Introducing: The Cashmere Rugby

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*UPDATE: We have confirmed a re-stock for January - including the XL that has sold out. So do use the form on the Shop site to be added to the waiting list for that*

In our article a couple of weeks ago about the new shearling colour, there was a really nice discussion in the comments about PS products, their role within Permanent Style and in the wider world. 

It was lovely to hear how much readers understand and like the clothes. The thing that hit home for me though, was that people appreciate the way they fill a niche, yet can be versatile. They’re clothes most readers could wear, but are offered (usually exclusively) for very specific reasons. 

Today’s launch (the last for a while!) fits that brief particularly well. 

It is a collared, cashmere sweater made by William Lockie in Scotland, but in a 4-ply that they no longer do because it’s usually not considered commercial enough.

Most collared knits of this type are 2-ply. They’re great, and I own ones from both Colhay’s and William Crabtree

But a 4-ply feels surprisingly different. Having double the amount of cashmere makes it really warm and lovely in colder weather, like now. But it also gives it an almost jersey-like bounce, and sponginess.

Collared knits are often referred to as ‘sports shirts’ by factories, which I always think is charmingly antiquated. But actually this weight feels more like a jacket substitute than a shirt. It’s great in winter, but in milder weather it’s heavy enough to wear on its own, or just with a gilet over the top.

The jersey-like feeling, meanwhile, comes from the combination of that weight, the 15-gauge density, and the tension Lockie work with. It’s why I’ve referenced a rugby shirt in the name - it has a similar easy feeling to cotton jersey, plus the collar which makes it just as easy to pull on at the weekend. 

Four-ply collared knits like this used to be quite popular, and Lockie and others sold them widely. But over time they have been phased out because the price makes them hard to sell online. 

It’s difficult to explain to someone - if they haven’t felt it in person - why they should pay over £400 for a sweater, even though it has almost twice as much cashmere in it as the more standard Scottish two-ply, which will already be £300. 

(Of course, as we’ve discussed recently, Scottish sweaters are also knitted more densely, meaning there’s even more cashmere in there - often 40% more than in an equivalent Italian knit.) 

So you’ll see two-ply styles from Lockie sold widely: in a crewneck, V-neck, cardigan and so on. But no four ply. 

James Priestley - long an agent for Lockie, among others - brought back the four ply when he opened his store in Marylebone, called William Crabtree & Sons. He currently sells it as a crewneck*. 

But I fell in love with an old collared version he had, and it was James who helped us bring back this style. 

He also helped with some technical points around re-designing the collar. I wanted it a little higher in the back, because like the Dartmoor and Finest Polo, I find this more flattering on most people. 

So while not as high as those other models (which are specifically designed with a jacket in mind) the Rugby does have a slightly higher collar than most - as illustrated below. 

In the six months I’ve had my version, it’s become my easy default - the thing I reach for first, and pull on with both jeans and tailored trousers.

It’s just so easy. The collar means you don’t need to wear a shirt underneath, and yet it looks very put-together. The thickness means it goes just as well with jeans as with smart trousers (unlike the smarter Dartmoor) and as a result it’s good going to the park or for a nice lunch.

As ever, I’ve tried to show this in the photography. The casual outfit at top - with jeans, boots, shearling overshirt and red watch cap - is as casual as it gets for me. Yet the other outfit, below - with cream twill trousers and brown-suede loafers - is as smart as many people ever need. 

We chose a classic grey-flannel for this first iteration because it also works with the greatest range of colours. While the cream trousers I’m wearing will be too showy for some, the flannel colour also goes with navy, beige, green, brown, black and so on. Basically everything except the same colour as itself.

I think the only other PS piece I find as useful is the blue oxford, and even then it’s not quite as good with smart clothes (I’d switch to the white oxford there). 

Yet the Rugby is still, in some ways, niche. It’s not intended to replace the more widely available two-ply knit, which can be worn for more of the year and is available in more colours. 

Rather, it’s nice to resurrect an old style that - I’ve found - I really love wearing. And I’m sure there will be readers out there that will love doing so too. 

