A collared cardigan under a jacket: Ciardi and Colhay’s

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In recent weeks I’ve been playing around with this button-through cardigan from Colhay’s

Initially I was sceptical as to whether I’d ever wear it tucked in - and afraid it was a little lightweight to wear untucked. The same fear put me off the Stoffa version a couple of years ago. 

Fortunately, I’ve found I quite like it tucked in, as shown here under a new jacket from Sartoria Ciardi. 

It’s an unusual look, but it feels more natural to tuck in something like this - with its shirt-like buttoning and lack of ribbing at the hem - than a regular sweater. 

The visual softness of the material, combined with the off-white colour and roomy fit, also reminds me a little of an 80s or 90s Armani aesthetic

There aren’t the same wide-shouldered proportions to the tailoring, but the Ciardi jacket is similarly soft, and it’s roomier than other Neapolitan cuts. 

The colours are also suitably subdued and tonal, while the materials are packed with texture - particularly the heavy (19oz) Fox flannels and cashmere cardigan. 

Even the belt (alligator, Rubato) feels a little reminiscent of that style, as well as adding a bit of visual interest in the absence of a tie

The only practical problem of the cardigan under a jacket is that the collar isn’t designed for it - now and again it will slip under the lapel, or flip outside of it. 

It doesn’t annoy me too much, I even like the occasional accidental sprezzatura. But if it does, I still like the cardigan tucked in without a jacket (as shown above). 

The fineness of the cashmere means it doesn’t balloon that much at the waist; indeed, the knit’s texture and stretch naturally prevents it, as long as the waist is reasonably tight. 

Right now, I like playing with the cardigan unbuttoned a little too, and don’t mind showing a little of the undershirt. But if I change my mind, or for readers who don’t want that look, it also works with one button buttoned - the regular height I’d fasten a normal dress shirt. 

Although, having said that, it is nice to have some white setting off oatmeal colour of the cardigan. It makes tonal colours like this much easier to wear - less likely they’ll wash out the wearer. 

I think you can see this below. With the cardigan buttoned all the way up to the neck, and no white showing any more, the oatmeal doesn’t look quite as good against the skin. 

If I was buttoning the cardigan a little higher, therefore, I would wear a regular T-shirt underneath, so a little bit of white was still showing. 

The handkerchief performs a similar role in the outfit overall, preventing it all becoming too flat and tonal. There’s nothing wrong with that kind of look, but personally I find it more pleasing to retain some contrast. 

That can also be achieved by introducing contrast in the materials - for example wearing a shiny calf loafer rather than a matte suede one, as here. 

Readers will be familiar with this cut of jacket now, from Neapolitan tailor Ciardi. It’s my favourite non-English, casual style, and I’ve shown it often enough - with this gun-club check for example.

It’s so nice having a tailor you trust, driven by the fact he delivers time and again. There are never any mistakes, the fit is basically perfect every time: it removes all of the potential uncertainty and risk of bespoke. 

It’s hard to know exactly how I would commission clothes if I wasn’t writing Permanent Style. My choices are always going to be a bit of a hybrid between returning to makers I love, and trying new ones in order to show readers all the options. 

But I’m pretty sure I’d end up sticking with two or three tailors, largely based on style. A soft make like Ciardi or The Anthology, perhaps, and an English drape like A&S or Steven Hitchcock. Then the occasional one from Ferdinando Caraceni, Cifonelli or Edward Sexton for one-off pieces. 

I don’t know how quickly I would have got to that point without PS either. Most people know they should stick with a small number, but feel the constant pull of interesting alternatives. But I would have got here in the end. 

The cloth is AIT-070 from Anglo-Italian. I bought it about two years ago, but given Enzo Ciardi’s inability to travel during Covid, it's only now that I’m seeing it made up. 

I was interested to try this one from Anglo because it’s a mixture of wool and cotton - which I’ve never had before - and has some polyamide too. When Jake started doing his own cloths, part of the reason was the ability to do different combinations and finishes, so it was good to try it out.

As I’ve said before, there’s nothing necessarily wrong with a little synthetic in a material, as long as it’s there for a reason. Or rather, a reason other than saving money.

Here, there is a place for it, which is keeping the rather loose weave together. Anything that is more loosely woven is going to be more apt to stretching over time, and that's a particular risk with cotton (think how much better wool knitwear performs compared to cotton). So the polyamide is the only way to achieve this mix.

