Tonal dressing – with new Indulgent Shawl Cardigan

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Our Indulgent Shawl Cardigan doesn’t need much introduction. 

Indeed, since this new grey colour was released to the waiting list yesterday, half have already sold. Quite a list had built up. Thank you everyone for your patience, and for riding out the delays last year. 

All sizes in the grey are still available, though, as well as smaller ones in the original navy. You can see them here, and I’ve included a summary of what makes the Indulgent Cardigan different from other shawl collars at the bottom of this article, for anyone that’s unfamiliar with it.

In the meantime, I wanted to use this photo shoot of the cardigan - at Rockhill House in Ireland - to talk about tonal looks and pops of colour. 

Anyone that has worn a navy polo under a navy jacket will know that a tonal look can be both elegant and unusual. Non-corporate but non-showy. (For me, perfect.) 

Grey on grey can be just as nice. In the outfit here, I’m wearing a slightly lighter grey crewneck under the new flannel-grey cardigan. A white shirt sits in between the two, which makes it less striking, but it would still look good without. More casual and relaxed, but also more characterful.

Other tonal colour combinations are harder - shades of green, brown or beige - because it’s difficult to find tones that work well together. It’s not impossible (lovely RL look here) but you will probably end up buying one piece of clothing just to complete the look. The opposite of versatility.

My grey-on-grey look would have been great with brown-suede shoes, and indeed still very classic with paler colours of shoe, given the white shirt and the lightness of the trousers. 

But given how much of a blank canvas it is, I really like adding a touch of strong colour. 

It’s something I showed in a look last year, with tailoring (above). In that combination a blue-striped shirt would have looked great under the grey-on-grey of tie and suit. But it was also an opportunity to use a more unusual colour, such as lilac. 

That shirt is pretty pale too. The colour could easily have been stronger or it could have been a brighter colour entirely - a yellow or green perhaps. 

With the Indulgent Cardigan outfit, I thought I’d wear my tobacco-suede oxfords from Stefano Bemer to add a similar touch of colour. 

I find the result quite satisfying. It’s far from ostentatious, but also not what a classic-menswear guide would normally recommend.

I’m sure I’ve seen Ralph Lauren doing a similar thing with a suit and tie, adding strongly coloured suede shoes beneath otherwise tonal grey. When I looked for the image this morning though, I couldn’t find it. 

Of course, it’s easier to do the look with knitwear, given how few opportunities there are today for a chalkstripe suit. It’s arguably more relaxed and comfortable too. 

Personally, I think part of the effectiveness of this is using just one colour. As soon as you add more than one - a bright tie and bright shoes, for instance - it becomes too much. 

The same goes for using textured materials. Suede shoes are better than leather, because bright leather is so much stronger (and can look cheap). Flannel, linen or cord is better than superfine cotton, superfine wool, or silk. 

When an outfit is described as ‘tonal’, by the way, it usually means more than just a similar shade of shirt and jacket, so my navy-on-navy example above isn’t quite right.

But today’s grey-on-grey is closer, because the white shirt is also a similar tone to the bone-coloured trousers. (And to the socks, though of course socks usually make a tonal combination with trousers anyway.)

That shirt is a PS white oxford, and the trousers are from Pommella in Zegna Woollen Denim, also shown here. That material isn’t available normally by the cut length, but I know Gianluca has his own roll of it if anyone is interested.

So, after that brief style tangent, let’s return to the Indulgent Shawl Cardigan. 

If anyone wants to read the full genesis of the knit - made in collaboration with Anderson & Sheppard - it is on the original launch article. For everyone else, here’s a brief summary. 

The cardigan is a piece A&S used to sell in their Haberdashery shop, but discontinued. I had one, and loved it so much that I asked if we could bring it back, together. 

It is different from other shawl-collar cardigans by virtue of its indulgent volume of cashmere - 12 ply of it - still knitted in the dense manner preferred in Scotland. Hence the name. 

