If you haven’t heard of the shirt cardigan before, you’re not alone. After being a staple back in the 1960s it fell out of favour and we’ve not seen them again since. And that’s exactly why we decided to create this piece.
Once a fairly mainstream piece, the shirt cardigan simply lost its popularity with the casualisation of the wardrobe. In 2021, we’ve not spotted one anywhere else on the market at all. Taking inspiration from the original, we wanted to reimagine what this piece would be like if it was worn in a contemporary wardrobe.
The beauty of this particular garment is its versatility. As the name suggests, there are multiple ways to wear it. It can be worn tucked or untucked, under a coat or jacket, alone or as a mid-layer or light outerwear. Its multiplicity means you can maximise the wear too - something we strongly believe in and advocate for.
Three colours are available: dark olive, oatmeal and camel. We’ve chosen elegant autumnal colours that will pair well with a range of fabrics and colours. Each one is a carefully chosen, sophisticated shade, but the dark olive is our favourite. It’s a muted, dark earthy colour that’s unusual in the menswear market today.
When designing new pieces for our collection, we start by gathering our ideas and creating a few drawings and then we talk with our expert knitters about what they think would be possible, how it would be made and how we can make sure it's of the highest possible quality. Then we’ll create prototypes to make sure everyone’s on the same page. Sometimes this can take quite a few tries with lots of toing and froing, but designing our shirt cardigan was a really quick process!
It’s important to note that our shirt cardigan isn’t a replica of the original. Back then, it would have been quite a boxy fit, which is something that we’ve tweaked with our version. We’ve given it a much more modern slim fit. There’s no excess fabric around the waist as we’ve designed the body to taper slightly as it comes down past the chest. We’ve also given it slightly smaller armholes to avoid a baggy look. Despite the slim fit, the piece has a natural stretch which will mould to the wearer’s body over time. If you prefer a normal fit over slim, we recommend sizing up.
All of our knitwear is produced by our team of expert knitters in Hawick, Scotland. The knitting industry in Hawick dates back to the 18th century. Our irreplaceable knitters come from generations of previous knitters and have decades of experience among them. We use many techniques that have been abandoned by mass producers of knitwear to save on time, but, unsurprisingly, compromising on quality. Our knitters really are the best in the business.
Our expert knitters are knitting with the very finest yarns. The yarns we use come from Todd and Duncan, a Scottish supplier known for sourcing the very best fibres and, as a result, producing yarns of the highest quality. Todd and Duncan triple test fibres and have decades of experience in blending, carding and washing them to create the finest yarns on the market.
The expert knowledge of our knitters and the outstanding yarns we use combine to make garments that truly last. The shirt cardigan, like all our pieces, could be handed down through the generations.
As mentioned above, our team of knitters truly are experts in their field. They know the best techniques to use to ensure we achieve the look and feel we’re looking for. There are two noteworthy techniques used here, a Milano stitch and a welted stitch at the hem.
The collar is knitted in a Milano stitch, a smooth and sturdy stitch perfect for this piece. This technique allows the collar to be stiffer than the rest of the knit. We didn’t want the collar to flatten if the shirt cardigan was worn under a jacket. Equally, we didn’t want it too stiff, as you’d find on a dress shirt. This stitch allows us to strike a good balance between soft polo collar and dress shirt collar.
Secondly, we’ve chosen a more unusual welted stitch for the hem, rather than having a ribbed hem. Usually with knitwear you’ll find a ribbed hem, which means the garment tightens slightly around the bottom. By adding a welt (simply a strip of fabric) it means the shirt cardigan won’t feel like it's grabbing at the waist which is much more comfortable. It also means that it looks a little more polished so you don’t look scruffy if you wear the piece untucked.