Details on the Cashmere Rugby:

  • Made by William Lockie in Scotland
  • Sold in collaboration with William Crabtree & Sons
  • 100% four-ply cashmere (two ends of 2x28s)
  • 15-gauge
  • Grey mother-of-pearl buttons
  • Price £355 plus VAT
  • Available only on the PS Shop here

Sizing: 

  • The Cashmere Rugby has a classic shape, rather than slim
  • Simon wears a Large in the images here, but could also wear a Medium
  • "I sized up because I wanted a more generous, comfy fit, but a Medium would have fitted too, it would just be neater"
  • Simon  is six foot tall and has 39-inch chest
  • Measurements, in inches, are below
  • Chest is pit to pit, length is on the back from the bottom of the collar, sleeve is the under-sleeve seam
  • Please note, garments are marked by measure size of the chest itself, from 36 to 44. This is a Lockie convention and does not relate to the chest sizing usually used on tailoring

 

X-Small Small Medium Large X-Large
Chest 19 20 21 22 23
Length 25.5 26 26.5 27 27.5
Under arm 19.25 19.5 19.5 19.75 19.75

Other clothes shown:

Photography: Milad Abedi

*The William Crabtree website describes this style as two ply, and the two ply as one. This is the less standard way of counting - just the ply rather than the ply and the ends together. Most sellers use the way of counting we do

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Charles

Looks great. Interesting to read that Lockie had phased the 4 ply out – presumably they no longer manufacture the 4 ply for the brands with which they work?
Any plans for navy?

Charles

Thanks Simon – to clarify would you recommend wearing a shirt underneath or not? Presumably you are wearing an underwear t-shirt?

Felix Sylvester Eggert

Maybe this is an too obvious of a question, but may you elaborate on why you wear an undershirt with these and how you decide on when to wear one Simon? Does it have to do with the material?

In other words: I tend to sweat quite fast which can be annoying with delicate materials. Therefor I quite often also wear an undershirt underneath. On the other hand an undershirt will make it even warmer. It can sometimes be a vicious circle.

Any tips on how to handle this Simon?

Gonis

Have any undershirt recommendations? Mines are terrible. Thanks Simon.

malcolm patterson

Do you go with V neck or depends on the shirt/jumper?
I presume its the tubular H&H that you use and recommend here: https://www.permanentstyle.com/2020/04/three-things-ive-bought-on-lockdown-stevenson-overall-harley-hamilton-hare.html

Any preference for Sunspel or H&H? Questions at this level of detail might seem trivial but I’m sure many of your readers are happy to rely on your recommendations where access to this stuff is limited and don’t want to engage in endless deliveries and returns. Of course our tastes will be different but going with your recommendations in the past has worked out pretty well
Malcolm

Aaron

A shame – I want to buy the 4 ply Chirnside cable knit at some point, now I need to decide whether I should preemptively buy before they run out…

Christopher Lee

That’s what credit card debt is for!

blueboy1967

Hi Simon,
This looks like a winner!
Could you comment on laundering / cleaning please?
Thanks, Damian

Martins

I’m not sure if I’m phrasing it right before my morning coffe, but on one hand I completely agree with most people not understanding why they should pay 400£ for a knitwear. I mean I can see it’s denser (stiffer?) than high street cashmere so should cost more, but on the other hand, it’s still “thin” knitwear for 400£! The only exception I guess being private white roll necks. I pick up one of those and think “wow that’s a lot of cashmere!” And 450£ kind of feels appropriate! Could you remind me how many plys pwc roll neck has? I could have sworn you did an article on that, but I can’t find it anymore.

Chris K

Well Simon, You’ve done it once again. I was just the past few days looking for, A: another four ply crew neck to add to the collection or B: something like this. Admittedly I had no idea this was coming, lovely surprise. May I ask, I’m assuming you don’t wear another layer under this? Cashmere on skin? What I particularly like about this, much as I like the new Colhay’s version I bought this season, is the fact it’s 4-ply. It just feels a bit more substantial worn on its own, under a raglan for example?

