Reintroducing: The Finest Crewneck (and new Dartmoor)
This feels almost nostalgic. The 'finest knitwear' was one of the first proper collaborations we did, six years ago, with the amazing Umbria Verde in Italy.
We discontinued it because I wanted to focus on collared knits and cardigans - the Dartmoor, the Finest Cardigan - and that felt more like a gap in the market.
But ever since, regularly and even frequently, affectionately and sometimes passionately, PS readers have written to say how much they loved it.
The finest crewneck was a wardrobe staple, a base layer to go with everything. It was great for travel, because it was lightweight and packed up so small. I remember a few customers snapping up the last dozen or so, to guard against future needs.
Fortunately, PS is now a bigger operation, and we can afford more lines (the cost being largely advance payment, the cost of holding stock, and to a lesser extent storage). So we’ve brought the crewneck back - initially just in navy, but potentially in more colours if it proves popular.
And we’ve also restocked the collared Dartmoor this week - originally a collaboration with John Smedley, but now made to a higher standard by Umbria Verde - including a new black colour (below).
So what was - what is - so nice about the Finest Crewneck?
Finest wool, finest gauge
The idea was that it would be both the finest materials and the finest make.
Why? Well, the finest merino feels as soft as cashmere, but is more robust. When cashmere is knitted finely, it pills more and can lose shape - that’s why fine cashmere knits usually have a silk element, for strength.
For me, fine merino is a better option. It looks smart but matte, without any silkiness. More of a menswear staple.
Working with Umbria Verde, we could then knit that merino particularly closely. They use an adapted knitting bed to knit at 37 gauge (the number of needles per inch); Smedley’s fine knit, by comparison, is 30 gauge.
This denser knitting is what gives the crewneck such body, a really lovely drape, and makes it stronger. I don’t like the concept of ‘stealth wealth’, but this fits that definition of something that is superior but understated - everyone goes for cashmere because it’s a label, but for a fine knit, merino is better (and no cheaper!).
Just as with the knitting, Umbria pulls out all the stops when it comes to the manufacture.
These little details elevate the product, but are also what the material deserves: there’s no point using beautiful cloth and then putting it together in anything but the best way.
Below are two examples. In the first image, note the join between the body and the sleeve. This is almost twice as wide as on a piece of regular knitwear and, as a result, thinner and flatter. As with the same seam on a bespoke shirt, having it flatter (and curved) makes it more comfortable.
Second, look at the shoulder point in the second image, where the shoulder and two sides of the sleeve meet. On most knitwear there is a hard little knot, where the yarn is folded back on itself. With Umbria, the point is flattened out and re-stitched, so the knot is removed.
As mentioned back in 2017, this is work Umbria developed for its top-end customers, who are basically the luxury brands I still respect and would buy from. It’s better not to name them, but readers won’t have hard time guessing who.
We’ve made one small change to how the Finest Crewneck is cut, which is that the body is now 2cm wider on all sizes.
To be honest, the previous iteration was pretty slim - slimmer than any other PS product - and this makes it a little more comfortable as well as more in line with other PS items.
As you can see from the images, it has a fairly high collar - but still works nicely with a shirt collar underneath, not strangling it. The knit has a longer rib on the bottom (7cm), which I’ve always thought is a nice way to push body proportions subtly towards the more flattering. And the cuff is a touch longer too.
That’s has a single cuff, unlike the Dartmoor, as I think it fits the cleaner, stripped-back look of the crewneck and its use often as a mid-layer.
Like the Dartmoor, being a fine gauge makes it smarter than most knitwear. It is therefore most at home with a smart pair of trousers - perfect for the office worker who wants something to wear instead of a shirt with his tailored strides or nice chinos.
It can be worn with more casual trousers, such as jeans, but I would always err towards the smarter end of any such category - an ecru denim or a dark indigo one, in a neat cut, not a baggier mid-blue with rips or heavy fades. It wouldn’t look wrong necessarily, you’re just not making the most of the style.
As well as wearing it on its own like that, indoors, I wear the crewneck as a layer under tailoring (as below) as well as under more casual outer layers like Tebas, fleeces, suede jackets and layered under shawl-collar cardigans.
