New Dartmoor colour – and what to wear underneath
Whenever I choose not to wear a shirt, my most common alternative during the working week is a collared knit - like the Dartmoor pictured.
This manages to be both elegant - mostly due to the collar and fine gauge - and very relaxed and comfortable. It’s a good example of what we might call classic sportswear (a far cry from modern sportswear...).
As men dress more casually, it’s pieces like this in the wardrobe that I think will become fundamental. For while they’re obviously not related to the corporate suit-and-tie, they’re equally removed from the normal casual default of T-shirt, jeans and trainers.
A fine collared knit can be worn with fine worsted trousers, with woollens like flannel, and with the smarter types of chino - such as a Stoffa basketweave or the pair pictured, made by P Johnson.
The first question readers usually ask about knitwear like this is: what do you wear underneath?
It’s an interesting one, because while you can wear fine merino against the skin - and it is perfectly comfortable - it then needs to be washed fairly often. Not as much as something in cotton, given wool’s natural anti-microbial properties, but certainly every two to four wears, depending how much you sweat.
For some people, seeing someone else in knitwear that appears to be worn against the skin also just feels uncomfortable, even if it isn’t for the wearer.
So the obvious thing to do is wear a T-shirt under it. But then that bright, round neckline makes the look much more casual - as you can see if you compare my look here with the one in this article.
Personally, I quite like wearing a vest underneath. It’s what I was doing on the original Dartmoor shoot, and what I’m doing here with the new colour launched today - a flannel grey.
A vest creates a much lower neckline - only occasionally visible underneath the knitwear - as well as avoiding the lines you get on the sleeves, where the T-shirt sleeve ends. And I find I do need something underneath the merino, for comfort.
The only problem is it doesn’t solve the washing issue. You’re still going to sweat into it. I don’t find this too much of a problem as I don’t sweat too much, but I might avoid wearing a knit like this on a warmer day, for that reason.
It also helps if you’re good at looking after and washing your knitwear in general (see video with advice at that link).
The last option is a T-shirt some kind of low neck. I have a deep V-neck one from Sunspel (my vests are also from Sunspel) that I sometimes wear if I want that alternative.
Returning to the versatility of the knitwear, this particular design works under a jacket, which is unusual. The collars on most styles either collapse under the jacket, or quickly flip outside of it.
The Dartmoor was designed so the collar was strong and high enough to sit above the jacket, and roll around the edge of it too. Of course, it’s still soft wool, and isn't going to have the structure of a shirt - I find I have to briefly rearrange it when I put the jacket on, or after moving around quickly. But it’s better than any other knit collar in that respect.
(Full details on the collar and how it was designed with Italian knitted Umbria Verde on the original Dartmoor article here.)
With this new stock, we also reduced the length of that collar slightly. Readers had commented that when worn without the jacket, the style was a little too dramatic. So we’ve trimmed the points by 0.5cm, while still keeping the same structure and the height at the back.
Again in response to customer requests, we’ve also stocked a very small number of XS and XXL, to test out demand.
Last, a word on the colours of knitwear to wear under tailoring.
This is a tricky area: nothing is quite as versatile as the white or pale blue of dress shirts (and white and blue themselves rarely work in knits).
I find navy looks great under a navy jacket, and under other dark, cold colours - such as the brown donegal shown below. Really dark browns or greens, like my Zizolfi tweed, are also good options.
Mid-grey is really versatile in terms of jackets it goes with - it looks great with almost anything.
The only issue is the trousers, given you can’t wear grey trousers with it. My favourite here is cream, as pictured, but navy, dark denim, and dark browns or greens are also good. Being dark helps as paler colours (such as beige) often don’t provide enough contrast.
The Dartmoor is available now on the PS Shop site here.
It is made by Umbria Verde in Italy - one of the finest makers in the world, and we deliberately use the finest work they offer, with smooth seams and fine detailing. (Luxury brands they make for normally charge over £500 for knitwear of this quality.)
Read more on Umbria Verde’s work here.
In the main pictures, the Dartmoor is worn with:
- Bespoke cashmere jacket from Eduardo de Simone
- Made-to-measure denim trousers from P Johnson
- Taupe socks from Anderson & Sheppard
- ‘Belgravia’ tassel loafers from Edward Green
- Watch: Cartier ‘Chronoflex’ in yellow gold on bespoke alligator strap
Details on the navy-Dartmoor outfit here.
