Re-introducing, the Dartmoor polo-collar sweater!

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Friday, May 17th 2019
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Six years ago, we began a collaboration to create a perfect polo-collar sweater, called the Dartmoor.

It was made by John Smedley, was popular with readers, and sold out several times. Since then, unfortunately, Smedley have discontinued it.

So last year we began the process of recreating it with the Italian factory we work with, Umbria Verde, and I’m really pleased to say that it is finally available again.

Indeed, it is rather improved on the original, in terms of the quality of the merino used, the fineness of the make, and the functionality of the style.

I find a polo-collar sweater like this endlessly useful, because it’s such a smart style of knitwear.

I don’t necessarily want to wear a shirt every day: I instantly feel more relaxed without one, and ironing is never fun.

But wearing just a crewneck or V-neck isn’t that smart. The addition of a collar makes the knitwear much sharper and sartorial, but no less comfortable.

Just as importantly, a crew or V-neck sweater without a shirt underneath is not that flattering on many men.

I see a lot of guys wearing a crewneck as dressed-down office attire. It can look good: casual yet refined.

But just as a collared shirt is more flattering on most men, so too is knitwear with a collar. Especially for anyone with smaller shoulders or a longer neck.

I wear a polo-collar sweater like this with tailored trousers, as shown above, and a blouson or other suede jacket over the top.

I’ll either wear a T-shirt underneath or - as here - a vest.

The only issue with polo-collar sweaters, I find, is that they don’t work under tailoring. The collar has a tendency to collapse under the lapels, or occasionally flap out over the top.

That's a shame, because it’s a great option to have under a tailored jacket: a shirt alternative that’s not as dressed up or seasonal as a roll neck.

So on this new version of the Dartmoor, we worked through several prototypes to improve how the collar sat under tailoring.

We knitted the collar tighter, reinforced the placket with a light fusing, and moved the collar’s position up the neck.

We also experimented with different lengths and angles of collar, to find one that wouldn’t collapse underneath the jacket, or flop outside it.

The result, as you can see from the images, is pretty good.

A knitted collar like this is never going to have the stability of a shirt. It will move around, shift from side to side, and need a touch of adjustment when you put your jacket on.

But it doesn’t readily collapse or flop out, and in that regard does what we wanted. It’s a realistic, elegant alternative to a shirt under tailoring (as many things we’ve done are).

The Dartmoor is made from a fine Loro Piana merino wool: the best merino you can get, but in a slightly thicker yarn than the Finest Knitwear we did previously - in order to be more similar to the original.

It has a placket with three mother-of-pearl buttons, and a ribbed cuff that is designed to be folded back on itself.

This double cuff is a little smarter than a regular one (in the same way a French cuff on a shirt is: no seam is exposed) and also allows a little adjustment in the sleeve length, which is nice.

I’ve continued to use Umbria Verde in Italy for this production because Simone and his team produce to such a high level.

There are little touches of this exceptional quality throughout the garment. For example, the placket is knitted in the same direction as the body of the sweater, making it feel like part of the whole (below, circled). This takes an extra step in production, and almost no one else does it. 

The collar is also fully fashioned together with the body - rather than cutting the collar separately and knitting it on. Again a small point, but it too makes the collar feel part of the rest of the piece, and avoids a hard seam.

The shoulder seam is fashioned using a herringbone style, which you would never notice but gives the seam more stretch than a normal one, and therefore more comfort. (Indicated above with a green line.)

And finally - the easiest thing but probably my favourite - the buttons are fastened with different-length shanks. The bottom two have a long shank to make fastening easier, but the top one has a short shank so the collar sits flat if you do it all the way up.

I've included images the factory sent, above, because I love how excited they were to communicate these things. People never normally ask.

The Dartmoor is only available in navy at the moment, but we’ll do more colours in the future.

As per usual, it’s also good value as we pass on a lot of the savings of only selling online, and don't do wholesale. The Dartmoor costs £215 plus VAT - almost half the price it would be from one of those luxury brands.

The fit is the same as the Finest Knitwear, so anyone that has bought that previously should buy the same size here.

I would describe that fit as moderately slim. It’s nice on me, but also works on less-skinny readers that I’ve seen. For full measurements see the shop page here.