As readers have often commented, it’s a great layering piece - particularly useful at this time of year - and is great for travel. It folds up small and only weighs 150g.
Underneath, I tend to wear a fine T-shirt, like the PS Undershirt. It can be worn against the skin, but you’ll need to wash it more regularly and that takes more care.
The full details of the Finest Crewneck are listed at the bottom of this post, including points on care and maintenance.
I also need to mention that the popular Dartmoor is back, with the navy, grey and olive restocked, and new colour - black.
Readers probably won’t be surprised to hear that this is the new iteration, particularly as I’ve found knitwear one of the easiest ways to wear black. It’s a nice, less classic alternative to navy with a whole range of trousers - brown, olive, cream, navy, many shades of beige, all shades of grey - and can even be combined with black trousers for a more evening look, as with the popular all-black look posted here.
I should also say that we’ve had to increase prices on both the Dartmoor and Finest Crewneck as a result of increased costs from suppliers. That’s the only reason, however, and those luxury brands mentioned know sell this quality of knitwear at over £500. (There’s an interesting multiplier effect there - if bigger brands use bigger multiples on their costs, they become even more expensive relatively as costs increase.)
Details on the Finest Crewneck:
- Made with Loro Piana Wish merino wool
- Knitted at 37 gauge by Umbria Verde in Italy
- Finely fashioned and finished on all seams
- Weighs 150g, folds up small
- Cost £225 plus VAT
- Generally hand wash or dry clean
- Can be machine washed on a cool, wool setting, but machines vary, so only recommended with a machine that you regularly wash woollen knits
- Brush with a soft clothes brush to remove lint and light dirt
- Although strong, this is still a fine garment, so treat with care
- Do not chuck into the bottom of a bag or shove into an overcrowded drawer
- Equally, do not pull hard or fast when taking on/off (sounds crazy, but I’ve seen people rip at the thing)
- Fits moderately slim, regular length
- Simon wears a Medium, and is 6 foot, with a 39-inch chest and 33-inch waist
- But as ever, compare measurements below to a garment you already have, rather than begin with body measurements
- Should not shrink or stretch/give over time
Great to have them back and the Dartmoor in an even finer quality! I noticed that the finest crewneck was already possible to purchase yesterday and I already put my order! I have a question though: I also purchased the Dartmoor yesterday and so I wanted to ask if it’s made by John Smedley or Umbria Verde. What are the difference for the Dartmoor now that is being made by Umbria?
Thanks in advance
The Dartmoor has been available for a few years made by Umbria Verde – it’s a long time since it was made by Smedley. You can see all the details if you see the article when that launched here:
Thanks Simon! Got the impression that the change was just now
Sorry, it’s just the Finest Crewneck that is returning. The Dartmoor has been around for a while
Simon, Couple of Qs
I read that a shirt works under it,specifically, will it work with the PS collar on the Oxfords?
I presume that a laundry bag and a wool wash will be Ok? I hate hand washing wool. But, a specific wool detergent ?
Sure, no worries.
A PS collar definitely works under it, but the Oxford will be quite thick, almost thicker than the knit!
You could wear it that way, but in the end the finest crewneck is best over a fine t-shirt, vest or a lighter weight shirt, eg a linen. With an Oxford you want a 2-ply lambswool or cashmere, or heavier really.
Yes that’s fine for washing. Wool detergent is a nice extra but not required. It’s rare you’ll have to wash it anyway (like most knitwear)
Maybe it will go nicely over the top of the PS Chambray (I find it much lighter than the Oxfords) – I’ve gone one on order and will definitely try that combination when it arrives.
On that point Simon, i could not find details on the other post with the Hermes scarf, but are you usually having a vest underneath? I don’t know how much it shows underneath the sweater.
Yes I usually am, it doesn’t show
Simon further to this do you feel a standard poplin semi spread collar shirt will sit comfortably under this crewneck or also too bulky?
Also re the Dartmoor (specifically navy) is it made in a XXL or only up to XL? The sizing chart displayed below the item shows sizes up to XXL (with measurments) or is this a mistake?
It should be fine, yes, though I have to say I mostly wear mine without a shirt, more with a T-shirt or vest.