Chris K

Thanks Simon, I haven’t regretted investing in a piece of Scottish knitwear to date. May I ask, would you wear the rugby underneath your horse hide racer? With some dark denim perhaps?

chris k

Simon, I wore the rugby for the first time out to lunch yesterday. This really is a fantastic piece of knitwear. For context, I was wearing this with dark denim, rough-out suede boots and a Valstarino (not suede unfortunately, but it’s reminded me a suede one might be a worthy investment next year).

In my opinion you’ve got the fit just right, feels smart, but ever so slightly relaxed, and the density is just great. For reference, for any other readers considering, I’m 180cm tall, 40″ chest, slim athletic build with broad shoulders and went for a medium. Perfect fit.

Lastly, the collar. This is the best knitwear collar I’ve worn, beautiful shape and it stays up nice and smartly around the neck, even when taking a jacket or coat on and off, which I can’t say for all my knitwear polos. Other polos I have the collar ends up all over the place. Not this one, this just sit’s like a shirt collar and doesn’t move at all. Looks brilliant when worn under a nice overshirt/jacket/coat as you are in the photo shots with your shearling. I know you will have been very specific in this design aspect of the rugby. Great work Simon, thank you once again.

Noel

Looks interesting Simon. Whilst the collar is smaller then the Dartmoor, would it still work under a jacket?
I’m thinking more about the case when a jacket is used mainly as outerwear, such as you tend to do with your gun club / houndstooth jacket.

AITOR

Hi Simon, congatulations on the release!
I wonder how it might work under a lighter jacket, I’m thinking of an unstructured jacket, a Teba jacket or something of that sort. What do you think?
Thanks

Luciano

Hi Simon, this looks great. Am I correct that size L corresponds to standard UK knitwear 42 size ?

Peter

What’s your preferred v neck undershirt for wearing with knitwear like this Simon?

AW

I wear Sunpel t-shirts under my cashmere. It’s a great combination.

O

Lockie’s cashmere is a thing to behold. I have a two ply v-neck from a few years ago that feels so much more substantial than any other cashmere I have owned (Italian or Scottish). It feels and wears beautifully. This looks great Simon. Expensive, but fantastic value given that the 1-ply versions appear to go for £330-ish anyway. I am currently looking behind the sofa for any loose change I can find…

Michael

It looks splendid!
– it that something regularly worn under a jacket as well?

Peter Hall

That is a stunning knit. I remember my mum using four ply to knit cot blankets and other baby clothes and swearing it was the warmest wool
Just to add to our sustainability conversation. Could I signpost
https://eu.sheepinc.com/collections/sweater/products/v-neck?variant=39806289150101&gender=male&product-color=52
who are keen to promote the sustainable use of merino. My wife has a hoody and it’s the nicest sub 200 euro knitwear she owns(I’ve no association with sheep inc apart from as a customer). Wool is from New Zealand and woven in Portugal.

Craig

Great color that goes very nicely with cream jeans and brown trousers which is what I wear most often in casual outfits.

Gary

I’m a big fan of William Lockie but would prefer red or burgundy which are, in my personal experience, more versatile. My wife says that greyish or pastel shades don’t suit me. At £426 including VAT, brighter colours and a more regular fit are needed to justify such a considerable outlay.

Juan

This look great, Simon, I just ordered mine.

In regards to your comment that Scottish knitwear being more densely knitted, to the point of it having 40% more cashmere in it, does this mean that anyone interested in the highest quality knitwear would necessarily look to Scotland instead of Italy (assuming that we compare the top quality offered by each country)?

Fatih

That is a lovely piece. Just out of curiousity, would size M be too slim on you or just a tad? I’m asking because its just 1 inch of difference in the chest and that picture you took from behind looks like you have plenty of fabric there in L that even an Msize wouldn’t be to snug.