It is also large in size, in body and length, requiring more cashmere still. I’m wearing a Small in these images, but I have the original navy colour in Medium (below). You can compare the fits if you look at the grey in this article and the navy and in the launch article here

Other details:

  • The cardigan is knitted in Scotland, from the finest 12-ply cashmere, also spun in Scotland
  • Uses unpolished horn buttons (always my favourite)
  • Has a button on the chest, and a hidden loop, in order to enable it to be buttoned up to the chin
  • Doesn’t have the last button at the bottom of the placket many do. Because no one does that one up. It looks weird
  • Has two hip pockets, but they come loosely sewn up, so you can keep them closed if (like me) you prefer them not to become baggy. But just snip out the thread if you do want to use them
  • Can be worn open or closed, collar up or down, casually or formally (see above)

Anderson & Sheppard sell several other shawl-collar cardigans, but not this one currently. 

It is available in flannel grey and dark navy, price £785 plus taxes. Size chart below.

Measurements

Extra Small Small Medium Large Extra large
Chest 51cm 53 55 57 61
Length 63 65 69 70 71
Sleeve 76 78 79 83 85

(Chest is pit to pit; length is centre back neck to hem; sleeve is centre back neck to end of cuff. Do bear in mind that sizes might seem a little large as well, given the thickness of the material.)

Photography: Jamie Ferguson (grey) and Milad Abedi (navy)

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Gary

I much prefer the navy as grey dulls one’s skin tone. My wife would leave me if I splashed £785 plus VAT on a cardigan, even if it’s in 12 ply cashmere.
Can you get cheaper 12 ply (or even 8 ply) cashmere knitwear from other retailers or manufacturers?

Matt

I got the navy in small last time and glad I did. My wife loves it. I just didn’t tell her the price, obviously.

Lurking on Permanent Style

As a woman, I find this exchange hilarious.

Edward

Having worn mine over the past couple of days, I’m so glad I don’t have to ever worry about justifying my purchase to any ‘significant other’ – it’s a lovely piece and worth every last penny in my opinion.

My question is why would anyone need to hide the price? As a lifelong bachelor I clearly have no understanding of Married Life Dynamics™️!

John

Hi Simon,
Just two quick remarks
1) With this outfit, I would have picked your St Crispin chukka boots instead of these oxfords;
2) More generally, I find men’s tonal outfits as a result of trying too hard in matter of style. I would be indulgent though, when it comes to women.
John

John

Obviously, I’ve mistated my second remark! As I find this specific outfit you are wearing from the trousers upwards very chic!
John

Aaron

Looks really great.
In regards to cardigan buttons, when it comes to what is normally the penultimate button, and is on this cardigan the final button, do you (or anyone else!) find that if that’s buttoned and you sit you end up with a triangle of the cardigan against your leg which ends up creasing?

Peter O

Do you see a parallel here to your plush cardigan without lowest button to two opposite designs of knitted waistcoat or sleeveless cardigan with and without lowest button, of which Cordings’ merino represents the model without lowest button, and
also has an often seen
triangle cut off angle at front bottom under its lowest button?

Craig

I love this look and often wear something similar. I think it looks put-together and well-thought-out without appearing fussy. I agree that tonal outfits are easiest in shades of grey and brown, at least for me. And cream trousers or denim jeans (my default go-to in casual outfits) go with literally everything.
I saw a pair of grey suede shoes that I was thinking of buying to wear with this kind of outfit but as you noted, it really isn’t necessary and these shoes would be a very niche buy. Brown suede is neutral enough.

D

Simon – quick question – what kind of outerwear would you wear over a cardigan like this? I have one of a similar weight but find I can’t fit anything over the top (even a pretty decent peacoat), which therefore limits it’s use in winter outdoors.

D

Excellent – thank you.

Fashion Bear

I find a roomy vintage m-65 works well for this purpose, as well!

Bruno Vendittelli

I love the tonal look, particularly the indulgent cardigan outfit. Being a disciple of greys and blues, I am branching out and having some lighter pants in shades of tan beige made.
I typically made a rule that darker colors are to be worn when going out for dinner (hence blues and greys). To this end, I avoided beige or lighter colored pants for this purpose. Is this the case?

Bruno Vendittelli

Thanks! I’ll do my best not to get Spaghetti Sauce on them;)

Peter O

What about white trousers for evening boat parties, or is those reserved for navy sailors?