The loose weave is lovely - the material is really comfortable, soft and stretchy. And I think the cotton gives the material the material a more flat, matte surface.

The only downside is that those two things mean the cloth doesn’t feel so luxurious - I can understand someone feeling that they would prefer a pure wool, whether a superfine worsted or a sturdier tweed. So far, my thinking is that while I really like the jacket, I would probably use it for occasional commissions, rather than stopping using more regular tweeds or cashmeres most of the time.

The other clothes shown are:

And links to the ones already described are:

Photography: Alex Natt @adnatt

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James

Hi Simon – fantastic jacket (cut, style, cloth) and you and Ciardi are clearly now a well-oiled machine!
I have been looking at this Colhay item myself – the colour actaully seems a bit more versatile than it did on the website where it looked a little lighter (IMO). Could I please also ask which size you took for this? Thanks in advance.

jmehpg

Hi Simon,

It would be interesting to see a Ciardi jacket made up in a more casual fabric, like some of your tweed etc. How do you think his style would wear with denim for instance? So far the commissions would always need trousers. Reading what you have written about Ciardi before, it certainly seems he is a touch more formal than some Neopolitan tailors, so I would be interested in your thoughts on whether you would be happy with something more casual from them?

Thank you

Peter Hall

Very personal opinion, but I think it looks great with the jacket on,but a little bland without. Perhaps, that is the colour, as it gives great contrast under the jacket.
However, it’s pleasing to see where we are with quality menswear.The use of colour, contrast and texture works well. Old charm, but modern.
I think these fabric mixes will be more common. The slouch of the jacket is perfect. It’s a great day jacket, soft but robust. Possibly a good choice for those without a large tailored collection.

George

”But I’m pretty sure I’d end up sticking with two or three tailors, largely based on style. A soft make like Ciardi or The Anthology, perhaps, and an English drape like A&S or Steven Hitchcock. Then the occasional one from Ferdinando Caraceni, Cifonelli or Edward Sexton for one-off pieces.”
Thats a very very valuable comment from someone who have tried so many tailors. How much did the ciardi jacket cost ?

Gary Mitchell

I keep looking and cant put my finger exactly on the why but I dont like it under the jacket or as a stand alone. Odd as its more like a shirt so I cant see why it would not work but for me it doesnt work at all. Maybe if it was untucked? Ah we cant all like the same things eh…

Gary Mitchell

I shall work it out why I dont like it … makes no sense as I am a lover of cardigans in all styles (with the exception of the mustard coloured thing with pockets full of pipe tobacco my grand wore)

Gary Mitchell

could be just that…..

malcolm

HI
Just wondering if you take a medium in the Sunspel underwear T?
Thanks

Peter O

Incredible you take M because you are bigger and more muscular
than I am, and I take XL which isn’t really much bigger than L, so that I consider even XxL.
I get the feeling your cashmere cardigan with t-shirt underneath and even jacket must be very warm, too warm?

Joel Benford

I feel like I should not ask this, but I can’t stop myself: what is the difference between a collared cardigan and a wool shirt?

Joel Benford

Excellent.
I got as far as “the cardigan is probably thicker”.
I suppose this is usually true, but it’s not a defining difference.

Alexander

I’ve always liked the look of the single sleeve button your other neapolitan sport jackets. Any reason for you to go with three now?
(And boom: the unlikely return of the defamed handerchief! I did not expect this any time soon.)

Alexander

Yes, I see the reasoning on the handerchief. I think the pop of bright white really works within the muted backround. The standard white linen handerchief is the only version of handerchief I was always fond of. Good to get new ideas how to wear it. Sadly, mine is waiting in my desk drawer for years without use. Always seems too try-hard for the combinations I could think of.

Ian

The colour on colhay shirt is lovely , i too have seen it on the website but the colour looks a lot nicer. I know that Todd and Duncan supply the yarn for Colhays but who do they use for the knitting ?

Ian

to be honest, and this may seem a bit strange but I am on a tight budget, and as such I have decided not to save money by buying cheap but instead to not buy as much but to buy better quality, my logic is they are using great cashmere ( used by lockie who are generally thought of as one the best knitwear producers in the world) but I know that if the knitters they use ( as they are a newish company) aren’t considered that great I may be better to hold off as the crewneck I would buy from them is £360 for a 2ply and they don’t seem to do special offers/discounts
very happy to acknowledge my logic may be flawed btw !

m

I disagree, I feel that transparency is very important for me as a consumer. Whether you like it or not at the end of the day every purchase you make is political in one way or another. I take interest and responsibility in who or what my money is supporting. I feel that as supply chains get murkier and price becomes main factor in purchase decision, the individual consumer, as well as the whole society loses, if not straight away then in coming future.
I’ve purchased from multiple manufacturers in Hawick, mostly lambswool but also some cashmere and I can tell you from personal experience that there is a noticeable difference in quality control between makers.
One thing I’m curious about is how much machinery used makes a difference in end product. I know some makers like Lockie and Barrie at least partly still use old Bentley machines, while others have fully moved to modern machinery.

