• I'm happy to introduce the Styleforum Happy Hour, our brand new podcast featuring lively discussion about menswear and the fashion industry. In the inaugural edition, a discussion of what's going on in retail today. Please check it out on the Journal. All episodes will be also be available soon on your favorite podcast platform.

  • Styleforum Gives - Holiday Charity Auction 7: Castangia from SARTORIALE

    We are very proud to present this year's edition of the Styleforum Holiday Charity Auctions, this year in support of the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Spokane (www.rmhcspokane.org). Each Auction lasts 24 hours. Please follow and bid on all the auctions.

    The 6th auction is for a Castangia Suit or Sportcoat from SARTORIALE Please bid often and generously here

    Fok and the Styleforum Team.

  • STYLE. COMMUNITY. GREAT CLOTHING.

    Bored of counting likes on social networks? At Styleforum, you’ll find rousing discussions that go beyond strings of emojis.

    Click Here to join Styleforum's thousands of style enthusiasts today!

Scottish Cashmere Sweaters

Don K

Member
Joined
Oct 21, 2008
Messages
5
Reaction score
0
Some personal observations on Scottish Cashmere Sweaters (or Jumpers if you insist!) - not intended to be comprehensive or authoritative ... Please contribute you own observations and experiences!

My first cashmere sweaters were purchased on sale at half price at Latham House on Third Avenue in New York City in the mid 1980's. They were two McGeorge V Necks in Oatmeal and Yellow at half price. Well, Latham House is long gone and I managed to wear out the Oatmeal V Neck long ago, but I still have the one in Yellow. If anything it has improved with age since I only hand washed it in Woolite; never dry cleaned it; and rationed wearing it.

McGeorge went out of business circa 1996. Although I liked the basic shape and styling of their sweaters (in Shetland Wool as well as Cashmere), I found the quality rather hit or miss. When they were good they were terrific, however sizing was inconsistent and some of them were prone to pilling. Today, I still own five of them in Cashmere and one in a Shetland Wool Cardigan with a Shawl collar. I confess to a certain amount of nostalgia attached to them.

For overall quality, I still feel that Ballantyne is probably unmatched. I own three V necks, all purchased on eBay. One is utilitarian; one is excellent; and the other one is absolutely superb. After getting used to fully fashioned sweaters with saddle shoulders, the Ballantyne "inset sleeve" took some getting used to, but I have to admit that I want more Ballantynes!

My other Cashmere sweaters include two beautiful Peter Scott cable knit crew necks purchased BIN on eBay. They were New With Tags at $140 and originally retailed for $400. In addition, I bought a nice rib knit pullover with a V Neck made by Scott & Charters at Best of Scotland in New York. At $375, I was disappointed when it began to pill.

The Peter Scott and Scott & Charters sweaters need to be taken in at the waist. It's tough to find a tailor who can do it properly. My problem is that I have at least a 12" drop from my chest to my waist. This makes it practically impossible for me to buy a good suit off the rack.

Over the years, I have owned a couple of Pringles, but I didn't like them. I only had Drumohr in Shetland Wool. Since I have no experience with Johnstons of Elgin; William Lockie; Lyle & Scott; Murray Allen and John Laing (alas, the latter two now out of business), I hope that other members will share their opinions about them on this thread.

Today Scottish Cashmere is beginning to look like an endangered species. Unfortunately, they are not as plentiful as they used to be on eBay. Retail sources are dwindling. Hopefully, someone with inside information will give us an accurate report on the state of the health of the Hawick knitwear industry. From the research that I've done online, it sounds alarming.
 

Tidybeard

Senior Member
Joined
Nov 3, 2007
Messages
499
Reaction score
22
Great post. From a purely subjective viewer of SF perspective I think the demand isn't there. I see a lot of pics and comments on Italian cashmere (Cucinelli seems popular at the moment) and people (even on B&S) seem to be prepared to pay top dollar for it.

I personally think Scottish cashmere is the best available but I do think I'm in the minority. I recently listed several John Laird and N Peal NWT cashmere sweaters in good sizes with non-offensive colours and styles on B&S and didn't get a single enquiry, even when I dropped the price to $175. On the same day, several Cucinelli sweaters sold very quickly for twice the price. (Note this wasn't a problem for me as I could return the sweaters to my supplier, but it means I won't consider buying Scottish cashmere to list again). I do own a few by Barrie and a John Laird and love them dearly.