Photography: Alex Natt @adnatt
Simon, is there no stock of the gray in XL? Doesn’t show on shop page.
Yes, sorry, that’s my error. I’ll correct that now
Sorry but the issue seems to persist – the grey XL is now listed but shown as sold out.
This is weird. Sorry, check now
It’s showing for me now – is it working for you?
Yes, thanks. Order placed!
Hi Simon, looks like a useful addition to the wardrobe. Just wondering what size you wear, as I seem to fit the same size as you. Thank you.
I wear Medium
How does the flexibility of such knitwear compare to the Friday polos? They seem to have a similar purpose (elegant classic sportswear as you put it).
For my part, I have the Friday polos in four colours as I find them so useful (and can be washed as frequently as shirts). I do have a similar knit from Smedley (without the nice collar of the Dartmoor) but it’s used less frequently than the polos. It’s main advantage is that it’s slightly warmer and it also doesn’t wrinkle (so great for travelling).
Good question. It’s aimed at being used in a similar way, but will be warmer (so more for colder weather like now, at least when worn under a jacket). And it’s a slightly smarter look, because of the fineness of the material primarily. The Dartmoor looks more sporty.
I hope that helps?
Yes, thanks Simon. Good point on the smartness. Perhaps a better alternative than a dark shirt (navy or grey) when trying to go for a smart look without any business overtones.
Yes, I think so.
There doesn’t seem to be a grey – extra large in the drop down in the shop.
Is this sold out? Or a mistake?
A mistake, sorry David. Corrected now
I don’t know why, but to me a vest or t-shirt under a primary layer just seems perverted.
Really? Interesting. Do you consider knitwear like this a primary layer? (By which, I presume, you mean something that is put on first and would normally be against the skin)
Dear Simon, I am wearing a size L for the Friday polo. Should I also grab size L for the Dartmoor? The Dartmoor seems to be slightly slimmer fit than the Friday polo. Many Thanks Simon!
Yes, I’d say chances are you should take an L too. However, people do sometimes like knitwear and shirts to fit differently. And I know some people like the Polo to fit quite close, taking advantage of its natural stretch. So always worth checking the measurements to be on the safe side
Beautiful jacket with the right colour and herringbone pattern suitable for the autumn. You mentioned it’s from W Bill, may I know what the bunch and the swatch number is?
It’s a vintage length I’m afraid – see article on Eduardo de Simone for full details on it.
Lovely, especially the new sizes. No measurements in the shop yet, though. I’m interested the body length of the XXL. Can’t purchase anything from the shop on account of my height…
Glad to hear that, but sorry on the sizes. I’ll get those now
The measurements have been added now. Any other questions let me know. Thanks
Perfect. Thank you.
Great to have this item out. A couple suggestions:
– might be helpful to mention explicitly that grey is the new colour. It’s strongly implied but I kept waiting for the mention to confirm that, and it never came.
– the shop site needs the measurements for the new sizes
Thanks, good point. And yes, sizing issue mentioned above – I’m getting those now.
Great to see that you’re stocking XXL even if it’s in small quantities. Definitely interested, but, like previous commenter OP, need to see the measurements before ordering – just to be on the safe side.
If there is demand for larger or smaller sizes in this piece, will you consider offering them in other items like e.g. the Friday Polo, or the various shirt offerings? I’d love to try some of them, but the largest size currently offered would simply be too small for me (120cm chest and correspondingly large torso and waist).
Yes the idea is that this is a test run, and if there is sufficient demand, then we’ll look at extending it to other products.
Not sure if I’m misreading, but it looks like an XXL Dartmoor is actually slightly smaller than an XL Lightweight Friday Polo. That’s assuming that the measurements for the Dartmoor are in cm, taken across the width of a flat garment, which would give a chest circumference of 120cm exactly for the Dartmoor XXL vs 124cm for the XL Polo. Am I missing something?
No you’re right Paul, good point. The grading on the Friday Polo is slightly different, with bigger jumps between the sizes. They’re also a little bit roomier in style.
Given its small, very slim fit, I’m not sure the Dartmoor was the best choice for a test run of larger sizes to gauge demand! I can’t see an XXL fitting me very well, to be honest, given those measurements; so, while I’m a potential customer for XXL, the sizing here rules me out. That may give a misleading impression of demand, if the same is true for other less compact chaps. Which would be a shame.