Robin

Interesting that you should highlight a wool cardigan on the same week that Kirby Allison talks with Colhay founder about their unique wool wear .
It’s the very best video on knitwear I’ve seen with Ronnie of Colhay giving a fantastic description of fibre, yarn , ply etc.
Ronnie’s detailing on how to evaluate knitwear is priceless . Simon, I know you have written about this but this explanation is foolproof (trust me … I am a fool!)
Watching it I realised exactly why good wool jumpers cost so much and last so very very long . I may not pay so much but at least now I can appreciate what’s involved.
If I may add a link to that YouTube video, Simon.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KRhTYZgMTqM&t=985s
I think all PS readers would benefit from it .

P.S. Trust me I did not think a 40 minute discussion on wool cardigans would be so interesting !
Quick , Simon , get Ronnie in front of the camera for a PS video

Max

And Colhay’s could be a nice alternative for Gary at the beginning of the comments, if lambswool is an option. Can’t compare theirs to the PS one (which is obviously special) though I like the touch of my Colhay cardigan and it is not scratchy at all. Sometimes I wear it at home over a t-shirt. Don’t know Ronnies cashmere line unfortunately…
hope to find the video. Thanks Robin!
have a great weekend everyone

Sam

This is nice – I tried the Drake’s shawl collar cardigan and found it somewhat short in the body so it fit more like a bomber jacket, is this any longer?

Chris

Can you explain how this one differs from the one Lockie makes for so many companies? It looks quite similar?

Chris

Thanks, appreciate the explanation

Prince Florizel of Bohemia

Can you explain what is the definition of woolen denim, please? I’m aware of wollon cloths mimicking colors and texture of indigo cotton denim, but this cartainly isn’t the case. Thank you.

Prince Florizel of Bohemia

Thank you. How would you descirbe the cloth? Is it basically a woollen worsted twill similar to cavalry twill or whipcord, something similar to fabrics in Holland and Sherry Datoka bunch?

Prince Florizel of Bohemia

Thanks, Simon.

Alex McShane

Hi Simon,
I have been lusting after a shawl cardigan for a while now. I am however torn between cashmere and wool? I have looked at a few options – Anderson and Sheppard, Colhay, yours, etc. As it is a casual garment, I would want to wear something like this when i am traveling about, not needing a coat, but still wanted to be warm enough, without overheating, which i do suffer from.
Just to say aswell, I am impressed with the 12 ply cashmere, it sounds amazing, and I suspect extremely soft.

Alex McShane

Well, that at least one thing settled, I will go with the cashmere. Following that line then, I presume the higher the ply the better, or is it just softer? I am sure you have written about this before but for the life of me I can’t find the article.

Gio

Hi Simon,

Great article for inspiration. Thank you.
I like this shawl cardigan or others from brands like Drake’s. However the only disadvantage I find is that the neck and specially the chest is not 100% protected against cold. Wearing a scarf with a shawl cardigan isn’t the best option, is it? Any other tip you can suggest?

Thank you and best regards,

Gio

Thank you for your reply.

I see your point. What about wearing the shawl cardigan above a roll neck if you really want to protect your neck (as a scarf would).

Cheers,

J

Beautiful outfit. Do you find yourself wearing this cardigan outside much? Or is it an at-home affair?

Amit

Congratulations Simon for your baby girl!

zo

Must admit, very adventurous re wearing it around kids. I wear my shawl cardigan (luckily a lot cheaper) in a similar fashion and i’ve had it covered in posset, snot, milk, pasta sauce, ink etc etc. I’ve come to like it even more.

Kenneth

Good morning from New York…..the shawl collar sweater looks fabulous …good luck

Anonymous

I am a fan of this site, though I am not a fan of the shawl collar. Somehow to me it seems to be an attached scarf, a foreign element drawing attention to one’s head rather than face. Or something like that. If there is one regular element on this site I cannot comprehend, it is the preoccupation with the shawl collar!

Jim

I like shawl collars (v neck cardigans are my favourite), but I can somewhat relate – I usually don’t tend to go for the big chest and wide shoulder look that some look for in tailoring, for example. The shawl collar cardigan is also the epitome of relaxed, luxurious and comfortable, so shouldn’t look too trim and businesslike anyway. (IMHO)

Karol

Splashes of colour are really nice. Right now I’m trying out two per outfit – so perhaps dark green socks and red sweater. I’m not certain if it works, but it sure looked nice in old Drake’s lookbooks. On the other hand, I can’t really get used to the completely tonal, no contrast looks. Sure, they are lovely to look at, but wearing them doesn’t feel right to me. Full monochrome gives a lot of purple RL, aristocracy vibe, which is not one I enjoy doing.