M

Thanks for replying Simon. I guess theres a romantic idea about how old-school make was superior due to general drop of quality related to rise of fast fashion. People feel like everything modern is developed only for efficiency and thus cost-cutting is inevitable. Somehow this idea also translates directly to the looms used.
I can’t say I don’t at least partly subscribe to that way of thinking, is it rational or just elitist, I can’t even tell anymore.
Take for example Goodyear vs hand welted shoes. Even if Goodyear welting system is over a century old it could still be considered a modern cost cutting method. While I do enjoy the idea of hand welted shoes, it really is one of the least important factors one should consider when buying a pair of shoes.

Ian

Out of interest which cashmere producers would you recommend / not trcpmmend in Hawick ? Thanks

SVT

nice point

Craig

Anglo-Italian’s Tessuti fabrics are excellent, one of the best fabric books for sports coats I can think of. Instead of having just one weight and fabric type, and having dozens of patterns, most of which are impractical; they stick to patterns that are all wearable, in a wide variety of weights and fabrics. It’s a great approach. One could make a very comprehensive sports coat wardrobe just from it alone.

Nicholas Kyriacou

Looking more like Andre Larnyoh every day..

Chancellor

Could you add a photo where you aren’t pulling the jacket back with your pocketed hands or otherwise obscuring it behind railings? It would be nice to appreciate the jacket with a clear view.

I confess that I’m partly also interested to see the pattern matching of the patch pocket, which I asked you about on another thread recently.

SamS

I have to say, this is one of my favourite looks from you recently, Simon. In the post-suit era (at least post-suit-as-required-for-work), the wearing tailoring in a more casual way is going to be a central topic for anyone who aren’t willing to give up the sport coat just yet, and I think this is an interesting way to do it. Definitely one that requires a little more attitude than the denim shirt, but I think you wear it very well. It does definitely have a bit of flair.
Most attempts I see to wear jackets in a casual way feel very heavy handed and obvious: jeans, sneakers (and not the dressy white leather ones…) and baseball caps all scream “Yes I’m wearing a jacket but look how relaxed and casual I am about it” – I know I’m in the minority, but I find nothing redeeming about those looks. Once the casual elements becomes too obvious, I feel it stops being casual and starts being an active statement of how casual an exquisitely tailored jacket in a carefully selected fabric is.
But this wasn’t meant to be rant about that, it was suppose to be encouragement about showing less obvious ways to wear tailoring casually!
I do have one question: how do you feel the cardigan will be effected by wearing it tucked in? I would worry that fine knitwear worn tucked in with a belt would start piling quite heavily around the waist, especially cashmere knitwear?

SamS

That does sound like a reasonable assumption. Following that up, would you know of anyone who makes a cardigan in that style in merino wool instead of cashmere? The colhay and stoffa prices for cashmere feel rather punishing, even though the garments are very tempting…

Peter K

I return to the office next week. I have been thinking about how I will dress as I can’t see myself wearing a tie very often anymore. An article about how office wardrobes have changed, probably mostly inviting comments from readers could be interesting.

Peter Hall

I’m a week in advance of Peter K and my workplace is smart but informal, but

Mon/Tues – client meeting.

Ps blue Oxford, (cavallaro Napoli) , navy crew neck, grey wool trousers (Cordings)and dark brown Tods desert boots. PWVC Harrington.

Thursday. No clients .

Cavallaro Napoli, brown merino roll neck. beige, fine cotton crew neck(vintage store) ,stone chinos(Cordings) snuff suede chukka (Crockett and Jones

Noel

Where I work most people seem to wear a fairly casual shirt (flannel, OCBD, etc) and chinos or jeans during autumn and winter. Jackets are uncommon. Flannel or wool trousers are worn but by a minority. The context is important to avoid being out of place.

