Flecked Sweaters for Fall

I don’t know if it’s too early to talk about knitwear, but I’ve been thinking about flecked sweaters a lot lately. Sometimes these are called speckled sweaters, sometimes Donegal sweaters, and sometimes even tweed sweaters. Not because they’re actually from Donegal (a county in Ireland), but because the irregular flecks of color on these yarns are reminiscent of the region’s hallmark tweeds.

The nice thing about flecked sweaters is that they can add a bit of visual interest where a solid knit might be too boring. I find this useful when wearing a sweater alone (over a shirt, but without a jacket). There’s just something about a very smooth, plain-colored merino, worn with wool or cotton trousers, that can sometimes feel a bit too uninspired (though, they do work well underneath tailored sport coats).

There are a number of brands with flecked sweaters this fall. At the top of the price pyramid end is Inis Meain, who makes them in a pure cashmere and wool-cashmere blend. Those are available at A Suitable Wardrobe, Barneys New York, Manufactum, and Frans Boone. Inis Meain makes some of my favorite knitwear in the world, and I find their quality to be unsurpassed, but their popularity in Japan and Europe has made them very expensive. If you’re not deterred by the price, Barney’s also has a few half zip sweaters by Fioroni worth considering.

For something a bit more affordable, check out these options by Drumohr, Billy Reid, Saturdays Surf NYC, APC, and Orvis. J Crew also has something on sale through their Wallace & Barnes line, and an extra 25% can be taken off at the moment with the checkout code FALLSTYLE. Perhaps most promising are these Howlin’ by Morrison Shetlands, which come in light grey, charcoal, and red (I really dig the light grey, personally). 

There’s also a range of Irish makers, none of whom I have any direct experience with. If you’re open to giving them a try, a quick Google search will reveal a number of retailers. Maybe start with Aran Sweater Market, Aran Sweater Shop, and Magee. This seller on eBay also has a range of intriguing options starting at $70.

Most affordable of all is J Crew’s mainline. They’ve done a number of these sweaters in the past and you can still find many of them floating around on eBay. J Crew’s knits, from my experience, stretch out pretty easily, but if the price is right, they can be a good buy. This one, for example, is available for $30 (the cut looks pretty boxy though). Mr. Porter also has this blue version brand new for $90. That’ll probably make it to their end-of-season sale, where it’ll be discounted by 50-70%. 

It’s On Sale: Billy Reid flannel trousers
Billy Reid has moved their fall-winter inventory into final sale and their flannel trousers are now $123 (about half of their original $245 price). There’s still a full range of sizes for their charcoal pair (above), which have the versatility to go with a range of jackets ranging from tweed sport coats to navy blazers. 
-Kiyoshi

It’s On Sale: Billy Reid flannel trousers

Billy Reid has moved their fall-winter inventory into final sale and their flannel trousers are now $123 (about half of their original $245 price). There’s still a full range of sizes for their charcoal pair (above), which have the versatility to go with a range of jackets ranging from tweed sport coats to navy blazers. 

-Kiyoshi

It’s On Sale: Billy Reid

Sale items at Billy Reid are an additional 20% off with code NEWYEAR, now through January 2. Some of the best deals worth checking out are the trousers, which hover just north of $100 after the discount — including these flecked tweed trousers. Also, their cashmere v-necks are $158. 

-Kiyoshi

The Five Days of Summer Series, Part II: Plimsolls

Let’s be honest - nothing beats the comfort of sneakers. That comfort comes in handy when you’re taking long strolls during those warm summer days. Thus, for the second installment of this summer series, let’s talk about plimsolls. 

"Plimsoll" is a British term for shoes with a canvas upper and rubber sole. The first was invented in the 1830s by Liverpool Rubber Company and designed for beachwear. As such, its original name was "sand shoe." It wasn’t until the 1870s actually that the name plimsoll took hold. The new name derived from the horizontal colored stripe that ran along the upper part of the sole, which resembled the Plimsoll line on a ship’s hull. Like the line on ships, the stripe on the shoe was a kind of waterline (though it was clearly for just aesthetic purposes). 

These days, the plimsoll isn’t necessarily just for beachwear. People wear them everywhere, and they make for great summer shoes. So let’s review a few. 

To me, there are three classics - Superga, Spring Court, and Converse. Superga is an Italian label, and if you’ve been reading me for a while, you already know about my predilection for Italian menswear. It’s not just that they’re Italian that makes them my favorite, however. I think they’re the simplest of the plimsolls, and thus are much easier to wear. 