It was made up to XXL, yes
Do you think the finest crewneck pairs well with the PS Lighter Everyday Denim shirt and the PS chambray shirt, considering their weight, color and texture?
Yes it would be nice with both
Lovely! I have been waiting for this, I am usually between a small and a medium ( I have middle aged spread …) for the small the chest is 52cm , does it taper ? if so how wide is it at the narrowest? Is it available to try on any where? any plans to reissue the darker denim shirt / darker denim fabric?
There is a slight taper, yes, I can look up the waist measurement and add it. But if you’re in doubt I’d take the size up. You don’t want extrafine merino to be tight (one reason we made the body a bit bigger with this iteration)
I can attest to the quality of the finest crewneck. I got to try it on at the Rubato pop-up and the fit and fabric are excellent, it has a softness and feel nicer than other premium knitwear brands I have. Already ordered and looking forward to wearing and enjoying it.
Nice to hear Thor, thanks. It should certainly feel better (in a very specific way – fineness, as described above) than anything else out there
I have both of these products. They feel great, look great, and offer good value for money.
Amazing, thanks Fred
Excellent news! I’ve been looking forward to the reissue and have already placed my order. Thanks as always Simon
Amazing, thanks Paul
Happy to see the return of this product. Will the finest polo being restocked soon as well?
Yes, that will be a couple of weeks
Hi Simon, that’s a lovely navy coat, please might I ask where it’s from?
We covered it in this article Nick
Simon, this is unrelated but I’m following the instructions on your contact page. In your Rubato pop-up Instagram story, you’re wearing a hat that has a backwards Y and N on it. Where did you/can I find it? Thank you.
That’s not backwards it’s just in a mirror! But it’s an old Ebbets Field Flannels one (I don’t think the current quality is the same unfortunately)
Thx Simon & Co for bringing it back. I have the original blue and green and its perhaps the piece in my closet ive used the most over the past 6y. Very versatile, can be dressed up or down, which is perfect when you travel a lot or just for everyday flexibility. And the quality is superb. I dont think there is anything just like this one on market today.
I have used it so much that i feared i wouldnt be able to buy another. Will add 2 more to the closet for “just in case”.
From a fan ….
Amazing, thanks Morten
Not knitwear related, but I noted you are wearing your JLC Reverso on almost every recent shot. I remember on your latest My Watches post you said you tended to favor the Tank. Is that no longer the case? If so, why are you preferring the Reverso now? Thanks.
No nothing has changed, I wear those two the most really, it’s just that the Tank happens to have a mid-brown strap on it, and the JLC a black, so it depends which of those colours goes better with the outfit (often, warmer or colder)
Hi Simon, very nice. I have too many options in navy as it is and I would welcome the crewneck in other colours such as a mid-grey, light-grey, mid-brown, chocolate or forest green.
Noted, thanks Jan
It looks very nice Simon, regrettably I’m too far removed from your sizing block to buy your shirts and tops un-modified. My arms are just too long for even your largest sizes.
Ah that’s a shame, sorry Matt. At least with the shirts we do sell the cloth so you can have them made if you use anywhere
Out of interest, do you know anywhere that does polo shirts and crew necks MTM?
Look in the knitwear section of the site, you’ll find a few. Eg 40 Colori in London, Dalmo in Italy
The crewneck looks great. I’ve always gone for the Lundy by Smedley and it’s become part of my casual winter wardrobe over the years. I’ve always worn on its own with nothing underneath.
How does the fit compare to the Lundy?
I don’t have the Lundy I’m afraid. I’d think they were similar but worth comparing the measurements if you can
Simon, may I ask if there might be some returns coming in due to others ordering multiple sizes, as sadly, I missed out again? (but congrats on the crewneck being so popular!)
Thanks Justin. We had about five orders like that, so there will be some
Many thanks for producing such useful articles.
I wonder if I could ask your advice:
I have a number of RTW business suits and would like to take the plunge and get something more casual for the summer – I’m thinking a linen or a linen-blend suit (love your green/black G&H btw).
I have a budget of max 3,000€ and was considering getting two custom suits from Suit Supply, one in dark brown, the other in a taupe with two pairs of trousers each. I would love to go true bespoke at a traditional tailoring house, but it seems there just aren’t a huge number of reputable options at around the 3,000€ price point. Is there anywhere you might suggest that slipped under my radar? I am based in Paris but could travel.