Aaron

I won’t lie, when I saw the title I originally thought this sounded very incongruous. But seeing it as a thicker Dartmoor rather than a striped, sporty looking shirt I like it a lot. Unfortunately, I don’t think I’d have a chance to wear it much – I’ve accidentally overfilled my knitwear drawers with interesting pieces rather than useful pieces. A capsule post of 5-10 pieces of knitwear might be useful…

Rogey

Lovely piece. I would vote for a few more colors, please.

DB

Looks very cool, Simon.

I’m trying to get a sense of how this would feel by comparison to something I can lay hands on — Is this really as thick/warm as the Lockie shawl-collar cardigan, which is also advertised (by Lockie, Drake’s, etc.) as 4-ply? Your rugby sweater doesn’t look nearly as thick in the pictures, so I wonder if the way the cardigan is described is another instance of the ends/ply confusion. Or perhaps it’s just a product of the cardigan using a chunkier ribbed knit?

Magnus

Hello Simon, very nice knit. You mentioned that these are marked by measure of chest size (standard for UK knit sizing). Is a large the equivalent to Lockie’s size 42? I typically wear 42 in Lockie sweaters, which is why I’m asking

Gabriele

I feel like there must be a typo in the sizing details somewhere. You say that a Large has a 42 chest, but the half-chest in the table is 22.
Also, it goes from 19 to 23 in the table, which is not the half-chest of a 36 to 44 (that would be 18 to 22).

Johannes P

Looks excellent, I’m really tempted to buy this as well (as with all other PS products). A question on sizing (as usual): I’ve read in previous articles and comments here on PS that you usually take size S (and sometimes size up to size M) in Luca Faloni knitwear which measures 19,6 and 20,4 inch respectively (half-chest). Based on the measurements alone that should mean that you would normally have a ‘small’ in the PS Cashmere Rugby as well and potentially size up to a ‘medium’, but you have actually sized up to ‘large’ (which is more like XL in Luca Faloni). How come?
I’m curious, since size S in Luca Faloni is really spot on for me (I could size up to M if I wanted it roomier), but does that mean that should go with size ‘small’ in the PS Cashmere Rugby as well or would you recommend to size up a little to ‘medium’? (or even all the way to ‘large’ as you have?)

Fred

Simon, The mention of this being ‘the first iteration’ implies there will be others. Can you say what might come next? …I would LOVE this in black. Thank you.

Ben R

I am currently traveling, so I do not have a sweater to measure for reference. Could you explain the measurements on this product, are they inches and what points are they measured?

I tried to compare the measurements from the Knit Polo and Indulgent Shawl, but I think those were in CM. Is it a useful starting place?

Ben R

Just for clear up a few items… The length is from bottom of collar to where the ribbing starts? Or does it include the ribbing? And, the sleeve length is the “underarm” measurement in the sizing table?

Ben R

Oh, and is the end of the cuff the finger end or the elbow end?

Ben R

Thanks!

Nick

This looks really nice! Any chance this will be at the market pop-up just to get a feel for the cashmere? also I am firmly in the camp of those who don’t mind the PS Shop expansion I don’t buy everything but all the products you offer are great and the articles are good styling reference points for things people may already have, so useful even if you don’t end up buying On this note, can we expect any new cloths next year?

Tommy Mack

That looks absolutely stunning and very wearable. Even comes in XS (Still kicking my self for dithering and missing out on the last XS Dartmoor) Not cheap of course but maybe I’ll ask Santa for one!

I’m definitely in the market for something like this. I just received a Drake’s polo collar sweater I bought 2nd hand on eBay only to find out it’s charcoal not grey (A closer look reveals the photos were taken outside in bright sunshine) Still a lovely garment but as you say, grey is slightly more versatile.

I’ve always baulked at the price of cashmere knitwear: I own a couple of cashmere scarves which are a joy to wear but I can’t see me paying for a crew or V neck: if very little material is in contact with the skin, softness just isn’t that high a priority for me so I’ve always tended to wool instead. I get that warmth is a factor too but I tend to layer in colder weather.

A polo collar on the other hand I can start to see the benefit in cashmere (especially as it’s more likely to be worn over a T shirt or even a vest) so will have to give this some serious thought!

