It’s on Sale: Anniversary Sale at Neighbour

Vancouver’s Neighbour (that “u” lets you know it’s Vancouver, British Columbia) is having a sale to celebrate its third anniversary. Nearly all their stock is 20% off, including a lot of spring/summer and staple items. Basic shipping to the U.S. is a flat $15, which is better than you get from many U.S. stores. The sale includes Unis’s popular, slim chinos, Our Legacy dad-wash jeans, Patrik Ervell’s architectural normcore, Neighbour’s own Scotland-made shaggy shetland sweaters, Shuron sunglasses, and Porter accessories, as well as other good stuff like Bresciani socks and Frank Leder’s interesting, Deutsch take on folkwear. Sale ends April 13, and sales are final.

-Pete

Shetland Sweaters for Fall

There was some confusion after my post yesterday on Shaggy Dogs, where some readers were unsure what’s the difference between Shaggys and what’s commonly referred to as “Shetland sweaters.” Simply: Shaggy Dogs are just one of the many types of Shetlands that exist, and not all Shetlands are shaggy.

What’s a Shetland Sweater?

Shetlands get their name from the Shetland Islands, which are located halfway to Norway off the north coast of Scotland. Due to the region’s harsh conditions, the sheep there produce a sturdy, lightweight, long staple wool fiber, which is typically plucked instead of shorn. This wool is made into a very sturdy fabric, which is then turned into garments. Woven Shetlands are relatively rare, and when you see them, they’re usually in sport coats. Much more common are knitted fabrics, which are used for sweaters.

Shetland sweaters were originally made by peasant women on the islands, and came with a strong, smoked herring smell because of the way the wool would absorb domestic odors. It’s said that on damp days, the smell would become unbearable. These early sweaters were often knitted with distinctive patterns that were developed on the island over a period of centuries, but over time, they mainly came in one of four forms: plain, cabled, Fair Isle, or brushed (J. Press invented the hairy, brushed version, and they called it their “Shaggy Dog”). Thus, the term “Shetland sweater” – while formally referring to a very specific knit – now simply just means any sweater that’s made from that hardy, slightly itchy Shetland wool (brushed or not).

Where To Get A Good, Plain-Knit Shetland

Shaggys are certainly distinctive, but almost anyone with a classic sense of dress can wear a plain-knit Shetland. I particularly like mine with chinos or corduroys, and layer them over thick oxford-cloth button-down shirts. They’re more casual than your typical merino or cashmere sweater (the kind you find in almost any store), but dressy enough to wear underneath a sport coat. Plus, I think guys just look awesome in them. Evidence is above.

If you’re looking for a plain version, let me recommend who I think sells the best: O’Connell’s. They’re expensive at $165 (and never go on sale), but they’re the Goldilocks of Shetlands. Not as thick as Bill’s Khakis, and not as thin as Brooks Brothers’, they’re just right. The Andover Shop also has something similar, but I favor O’Connell’s saddle shoulder design. If you get one, I recommend sizing up from your sport coat size. They should also be restocking on sizes in a couple of weeks, and getting in a few new colors.

Other good, traditional Shetlands can be found at Cable Car Clothiers and Ben Silver, while slimmer interpretations can be had through Howlin’ of Morrison, Albam, and Norse Projects. There’s also Harley of Scotland (available through Bahles and Neighbour), Peter Blance, and Fisherman Out of Ireland, but I have no firsthand experience with those. Made-to-measure versions can be bought through Spirit of Shetland. If you go custom just remember: it’s better to err on the size of full than small, as you can slim a sweater down, but you can’t add material where there isn’t any.

(Photos via Heavy Tweed Jacket)

Alternatives to J. Press’ Shaggy Dogs
Pete’s post yesterday reminded me of how much I also regret not buying those Shaggy Dog sweaters when they were “just” $160. On sale, that price occasionally dropped to $108, but fat chance you’ll see them go that low now. At this point, you can expect a sale price of around $172.50 with J. Press’ usual 25%-off discount, which is north of what they used to sell for at full retail just a few years ago. 
There are some alternatives though. The now defunct Ralph Lauren Rugby line used to make brushed Shetlands, and every once in a while, you’ll see them still floating around eBay for between $50 and $110. The sweater isn’t as thick and densely knitted as J. Press’, but it fits slimmer and has smaller armholes (the second of which I really appreciate). It also has sueded elbow patches, but I imagine those can be carefully removed with a seam ripper if they’re not to your liking. 
Howlin’ of Morrison also has a model towards the end of this page. I really like their Shetlands (this particular piece looks fantastic), but find their brushed version a bit thin (from memory, slightly thinner than even Rugby’s). On the upside, they also fit slimmer than Press’, which might be good for some builds. 
Other options include these pieces by Edifice x Present, Present, William Fox & Sons, Drake’s, John Tulloch, and Neighbour. Of those, I’ve only handled Neighbour’s, which are, again, thinner but potentially better fitting. Some of the prices here aren’t that much cheaper than what J. Press is asking, but it’s nice to have options when sale season comes. I also think there’s a potential for the York Street version to go on deeper discount than J. Press’ mainline stuff, but only time will tell. 
Lastly, MKI also used to carry some last year, but they’ve since sold out. Might be worth keeping an eye on their webstore to see if they’ll restock. 

Alternatives to J. Press’ Shaggy Dogs

Pete’s post yesterday reminded me of how much I also regret not buying those Shaggy Dog sweaters when they were “just” $160. On sale, that price occasionally dropped to $108, but fat chance you’ll see them go that low now. At this point, you can expect a sale price of around $172.50 with J. Press’ usual 25%-off discount, which is north of what they used to sell for at full retail just a few years ago. 

There are some alternatives though. The now defunct Ralph Lauren Rugby line used to make brushed Shetlands, and every once in a while, you’ll see them still floating around eBay for between $50 and $110. The sweater isn’t as thick and densely knitted as J. Press’, but it fits slimmer and has smaller armholes (the second of which I really appreciate). It also has sueded elbow patches, but I imagine those can be carefully removed with a seam ripper if they’re not to your liking. 

Howlin’ of Morrison also has a model towards the end of this page. I really like their Shetlands (this particular piece looks fantastic), but find their brushed version a bit thin (from memory, slightly thinner than even Rugby’s). On the upside, they also fit slimmer than Press’, which might be good for some builds. 

Other options include these pieces by Edifice x Present, Present, William Fox & SonsDrake’s, John Tulloch, and Neighbour. Of those, I’ve only handled Neighbour’s, which are, again, thinner but potentially better fitting. Some of the prices here aren’t that much cheaper than what J. Press is asking, but it’s nice to have options when sale season comes. I also think there’s a potential for the York Street version to go on deeper discount than J. Press’ mainline stuff, but only time will tell. 

Lastly, MKI also used to carry some last year, but they’ve since sold out. Might be worth keeping an eye on their webstore to see if they’ll restock. 

Dana Lee Sample Sale

I’m always excited to see a sample sale go up in any other city but New York (they seem to get all the great clothing events). Dana Lee is holding their sample sale this Friday through Sunday in Los Angeles. The address is 7151 Beverly Blvd. and doors will be open from 9am until 6pm all three days. I recently checked out their line at Neighbour (a great store if you’re ever in Vancouver), and thought they had some really nice basics.