Walter

85 cm for the XL sleeve translates into only about 33.4 inches. I am 6 ft tall and wear a 35 inch shirt sleeve which is the usual sleeve length for an XL shirt. Your cardigan sleeve length seems extremely short for the sizing.

Neil Tang

Hi Simon,
Could you share with us your thoughts on deciding between the navy and flannel grey cardigan, particularly how well each might fit in a wardrobe and matching with trousers.
That aside, I thought the small size (as shown in the flannel grey) on you looked more flattering compared to the medium size navy. Cheers!

Neil Tang

Thanks Simon. Looking forward to the post.

Alberto

If I may, I would also add that if you find yourself gravitating towards mid-wash denim jeans a lot (and love casual outfits in general), then grey could your best option. Conversely, if you’re more of a grey flannels kind of guy, then navy would be your go-to. Lastly, I would consider that mid-grey can be somewhat more flattering than navy on most skin tones, especially for those with a light complexion.

Andrew Hughes

I recently purchase a shawl collar cardigan by Andersen & Sheppard. It’s like a jacket and very warm and cosy. Just need a cravat!

Dan James

Looks gorgeous. I can see the appeal of and really like the tonal look of the whole set-up with cream trousers and then the white to light grey to dark grey on the top. I might still go for the navy one but not just yet.
Yes-it’s expensive but if it lasts for over a decade or so then it is more of an investment piece which looks like it would never let you down.

Matt L

Hi Simon.

It looks lovely of course, but I find the thin sizes are simply too small for me. Is it possible to get sizes for a more bulky gentleman? I’m a 48/58 chest.

Peter O

Dear Simon,

I think your individual “Permanent Style” has gotten more beautiful in regard to color. BUT don’t you feel
that tie, which appears to be of silk knit, is simply too skinny? And in regard to the cardigan pockets isn’t it exaggerated to say closed if a mere thread remains uncut? You eliminated its lowest button because you don’t use it, I bet you didn’t remove its pockets for a smoother look because it were radical and unpopular?

Joel

A lovely outfit — every item compliments the other, resulting in a well put together look. The watch demonstrates this perfectly along side the shoes. Also, I noticed that the cardigan does such a great job framing your face that the stronger (than “typical menswear” as noted) color in the shoes does not pull my eyes downward.

Hilary Richard Lambert

I’m in love with my navy cardigan. Tempted by the grey. I’ve noticed the cashmere used is much better quality than for example the Italian cashmere used by Hermes for their chunky cardigan which is too soft and will easily stretch. Apart from the price of course around £5,000. Yours is made in Scotland by the Chanel owed Barrie knitwear factory. Is that right?

Alan

Those cardigans look incredibly cozy. I could envisage many situations where they would be useful, especially where you need the warmth but don’t want to wear a coat (working from home when you have the heating off during the daytime would be an obvious one for me).

I agree with your thoughts on tonal outfits. There is something pleasing about how subtle they look while being unusual and elegant, particularly when the visual interest is provided by textures and shades rather than bold colours or patterns.

Chris

How does this compare in weight and thickness to the Colhays Shawl collar? I know this one is 12 vs 8 ply, but as far as gauge and weight? Thanks!

SVT

Simon, how much does a cardigan weigh in size M or L? Maybe it’s between one or two kg?
PS: I have one from Inverallan in Bordeaux and Admiral from NSC and I love them. I wear them alone or under a navy wool overcoat.

SVT

Is the shirt collar too small in these photos?

SVT

Judging by the photo, it seemed to me, I’m glad that is Ok)

Martins

Now I’m confused! I thought open weave was worse for longevity on knitwear? (Same thing as less dense?) by the way I’m also curious about weight. Why don’t you just weigh your own one instead of asking manufacturer?

Martins

yeah, stretching part is what worries me. hoping to own it one day if you haven’t discontinued by than, but I’m thinking since size 5 sleeves is almost too long in everything I’ve tried on and size 6 normally needs shortening.. since it’s stretchy, to try 5. but what if sleeves stretch?

