism of the OPH. It was the source of my conversion to trad/prep style and this marvelous site.

  41. There are several available at Scott’s Sweaters which has an entire section dedicated to tennis sweaters.

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