New Dartmoor colour – and what to wear underneath

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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:

Details on the navy-Dartmoor outfit here.

Photography: Alex Natt @adnatt

 

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Anonymous

Simon, is there no stock of the gray in XL? Doesn’t show on shop page.

Anonymous

Sorry but the issue seems to persist – the grey XL is now listed but shown as sold out.

Anonymous

Yes, thanks. Order placed!

Adrian

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.

Noel

Hi Simon,

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).

Noel

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.

David

There doesn’t seem to be a grey – extra large in the drop down in the shop.

Is this sold out? Or a mistake?

Thanks

Anonymous

I don’t know why, but to me a vest or t-shirt under a primary layer just seems perverted.

Anonymous

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!

Nico

Simon,

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?

Cheers

OP

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…

OP

Perfect. Thank you.

Chancellor

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

Paul

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).

Paul

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?

Paul

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!

Jan

Hi Simon,
do the navy Dartmoors in the shop also have the slightly shorter collar of the grey ones?
Thanks
Jan

Fatih

Hi Simon, on that note, any stock with the old larger collar left?

Karol

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.

Jan

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

Noel

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.

Oliver M

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.

Peter O

Dear Simon,

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.

Peter O

So THAT’S a “vest”! In American English some of us, correctly or incorrectly, call that a “WIFE BEATER”!

Peter O

Unterhemd = undershirt
Unterwäsche = underwear

Peter O

“Why do we call it a Wife-Beater?”
dictionary. com

Anonymous

For those of us that don’t “need” your slim cut proportions who’d you recommend as a second best option?

Anonymous

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.

Anonymous

Simon, would you wear the gray Dartmoor with charcoal trousers?

Anonymous

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?

Dan

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?

Thanks!

Matt H

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?

Scott

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.

Scott

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.

Scott

That’s very impressive actually. The sleeve looks like it has a turn back cuff, correct?

Scott

This would be a wonderful fabric use for a rollneck and/or a mock. Any plans for other models?

Scott

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?

Scott

Of course, thank you.

Stephan

Hello Simon,
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?

Cheers,
Stephan

Annonymous

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?

O

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…

Anonymous

What color t-shirt or vest do you recommend under cream knitwear?

Anonymous

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.

Anonymous

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?

Anonymous

If not white underneath, what color do you think would work best under navy?

Peter

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.