Jerrell

Hi Simon,
Since this is the last launch for awhile, can we expect a restock soon in fabrics, especially the Lighter Everyday Denim?

Con

Very nice, and I can see how versatile it will be, Very much of the time we’re living in at the moment, as are the two previous coats. I have a similar cashmere top in charcoal which I bought for winter. I assume it’s 2 x ply. Trouble I find with it is that it’s just not quite warm enough at the moment and I have to layer up with a cardigan to be warm enough. The other issue I have is the collar isn’t quite right, doesn’t hold it’s shape and that may be something to do with how light it is. It’s also Italian made. I find I don’t tend to wear it outside of winter, I think because of the colour – it’s too dark. The collar on yours looks quite good and firm. Like the sizing/shape too. I’m thinking the Rugby would actually be more versatile – due to it’s weight and also the colour, what do you think?
I can see the value in the price and I think it’s good value. You’ve also done a good job at explaining where the value is, that helps. I’m just getting to grips with the terminology and make-up of clothing and I’ve realised that many retailers don’t really explain the benefits of what they are selling. Maybe that’s partly why 4 x ply went out of favour. Upto today, I didn’t even know the what the difference was!

Chancellor

You note that this will be the last new launch for a while. Will you be doing restocks of previously launched items in the coming weeks?

AW

There’s not much true 4ply around. I have one, a v-neck, by Hawick Knitwear (before administration) and is referred to as a shooting jumper.
Out of my 20 something cashmere jumpers, this one is the warmest, reserved for the coldest days.
I would say true 4ply is definitely worth the investment but I mostly wear 3 ply. However, my last two purchases (Johnstons) have been 2 ply. These are my first 2ply and I’m really enjoying how versatile they are – much more opportunity to wear them indoors and they have the look of merino.
Can I ask – you call this a rugby but is there anything to differentiate it from a polo or (quite often in cashmere manufacturers/retailers) referred to as a sports shirt? I have two in 3 ply (both John Laing) and they look like your Rugby.
Great colour by the way – perfect with denim.

AW

Sorry Simon, I missed that you had mentioned the “sports shirt”.

John

Hi Simon, this looks fantastic. I believe you have a PWVC cashmere submariner; do you know how many ply that was? I have one as well and am trying to determine how the thickness/warmth of this compares. Thanks.

Please keep up these products!

zo

very nice, by any chance will you have sizes to try at your shop this weekend?

Tamaki

Hi Simon,

Thanks for another great product and the images are inspirational for future outfits combination.
My question is regarding how differently would you use this Rugby Polob to Stoffa Ribbed Polo, especially regarding the colors of both are so similar. (not in terms of price though, but that is another topic)

From my point of view, Stoffa Polo is much more unusual and a bit more limited in terms of combinations, in my kind the combinations of Stoffa being strickly a subset of the Rugby Polo.

Still, Stoffa is, as you wrote, quite charming and given the ever more casual movement of clothing and the restricted liberty to express oneself, I would believe that Stoffa would be more “exciting” and “have character”.

So, I believe choosing one or another is (besides budget) a term of how “characteristically” one wants to be when dressing casually, no?

Would you correct me or add anything to what I said?

Tamaki

Thanks Simon,
You mention Stoffa is smarter, which I think I get it, though it is a bit surprising that it is, given that it is more slouchy and have more excess of cloth, which is usually associated with more causal clothing

Tamaki

Simon,
Michael Jondral has this sweater from Lockie that states it is a 4 ply. It is not the same gauge though. Did they just phase out the 4 ply in the 15 gauge?
https://michaeljondral.com/products/pullover-birds-eye-aus-reinem-schottischen-4-ply-kaschmir-pullover-chirnside-cable-aus-reinem-kaschmir

luca andrea simoni

A quite nice garment: Hower, why you name it “rugby” and not “polo”?

luca andrea simoni

You did not. Is the title of the article referring to it. “the Cachemire Rugby”.

luca andrea simoni

You are right. You did. About texture and weight. I do apologize.
absit iniuria verbis” (shall no offence be in my words) and thanks for your patience and attention.

