For a while we’d been wanting to create a piece for summer that was slightly more casual than the rest of our collection. As always, we looked to the classic menswear garments and trends of the past for inspiration. At Colhay’s, we enjoy taking styles from years gone by and adapting them to suit the attitudes and styles of the 21st century. These pieces are classics and, with a few tweaks here and there, make for versatile, easy to style, and sophisticated additions to men’s wardrobes.
Our latest piece is the Cashmere Silk Resort Shirt, inspired by the Hollywood actors of the fifties and sixties. At the time, many would holiday (or film) on the coast of the Mediterranean and would wear wide trousers with relaxed, flowing shirts that are deliberately more generous on the shoulder and body so that it would "hang off" the actor as he strolls through a local market. The idea of a casual garment like these shirts, that by nature of being a shirt still holds some level of formality so that the wearer would look well put together yet charmingly relaxed, appealed to us at Colhay’s for a spring/summer piece. Knitted fabric is the best way to achieve this very relaxed, flowing look on a shirt, and this is how our the cashmere silk resort shirt came about.
Alain Delon in Purple Noon, 1960.
The shirt comes in three colourways: cream, navy and dark brown. Each has been chosen with the consideration of pairing it with other garments you are likely to have already in your wardrobe. They are sophisticated, muted colours that work well with a multitude of other shades and can be combined with your other items effortlessly. The navy and dark brown colours feature smoke toned mother of pearl buttons, whilst the cream features ivory mother of pearl.
We have made a few select changes to features of the original, whilst also focussing on keeping the overall feel of the shirt as close to the original as possible. This means the fit is slightly boxier and more relaxed than anything else you’ll find in our collections. By keeping this drapey look and feel, we’re ensuring the nod to the glamour of travelling in the Mediterranean back in the fifties and sixties remains. The shirt’s cuffs are functioning cuffs with buttons that mean the piece retains a degree of formality and, despite having a relaxed fit, doesn’t stray too far towards casual wear.
Looking at the collar, you’ll notice it is knitted with a Milano stitch. Our expert knitters in Scotland have employed this technique to give the collar some firmness. This said firmness means that the collar won’t flatten under a blazer, which can look undesirably scruffy. You can be sure that the firmness is not at the same level as a dress shirt, however, so you will be very comfortable (particularly important on holiday in warmer weather). Often with polo shirts or other garments with a collar, the manufacturer will choose to use the same fabric as the body of the garment, leaving it vulnerable to getting squashed and looking unkempt. Alternatively, sometimes a stiff collar is attached which can be very uncomfortable for the wearer and interrupts the flow of the piece too. By using a Milano stitch, we have achieved a happy medium within these two techniques. The collar is neither too soft nor too hard - the goldilocks of collars, if you will!
How to Wear the Shirt
This shirt is designed for summer wear but can easily be used as a layering piece during the colder months or the transitional weathers of spring and autumn. The straight hem means it is ideal for wearing as a cardigan and the colours ensure it is easy to throw on top of many types of t-shirts.
In summer, though, we recommend pairing with chino shorts for an easy and comfortable warm weather outfit. On cooler summer evenings, it works fantastically as a casual piece tucked into jeans. You can also dress it up with a pair of smarter trousers and a blazer. The versatility of the shirt means you can be sure to maximise wear.
Cashmere Silk, the Ultimate Luxury
Our blend of cashmere and silk is the ultimate luxury fabric. Combining the king of fibres, cashmere, with opulent silk results in unimaginably soft knitwear. This particular piece is designed to be worn straight on the skin in the summer weather, and so silk for us is the obvious option because it is the most luxurious warm weather fibre. The blend of cashmere silk ensures that you retain the luxurious fluffy softness of cashmere whilst incorporating the equally soft, but much lighter and airy fibre that is silk – the perfect luxury blend for spring/summer.
Linen is often regarded as a popular choice for warm weather wear, but, whilst linen is a fantastic fibre because it is airy and breathable, the common complaint of 100% linen shirts is that it can be fairly coarse against the skin and so silk laced with cashmere provides a far more luxurious alternative. In fact, many of our customers have told us that the hand feel of this shirt is so soft that when wearing it, it feels as though it’s not even there.
The ratio of cashmere vs silk (70/30) is relatively unusual. You’re likely to find cashmere silk variations on the market, but very few will have this level of cashmere fibres which is what makes the Colhay’s version so supremely soft and decadent.
Knitwear for the Summer Weather
The idea of choosing knitted pieces to wear when the weather is warm can be a surprising one to some, however, it’s one certainly worth considering, particularly with cashmere silk knitwear. Although a 100% cashmere garment may be too hot, the silk component really helps to open up the knitted fabric making it breathable and comfortable to wear. Both fibres are natural ones meaning they’re moisture wicking and direct perspiration away from the body, allowing it to evaporate and leaving you feeling cool. Man-made fibres, however, can hold onto moisture and that’s why you can feel hot, sticky and uncomfortable when wearing them.
Find out more about our cashmere silk resort shirt here