I really hope you like the Dartmoor, and find it useful. In an age of dress-down tailoring, it feels like the kind of thing men will get a lot out of.

Dartmoor worn with:

Photography: James Holborow. Shot around my home in East Dulwich, and its wonderful street art.

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Guillaume

This looks beautiful, Simon. Exactly my style.
I struggle with one aspect of wearing merino polos, and that is that if not worn with a t-shirt underneath then I feel it necessary to wash them after every wear. A vest as you’re wearing above wouldn’t protect the garment from your armpits, and a t-shirt, even a v-neck is rather conspicuous under such refund knitwear.
How do you deal with this issue? Are you happy to regularly wash knitwear worn next to skin?

Scott

Simon, what company makes your merino t-shirts?

Oliver

This looks great, and I was heartened to see the fold back cuff, as this is a feature of Smedley knitwear that I’ve always liked given the length of my arms.

However, upon looking at the dimensions listed in your shop, this seems to have been undermined somewhat by what I presume must be unusually short sleeves up to the cuff itself: the size medium is listed as having sleeves of 64cm, with the rib cuff extended. Compare that to the size medium of the Friday polo where the sleeve length is 65cm.

Is that right? Say it ain’t so Simon!

O

Chancellor

Pleased about the turn back cuffs as well. I find the Friday Polo fits great EXCEPT for the length of the sleeves which are too short. it basically means it doesn’t work great with tailoring since the jacket sleeves are longer than the shirt sleeves.

The sleeves on this polo sweater look to be longer, on top of the option to unfold the cuffs.

Pyc

Hi Simon,

Have you ever thought of releasing a short sleeve merino polo ? Smedley has the excellent Dorset (long sleeve, in wool) & the also fantastic Isis (short sleeve, in cotton), but they have nothing short sleeved in wool.

For me it would make for a useful intermediary, mild-weather garment.

Researching online I’ve only ever been able to find flamboyant, retro versions, but never anything well-made & understated.

Best regards,

Pyc

Christopher

This polo sweater clearly looks great under tailoring. Wonderful job Simon!

I was wondering about the temperatures in which you can wear this sweater. Is it made for autumn-spring, or rather for winter (such as turtlenecks) ? Is it thin enough to be worn even in summer due to merino wool’s thermoregulating capacities ?

JH

A candidate for the core men’s casual wardrobe maybe?

Much of what you mention about how this can be worn for the Friday polo as well. So what would be the differences in the Dartmoor’s place in a wardrobe vs the Friday polo? A bit warmer and a bit smarter?

Anonymous

Can’t wear Friday with jeans?

Richard L

Great to see the merino polo getting its due – perhaps I’m biased after growing up with strong merino brands such as Icebreaker. But to ask about a related style, what do you think of polo sweaters worn over shirts? It’s a look favoured by Luca Faloni among others, and I find polo sweaters work well with various amounts of layering. Thinking of your previous post about basics, they seem an alternative to crewnecks – similar function, but perhaps helping one look a little more active or less conservative?

p.s. I see confirmations for the Tokyo symposium have come out. Have a good trip out – the weather here has been beautiful just lately.

Theo

Hi! this looks very good, but does the upgrade in material and finishing justify the price hike from £145 previously to £215 now?

thanks!

Hugh

It’s not for me in either style or price, but I respect and appreciate your transparency, Simon

Andy Poupart

Very good to see this, although I am unable to wear wool next to my skin (on my upper body, at least). Perhaps you could also consider bringing back the “Finagon” knitted waistcoat you made with Smedley? They’ve also discontinued that product and replaced it with something vastly inferior.

Scott

Simon, what other knitwear does this factory produce for you ,under its own label, or for others?

Scott

Simon, please forgive my question as I should have read the previous articles concerning the company which had the answers. The right question is have there been any changes in the crew or V-neck models? What are the current colors available? Currently the only merino polo I wear is the Dorset by John Smedley, primarily because of the turn-back cuffs and collar. This Dartmoor has the cuff I like and the wool is definitely better, but the collar is different. Perhaps you could expand a bit on the collar differences.

