Introducing the Cashmere Alpine Half Zip Sweater

The half zip sweater has been around for decades, but in the last few years we saw the beginning of a resurgence in its popularity. Fast forward to now and it has somewhat gone back to becoming a wardrobe staple.

With the pandemic came a change in our working habits and a rise in the numbers of office workers working from home. A shift in our attitudes towards dress codes came hand-in-hand with this change in our working lives. It seems comfort is playing a bigger part than ever before when it comes to our garment choices, whether or not we’re working from a home office or one in the city. It is easy to see why a half zip sweater became a go-to piece for many on a weekday.

At Colhay’s we know that comfort is key and it’s one of the most important considerations when we design and manufacture our pieces. Having said this, style and standards are a priority too. The general consensus might be to reach for something comfortable when getting dressed each morning, but we don’t believe that standards should be lowered alongside formality. Our goal is to design and produce garments that are supremely comfortable to wear but still hold an air of style and sophistication. With these considerations in mind, our version of the half zip sweater was born.

We knew that this style was something that men would be familiar with and comfortable styling already. Taking inspiration from the skiing and apres ski culture and fashions of the 1950s and 60s, combined with our own preferences and experience of what we know to be flattering, we created the Cashmere Alpine Half Zip Sweater, an elevated version of what the ubiquitous style that you might see elsewhere.

Often the half-zip sweaters you’ll see worn today have a very short zip and collar, which can make them look plain with a corporate feel, and are generally unflattering. You’ll notice with our version that the zip is much longer and the collar much taller, both contributing to a more flattering and elegant look.

Worn undone, the longer zip creates an accentuated inverted v shape, a feature that broadens the shoulders.

When worn zipped up, a tall neck is created, almost like a roll-neck which frames the face and slims, and is, again, another universally flattering feature.

The cut of the piece is slimmer in the waist and the arms than many of the half zip sweaters you’ll see. Though it also has lots of stretch, so you won’t feel restricted or uncomfortable. This cut is also more in line with the retro ski wear we took inspiration from.

It seems that back then people wore knitwear that sat close to the body to reduce friction, thus enabling them to go fast on the slopes. People continued to wear their knitwear after skiing, and it would make sense if that is how the apres-ski sweater became popularised in this way. There was an elegance, a romance surrounding mid century apres-ski culture, the knitwear, the chalets, the drinks and parties after. With our alpine half zip we wanted to pay homage to this era but producing what we’d envisage would typically be a ski sweater that skiers of old would like to wear, but with a modern premise.

The sweater comes in six colourways: black, grey melange, navy, dark brown, dark olive and ecru. It’s worth noting here that the ecru shade is very muted. It’s not a brilliant white and isn’t dazzling or loud. It’s verging on a cream and will work well with all complexions and a myriad of outfits. This shade is also more closely aligned with what mid-century skiers would have worn, whilst the darker shades were chosen for their ease of styling with items that most people will own already in their wardrobe.

This is a piece you can comfortably wear in the office or for leisurely pursuits at the weekend. Layer over a shirt or t-shirt and pair with almost any bottoms. It’s warm but not bulky because it is cut close to the body, so can be worn comfortably under a sport coat or tailored jacket. On a really cold day, we recommend pairing it with our Cashmere Belmondo Roll Neck or Cashmere Ribbed Submariner Roll Neck underneath for a comfortable, cosy and, all importantly, warm outfit.

In terms of materials and manufacture, this sweater, as with everything we do, is made in Scotland using yarns of the highest quality. The skiing knitwear we took inspiration from, we imagine a lot of them would have been made in Scotland too, Scotland being such an important knitwear manufacturing hub in those days, thus creating another link between knitwear of the past and our contemporary garment. The sweater is densely knitted, making it warm and cosy, using a 4-ply 100% cashmere yarn that we source from a Scottish mill named Todd and Duncan. This sweater, whilst being a thick and warm piece, is incredibly soft to the touch and not at all itchy or restrictive.

We use a team of experienced knitters in a town called Hawick, where knitting is a heritage craft and trade, passed down through generations for over a century. These knitters use techniques that you won’t often see used by high street producers and that result in longer lasting, better quality knitwear.

You can rest assured that this garment is another investment piece from Colhay’s. It’s an item that, with proper care, can last years and is classically stylish and can be passed down through generations. If you’re interested in our Alpine Half Zip Sweater, you can find them here.