Spring Court is another classic; they’re made in France and the most comfortable of the plimsolls I’ve worn. I would recommend them if you’re comfortable with the bumps and bumpers on the sole.

Finally, of the classics, there is also Converse, which make the iconic American plimsoll that we’re all familiar with. The two most popular models are the Chuck Taylor All Stars, which come in both low and high tops, and Jack Purcell. Chuck Taylors are great because they’ll still look good when they’re beat to hell. Jack Purcells are basically plimsolls with a smile, which we know makes everything look better. Also, in an interesting team-up, Converse recently collaborated with Mackintosh to make a Jack Purcell model out of Mackintosh’s famed rubberized cotton. It’s more of a novelty shoe for menswear geeks, but I really like it. 

There are also great models outside of the classics. Feiyue are the monk shoes of plimsolls - meaning they were first worn by Shaolin monks and other martial artists. They were originally a Chinese company but have been since bought by a French sneakerhead who has made the shoe popular among footwear fanatics. They come in both low and high tops, and are most distinguishable by the red and blue stripes on the side. There are also Tretorns, which are Swedish plimsolls, and a new collaboration piece between Billy Reid and K Swiss. The Billy Reid x K Swiss may not be a classic, but I think it’s a pretty damn nice looking shoe that would look great with any casual summer wardrobe. 

Finally, there are CVOs - canvas vulcanized oxfords. For these, you can get Vans Authentics and Converse. Sperry Topsider also released a slightly vintage looking model for their 75th anniversary. 

If you get a pair of plimsolls, I recommend white, as nothing looks better in the summer. Some may worry that white canvas shoes are hard to keep clean. Personally, I think they look best with a little dirt on them. However, if you do want to keep them a bit brighter, try spraying a 50/50 mix of water and lemon juice, gently scrubbing for a bit, and letting them sit for a full day. For more serious stains, mix a tablespoon of baking soda and touch of water, and then rub the sticky paste onto the stain. Don’t worry too much about them though. They’re casual shoes and meant to be treated as such. 

(thanks to Edwin and LAS for help with this article)

Our pals from Street Etiquette and the talented designer Billy Reid visited with Guy Roz over at All Things Considered. Happy to hear from them, and nice to see that NPR picked the right folks (well… given that they didn’t pick us).

It’s On Sale
Billy Reid Cashmere-Wool Sweater
Summer sale season is in full swing, and Billy Reid has discounts up to 75%.  I particularly like the sportcoats for casual wear.  The summer coats are largely unlined and very comfortable even in warm weather, and the very short body length is a nice casual look, though not appropriate for business.  My experience with BR sizing is that you should size up one (I go from 42L to 44L, and L to XL).
$118 From $295 at Billy Reid

It’s On Sale

Billy Reid Cashmere-Wool Sweater

Summer sale season is in full swing, and Billy Reid has discounts up to 75%.  I particularly like the sportcoats for casual wear.  The summer coats are largely unlined and very comfortable even in warm weather, and the very short body length is a nice casual look, though not appropriate for business.  My experience with BR sizing is that you should size up one (I go from 42L to 44L, and L to XL).

$118 From $295 at Billy Reid

Billy Reid in his shop. It’s amazing to me that the fashion world has embraced the long-term perspective on dressing. Of course, there’s a lot of simulacra going on - even Reid (who makes great stuff) alludes to that in this video with his description of processing cotton duck. Still, this is so much better than the alternatives. SO much better.

Billy Reid was awarded GQ’s Men’s Designer of the Year award, and it’s well-deserved.  Reid exemplifies what we’re trying to guide you towards here at Put This On: a grown-up style that’s both traditional and expressive.  We also love hearing someone talk about quality details like natural fabrics and buttons.  Good for Billy Reid, says we.

It’s On Sale!
Thanks to our people at The Choosy Beggar for the heads up on the Fall Billy Reid sale online.  This pretty shirt is $99 down from $165, and it’s only one of a pile of Very Pretty Things on offer at discount prices (that are still pretty high).

It’s On Sale!

Thanks to our people at The Choosy Beggar for the heads up on the Fall Billy Reid sale online.  This pretty shirt is $99 down from $165, and it’s only one of a pile of Very Pretty Things on offer at discount prices (that are still pretty high).