Three things I’ve bought on lockdown: Stevenson Overall, Harley, Hamilton & Hare

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Although my purchasing has certainly slowed in recent weeks, I have continued to buy things that seemed practical, or which I wanted to try in order to cover on Permanent Style. 

Time at home means burrowing into your closet, experimenting with old pieces or taking the time to clean and repair. But it's also nice to pick up one shiny new thing, examine and treasure it, and try it out with everything else. 

One other thing that’s important, I think, is that they were all purchases from small brands or shops that I want to carry on supporting, as a customer, in these difficult times.

 

Stevenson Overall thermal - from Rivet & Hide 

It's rare for workwear to feel luxurious. Usually the aim is more strength, and wearing in well. But this thermal top from Stevenson Overall is just sumptuous. 

It’s made from a superfine merino, in an airy waffle knit. I'd tried it back in February, in the Rivet & Hide store that’s around the corner from my office. But I didn’t buy it at the time.

Last week, when the weather was cold and I was working at home all day every day, I finally did. We don’t keep the heating on during the day normally, and my little office doesn’t have a radiator anyway. So it was highly practical. 

That’s less the case today, with the sun out and temperatures peaking at 20 degrees. But readers report that it’s still cold in many parts of the world, and I’m sure it will turn cold again. 

Stevenson Overall Co recreates vintage clothing from the 1880s through to the 1960s, with typical Japanese attention to detail. (See the lines of ribbing on the cuff below, and collar above.)

But when I’ve tried pieces in the past, I’ve often felt there was something a little off - often a bit too unusual in the style, like a jeans pocket at an odd angle. 

This piece is simple and perfect. It does have deliberately short sleeves, which are knit close to the wrist and initially put me off. But these are actually very practical under something else, and can be pushed back if you wear it on its own. 

I’ve been wearing it under an overshirt or shawl cardigan, and it looks lovely - particularly in the cream colour, and without the buttoned neck that can often make a thermal seem too period. 

I went for a medium size, which was great in the body but a little tight under the arms (with the raglan seam angling in). But over time I’ve found that was the right choice, and a snug armhole is again, practical in a layering piece. 

Briefly on Rivet & Hide, by the way, they’re the only shop in London I know that has Merz B Schwanen loopback T-shirts (not just Henleys, like everyone else) and I think the only one with Good Art jewellery

Good Art is not my normal style (more biker) but is made really beautifully - delicate engineering in solid silver. I’m sorely tempted by one of the keyrings, though the work and metal does make them expensive. 

£265

www.rivetandhide.com

Harley shetland sweater - from Dick’s of Edinburgh

The second piece I bought is rather cheaper than Good Art. 

Although I’ve had plenty of shetland sweaters over the years, I had never tried Harley before - the Scottish manufacturer that makes many of them. 

I was reminded of that when interviewing Andrew from Dick’s of Edinburgh recently, for our UK Shop of the Year Award, and finally got around to buying a piece last week. 

The first thing that will strike most readers is the price. Shetlands are rarely expensive, but even so £95 feels cheap. The key reason I wanted to try Harley was so I could attest to the quality, and reassure anyone thinking of buying one online. 

I’m pleased to say it's great. Nice finishing, good yarn (from JC Rennie for the shetland, Todd & Duncan for the geelong) and the circular make Harley are known for (which means there are no side seams). 

Of course, there isn’t much to the quality of make on knitwear like this. We’re not talking about hand sewing (as with tailoring), fine seams (as with Umbria Verde knitwear), or even extra details (like the Stevenson Overall): it’s mostly just good yarn and quality control. 

But the seamless body is nice, and doesn’t make the fit any boxier. In fact, the two pieces I tried in order to compare them (a Medium geelong and a Small shetland) both had a nice, subtle taper to the body. 

The geelong is a type of lambswool, by the way, which is very nice - though not noticeably softer than other lambswool pieces I’ve tried (eg from The Armoury). 

I should also mention that the service and packaging from Dick’s was delightful. Both pieces wrapped in brown paper and string, with an accompanying notebook (something the team regularly do with good contacts or good customers, as a small thank you). 

£95

dicks-edinburgh.co.uk

 

Hamilton & Hare tubular T-shirt

This piece is not something new I was trying, but a proven staple being stocked up on. 