Scott

Yes, PS finest knitwear. I wear a large in the Dorset as well the Smedley Bobby model. Would you suggest size large in the Dartmoor and the v-neck as well? I have a 42 1/2 inch chest, 33 waist.

Sandeep

About time. Dartmouth is one of my favorite pieces. Look forward to it!

Christopher

Once again a really nice garment!
Where do you see difference in wearing the polo merino sweater to wearing the long sleeved polo shirt, especially in combination with tailoring?

Best regards
C.

Christopher

I guess I haven‘t read all comments, my question ist already there and answered! First reading, then writing…Sorry for that!

Bernie

Hi Simon,

Just ordered two – any thoughts on a cotton knit version? Looking to a wider range of colors, preferably in the muted Saman Amel colorway.

Bernie

Hi Simon,

Looking forward to more versatile colors for this wool version. I find that knits have a more forgiving fit compared to the cotton pique Friday pole hence my desire for a cotton knit version as my body is ideal for OTR, thanks

Chris L

Hi Simon, love the polo! I have recently discovered Permanent Style and am always excited the new items you release in the PS store. It may have been mentioned before, but is it possible to get this made in an XS size in the future for garments such as this one or others? I love the style of this polo and the amount of effort put into the details to enhance it, but unfortunately I am a size XS.

Chris L

Could you explain what you mean by “as our size just doesn’t make it possible to have a big range”? Also, could you expand on the MTO options you mentioned? Sounds promising.

I also wanted to mention that I believe you were offering a Valstarino jacket not too long ago that started at size 46, even though there are some places that stock size 44 Valstarinos (e.g. Mr. Porter). Is the reason as to why you didn’t have size 44 for the Valstarino the same as not stocking XS for the polo?

Chris L

Makes sense. Looking forward to seeing you offer MTO in the future.

Thank you for your responses.

Markus

Dear Simon,

readers of PS will have already understood your love for garments and tailoring.

Your description of the Dartmoor is another fine example of your love for this industry, you even put thought into the button shanks.

Very inspiring, as always.

Gilles

Looks beautiful, Simon! Could you please let us know which is the gauge? 30, perhaps? Thanks.

Kashif

Hi Simon, looks like another useful addition to the PS shop (though I am still hoping for another run of the Finest Knitwear!). I have a question on the size / fit: in the Finest Knitwear I wear a medium – initially ordered a large since as per the measurements given it seemed on paper at least to be a better fit, however, after wearing both medium is the size I kept. Since the Dartmoor is made of slightly heavier merino, do you reckon it will likely be a more snug fit compared to the Finest Knitwear? If that’s the case, then I may just order a size large in this one. Thanks in advance!

Oliver M.

Hi Simon, this looks great! Any plans for other colours (grey or green perhaps) ?

Matt

Looking at the close-ups, it’s actually hard to imagine this collar not behaving poorly under tailoring. The design appears quite typical, and with ones I own I can get the collar to appear as it does in your photos – but won’t stay put for long.
But, of course, I’ll take your word for it. It looks great and exactly my style.
What colours do you plan to add?

Max

Looks beautiful! May I ask what the title of the yarn is?
Also, I know Loro Piana produce two Merino-based yarns: “Gift of Kings” (12 microns in diameter), which I believe they keep exclusive to the Loro Piana brand, and “Wish” (70% Merino, 30% Nylon), which they sell to 3rd parties. Which Loro Piana yarn is the Dartmoor made from?

Anonymous

30% nylon? Really?

Anonymous

Simon
Does this mean this product is 30% nylon??? Not v transparent I must say. Really not what I expect from PS

FIDELIO

Hi Simon, so the Dartmoor and the PS Finest Knitwear are made of a partially synthetic material?

Max

Simon, apologies for the confusion my post generated – and many thanks for clarifying this

Anonymous

So to be clear (from the above description of LP’s Wish), the Merino contains 30% nylon? It’s just that you state……….’The Dartmoor is made from a fine Loro Piana merino wool: the best merino you can get, but in a slightly thicker yarn’. No mention of nylon…just looking for clarity.

Peter K

I have a merino wool henley that I absolutely love. Sadly, it is wearing out and I can’t find another like it.