If I want to were a jacket it tends to be tweed (dark brown like the PS tweed or deep olive, Neapolitan) with a light denim or OCBD shirt. The trousers are either jeans (“double denim” with tweed, when the shirt is light and the jeans dark works well) or chinos. Shoes are usually suede loafers, chukkas or single strap monks. This is more formal than the average but not out of place.

Alternatively, I wear flannel trousers, calf shoes or cordovan shoes (plain derby or brogue), an OCBD shirt and then a chunky cardigan or crewneck sweater. Wearing a jacket with these more formal shoes and trousers pushes the outfit too far beyond the average.

Rogey

I have this cardigan in dark olive. I was unsure about the style but the color was so great I decided to experiment. It has been versatile and terrific. I have worn it as a cardigan, just over an oxford shirt. I have also worn it over an oxford and under a jacket as a layering piece. And on a recent trip when I ran out of clean shirts I buttoned it up and wore it as a shirt under my tweed jacket.

Prince Florizel of Bohemia

Dear Simon, I have a question realating to the cardigan design. Do you know where one could purchase shirt size real horn buttons such the ones on this cardigan? It seems they are hard to come by. Thank you.

Prince Florizel of Bohemia

No problem. Thank you anyway.

Scott

Your Ciardi jacket is fantastic! Your comments about having only two or three trusted tailors was spot on as was your list which I’ve adopted. I’d suggest that having a similar short list of knitwear providers would also be useful. For example, my list, thanks to PS, includes Smedley, Sunspel, and Luca Faloni with the occasional one off piece from Begg.

Scott

May I ask what your list might look like?

Scott

Actually an article on this subject is a great idea so please consider writing one. I forgot to mention that my outerwear maker of choice is Private White, again thanks to PS.

Nunya

Why not include Whitcomb on your tailor short list, given you seem to like the style, value and execution?

Stephen S

Hi Simon,
Thanks for this post. It has helped immensely. I have similar cardigan- although I purchased as a lightweight wool button through polo although probably semantics. Suffice to say I have a similar item in navy, purchased some time ago before really thinking through how to style it- generally wearing on its own.
Whilst I don’t really go for that colour palette in tonal, ( which I think you pulled of extremely well except for I would have gone for a crew neck T-shirt) I intend to go for something similar in the blue/ grey range with white crew neck T or buttoned to neck. Thanks for giving me some ideas.
On a bit of a tangent. I was thinking of buying a navy unstructured jacket- possibly in cotton or a mix with hemp (eg along the lines of the Drakes Games blazer MK1), to wear with a Breton (navy/white) crew neck T-shirt and chinos or jeans. I think you would know the look, so would appreciate any thoughts before I invest!
As always all the best.

Stephen S

Thanks Simon. It’s a merino wool button through polo – I should have been clearer. Thanks also for the sensible advice on the jacket – it wouldn’t be the first mistake I’ve made.
Best

Rupesh Bhindi

Hi Simon,

Out if interest, have you tried Colhays Superfine Lambswool knitwear. If so how does it compare with other lambs wool brands in terms of feel?

JSB

Simon,
I think the jacket is fantastic and the tonal colour combo with the knit also very pleasing. I am struggling to like the two together from a stylistic point of view.
I do find the cardigan somewhat strange under the jacket; it imitates a shirt but doesn’t really fulfill a ‘proper’ one to my eye or provide the shape of tradition cardigan. Not withstanding that, I also find that the collar of the knit is slumping or should that be slipping under the jacket in almost all the photos. I thought one your own personal dislikes was collars that don’t stand up under a jacket? If I’m not mistaken that was one the objectives of the collar you developed on the PS Friday Polo for example, which in my opinion looks much nicer with a jacket. Have you mellowed on that point?
On Colhay’s product quality and colours, I find them very good, excellent in fact. I’ve been precluded from making further purchases for the moment due to the fact that I just find their sleeve length a touch on the short side for myself – a point which has been raised in discussion by several readers before on a separate PS article. I have queried this with Colhay’s by making direct comparison to similar sizes and sleeve length from other brands but unfortunately received no response. Bit of shame really.
As always, I’d thank you for bringing articles like this to readers for discussion.

James

Simon, this look is good, is it practical? Can you travel on the tube (in rush hour) and keep the jacket on? I suspect it’s very dependent on the jacket cloth.

Stavros

Beautiful jacket and trousers! How do you like the heavy flannel fabric? Do you know why fox brothers doesn’t recommend it for suiting? Is it related with not holding a crease well or is it something else? Thank you!

