Finagon cardigan Smedley x Permanent Style



Last year I began working with John Smedley on our next project – the perfect cardigan. 

The requirements were:

  • It had to be thin enough to wear year-round (and under a jacket). 
  • It had to be slim enough to perform the same function, also making it more flattering than the vast majority of cardigans. 
  • Finally, and perhaps most importantly, it had to be the right length. 

Most cardigans are simply too long. That’s the biggest reason why they bag out around the waist – the combination of long length and tight webbing. Guys who wear tailoring often have to undo the bottom three buttons of cardigans to avoid this happening. It’s particularly bad with high-waisted trousers. 

The result of our work was the Finagon: a slim, sleeveless cardigan knitted in Smedley’s 30-gauge merino. It has a superior fit, works beautifully with tailoring and, length-wise, sits perfectly with both chinos (Incotex straight-cut, below) and high-waisted trousers. 

Finagon cardigan Smedley x Permanent Style4

But this is different from previous collaborations in one important aspect. You can buy it now, to be shipped instantly, in 14 colours

Previous collaborations such as the Dartmoor were made on a pre-order basis in order to keep down both costs and risk. The success of those projects enabled us to make the leap with Finagon, and make it part of the full A/W 2014 collection. So it is all knitted, sitting in stock and available for you and anyone else to buy. 

Those 14 colours include classic navy (‘midnight’) and some of my all-time favourites: deep green (‘racing’); a teal colour (‘Egyptian blue’); and dark purple (‘Italian plum’). All will look great with navy suits, chinos and flannels. Deep green is the most versatile; I plan to acquire at least four. 

As a Permanent Style reader, you can get free shipping on any order – not insignificant, given the majority of Dartmoor sales came from North America and Asia. 

Simply use the code FINFREEPOST at checkout and get a leap over the general public. That code won’t be around forever – it runs out on September 10 – so get in there now. 

As with anything bought from Smedley, their full exchanges and returns options also apply

There are more details of the product on the John Smedley site. If you have any questions, please ask in the comment section below.

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Looks great. I’m definitely going to purchase a couple.


Hi Simon, will it be stocked in any of their stores?


Hi Simon
Will the Finagon be available at the Smedley shop in London or is it online only ?
It looks great and can’t wait to try it on.


Would it be possible to add some garment measurements, eg, actual garment length and chest measurement. I saw that the Smedely website only had chest measurement range indications and I find it much easier to determine fit when the actual garment is measured. The cardigan looks very nice!

Matt Biffa

What size are you wearing, Simon? Thanks in advance x


Away slightly from the Cardi itself, that is a great look in the picture at the top. I would love to see more reccomendations and advice on similar looks – grown up smart casual.


Hi Simon, the cardigan looks superb, but may I ask what trousers you are wearing in the photos above?


Looks great. Unfortunately the Racing Green in Medium is out of stock. I have gone for Italian Plum


Simon. Slightly off the point but where do you find Incotex Trousers in anything other than their slim fit? They are too slim if you are over 50!


Hi Simon,
Do you know what? I definitely like your innovative mind!
I presume that we are just at the beginning…

Paul Weide

Smashing. I see one in Racing Green with my name on it.


Very nice Simon, and very nice ‘reveal’ from the previous post. Does this cardigan work for those of us – ahem – developing a slight paunch, or do you really need a flat stomach to wear it well? Any plans for a long-sleeve version?

Rob O

Hi Simon, great collaboration, must invest in one as I tried the JS Gerrard and had to return it for reasons mentioned above. I will need to redouble my cycling regime as I suspect anything other than a washboard stomach is going to look wrong. What shirt are you wearing by the way – a bespoke linen?


Is the fit different than the current slim fit waistcoats Gerrard/Wentworth?

Vincent Chow

Any chance it will be offered in XS?


It looks fantastic, but Racing Green has already sold out in most sizes. Are there any plans to get any more in stock?

Jeremy Blackett

Please, please post more over 60s’ fashion ideas. You’re such an inspiration.


Do you not rate the drakes ones??