R Abbott

This looks very cozy – perfect for the damp cold weather you get in England. If I still lived there I’d get it. The cold where I live in America is dryer and we tend to keep our interiors warmer than in England, so I’m worried I might overheat wearing this. That said, I’m tempted…

Gary Mitchell

Excellent piece of kit, I love chunky cardies and have many, alas Africa give limited opportunities for wearing them, limited but not unheard of.

Gary Mitchell

Its excellent, said that already, but I prefer a bottom button to be present. I never fasten them (as with waistcoats) but I do like them to be there.

Tony H

I have the only shawl collar cardigan better than a PS one, which is one knitted for me by my wife. The yarn is t nearly as nice, but it’s got more than enough love in it to make up the difference and then some. 

I don’t wear it nearly as often as I’d like, though, because the collar sits almost full inch away from my neck, which is pretty disconcerting. 

Simon, in your experience (more on the production side than the wearing, I guess), is this something I could fix just by wetting it and re-blocking?

Alexander

Being also around 40 inch at the chest: Would you share your thoughts on deciding between Small and Medium? I like the casual look with your navy one in Medium. But I am wondering if it would be slightly too long for me at my 178 cm height. Thank you!

Peter

Hi Simon,

I’m curious where this (beautiful) cardigan would fit in your casual-clothing taxonomy (https://www.permanentstyle.com/2018/02/five-paradigms-of-casual-clothing-which-do-you-wear.html).

You’ve used this sort of cardigan as an example of British Country style — which makes sense, given its Scottish provenance. But the tonal look you’ve created here also reminds me of the Italian Smooth aesthetic.

Is the upshot that a piece like this can pull double-duty, working with both style paradigms, depending on the surrounding pieces? Or would you put this more firmly in one camp or the other?

Thanks — and congrats on the new member of your family!
Peter

JH

Simon, will there be a restock of this cardigan prior to Autumn? Thanks.

Yash Patel

Hello Simon,

Ordered and received the grey in an xs last week, making mine a complete triumvirate of the colours so far.

Of all the colours I have bought so far I was, for reasons I myself am not clear on, least sure about the flannel grey. This is unusual for me as I have always thought shades of grey are always so easy, versatile and cosy.

It’s been worn a couple of times already and it actually works in this tonal way really well. I took the concept one step further and wore it with:

1. Dove grey Canali jeans.
2. Silver grey silk/cotton mix crewneck t shirt by Orgueil (Clutch Cafe).
3. The PS Herringbone Donegal coat.
4. PS/Begg green cashmere scarf
5. Dark green suede unlined gloves A&S
6. Olive Green leather and suede trainers by Norman Walsh.

I have always loved shades of grey and green and, on reflection, the whole combination really worked in terms of subtle colour and texture variation.

As ever, enjoying the cardigan along with the rest of the colours. Probably one of the most comforting and regularly used items in my wardrobe, being used equally at home (we keep it cool) and for dinners out where you go from house to car to restaurant and back. It is enough to keep you warm on the short walk between points. And pure luxury on top.

What colour next year? Deep brown, green or maybe something more adventurous? 😉

As ever keep up the good works.

Thanks.

Yash

Scott

This is a magnificent piece! If I understand correctly it’s only available from the PS shop, correct? With a 42.5-43 inch chest and 34 inch waist would you recommend the size medium Simon? Are there any plans to offer this beauty in black?

Yash

Hi Simon and Scott,

Sorry to piggyback on this comment but if different colours are potentially being considered in future years, can I put in a plug for not only black but also that exquisite olive Colhays does as well as the brown (or similar) they do.

I did mention green and brown above I think but it is specifically the Olive or maybe a forest green (if not too bright).

Many thanks.

Yash

Scott

Yash,
Olive would be a wonderful color as well, provided it’s a dark olive with hints of black or brown woven in. Of course a dark brown would be exquisite also.

Yash

Hi Scott,
Yes, has to be dark olive for sure.
Either way, olive, brown or black, I look for to the next instalment of this really quite amazing product!
Yash

Scott

Yes sir!

Scott

Will do and thank you for your prompt response.