Wednesday, August 30, 2017

SWNE Wool Sweaters / Jumpers

Bordeaux Cable Crew Neck sent by Cordings
Wool sweaters/ jumpers represent a wardrobe within a wardrobe.  For those who would rather invest in clothes than oil, sweaters are as much a staple as khakis and oxfords for at least six months out of the year.

The list of positive attributes of wool also continues to grow, from being sustainably harvested, to warm even when wet, to antibacterial and flame retardant.  Current wool offerings have less of the scratchy properties associated with the wool of decades ago.  As with so many things, however, clever people have figured out ever new ways of mass producing cheaper versions of wool(ish) products, stripping away many of the positive properties, so high quality examples do make a difference.

The core categories of sweaters, ranging from formal to informal, and even from bulky outwear to thin second skin, does not change much from year to year, although vendors change, and some new additions are worth testing out.

Examples of categories and vendors include:


...Warm; bulky; absorbs dirt well; and made only in Ireland. If the sweater is overly tight fitting, it is probably not an authentic Aran.


...An overly broad term that includes many varieties ranging from a dressier cold weather staple for women indoors, to an outdoor layer in cooler weather, to a more casual option for men.

Shetland Crewneck Sweater, Plain or Cable, Best Made in the UK

...Somewhat less refined jersey than lambswool, slightly thicker and coarser,  but often worn in a similar fashion.

His and Hers Navy Shetland Crew Necks

Shaggy Dogs


...Tightly woven water resistant hard-core jersey;  made only in Guernsey; virtually impossible to wear out.

This striped version is very popular with the yachties who visit the island.

Guernsey Sweaters Arrive at the Royal Male <> in a Potato Bag. Photograph sent by Royal Male; used with permission.



...Not invented by L.L. Bean, merely imported; made only in Norway

F.L. Woods Sopwith

...A quite practical "second skin" garment.

In Forest

In Navy

Hillwalker and other Rib-Knit Sweaters and Jumpers - Made in Ireland

...For colder weather; thick and tightly woven, almost "spongy", and difficult to see light through the weave when held up.


Lambswool Crew Necks and V-necks, Plain or Cable, Best Made in the UK

...Includes a more formal version; at home under a tweed jacket.

Sweater samples sent by Le Tricoteur, Cordings, F.L. Woods, and Aran Sweater Market.


  1. The lovely sweaters make me look forward to fall, and I would love to find a pleated skirt like the one shown in the photo of the his and her navy sweaters.

  2. I don't think a person can ever have too many navy blue sweaters.

  3. I'm wondering whether the Cordings lambswool cable knits (note the saddle shoulder) are replacing the shetlands for autumn and winter. Their key supplier have closed over a year ago. However, Cordings has a much bigger range of knitwear, including cardigans, this year.

  4. It's true, wool sweaters have come a long way. I have some vintage sweaters of my mother's, and I have pullovers from my school days. They are the 'good' variety and seem to be indestructible - we take care of them but not with any fuss. However, they don't hold a candle to the feel of the new merino wools, which can be worn directly next to the skin regardless of style and are divine. They do require TLC so I guess it's something of a trade-off.

  5. Le Tricoteur isn't the only Guernsey sweater maker, but it is the most expensive, and not necessarily the best. On a recent two-week tour of Brittany, my wife and I made a day trip to Guernsey, just so we could buy the sweaters. Instead of Le Tricoteur, we opted to visit Guernsey Woolens ( Their sweaters are made on the island, and much less expensive. Buying from the family-run factory (which is surprisingly small), we saved $ 25-30. The father and son who now run the business were extremely gracious. They spent a lot of time with us, and even gave us a tour. Because I had to have one sweater made, they delivered all of our sweaters (6 in total) to our hotel. When we stopped by Le Tricoteur later in the day, just to compare, we didn't receive the same treatment. If you want good-value, at a good price, I highly recommend Guernsey woolens.

    1. I wholeheartedly concur with your recommendation of Guernsey Woollens, Anonymous 2:35am. They also custom made my sweater during a visit to their shop. Hope you had time on your day trip to Guernsey to visit Hauteville House, Victor Hugo's residence while in exile. The views of the English Channel from the upper floors of his home are amazing.

  6. I am a truly great fan or every type of sweater, so I wear them also in the summer, I think a good sweater, a cable knit, argyle or just a classic model, especially on the tone of blue (love it!) are a perfect "accessory" for every preppy outfit, isn't it?