James Marwood

Great idea Simon. I’ve experimented with having pullovers shortened, with limited results. I do find Hackett do some decent shortish cardigans but nothing like this.

If you can, please could you post waist measurements along with the length?


Great product. Will have to pick up a few!

Is the lengt about the same as other JS slim fit products (for example Exeter)?

I am bulding up my knitwear wardrobe and have another question for you: What’s your take on v-neck pullovers? Should the v be deep or shallow? And are there materials that work good and bad with v-necks?

Thank you!

Paul Weide

Anonymous is right. They’re out of deep green. Drat. I see, however, that some guy named “SC” has four mediums for sale on eBay at twice the retail price.


Hi Simon, thanks for the post.

Do you think John Smedley would ever consider putting into its permanent collection your Dartmoor polo?


Hopefully this is taken in the way its intended.

Recently there has been a bit of an explosion of journalists turned subject matter experts in the topics they write about. As one that actually answers peoples query I’d therefore be interested in your views.

I read your blog and think its great. I appreciate learning about tailoring in general and the efforts you go to looking into companies etc. Ultimately however you’ve really only first hand experience of dressing yourself and commissioning clothing for yourself.

On the flip side tailors, shoe makers etc have experience of making products for a range of different people, shapes, challenges etc. If your collaboration projects with the likes of Smedley are producing much better designed products than they make on their own, what are they doing so wrong as not to create such products themselves without your input?


Many thanks for a comprehensive reply. Its absolutely your breadth of experience which makes your blog and opinions very interesting to read.

On your comment of “big brands”, are you referring to the likes of Smedley or more referring to high street brands? Perhaps I underestimate the scale of Smedley.

I know the alleged quote of Henry Ford about not doing customer research because if he’d asked they’d have said a faster carriage rather than a car but it does sound as if some of these companies are somewhat stuck in a rut if they arent proactively engaging with customers/usergroups etc to innovate products. Similarly market trends, competitor analysis etc. If the trend is for Neapolitan tailoring then they should really be looking into this themselves and not being reliant on a “blogger” coming to visit them.

Where we talk about tiny companies then its understandable that they probably dont have R&D/ product development teams etc but you mention these are large manufacturers etc and so really they should. 50% of my work is in this area though outside of clothing and whilst its costly to do short runs etc to test products its a lot less expensive than missing a large opportunity by simply sitting on your historic products and stagnating.

I’ll get off my soap box now and continue enjoying your blog.



I have a question about lapel gape. I have a build almost exactly like Antonio Bracciani that you once described and on quite a lot of jackets I try in the stores I get lapel gape effect (collapsing of fabric along the lapel roll line). It seems to be less noticeable on jacket that has waist jacket button little above the waist than on jackets with higher button positioning. My tailor sad this cant be fixed and its better not to buy the jacket. Is this true? Is going bespoke the only way to eliminate this? Are high button jackets current fashion (I say this after trying Gucci and Canali jackets and they have high button placement)? What is your take on Mr Flusser statement (taken from his book): waist button 1/2 inch above waist (to me it makes sense).

John C Vesey

Please proceed with the Dartmoor!!! The sooner the better


Hi Simon,
Another run of the Dartmoor would be fantastic. Not sure if you remember but I contacted you about other makes since I missed the last Dartmoor run. In that time, I have tried a number of different makes–LP, Doriani, Zanone–and none of them are right. I would definitely love to see you bring back a run of navy as I think it would be most versatile, but racing green, burgundy or pretty much any other classic color would be lovely. Cheers.

John C Vesey

Thank you again for creating new product as well as initiating more shopping with outstanding men’s apparel entities. I first bought sweaters from Smedley after your joint Dartmoor creation. Now, I have gone back to them, thanks to you, as their new colors with a variety of products are just terrific. I have already made a purchase and shall make more once I try one on for size. Equally of value, I have sent them an email expressing my appreciation for your efforts for both buyers and sellers in this market!!!


I think I prefer a long sleved cardigan even though I can see the idea of a sleeveless one i.e under a jacket.
Have You ever considered a JS shawl-collar sweater for Your next collabation with them – Something to wear at the weekends perhaps with a shirt and knitted tie. The ones I can find is rater chunky – I would like one in the same wool as the dartmoor. Or do You know any knitted there is as described?