Stavros

Thank you for your answer! I was mostly referring to what is written in the product description: ” Due to its weight and heavily milled finish this cloth is more suitable for jacketing rather than suiting.”. I guess what matters in the end is personal experience, and it sounds like you are happy with the fabric used for trousers.

Hywel Jones

Hi Simon

I’m thinking of using this Fox heritage heavy flannel for trousers for the winter. How have you found the fabric and would it be versatile enough for a warmer Autumn or Spring day? The swatch I’ve received from Fox seems doesn’t seem bulky? The colour is a lovely in between between a mid grey and a charcoal. Would be grateful for your views.

David

Strange, but for me this just doesn’t work.
A ‘V’ neck sweater with a shirt underneath – yes.
A PS finest cardigan – again with a shirt – yes.
A polo or roll neck – yes.
This one – no and I think it’s because of the preponderance of buttons with no break to the collar. It just doesn’t look right.
Nice jacket and trousers though.

Leo

Hi Simon
Love the look-cardigan, jacket and trousers.
The cardigan looks great tucked in.

Garryowen

On the jacket, could silk have served the same purpose as the polyester? In the classic wool-silk-linen blend, doesn’t silk play a similar role of strengthening the weave? I know you can’t construct your own fabric so its ultimately a moot point, but I was curious to ask as a thought exercise. It’s a beautiful pattern but i share your skepticism of synthetics so I suspect that pattern could be found in a fabric that doesn’t compromise luxury, as you note this one does.

Anonymous

Simon re the sleeve buttons on this jacket the one nearest the sleeve end appears to be kissing/overlapping the middle one whilst the other button at the other end appears side by side the middle one. Is this the case? Generally do Italian tailors prefer “kissing”/overlapping sleeve buttons (usually 4 hole and shiny) whilst Savile Row tailors prefer side by side/non – kissing (usually 2 hole and matt) ?

Fernando

Curious to know, how much polyamide is there?

MBB355

I still don’t see the case for the Colhays shirt cardigan. I agree with you that it won’t look good untucked because of the length and lack of ribbed hem. That means it can really only be worn as a shirt. But the material seems far too heavy for a shirt–better to wear a knitted shirt a la Stoffa or even a Colhays cashmere polo. The one advantage the Colhays shirt cardigan has over the Colhays polo is its deeper buttons–creates a better “V” with which to frame the face. But Colhays could (and should) fix that by using a deeper placket on their polos. I love the jacket here (I own one in the same AIT fabric), but I vote no on the shirt cardigan.

MBB355

I wonder if that could be fixed by deepening the placket, as I mentioned above. Perhaps it the polo also needs a stiffer collar. I know what you mean though–I’ve tried the Colhays silk-cashmere short-sleeved polo under a jacket and also didn’t love the look. Much prefer the Dartmoor for that sort of thing.

Sean Breezie

Hello, how much of the year do you expect to get use out this jacket given weight of the cloth and the combination of fabrics it’s been woven with?
I reckon all but the summeriest of summer days, if made up with a lightweight construction (unlined, relatively unstructured). And it’s on those grounds I’ve been considering this cloth myself.

SVT

For example, I always idolize tucking a T-shirt or shirt into my pants and find it very masculine. I also wear trousers with a belt. But I’m not 40 yet

TD

Superb combo! I notice you’ve tended to leave your jacket unbuttoned – is this a reflection of your adopting a more relaxed attitude towards dressing?

Henry

Hi Simon, great combination! what’s your thoughts if to swap Colhay’s oatmeal over-shirt with white OCBD shirt & Rubato fawn V neck under the same blazer? Regards

Benjamin

How would this other cloth from Anglo Italian Tessuti wear do you think? It’s a wool/cotton mix but doesn’t have the polyamide,
https://angloitalian.com/collections/tessuti/products/ait-069

Benjamin

Thank you – when you say the casual nature – does that mean it would rumple/crease more? As that’s not a property I would look for.

Jack

Hi Simon, could I ask whether the jacket is fully lined? I remember from your previous article that you had a slight issue with a half-lined gun club tweed jacket from Ciardi.
Many thanks,
Jack

Jack

How do you find it? Would you recommend full-lined if I want the jacket to hang cleaner at the back?

Jack

Hi Simon, if you have found the cloth of the jacket versatile? Although, I assume you haven’t had many chances to wear them if it was made early this year

Many thanks,
Jack

Jack

Do you think you would wear the jacket for winter under the overcoat? Or only for autumn and spring?