As discussed in our recent article, I’ve been wearing T-shirts under shirts more, both as a means to dress down tailoring, and because the style feels very me. With at least two, preferably three shirt buttons undone. 

The T-shirt in that post was from Hamilton & Hare - their tubular knit, which has no side seams (like the Harley) and indeed a pique mesh panel down the sides (which you can just about see below). 

Although no one would probably notice if you wore it as a regular tee, it is designed as an underlayer, with slightly smaller shoulders, a close fit through the body, and slightly longer length. It’s also quite light, with natural stretch. 

Those features are perfect underneath a shirt, and I even wear a size Small - which is even narrower on the shoulders, and in the armhole - yet it never feels uncomfortable. (It’s nice as sleepwear for the same reasons.)

I increasingly find my T-shirts fall into one of two categories: these pieces designed as underwear, or thicker T-shirts (from The Flat Head, or The Armoury/Real McCoy’s) that are perfect on their own. 

It might seem a fine division, but heavier cotton tees are a real pleasure - they soften and wear like good sweatshirts. But they make terrible undershirts: fine under a shawl-collar cardigan, but little else. 

The Hamilton & Hare undershirts come in white and navy. They’re not that cheap at £60, but there is a multipack option of five for £255. I couldn’t quite stretch to that, so stuck with two white ones. 

I did have some issues with my last set of their underwear, by the way, with some seams coming undone. But I was told it was an problem with that batch, and the replacement ones I was sent were better. So hopefully that was only temporary. 

£60

www.hamiltonandhare.com

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Anonymous

Are the Harley sweaters wearable over a t-shirt? Or are they too itchy for that?
What about a long sleeved t-shirt?

Rogey

I have two Harley geelongs and a shetland, and I grab them all the time. I can’t say enough good things about them. I like the way the neck is designed on the crew neck–it sits just a bit lower. I have more expensive sweaters, but these get worn.

Anonymous

Is the Harley lambswool also 4 ply like The Armoury?

Henry

Hey, just to let you know that Harley Shetland is made using J.C. Rennie & Co Supersoft 4ply yarn.

Sam

No, the standard Harley of Scotland Shetland is made from 2 ply. They do make a 4ply version though.

Anonymous

I quite liked the look of the thermal merino, so I went to their website and had a further look. I was surprised how terrible it looked on the model, so decided against it.

Henry

Hi, did you went size down when you bought the Shetland?

Dan

With the uncertainty with the world economy, I am not sure one should be buying superficial things such as clothing. However, if you got tons of money I assume this logic does not apply. That being said, I have a shaggy shetland sweater and geelong turtleneck from Harley. I like both of them. Although Harley is difficult to find in the USA now after the closure of the store in San Francisco that carried it. Simon, do you know of any USA stores that carry Harley?

Matt

On the contrary – if you’re fortunate enough to still be in work then it’s important to continue to support businesses that you value during these tough times.

If everyone limits themselves to purchasing hand sanitizer and loo roll then there’s not going to be much industry left by the time this all blows over.

Hak

I like the sentiment but only those that are finanically independent should be buying anything non-essential given that we are going to enter a prolonged recession (if not depression). I have one new shit commissioned from my tailor on the Row so will see that to its completion (whenever that will be) and then that will be it. No t shirts of jumpers especially when one isn’t going anywhere!

Kenny

J Press’s shaggy dogs are probably made by Harley but they are very expensive at $245. O’Connell’s charges $195 for Scottish shetlands. Bosie.co charges much less and ships to the US.

E L

Think they’re made by Laurence Odie, who also makes for O’Connell’s (there will be a tag that says LOKL on the inside around the waist). A LOT of stores in the US sell Harley, though they probably won’t be listed on their websites this time of year. H. Stockton is one seller who sells them. Bahle’s is another. A lot of the stores that sell them are smaller shops that don’t have websites. Often when stores say things like “supersoft shetland” or “maker who has been around over 80 years” they are referring to Harley. All of this being said, Harley won’t be that inexpensive in the US–at least $150 normally. Often cheaper to just buy from Bosie–though the 25% Trump import duties on british wool goods makes things less reasonable–or go Odie and get from O’Connell’s.

Bamboccio

Hello,

Which size did you get in the Harley Jumper?

Thanks!