To be honest I’d love to be a bit more slender and elegant, but haven’t been appreciably slighter in build for the last quarter of a century. Short of borrowing a TARDIS and going back in time to organise different parents, I don’t really have a solution!
Ha! Sorry about that Paul. I wouldn’t describe this as small or very slim, but then this is relative and depends on what you’re used to as well.
do the navy Dartmoors in the shop also have the slightly shorter collar of the grey ones?
Yes they do
Hi Simon, on that note, any stock with the old larger collar left?
No, sorry. And just to clarify, the height of the collar is the same, it’s just the width at the points which is a tiny bit smaller. So it stands up just as well under a jacket, just isn’t as wide/pointy without a jacket.
For me, it seems to be a smarter take on a rugby shirt, something I’ve been trying out recently. Possible to be dressed up or down, worn under a jacket on it’s own or over a t-shirt with more casual pieces. Or you could just go full drakes and wear ocbd with a tie under it, why not. Maybe it would be costume, but an awesome one.
Yes, good point Karol.
Though I think heavier gauge versions of this style, like Drake’s themselves have offered, in cashmere or lambswool, are closer to a rugby shirt. This is a fine merino and I wouldn’t wear a shirt and tie under it really – the tie would be rather too bulky.
Good point regarding the height of the collar (Simon and other Jan). I have one Friday polo and I have literally only worn it once. The height / look of the collar just doesn’t work for me at all (with or without jacket). I don’t have that problem with the
Armoury polos which I wear with and without jackets regularly and I suspect the main reason is roughly a 1cm difference in collar height. So good improvement I’d think
To be clear, the height of the collar is not changing on the Dartmoor, just its width at the points. But it’s not as tall in the back as the Friday Polo anyway.
I hope that makes sense.
Is the Friday polo’s collar height that much different from a good dress shirt?
I think that the hight is about right when worn with a jacket. If it were shorter it would disappear under the jacket’s collar as most polos tend to do. As I understand it, the collar is one of the distinctive features of the Friday polo compared to other polos.
Perhaps the variation in neck height and jacket sizes is greater than I think, causing issues for some.
Yes, I think that’s right Noel.
Quick question about the weight / gauge – is this similar to the Finest Knitwear? And how does the fit compare to the FK sweaters? Many thanks.
The weight and gauge are slightly more robust, but only slightly – same fine merino, just a little more of it.
And the fit is very similar.
You look like a model in that photograph at the top. Everything is perfect, even the trouser cuff width. (Except unbuttoned open knit shirt collar.) What I don’t understand is the English clothes term “vest” you take for granted. I don’t see anything under your knitted shirts. And I don’t remember Sunspel advertising “vests”. You know in American English vest must be waistcoat in English. So you do sweat but not much. But you don’t dance for hours in the disco like me.
Fox flannel pills, as you may remember. The close-up photograph of you featuring that tweed jacket and knitted shirt looks very warm indeed. Better warm than cold is my guideline.
Vest has indeed come to mean different things on either side of the Atlantic. It is no longer a waistcoat here for most people, but that sleeveless, deep-necked piece of underwear. Sunspel have sold them for a long time, as do many others. I linked to the Sunspel one, but here it is again.
I’ve found Fox Flannel to pill less than most.
So THAT’S a “vest”! In American English some of us, correctly or incorrectly, call that a “WIFE BEATER”!
Yes, pretty obviously that’s not a popular term any more Peter
Unterhemd = undershirt
Unterwäsche = underwear
“Why do we call it a Wife-Beater?”
For those of us that don’t “need” your slim cut proportions who’d you recommend as a second best option?
Smedley’s always good for merino, but no one has the same collar as this, so they rarely work under tailoring. You’d also have to pay at least twice as much to get the same level of quality elsewhere (eg at Brioni)
I’m aware that your price -v- quality ratio well exceeds the norms but my motivation is purely on fit than trying to undercut the price… I reached my ideal weight in my early 20s but unfortunately 20 years on I’ve not yet reached my ideal height.
Simon, would you wear the gray Dartmoor with charcoal trousers?
With some nice chinos, yes. With jeans, no.
Sorry, I meant charcoal tailored trousers (e.g., flannels). Would there be enough contrast?
Also, you say here that no jeans but on the article you mention dark denim as a good pairing. Am I missing something?