All best wishes,
Have you tried Jean Manuel Moreau in Paris? He is superb, much better than suit supply, though this is for one suit not two
I haven’t, many thanks for the lead! I also just came across Artling, which is an interesting option in Paris – have you heard anything about them? They offer sur-mesure around the 2-3k price point.
No, nothing I’m afraid. Have a look at the JMM review of mine, he’s rare in doing some elements of bespoke, such as hand padding. I doubt many other makers will do
I’m sold. Thank you very much.
Jean Manuel and Nicolas have both good taste as well, so not only the garment itself will be good but also the advises they give. +1 for them
Hi Simon, I was wondering how the PS Undershirt sits with this – I assume the undershirt has a higher neckline and would poke out above the crewneck? Would you wear it like that, or does it remove too much formality from the sweater?
It sits very well actually, the neckline doesn’t stick out of the top (at least on me)
The Finest Crewneck’s apparently selling like hotcakes.
May I know when will it be restocked?
We’re talking to them now. It will be about 3-4 months
Great, when will the Dartmoor xl sizes be re stocked as well?
Not soon I’m afraid. We’ll place a re-order soon but it takes 3-4 months for the factory to make them
Cool, I will be waiting 🙂
Just received the Finest Knit crewneck Navy sweater last night in the mail and promptly wore it to the office today. Wearing it with a white dress shirt, bone trousers and dark brown shoes. Thank you for making the Finest Knit crewneck such a tastefully designed piece. The large size fits wonderfully (nicely fitted) and it’s so appropriate for just about any occasion.
Wonderful, thanks for writing to say so Robert
I received my Dartmoor and the quality is as expected from PS, i.e. excellent. The collar is so much better than my Smedley knits – it stays in place far better under a jacket.
A question on storage: assuming that space isn’t an issue, would you recommend keeping it folded in a draw or hung up?
Hung up would be fine except in the very long run, but I’d keep it folded if you have the choice
Hi Simon, hope you are well
Just wanted to check up if there is some issue regarding deliveries, as I still haven’t got the order I requested last week, containing the funesta crewneck, the Dartmoor, and the finest polo
I don’t think so, no. Have you asked the support team though? I know Lucas has been away the past couple of days, but I’m sure he’ll get back to you
He did, he is always very helpful. Imagined it was something like that but thank you for confirming
When will these be available in the shop (or have I already missed out!)? Thanks.
The Finest Crewneck has come and gone I’m afraid, they sold out within a week. The Dartmoors are all still there though, and we’ll be doing more of the crewneck
When will you re-stock it? (Same question regarding the new striped Oxford cloth.) Thanks!
Finest Crewneck we’re reordering now but it takes a while – 3-4 months.
Striped oxfords should be here pretty soon. We ordered a lot of the cloth so we could do a re-order pretty swiftly
A couple of questions on the Dartmoor. In a smart casual office, would you typically wear a vest or undershirt underneath? Also, what colour combination would you recommend with dark indigo jeans?
Thanks in advance.
Yes I would, and I’d wear the grey or perhaps the black
Thanks Simon! This has solved a persistent sizing mystery for me. I own an earlier version of the PS finest crewneck in a L, which I’ve always thought fit quite well. Because it fit so well, I also opted for a L in a Dartmoor last year, but I’ve wondered why the body of the Dartmoor was so much baggier compared to the crewneck in the same size. Per your explanation, it’s evidently because the previous iteration of the crewneck was roughly 2 cm slimmer in the body than the same size in the Dartmoor. All to say that, I should make my next Dartmoor a M.
Pleased it helped Paul. The sizing across these ultrafine knits should be more consistent now as well
Hello Simon. Will there be more crewneck, is is that it for the foreseeable?
There will be, it’s just that this producer takes many months to turn it around. We’re probably looking at September now
Could you elaborate on “higher standard” of the current make vis-a-vis John Smedley?
Yes, did you section in the article on this? That fineness of finishing around all the points the material comes together you don’t get with Smedley. More detail on the launch post of them here as well