A possible project for Permanent Style Simon?

Anonymous

Thanks for the clarification about yarn content Simon. Thought it a bit odd (if you were to use nylon) but then your readership is slightly obsessive about the details…

Clifford Hall

Simon, received my Dartmoor, yesterday great delivery UK to NYC in 3 days. The XL fits me well as a tall and thin guy. Very nice quality, color and finish and best of all the collar works well wit my jacket.

Appreciate your efforts on this piece.

Thanks

Cliff

Joel

Hi Simon,

Is the new book just all the shopping info that you’ve done on Cities that are on the site or is there new stuff?

Anonymous

Hello. For reference, how much thinner would you say the Dartmoor is as compared to Drake’s lambswool polo sweater? And how much thicker than the Finest Knitwear? Thanks!

Anonymous

Ha! That was a good one!

Unfortunately, I don’t have any Smedley and don’t recall their feeling. However I was able to try Drake’s lambswool polo collar sweater. I understand it is different to the Dartmoor, but if you could please share your impression on the difference in the material and cut, that would be very helpful. Thanks in advance.

Yassin Chaaban

I got the sweater 2 days ago and have to say that the quality and the cut is really better compared to the brand Falke (which is also good), especially in the cut…

And I don’t find it too tight despite my stature (and I go to the gym 3 times a week)…

Thanks for this wonderful sweater!

Now I’m waiting for the Finest Knitwear to come back or a new batch…

Best Regards from Berlin,

Y

Anonymous

Is it possible to buy the Dartmoor sweater as a cloth Simon? Do you have the swatch #?

Anonymous

Then it’s not possible to have this made bespoke?

Isabel Ettedgui

Dear Simon
They are such a good factory and I am thrilled you are using them – we as you know, have made our Connolly classic three button merino fine gauge polo with them, since 2016 … that Lorraine, our Connolly knitwear designed with Simone. Its so great to see you support these amazing suppliers too.
All my very best
Isabel

Ian Skelly

Does the dartmoor work with all buttons done up ? what does the collar look like?

Anonymous

Simon, do you expect to restock the Dartmoor in size XL this year? If so, when? Thank you.

Alex

What are your recommended washing instructions and how do you clean it? Any thoughts on hand-wash vs dry cleaning?

Anonymous

Simon, will you be launching new colors of the Dartmoor this year?

Jonathan

The Dartmoor is a beautiful piece, and I love mine. Interestingly, I have found the sizing of PS items to be inconsistent, although this is understandable given different makers. For example, I found the medium in the Friday Polos to be the perfect size for me, with the small being uncomfortably tight. But in the Dartmoor, I ordered a medium, and it is loose and flowy, and I end up wearing it over other shirts, otherwise it feels too blousy. As you say, best to measure each garment against something you own.

Ric

Hi Simon quick question: what size of the Dartmoor sweater are you wearing in the pics? I am about your height (187 cm) but I have 106 cm chest and 47.5 shoulder width, you think an L would do? Or would an XL fit better? Thanks in advance

Flynn

Hi Simon.

With regards to what to wear underneath, I would recommend the Uniqlo AIRism V-neck from personal experience. I now wear it year-round under all of my dress shirts and knitwear to limit the need to wash. It’s light enough to wear during the Australian summer without feeling as though one is over-layered in the heat.