Yes, that would be ok probably, given they’re both such distinctive colours.
The comment about dark denim was in regards to knitwear colours as a whole
Sorry to belabor this, but I’m confused now. Are you saying that a polo like this is invariably too fine to wear with jeans, period, or that it can work (depending on the color) with dressier “dark denim” jeans? If dark denim works (and maybe it doesn’t, if I’m misunderstanding), then what about off-white denim jeans?
In general I would say that it is not suited to jeans, even dark denim and off-white.
The point of this piece is that it is the smartest and finest you can get in this style of knitwear, and is aimed at wearing with tailoring.
However, it’s not going to look wrong with those jeans. It’s a relatively small difference. I wouldn’t wear it with jeans myself, but it won’t look bad with denim either – with most things it’s a question of gradation, rather than absolutes.
The important thing is for you to be aware of why I recommend things, not just to follow them. So be aware that I think it is usually too smart for jeans, and then make your own mind up.
Simon, apologies if this is too much like asking you to choose among your children, but if you could only own three of the items you sell, what would they be?
God, that is very hard. Off the top of my head, probably a blue PS Oxford shirt, a navy Dartmoor and the new Donegal coat…
Quote: “For some people, seeing someone else in knitwear that appears to be worn against the skin also just feels uncomfortable, even if it isn’t for the wearer.”
I’m not sure what you mean by this. Can you explain?
I mean that if you see someone wearing what appears to be just knitwear, so it is against their skin with nothing underneath, you can feel uncomfortable for them – you feel that it must be itchy, or sweaty. I don’t feel that really, but others have told me they do
I wear merino wool knit wear from Smedley quite often against my skin and it’s very comfortable, not itchy at all. The reason for this is that the width of the merino fiber is 19-19.5 micron.
Thanks Scott. The Darmtoor here is even finer, and I don’t find it uncomfortable either. I think it’s more a case of perception from others – I know some do find wool, no matter what type, less comfortable
What’s the micron width of the Dartmoor fiber please? One of the main reasons I like Smedley so much is the turn back cuffs on the models I like such as the Dorset and Bobby.
It is 15 micron
That’s very impressive actually. The sleeve looks like it has a turn back cuff, correct?
This would be a wonderful fabric use for a rollneck and/or a mock. Any plans for other models?
Nice idea, but no not currently.
Interestingly I have a Donegal roll neck from Anderson and Sheppard but I don’t wear it that much. Not sure why
Simon, I’m looking at the size guide and think that with a 42-42.5 inch chest and 34 inch waist, the large would be the best size for me. Do you agree?
Probably, but if you can please do compare the measurements to a fine piece of knitwear you already own. It is by far the safest way to tell.
Of course, thank you.
the combination of the mid-grey shirt with cream trousers and brown jacket looks great. As you wrote in other articles, cream as trouser color works best on sunny days. It also fits like charcoal with many outfits, when other colors don’t fit. When it isn’t sunny, which trouser color would be as versatile, when you have a mid-grey shirt and a brown or navy colored jacket? It seems in winter the color range often ends at tan or mid-grey for trousers.
It looks like the best outfits make use of all three shades of colors, here light cream, the mid-grey and the darker brown. Or as seen in your outfits with white or pale blue shirts with either dark or medium colored jackets/trousers. While outfits with only one never and with two not always work. Is my suggestion correct?
Yes, cream is best on sunny days, but I do like it on most days that it isn’t grey or raining. It helps if the trousers are less smart, such as jeans, and more creamy rather than bright white.
It’s not easy to find good trouser combinations with the knitwear is grey like this, but I would suggest olive, perhaps navy, and certainly beige/stone.
On your last point, yes I can see what you’re saying. But really it’s just that the trousers and jacket have to be different enough, and then the layer under the jacket can be different again, or similar to the jacket. This latter is a narrower range of combinations, but for example navy under navy works well.
Great article Simon. For those who barely sweat and typically use merino knits as primary layers, do you still recommend washing every four wears? How does this change if they wear vests underneath? Do you sometimes find that vests can make the outfit look a bit more bulky? Secondly, do you find that wear vests under knitwear can be quite warm? It could be three layers in total with a blazer
Have you considered doing a review of outdoor knitwear’s submariners?
