The traditional cricket sweater has been around for several decades and was hugely popular between the 1920s and 1950s. The sweaters have seen a resurgence in recent times. At Colhay’s we have our own reimagined modern version of this classic.
Left: Jack Hobbs, English cricketer, 1905 - 1934
Right: Apparel Arts Magazine, 1936
Traditionally a cricket sweater is thick, heavy and made of coarse wool or cotton. They’re chunky and fairly boxy with a wide v-neck and coloured stripes around the waist, sleeves and neckline. Hard-wearing and reliable, these cable knit sweaters have strong associations with prestigious schools and universities. We wanted to take this piece and give it a more modern edge and create a more contemporary and easy-to-wear version than its traditional sporting counterpart.
Left: Cary Grant, 1934 Photograph by Everett
This was a particularly enjoyable piece to design. We have incorporated several elements that make the cricket sweater a much more wearable piece for the modern man. The first step was changing the v-neck. As mentioned above, traditionally, the v shape would be wide and shallow; our version has an elongated v-neck. This deeper shape is not only more pleasing to the eye and much more modern, it’s also more flattering, making the wearer appear taller. On top of this, it makes the sweater much more wearable with tailoring. If you wanted to layer the sweater with a blazer, for example, it works much better with a deeper v-neck, the v shape aligning itself to the v shape of the lapels of the blazer. As well as the neckline, we also switched the boxy fit for a slimmer one which is, again, much more flattering and makes it easier to layer.
To ensure that it was clear that our cricket sweater is a fashionable piece rather than part of a sports kit, we removed the coloured trim on the waist and cuffs. We have also slightly changed the coloured patterns too. With a traditional cricket sweater, there is a strip of white along the inside edge of the v-neck. We removed this and so the coloured stripe is along the entirety of the neckline. You’ll often find the colours of a traditional cricket sweater are quite bright too. We chose much more earthy and muted tones, making them a great choice if you don’t want your outfit to be overly loud.
Our cricket sweater is also much softer and more comfortable to wear than the traditional versions. This is thanks to the superfine lambswool we use to knit our sweaters. A classic sweater will be made of a coarse wool which can be itchy on the skin. Our lambswool is made from the very finest (both literally and figuratively) and longest fibres. For context, the fibres used to create the yarns we use here at Colhay’s are approximately 18.5 microns wide and 42mm long. Lambswool is usually made with fibres that are 21 - 24 microns in diameter, so there’s a vast physical difference between the quality of the fibres, which translates to a vast difference in overall quality of the sweater. These fine fibres increase the softness of the knitwear and the length of the fibres make the piece less likely to pill and lose shape after several wears.
It’s not only the fibres that make the difference here, it’s also the processes undertaken to create the yarns we use. Our yarns come from Todd and Duncan, world renowned yarn spinners who take their products through meticulous processes (often skipped by other spinners in favour of fast production) to ensure the very best quality yarns are produced. For example, when the fibres are blended and carded (a process to disentangle them), Todd and Duncan use older, but slower, machines that retain the fibres’ length.
Todd and Duncan’s location is also key here. Set right next to Loch Leven, they are able to wash their yarns in its waters. The loch contains a unique blend of minerals that enhances the fibres’ softness and in turn, makes our sweaters much softer too. This water can’t be found anywhere else and so its effects can’t be replicated by any other producers. This softness means the sweater very easy to wear and doesn’t require any time to wear in or to become comfortable next to the skin.
Our cricket sweater is ideal for transitional weather and is a really easy to throw on piece. Styling one requires little effort or thought - though this doesn’t mean you’ll have to compromise on style. Wear with a crew neck t-shirt underneath and light wash jeans for a casual look or with a shirt underneath for more formal occasions. This incredibly versatile sweater comes in three colourways: cream and olive, cream, navy and burgundy, and navy burgundy and olive. Each colourway was chosen for its earthy and sophisticated tones.
Our reinvention of the traditional cricket sweater is modern, understated and easy-to-wear. If you’re interested in purchasing one for yourself, take a look at here.