ANM

Simon,

I suggest that many items are going to be available at great discount over the next little while.

On a daily basis, I receive notices of sales (online. mostly) and have already taken advantage of some…

While the reason behind the current state of affairs is grim, if there are pieces you have been looking to ad, doing so now will both save you money, as well as help some merchants keep the cash flowing…

Kenny

I have been buying Harley knitwear for many years from several retailers. I recently discovered Bosie.co where there is an excellent selection. Bosie also offers a few brushing options for those, e.g. Ivy enthusiasts, who want a shaggy jumper.

My only lockdown purchase has been another pair of “Signature” chino shorts in sage from Orvis. The rise is perfect and the quality of the pima cotton is excellent. The detailing, e.g. shirt-stripe waist band and pocketing, is extraordinary for the very reasonable price.

Anonymous

A lot of Harley purchasers here. I’m thinking of purchasing a Harley jumper. Going by the pictures on the Bosie.co website, it looks like the neck is quite large. I prefer a jumper to hug my shirt collar. Has anyone who has a Harley jumper found this to be the case?

Anonymous

I have a generall question. You once said that most cashmere sweaters don’t look good without a shirt underneath if I remember correctly. Is the same true for lambswool?

Would you wear one off the Anderson & Sheppard cotton sweaters with a T-shirt? What sweaters do you wear with a T-shirt?

Keith Taylor

“Although my purchasing has certainly slowed in recent weeks, I have continued to buy things that seemed practical…”

I’ve very much gone in the opposite direction. I’ve never been a flamboyant dresser, preferring safe colours and patterns in pretty much everything I wear, but in the last couple of weeks I’ve at least nudged the boat out, if not pushed it with gusto. My last two purchases have both been blazers: one from Paul Stuart in a fairly busy looking mini houndstooth in black and tan with a large red overcheck, and the other a positively gaudy navy Zegna with a burnt orange check.

In normal times I’d have considered both a bit too “look at me” for my tastes, but with the world falling apart around us and everything looking a bit grim it feels like a good time to introduce a splash of colour to my conservative wardrobe. When the worst is over and people are allowed outdoors again I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see a fair few men who usually lean towards a safe standard uniform strut from their homes dressed like Brazzaville Sapeurs.

Leonard

Alex Kraft is wearing his blazer every night at home. With his cocktail and cigar. Will you be reviewing his new line of clothes, Simon?

Keith Taylor

Fortunately that’s not necessary just yet. The Mongolian borders have been locked down tight since late January, and the only cases we’ve had have been quarantined on arrival, so I’m still allowed out as long as I pair my blazer with a fetching surgical mask 🙂

Rob

I saw that Stevenson thermal in person during a visit to a Portland Self Edge and it also caught my eye amongst all the workwear goodies in the shop. Definitely put Stevenson on my radar as I’ve felt their pieces were a bit unusual in some places like you mentioned. Great to see those thermals getting more attention!

Paul

I have tried Hamilton & Hare underwear twice (multiple pairs both times). Both times all of the pieces had quality problems despite careful hand washing and line drying, such as with small holes appearing after a few washes and seams coming undone. I bought some Sunspel briefs around the same time and they held up much better.

Gab

Hi Simon,
Apologies for the off-topic question, but what do you thank of The Workers Club quality? I would especially be intersted by your opinion on their denim. Thanks

Adrian Masterson

I’m looking for a really good quality either fine lambswool or possibly cashmere V necked sweater in pale blue. It’s hard to find; any suggestions, please?

Anonymous

Hilo, any update on the chambray and oxfords Simon?

Anonymous

including the Oatmeal jacketing? Isn’t that made in England?

Alex

My sincere apologies for the plug – a great source of Harley sweaters is All Blues Co in Leeds, UK. Instagram is @allbluesco – no website so purchases by DM – ships globally! A small business with (IMO) great style and lines (think Japanese/French Ivy) with a brilliant owner. Bought several times and a great service. Thanks (and sorry again for the plug Simon)

Mark

Hi Simon, would you mind posting a picture of you wearing the Harley jumpers soon? It would be good to see the neckline against a shirt or t-shirt.

Also, can you provide comment against an A&S Shetland in terms of feel and cut?