– How often you wash it really depends on how dirty you get it, and you’re the best judge of that. If in doubt, sniff the armpits. No one should be getting a waft of body odour off you when you wear it.
– Vests don’t make much difference to washing, as most BO comes from the armpits, but I find it makes a small one.
– I don’t find vests make much of a difference to bulk, but it does depend how tight you wear the knit. And no, I don’t find it’s too warm – knitwear under tailoring would already be pretty warm anyway.
– No I haven’t, but I’m happy to
Another great product. I Received the navy one and I am very impressed by it. Now ordered the grey one too, before it`s too late…
Amazing to hear, thank you
What color t-shirt or vest do you recommend under cream knitwear?
White is fine. You could wear a pale grey or off-white, as it will show through slightly less. But only slightly, and it’s not great to wear on its own.
Not sure I follow, pale-grey or off-white don’t work well on their own?
Also, the shirt I have been looking at is a polo from stoffa https://stoffa.co/products/sweaters-polo-ivory. Given the design (no buttons) I anticipate the shirt underneath would show quite a bit.
Yes. An off-white T-shirt isn’t very flattering worn on its own, without the knitwear over the top. The same goes for most undershirts that are designed not to be seen (bigger in the US). They tend to be off-whites, skin colours, etc.
Yes, the shirt will show with that Stoffa piece a lot. In that case it’s even more important what the colour of the piece underneath is, as it has to go nicely with the knitwear. There, white is pretty much always the safest choice. And it’s certainly what I’d wear with the Stoffa
Would you also wear the white shirt under a navy shirt?
When it comes to casual wear, what knitwear do you think is more wearable, ivory or navy?
Would I wear a white shirt under this navy knitwear? Perhaps, though generally I don’t like the two collars together.
Navy is more versatile for casual wear.
If not white underneath, what color do you think would work best under navy?
It depends why you wouldn’t wear white, I guess.
The colour underneath isn’t really a style choice, more just something that makes an effective foil to the knitwear, which is wear the style is.
White is usually best there. Grey can make the look a little more casual, if you want, and some people might prefer cream to white, but that’s about it.
Hi Simon – have you considered making the Dartmoor in the same dark green you use for your cardigan? If you do, you’ll have at least one customer. Thanks.
Good to know, thanks Peter
Hi, the XS (and XXL) sizes aren’t showing on the online shop. Have they sold out and are you planning to restock them any time soon e.g. for the pop-up shop?
They have sold out, and we don’t plan on restocking them, sorry. It was an experiment to gauge demand, and there wasn’t that much. We only took a couple and they took a long time to sell
Ah, no worries, this is what I get for dragging my heels! I’ll measure up my l/e polos and see if a Small will fit me.
Hi, Simon! A question on Smedley as compared to your collab and the new Umbria Verde polo if you don’t mind. I recently bought but may have to return the Dorset model from JS, which visually from the photos looks very much like the Dartmoor from JS (a collab of yours from a few years back) and the polo you wear in this article. My main quarrel with the Dorset I ordered is that the fabric is very very thin/fine. I fear what this may mean in the long-term with numerous wear and wash cycles (I want this to be a staple piece). Is the fabric on your current one thicker/heavier? I want something that is more a light but tough (firm) sweater than a really fine sensitive knit shirt if I am conveying my meaning well. I want to be able to toss it over a shirt but also chuck over the shoulders when taken off, that sort of thing. Thanks for any tips!
Ours isn’t thicker than the Smedley one I’m afraid, no. I wouldn’t say it’s fragile at all, but perhaps it’s not the kind of thing you’re after, and you need a heavier wool.
Ah I see thanks. Perhaps yes, something heavier. Any tips?
The next step up would be a 2-ply cashmere, as you’ll find at someone like Colhays or at Luca Faloni
Simon, will you be expanding the Dartmoor to XXL as in the Finest Polo? Thanks.
No we don’t plan to at the moment, sorry. It’s hard to do it for everything
Do you know if it is possible to take in the waist for a thin merino sweater like the Dartmoor? The tailor I usually go to did not want to do the procedure for a heavier knitted sweater that I showed him before, but maybe it is easier with a finer knit like this.
If anything I think it’s easier on heavier knits André, harder on finer ones. I’ve hand sewn up the edges of a thicker one, but you can’t get away with anything on a fine knit, it all shows. To alter any knitwear properly, you really need a factory to do it to link the pieces together