Here at Colhay’s we’re advocates for wearing knitwear all year round, regardless of the weather, and the summer of 2023 is no exception. Though it may come as a surprise to some, knitwear is temperature regulating and, therefore, can be a superb choice in warmer temperatures. This is all thanks to the natural fibres that are used to produce yarns.
Though knitwear is great to wear in summer, you are, of course, not going to be reaching for chunky roll necks during the warmer months. The most popular spring summer Colhay’s pieces are our polo shirts. With a collar and a button placket, they have a relatively smart feel and can be both worn in the office or dressed down for more casual occasions. Supremely comfortable, our polo shirts are versatile and can be worn all year round. Below we’ve delved a little deeper into the details of our two polo shirts, both made from fibres that are perfect for the spring summer season.
Cashmere Silk Tennis Polo
This piece has been a Colhay’s staple for a little while now and it’s easy to see why. Inspired by vintage tennis polo shirts of the 1950s, the shirt has sleeves that finish just above the elbow. Generally speaking, polos you’ll find on the high street tend to have sleeves that end mid-bicep. The longer sleeve is more flattering and brings a slightly more formal and sophisticated feel to the shirt too. Three mid-brown horn buttons close the shirt, again, elevating the piece from a simple polo to something more elegant.
For 2023, we’ve added some new colourways. Previously, this polo was available in cream, navy and brown, all shades which are easily matched with items that most men have in their wardrobes already. We wanted to add something new for the new season, but this had to be shades that were in keeping with our goal of elegant, modern and stylish garments. Pastel shades are commonly seen in summer, along with mustards or bright oranges, but these don’t fit in with our colour palette. The shades we choose at Colhay’s must be sophisticated, muted, and, crucially, not stand out from the crowd too much. We know that our customers want to look well-dressed and styled, but not command too much attention with gaudy colours. So, after much consideration, we decided on two new shades: olive and terracotta.
We have produced olive garments before, but this shade is slightly different and leans more towards a sage, with quite a matte undertone.
The terracotta is our version of an orange. Our take has some hints of brown but still feels lighter than the other darker shades we have. It is something slightly different to what we usually do, but an addition that has been carefully selected and has a purpose, rather than change for the sake of change.
One of the most prominent reasons this particular polo is so popular is its hand-feel. To create this piece we use a blend of 70% cashmere and 30% silk fibres. In warm weather, even thin cashmere can be too hot but by adding silk, you open up the fibres and the garment becomes less insulating. This blend is perfect in a practical sense and, at the same time, is unbelievably soft and a joy to wear.
Cashmere silk made with high quality fibres of both elements is hard to come by. There is a large amount of low grade cashmere on the market due to overproduction and with silk, often a substitute is used to try to emulate its texture because production of the real thing takes a great deal of patience and hard work. You can rest assured that we source our yarns from world-renowned spinners who seek out only the very best fibres to create their products. In this case, the yarns we use are made by Italian cashmere blend experts, Cariaggi Lanificio.
It’s worth noting here that the process of obtaining the finest fibres can be very competitive and, realistically, only the well-established companies are successful in this. These established spinners have access to the very best resources, the crème de la crème of the fibres, and this is why we work with them. We are acutely aware of the importance of using the best fibres, after all, this is one of the first building blocks of a high quality garment. Despite being a relatively new company, we are able to source the best yarns by working with established, reliable mills that we know have access to the best raw materials.
For more on our cashmere silk tennis polo, click here.
Merino Father’s Polo Shirt
The second of the two polos shirts that we think is great for the spring summer season is the merino father’s polo shirt.
This particular piece takes inspiration from the very pieces of knitwear that sparked the idea for Colhay’s. Founder, Ronnie Chiu, inherited some knitted garments from the 1970s from his father that were still going strong some fifty years later. These pieces proved that, if made well and cared for correctly, knitwear could last decades. One was a polo shirt that had been made in Scotland from what was then called “virgin new wool” and this particular piece is the inspiration behind our Merino Fathers Polo.
Founder Ronnie Chiu's father's made in Scotland polo shirt from the 1970s.
This sentimental garment has been designed with the vintage look in mind and features saddle shoulders and a deep front placket.
You’ll also notice that the fit is slightly bigger than what we usually choose at Colhay’s and, again, this is to ensure it’s in keeping with the 70s feel. The longer ribbed cuffs and hem are in line with the older design and allow you to roll them back, should you wish. Not only do they allow versatility, but they also ensure an effortless, elegant and sophisticated look, one of our main goals here at Colhay’s.
In terms of colour, we offer a navy, a dark brown brown and forest green. As with all of our choices at Colhay’s, each shade is easy to wear and style.
The original was made from something called ‘virgin new wool’. Today, we know this as merino wool. With the spring summer season in mind, we chose an extrafine merino yarn called Superwash from Italian yarn spinners, Zegna Baruffa. This particular yarn was chosen because we felt it most closely resembled the original wool used in Ronnie’s father’s original jumpers. It’s soft yet crisp and with a more airy and fresh feel than regular merino, is perfect for summer. If you want to carry it over into autumn and winter, you can easily layer the piece with a cardigan.
Take a look here for more details on our merino father's polo shirt.