Extra Fine Merino Sport Shirt: The Ultimate All Weather Piece

Spring for us here in the UK means we can expect both glorious sunshine and harsh hailstorms in a matter of hours, and we suspect many parts of the world at this time of year are no different. With weather as unpredictable as this, preparation is key. Outfits need to be thought out in order to keep shielded from the weather, but this doesn’t mean you have to compromise on style. 

At Colhay’s we recognise the importance of well-made, classic pieces that can be easily layered for transitional dressing and our extra fine merino sport shirt is the epitome of this. 

The shirt is incredibly popular amongst our customers, with many purchasing it in multiple colours. One of the reasons for this is because it’s a unique piece; we’ve seen nothing quite like it before. We felt there was a need for a garment that was more formal than a t-shirt, but less formal than a dress shirt and so, taking inspiration from the Olympic athletes of the 1920s, we designed this sport shirt.

Right: Eric Liddell, famous British olympic track and field athlete, 1924
Left: our sport shirt is inspired by the knitted tops worn by British Olympic athletes at the start of the 20th Century

Its most prominent design features are the ribbed cuffs and hem, and neckline. We have made the neckline tighter than a regular t-shirt to give a slightly more formal feel. There is also ribbing on the hems and cuffs which adds a little extra detailing. We’ve chosen a slightly elongated rib too, for a more flattering look. The body of the shirt tapers from the chest down to the hem which prevents it from looking too bulky or wide on the torso. Finally, the sleeves, whilst still a short sleeve, are longer than with a standard t-shirt. They finish a couple of inches above the elbow, again giving a more elegant and formal finish. Whilst we have added some carefully thought out features, the shirt remains timeless, classic and not overly designed.

Slightly longer short sleeves, long ribbed cuffs and long ribbed hem, and tighter round neck for a more refined look

The beauty of the shirt is not only in the classic design, but also in its versatility. It’s a piece that can be worn in all weathers and for many occasions. The shirt goes well with both jeans and a more formal trouser too. You can wear it alone or under a jacket (it works particularly well with sport coats which is not often the case with an informal t-shirt). 

Because of its thermal qualities, it can also be worn as an under layer, beneath a shirt or another piece of knitwear for a doubling up of warmth for those very cold days.

We have chosen five sophisticated colours: olive, camel, brown, cream mélange and navy. Each shade is easy to wear and complements several menswear staples that you’re likely to own already, making the shirts simple and quick to style. 

Wear under a jacket with the same colour palette as the sport shirt for a tonal look, or wear it underneath a shirt and blazer, as an insulating under layer

Style with jeans and a denim jacket for a more relaxed look, or wear it with a pair of shorts and sport coat for those more dressed up summer events

The extra fine merino wool we use to knit the shirt is sourced in Italy and is so soft it feels almost like cashmere. It’s produced by Zegna Baruffa, a specialist yarn spinner that has been around since the early 1800s. We believe this is the best merino wool yarn that you can find.

Not only is it comfortable to wear, but the wool is thermoregulating and is able to keep you cool in summer but warm in winter. Wool fibres (merino fibres in particular) are crimped and these crimps create countless holes in a garment. Air is trapped within these tiny holes, creating an insulating layer of warm air around the body in the cold, and a cool one in warmer temperatures. Wool can also absorb up to 30% of its own weight in moisture, yet still remain dry. So if the warmer weather makes you sweat, wool will quickly absorb this and you’ll feel cool and dry rather than overheated and sticky. It is these temperature regulating and moisture wicking qualities that have driven many outdoor gear companies to adopt merino wool as their fibre of choice to make their high performance apparel for rock climbing, hiking, long-distance cycling, skiing, and other demanding outdoor sports. Merino wool is also "bouncy" and resilient in nature, meaning that it tends to "bounce" back to its original shape more easily when stretched - another aspect that makes it an ideal fibre for use in sportswear. 

Merino wool is moisture-wicking, temperature regulating and great at holdings its shape, making it the ideal fibre for use in sportswear

As you would expect with Colhay’s, this is a shirt of supreme quality, knitted by expert knitters. All of our pieces are knitted in Hawick, Scotland, a knitting town where craft and expertise are handed down through the generations. Our knitters use several techniques that improve the quality of a garment but have been abandoned by many producers in favour of speed. For example, hand linking. Each section of the shirt is knitted together using the tiny loops at the end of each piece. It’s a meticulous process but it ensures strength and longevity.

A close up shot here of the fully fashioned shoulder - a hand finishing technique that requires hours of meticulously linking knit loops together to create a flexible seam that curves round your shoulder naturally and follows its contours.

Our pieces are always knitted tightly, which, again, is to create a stronger and long lasting garment. These techniques combined with the quality of the yarn used come together to create fine knitwear that can be worn for decades - and in this case, in all weathers.

Take a look at our extra fine merino sport shirts here