Martins

but what is the difference between rugby and polo?

Martins

Yes! To me they are the almost the same thing just called differently. Looking for example at drakes pictures. Biggest difference being colour? Rugby being stripes and polo being smarter plain colour. Also rugby has hidden buttons while polo has visible buttons…

Martins

Thank you! That makes sense!

Peter Hall

Would PS would ever consider a quality old school rugby shirt? By that I mean very heavy cotton, solid colour, soft collar, contrasting cuffs?
Most of the available ones raw available are very thin cotton, more polo than rugby shirt.
They are great for days with the kids, gardening, dog walks etc.

Martin

my size already sold out – any chance for a navy version?

Noel

It seems more flexible than the Dartmoor, which seems to overlap somewhat with the Friday polo (in its use, of course, it being knitwear the look is different), so I decided to take the plunge.

Looking forward to it. I used my PVVC rollneck quite often so I think it will fulfill a similar purpose but with a different look naturally.

Mbb355

You mention this is the last new item in the shop for a while—does that mean there won’t be a new indulgent shawl cardigan? I thought elsewhere you noted that would be released this season?

Juan

Simon, I have a somewhat related question. It is in connection with the relative importance/effect of the number of “plys” in a piece of knitwear. I own cashmere shawl collar cardigans from Drake’s, Colhays and Permanent Style. The Drake’s one is made by William Lockie and is advertised as being 4 ply. The Colhays one is advertised as being 8 ply and “densely knitted” and, while Colhays does not disclose who makes it, it is sufficiently similar in style and quality of make to the Drake’s/Lockie that it would be a safe bet to assume its also Lockie, albeit to Colhays’ specifications as to yarn and design (for what it’s worth, I find the Colhay’s one fits me much better). Then there is the PS Indulgent Cardigan which is 12 ply, but more loosely knitted for a more relaxed look and feel. Again, I don’t know who makes the PS one but in this case it is a markedly different design to the Drake’s/Colhays one.
How can the price of each of these garments be so similar, when there is supposedly a very large difference in the amount of cashmere being used? Granted, the 12 ply of the PS version may be offset by the looser knitting, but it is still supposed to be 3 times as much cashmere in a yarn than the Drake’s/Lockie, plus the PS model is larger for any given size. The question is even more stark when comparing the Drakes and Colhays versions. Colhays is supposed to have double the ply number and be very densely knitted, but upon doing A to B comparisons, I struggle to find any meaningful differences in terms of weight, warmth or feel (other than in the fit, as per the above).
Please don’t misunderstand me, I don’t think there’s anything untoward or shady going at all, I just want to have a better understanding of how does the ply count work in this scenario. Thanks in advance for your help.

John

Hello Simon, this looks superb, thank you to you, William Lockie and William Crabtree for bringing this back, and the higher neckline is appreciated. I have two questions that i was hoping you could help me with:

Colour – do you think this would work with charcoal flannels too?

Size – i have a 38-39 inch chest and usually take the same size in PS products as you. Am i correct in saying you took a size L as you wanted to wear it similar to outerwear? If you were wearing it as a regular sweater, would you have a size M? I think M would be best for me, but wanted to understand more about why you went for a size L here.

Thank you!

Noel

Hi John,
If it helps, I also usually take the same size as Simon (I’m 5′ 11″, chest 39″) and I took the M. It fits perfectly, without being tight and the sleeves are the right length too.

John

Thanks, Simon and Noel!

Noel

I’ve had my PS rugby for about a week now. It’s very soft and spongy, very cosy and effective at keeping one warm without overheating. It’s fine to use it inside over a thin t-shirt. For those that compared it with a chunkier roll neck, I’d say it’s slightly lighter than my PVVC roll neck but heavier than your average 2-ply polo. The knitting is of course different (finer gauge, 4-ply, etc). Overall a very nice product that it’s easy to put on and look fairly stylish without standing out.

James Yan

Simon, according to my memory you once said in an earlier post that the zegna denim cloth for the cream trouser was no longer available. What would be the closest cloth, Simon?