Robert

For anyone unsure about whether to purchase size Large vs size Extra Large, I have some input. I’m 6’1″ (1.85 m) and weight 190 lbs (86 kilos). I debated getting the Extra Large but my wife requested I get the Large because she said I have a tendency to choose baggy clothes and she prefers a more form-fitting look. Therefore I purchased the size Large and the first thing I noticed was that the sleeve length long enough but only if I extended the cuffs to nearly their full length. I know the sleeve cuffs were intended to be folded for a more finished look. Unfortunately, the sleeves need to be rolled back about 1/2 inch or so to be the perfect length and tiny fold looks ‘off’ due to the exposed seam on the inner aspect of the cuff. Also, the cuff (when only folded 1/2 inch) wants to become unfolded so I’m kind of fighting with it to stay folded back.
My wife says she doesn’t care about the cuff situation at all and it doesn’t visibly appear problematic. What she does like is that the size Large is pleasantly slim (not overly so) through the stomach and torso – and lays nicely along the shoulders. The material is fine and thin – and unmistakably high quality. Here in the States, finding this level of quality would be challenging at the highest end retailers like Neiman Markus or Saks Fifth Avenue, unlikely at Ralph Lauren (even their highest quality) and down right impossible at Polo, Banana Republic or typical mall stores.
Final cost of this sweater in my case was $306 US. I’ve paid close the same amount for some sweaters in the past, and those sweater lasted maybe 2 or 3 years. Time will tell how this sweater compares with normal use (both under a sportscoat and just wearing solo) and of course very gentle care/cleaning. I will treat this item carefully to try to get my money’s worth.
The only issue I have with the size Large is that my arms are apparently too long for the cuff fold to work ideally. I do plan to wear a thin merino tee shirt underneath to hopefully make the sweater last longer. Also, if you have a hairy chest you’ll probably want to wear a tee underneath because of the thinness of the sweater’s material.

Jess

Do you recommend hanging this sweater or folding it?

Jan

I love it and have shamelessly copied your combo with light grey flannel trousers and my new brown escorial tweed jacket but must say the collar doesn’t hold up under the jacket at all. It’s as floppy as they get from my perspective.

Jan

I’m sure it is and I really like it anyway

John

In case anyone is looking for a hidden t-shirt to wear under the Dartmoor or other open-neck knitwear, these deep-v v-neck underwear t-shirts from sunspel are great:
https://www.sunspel.com/euro/mens-superfine-cotton-low-v-neck-underwear-t-shirt-in-white-mtsh4002-whaa.html

I just got this in cellular cotton (very lightweight and airy) and it is perfect; it can’t be seen at all:
https://www.sunspel.com/euro/q14-cellular-low-v-neck-t-shirt.html

Anonymous

Hi Simon, saw your IG post about Crabtree’s cashmere polo collar sweater. How would you compare it to the Dartmoor and to Luca Faloni? Thanks.

Anonymous

Thank you, this is very helpful. A few follow ups if you don´t mind:

1. What size did you go for?
2. Did you go for flannel or charcoal grey?
3. What did you think of the navy? Is it true dark navy?
4. How would you wear/style this sweater? Their webpage recommends layering over an OCBD, but that look always seemed a bit strange to me.

Thanks again.

Anonymous

Hi Simon, what do you think of these polos just launched by The Armoury? Particularly in terms of their choice of material vs yours. How differently would you wear them? https://thearmoury.com/products/wool-silk-cashmere-knit-polo?variant=39273125544007

Anonymous

Thanks Simon. The Armoury is advertising their wool/silk/cashmere as a summer knit. In your opinion, would such a material be better suited warmer temperatures than the 100% merino wool of the Dartmoor? What is the warmest weather you would comfortably wear the Dartmoor in?

Also, I read elsewhere on the site that you are planning to release a short-sleeved knit polo in merino wool. Two questions there: when do you expect them to be available, and is their material different to the Dartmoor’s? Thanks.

Mbb355

Do you still plan to release a cream Dartmoor (with long sleeves)? If so, any ETA? Thanks!

Neil T

I have many pieces from JS but the umbria verde crew neck Pullover I purchased from PS a few years back is much much better than the world’s finest knitwear. It is light, warm but not too warm, washes well and still looks new. More recently i have been wearing it with a t-shirt under neath. Not sure the collar on the Dartmoor is for me, I am patiently waiting for the pullover to return. It was my best purchase in the last decade.

Jonathan

I just wanted to second the comment from Neil. My navy crewneck was my absolute favourite item of clothing until I somehow lost it. In hindsight I wish I’d bought 3 of them.

I have tried Smedley (nowhere near as nice), Connolly (ok, but not as nice and the fit didn’t work for me), Viola Milano (don’t get me started, but DO NOT buy anything from them) and Frans Boone x Lockie x Loro Piana (which is the best of the rest, but still an 8/10 and not a 10/10) as replacements, but none come close.

If another run happens I will be so happy and will name my next child Simon (whether it’s a girl or a boy)