James Marwood

Frank, I got one from Cordings a couple of years ago which is not too chunky. I don’t know if they still offer them, but it may suit?


Hi Simon – where is the white shirt from in the image? Button down but good collar!


I’m told by the (excellent) Smedley customer service people that the actual chest measurement (width under the armpit) of M is approx 50cm, L is 55cm, and XL is 60cm.

This is much more useful data than the silly sizing “guide” on the website. That said, I’ve always found Smedley’s website and customer service to be excellent. If you have any questions, they do have a live operator on their website to assist you in “real time”.

Matthew V

Hi Simon,

I just tried the free postage code and checked with John Smedley. They thought the code/offer was only valid with the Racing Green colour, is that correct? I am going for (yet another thing in..!) Midnight.

I have a Zanone waistcoat that looks similar so it will be interesting to compare. I have, however, been a fan of the JS 30 gauge merino wool for many years.

Many thanks for working with JS on the Finagon.


Matthew V

Hi again Simon,

All worked fine, just had to log in to my account first. Many thanks – a Finagon in Midnight is on its way!



Hi Simon,

Im just wondering about the shirt you wear on this picture, what is the material called?

It looks very god and casual.


Simon, I really like the cardigan look and am partial to the Smedley Bryn model. When wearing a collared shirt,with or without a tie, underneath the cardigan should the collar be inside or outside the cardigan or is just a matter of personal preference?


Dear Simon,
will the Finagon cardigan come back in F/W 16?

William Foster

Hi- I’m a little behind in that I just purchased your book (loved it) so I’m playing catch-up. The Smedley website has the Finagon waistcoat in Indigo and Midnight. What color are you wearing in the picture? It looks like Navy but they don’t offer that as a color option interestingly. If that is indeed the case, which of the above two colors would most likely fit my needs if Navy was what I was looking for? Thanks for your time….and the book!- Bill

William Foster

Excellent- thanks so much Simon!


Really need advice.
I am small and moderately slim. I would consider the Finagon or the Drake waistcoat in lambswool to go under jacket made of tweed.
Which would you advise? have you tried the Drake waistcoat?
Is camel softer than lambswool?


Hi Simon

Any non-Smedley slim sleeveless cardigans you can recommend?



Thanks. I think the Shetland ones may be too thick to wear under a jacket. I’d normally go with a Smedley easy fit, which fits slim on me, but they look to be phasing out this fit in favour of the standard fit.


Hi Simon,
I notice the Huntswood at Smedley’s, as of this writing, closely resembles the Finagon. I did find one page that used the phrase, “replacing the Finagon, the Hunstwood…” Do you have any idea if the Finagon lives on with a new name?


Hi, Simon. Have just checked the John Smedley website, I cannot see the Finagon, have they stopped making it or have they changed the name? If they have stopped it, which one is more like the Finagon?


Are there any out there you can recommend, Simon?


Late to the game, but the armory carries some. They are more rounded in shape though. The waist is a bit tighter

Matthew V

Hi Simon,

How about the Flexwool gilets from Zanone? I have a navy one and other than the larger buttons it is a similar fit to my Finagon. I’m a size 48 in the gilet (50 in the other knitwear) and a M in John Smedley.


Hi Simon, any plans of reviving this project? Maybe with someone else in case Smedley doesn’t want to be involved anymore. It’s too good of a piece to not be available anymore!



Learning of your site in the last couple of years, I’m late to the game on the Finagon. It has since been discontinued from Smedley’s permanent collection and replaced with the Huntswood. The latter is of the same gauge merino wool but not as fitted as the Finagon. Do you have any experience with the Huntswood? Some have cautioned me against it, saying that it does not sit well under a jacket. Whether you have tried the Huntswood or not, are there other cardigan waistcoats that you could recommend for wearing under a vest? Thanks.


Seems like a great cardigan Simon. Would PS consider releasing them in a smaller size for a 32-34″ chest?


Is it possible to custom order from PS then a garment this small?