Thanks

Phillip Poulakis

Regarding shetlands, I realize they aren’t the softest wool but am looking to build out my sweater collection and don’t have one yet. I’m on the lookout for a saffron/mustard shade but more it will have depth in the colors and yarns when I find it. Are these sweaters ever cut with merino or cashmere to add softness? Is this generally not done as shetlands have been excepted to be a more scratchy offering. Also, I’d love some brand recommendations of some heavier Shetland versions, that are made particularly well. Thanks in advance and stay safe

Alex

Try https://www.bosie.co for Harley shetland sweaters – “cumin” is a lovely shade in the colour you mention. They will knit to order if the size / colour is not in stock.

H

I’m looking for a navy lambswool sweater to wear casually with Drake’s button downs, Albam/Anglo-Italian jeans and Stoffa chinos. I’ve been deciding between the Harley Geelong and Armoury 4-ply when I realised you own both!

I’ve tried on the Armoury in person and really liked it – but what are the major differences between the two, aside from price? Which would you buy if you could only own one of the two – and if the price did make a difference to you?

RT

Hi Simon,

I want to buy a navy Shetland crew neck. I often find the neckline of crew necks a little too low. I have an Anderson &Sheppard crew which is lovely, but has a slightly lower neck than I would really like, and I have a couple of Shetlands from Trunk, which have a much higher neckline that I like, Unfortunately, there isn’t a navy in the Trunk range. The Harley looks great, but I was wondering what the neck line was like. I think you have shetlands from Harley, A&S and Trunk. How would you compare the neckline of the Harley to the other two?

RT

Many thanks, Simon. That’s helpful

Chris

Great article. I’m thinking of pre-ordering a Scarlet Harley from Boise knitwear in the UK for November delivery, but I’m torn on size and whether to go up to the 4-ply. My 30 year old Alan Paine Shetland still fits, though it’s a 42. Most recent sweater buys are XL and go 58-60 cm pit to pit. Wondering how you found their sizing. Also, I like the weight of the old Alan Paine (I live in Chicago) which weighs in at 400g. I’m guessing that makes it more equivalent to the 4 ply but would like your thoughts. And to brush or not to brush?

Thanks for the great article.

Chris

Thanks, Simon. No worries on me trying to brush it myself. Boise offers brushing as an option. In any event, I think I’ll go for the 4 ply with no brushing and see how close it comes to my beloved old Alan Paine. Love the blog. Cheers.

John Winstanley

Hi Simon.

How does the Stevenson Overall thermal size?

Rivet and Hide only have S left in stock and I am usually S or M in most brands, although I err to the latter, being quite broad.

Many thanks,

John

Anonymous

Are the Haddington geelong lambswool jumpers from Boise the same as the Harley ones?

Aaron Daniels

In regards to thicker t-shirts, are you planning to write an article on those? I have two (Uniqlo U), but my wardrobe doesn’t lean workwear and I lack shawl cardigans, so I’m always a bit stuck on how to wear them, except on their own at home.

Also I understand the thermal is a baselayer but would you wear an undershirt to avoid washing it as often or against the skin?

Anonymous

Simon, which of the two Harley knits did you end up using more, the shetland or the geelong? It seems that there is quite a difference in color with the geelong being darker, am I correct? Thanks.

Anonymous

Simon, have you had experience with Jamieson’s shetlands?

BC

Hi Simon,

How do you best style a Shetland like this? I’m viewing it as something nice to wear with denim or a workwear chino very casually, maybe sailing , to the beach, or to one of my kids’ ball games, the same way I might wear a decent sweatshirt.

KD

Hi, just tried my Harley, and wow! What a fit, and so soft. Beautiful navy. Thanks Simon, wonderful stuff!

Jon

Hi Simon,

Other than the A&S haberdashery, to whose Shetlands you kindly pointed me in the past, do you know anyone who offers wool sweaters (leaving out cashmere) with proper turn-back cuffs? Have these all but disappeared?

Thanks,
Jon

Gab

Hi Simon,
After a while, would you still recommand tha Stevenson thermal? Curious to have your opinion on its solidity given the weave and the frequency of washes as it seems you wear it only without anything underneath. Thanks

Jim

Simon, how would you compare the Harley Shetland to the ones Trunk do in terms of level of make, weight, warmth?

Jim

Thanks! Looking forward to reading it