As with a number of other old-world UK industries, I fear that the Scots wool market is on its last legs, a real shame. Hopefully the recent resurgence of the dollar against the pound will help, but I don't hold out much hope, especially as the dollar has been weak against the Euro for a while and it doesn't seem to have hurt the Italians too much. Marketing?

Cheers,

TB
 

Don K

Member
Joined
Oct 21, 2008
Messages
5
Reaction score
0
Originally Posted by Tidybeard
Great post. From a purely subjective viewer of SF perspective I think the demand isn't there. I see a lot of pics and comments on Italian cashmere (Cucinelli seems popular at the moment) and people (even on B&S) seem to be prepared to pay top dollar for it.

I personally think Scottish cashmere is the best available but I do think I'm in the minority. I recently listed several John Laird and N Peal NWT cashmere sweaters in good sizes with non-offensive colours and styles on B&S and didn't get a single enquiry, even when I dropped the price to $175. On the same day, several Cucinelli sweaters sold very quickly for twice the price. (Note this wasn't a problem for me as I could return the sweaters to my supplier, but it means I won't consider buying Scottish cashmere to list again). I do own a few by Barrie and a John Laird and love them dearly.

As with a number of other old-world UK industries, I fear that the Scots wool market is on its last legs, a real shame. Hopefully the recent resurgence of the dollar against the pound will help, but I don't hold out much hope, especially as the dollar has been weak against the Euro for a while and it doesn't seem to have hurt the Italians too much. Marketing?

Cheers,

TB

Never owned any of the brands that you mentioned. Apparently, Dawson International still owns Barrie and they have bought out John Laing and merged the operations. When N. Peal had a store in New York, I thought their sweaters seemed overpriced for their quality. Berk used to have a wonderful New York store on Madison Avenue with a great array of Ballantynes that were too rich for my blood at the time. Bought several pairs of Edward Green shoes there at half price, but that's another story.

Regrettably, I fear that you may be right regarding the lack of demand for Scottish Cashmere today. Scottish knitwear might being going the way of American selvedge denim - a pricey specialty item at best. Personally, I do not care for the Italian style sense when it is applied to knitwear. Yes, it can be bellisima, but it doesn't strike me as being masculine.

As a baby boomer, my style sense is still strongly rooted in British Style. My first quality sweaters were by Alan Paine and Cox Moore. After I discovered Scottish knitwear, I rarely looked back to the English made product, with the exception of John Smedley Sea Island Cotton and Merino Wool shirts.

If you like British fashion, check out www.jamesbondlifestyle.com. As one of those who saw the early Bond films with Sean Connery in their original theatrical release and read the Ian Fleming books, there is no denying what an influence they were on my taste.
 

bartil

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 8, 2008
Messages
74
Reaction score
0
Though Alan Paine's apparently not the real (scottish) deal, how does their cashmere, lambswool resp. merino crew-neck sweaters stand up against, for example, the manufacturers of the Scottish Cashmere Club?

I discovered Paine's outletstore, wwwp.ap-outlet.co.uk, today, and found that the sweaters is almost half the price of the retailers from where I live.

Are these sweaters something worth invest in for a quite poor student, or a complete waist of money?
 

Don K

Member
Joined
Oct 21, 2008
Messages
5
Reaction score
0
Checked out the Alan Paine outlet web site and they look very promising. Just make sure that they are manufactured in the UK. Compare them to the ones that are offered online by Johnstons of Elgin and William Lockie. Stay with classic styles and versatile colors. Make certain that you learn how to take care of them properly. No matter what brand you buy, treat them as an investment and they should serve you well for years to come.
 

RJmanbearpig

Distinguished Member
Joined
Oct 19, 2008
Messages
1,974
Reaction score
2
What a knowledgeable and polite thread.

