Knitwear for Warm and Wet Weather

Here in the UK we’re experiencing one of the most autumnal early summers in memory. June, so far, has been incredibly wet and grey, and more of the same is predicted for the remainder of the month.

Warm and wet weather knitwear

With the weather sliding seamlessly and without warning between sunny and soggy several times throughout the day, it can be tricky to choose an outfit in the mornings. This combination of warm and wet is where the problem lies; more extreme weather doesn’t pose such a wardrobe problem. When it’s cold, dressing is much easier, simply add layers until you’re comfortable, wrapping up well and insulating yourself against the cold. When it’s warm, wear something light and comfortable like any short-sleeved garment and you’re set.

The weather we’re currently experiencing requires a little more effort and thought. Dress too light, a simple cotton t-shirt for example, and when you inevitably get rained on, you’re cold, wet and uncomfortable for the rest of your day because cotton absorbs moisture, weighing down, leaving you feeling clammy. Too many layers and you’re well protected from the rain but when the sun makes an appearance again, you’re both soggy and sweaty. Some people will opt for a parka or some kind of raincoat, but that poses another problem when the weather warms up again: you’re stuck holding it.

Not knowing what to wear in this weather is an old problem that’s ubiquitous, spanning the ages and sexes, but it’s not a hopeless one. Here at Colhay’s we are experts in fabrics and, knowing the incredible practical qualities of wool, recommend wearing certain types of light weight woollen garments in this unpredictable weather.

When people think of wool, often a thick, long-sleeved and chunky sweater comes to mind and so a lot of us don’t associate it with warmer weather. It’s important to note that we’re not suggesting you pull your winter attire out of storage and step out in a sweater - it’s got to be something specialist and made of precisely the right wool or other blends of natural fibre like cashmere silk.

Here at Colhay’s we have spring summer collections, pieces that are designed to be worn in warmer weather and that are made from specific wools or other natural fibres like cashmere silk that we know will serve you well in summertime.

Temperature Regulating and Moisture-Wicking Benefits

Before we make any suggestions on specific pieces, we’ll explain why and how wool and other summery blends like cashmere silk work so well in these conditions. Firstly, the summery yarns we use, cashmere silk (a blend of the two fibres) and fine merino wool are lightweight. Perhaps most importantly though, they are temperature regulating and moisture-wicking. They’ll keep you warm in colder moments but ensure you don’t overheat when it’s sunny again and essentially repel moisture.

In moisture-wicking materials, moisture is whisked away from the body. This works both ways, with sweat from the skin and with rain on the surface of fabric too. It’s an impressive feature of natural fabrics that takes place within their tiny fibres. Whether we’re talking about rain or perspiration, the liquid forms in droplets on the inside surface of the material. Capillary action (the movement of water in narrow spaces without the influence of external forces like gravity) moves it through microscopic spaces within the fabric to the outside surface. Upon meeting the air, these droplets will begin to evaporate, keeping the wearer cool, dry and comfortable.

It’s estimated that wool can take in up to 30% of its own weight in water before even feeling damp. Cotton is, in fact, the complete opposite, soaking up water like a sponge and really hanging on to it, leaving you draped in a heavy, damp fabric for a long time as it dries. It’s for these reasons that we recommend a fine merino wool and cashmere silk.

Merino wool is a light option that’s smooth to the touch rather than spongy in the way that lambswool is. With cashmere silk, you’re wearing a blend of both fibres that is, again, lightweight, and soft and comfortable against the skin in warm weather. This is the reason silk has been worn frequently in hot climates for centuries.

Moving away from materials and more into design, we recommend choosing something with shorter sleeves for this warm and wet weather. This makes garments more breathable and leaves forearms nice and cool.

If you’re a little self-conscious about showing your bare arms, the nice thing about our short-sleeved garments is that the short sleeves are designed a little longer than usual, covering more of your bicep, and following the curved contours of your shoulder so that the sleeve “hugs” more of the arm rather than flare out (as it is fully-fashioned knitwear, unlike a normal cut and sewn t-shirt) – aspects which give the piece a more elegant and modest look.

We’ll take a look at a few more specific details on some of the Colhay’s pieces that we’d recommend for the current wet summer: the Merino Sport Shirt and Cashmere Silk Tennis Polo.

Merino Sport Shirt

Paying homage to the sports tops worn by athletes of the 1920s, this is an elegant garment designed for spring and summer wear. It was created to provide an alternative to a standard t-shirt, an elevated version of what’s likely to be one of your staple items. Don’t be thrown by its historical inspirations, the piece works well in the wardrobe of a modern man thanks to some carefully considered classic design features.

Longer sleeves than a regular t-shirt, for example, offer a more elegant and sophisticated look. These sleeves sit around 2.5 - 3 inches above your elbow which means only your forearm is on show, rather than half your bicep area. This makes it a great option for those conscious of having a lot of arm on display during the summer. You’ll also notice longer ribs on the cuffs and hem, again, creating a piece that’s more flattering than standard designs. These ribs also offer practicality, keeping the top in place and well fitted around your body, and minimising restriction on your movement.

Materials here, as always, are crucial. This is made with a fine Merino wool, sourced from renowned producers Zura Burgaffa. The specific wool used here is from their Cashwool collection and is supremely soft against the skin, making it perfect for warm weather. That coupled with the fact we know it’s moisture-wicking, makes it ideal for summer showers.

Cashmere Silk Tennis Polo

The Cashmere Silk Tennis Polo is our take on a polo-shirt, again with vintage roots. For this piece we’ve taken the tennis shirts worn by players back in the 50s and 60s and updated it to make it a piece that’s contemporary but classic enough in style to remain a staple for many years.

When it comes to design, the key features here are very similar to the above piece. Longer sleeves that add sophistication and mean you needn’t expose your whole arm if you’d prefer not to, and longer ribs that keep the polo in position and ensure you’re not constantly readjusting clothes.

Looking at the material used here, you’ll see it’s a cashmere silk piece. Here at Colhay’s we use a blend of 70% cashmere with 30% silk, significantly more silk than most yarns using this blend of fibres. This higher proportion of silk makes the fabric exceedingly soft, so much so that many customers remark that it feels like a second skin. It’s breezy and breathable, keeping you cool when it’s warm outside and is able to wick moisture when it rains, the perfect combination for our current weather.

See more of our merino sport shirts and cashmere silk tennis polos here.

If you have any questions about our garments or are looking for advice on which fibres to choose, please don’t hesitate to contact us directly for help.