Alan Paine is having some of its stuff now produced in China -- they were selling in some upscale American department stores two or three years ago with this stuff. Previously I think they were producing in England rather than Scotland. I had a sweater of theirs from that period and it was nice although not quite as tightly knit to the touch as the old Scottish stuff.
 

gomestar

Super Yelper
Joined
Oct 21, 2008
Messages
19,407
Reaction score
3,879
Thom Browne's cashmere pieces are made in Scotland. Some might be Italian, but the majority that I've seen are Scottish. His cashmere pieces are beautiful and cut very slim.

The prices, unfortunately, are astronomically high.
 

unpainted huffheinz

Distinguished Member
Joined
Jan 8, 2008
Messages
1,523
Reaction score
1
Originally Posted by gomestar
Thom Browne's cashmere pieces are made in Scotland. Some might be Italian, but the majority that I've seen are Scottish. His cashmere pieces are beautiful and cut very slim.

The prices, unfortunately, are astronomically high.


There are only a few Scottish makes left so it is probably Ballantyne, Johnstons, etc making it. Black Fleece last year had a 12(!) ply cardigan that was outrageous.
 

gomestar

Super Yelper
Joined
Oct 21, 2008
Messages
19,407
Reaction score
3,879
Originally Posted by unpainted huffheinz
There are only a few Scottish makes left so it is probably Ballantyne, Johnstons, etc making it. Black Fleece last year had a 12(!) ply cardigan that was outrageous.

His stuff is made all over the place - suits in NYC, some shirts in NYC, some in Italy, some cashmere in Scotland, some in italy, shoes in England, wool in Italy, Polos in Italy, etc.

I've seen a lot of the Black Fleece stuff and it can be quite pricey. Still at $800 a sweater, it's half the cost of some of the cashmere sweaters Thom Browne is selling.
 

mainy

Distinguished Member
Joined
Sep 12, 2006
Messages
1,993
Reaction score
796
The best cashmere I own is vintage Brooks Brothers made in Scotland. No idea who the producer was, but the pieces I have are aaaaamazing. Blows Loro Piana out of the water.
 

FIHTies

Distinguished Member
Joined
Apr 28, 2004
Messages
2,959
Reaction score
4
Originally Posted by mainy
The best cashmere I own is vintage Brooks Brothers made in Scotland. No idea who the producer was, but the pieces I have are aaaaamazing. Blows Loro Piana out of the water.
OK. As I am sure that many people want to get some clarification on this could you be so kind as to elaborate in what way Brooks Brothers Blows LP out of the water?
 

mainy

Distinguished Member
Joined
Sep 12, 2006
Messages
1,993
Reaction score
796
Originally Posted by FIHTies


OK. As I am sure that many people want to get some clarification on this could you be so kind as to elaborate in what way Brooks Brothers Blows LP out of the water?

Well, they are many many years older, still aren't pilling and are much softer. Then again, out of the 3 Loro Piana sweaters I own, I have not really been happy with any of them. Sort of overhyped IMO. I seriously doubt the current Brooks stuff is anywhere close to the quality of the vintage sweaters I have.
 

Concordia

Distinguished Member
Dubiously Honored
Joined
Oct 6, 2004
Messages
6,642
Reaction score
978
I was able to snag 3 Murray Allen sweaters (v-necks, flat weave) from FIHT last year. Absolutely fabulous quality, nice fit. If you're not an XL (those are sold out), they are well worth a look.

I don't know who makes T&A's sweaters. Those seem quite good, although either because of the retail price or the reputation I am more careful about wearing those. If you catch them at their annual sale, they are decent value.
 

Styleforum is proudly sponsored by

Featured Sponsor

How many pairs of shoes do you own?

  • 1 - 4

    Votes: 29 3.6%
  • 5 - 10

    Votes: 141 17.4%
  • 11 - 20

    Votes: 265 32.7%
  • 21 - 30

    Votes: 129 15.9%
  • 31 - 40

    Votes: 70 8.6%
  • 41 - 50

    Votes: 48 5.9%
  • 51 - 60

    Votes: 24 3.0%
  • 61 - 70

    Votes: 22 2.7%
  • 71 - 80

    Votes: 17 2.1%
  • 81 - 90

    Votes: 7 0.9%
  • 91 - 100

    Votes: 8 1.0%
  • 100+

    Votes: 51 6.3%

Related Threads

Forum statistics

Threads
428,987
Messages
9,226,842
Members
193,677
Latest member
AlexBad
Top