Introducing: The Speciale hand-framed cotton sweater

Wednesday, March 20th 2024
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I love cotton knits in the Summer. I couldn’t always see the point of them, but in the past few years I’ve regularly taken one on our holidays (usually to Portugal or France) and I adore the feeling on putting one on as the day cools down.

They provide a layer of warmth as you need it, but are cool to the touch and open and breathable. In fact they feel and perform a lot like linen trousers, which is probably why the two make such a practical Summer combination.

I’ve owned and worn several over the years, but my favourite is from Speciale - the lovely shop and bespoke tailor at the top of the Portobello Road. 

Their model has a lovely handle and is the perfect weight: cottons need some substance to give them their satisfying body, but too much and they get droopy. The handle, meanwhile, was down to them being hand-framed by Corgi in Wales - the Royal Warrant-holding knitter I visited many moons ago.

The only issue with the model was that it was designed for wearing with high-waisted trousers - as fits with Speciale's bespoke tailoring and general aesthetic. I had sized up to get a better length, and it was really too big elsewhere. 

So after another Summer of wearing the knit all the time (the feel winning out over the fit) I asked the guys if they’d be interested in a collaboration - in us become a wholesaler for a version of their knit, with a longer body. 

They agreed, wonderfully, and this is what we’re launching today on PS - the Speciale cotton knits, 5cm longer in the body than their standard model. The guys have also been amazing in getting these through early, and they’re now on display in the PS Pop-Up - come try them on, it's open from today until Saturday.

The cottons are also available online now, and in two colours - navy and cream. 

When I mentioned the knits in passing last week, a reader asked whether they could be worn with both tailoring and with jeans - which was helpful, because it reminded me that they can, that I do, and that I should spell this out. 

So in these images I’ve tried to show a full range of looks, in order to demonstrate that versatility. 

Below, first, is the navy knit with a pair of grey-linen trousers and a black belt and loafers. I like this look - summery but also quite business-like, with something Armani-ish in there too. 

Then above, we have the navy knit with a pair of cotton shorts. Quite smart shorts, admittedly, tailored and white (an ongoing project with Whitcomb & Shaftesbury) but those could be tough khaki shorts too - the texture of the knit means it’s not out of place with something that casual. 

Then for the cream, I’ve pictured it with jeans (always has to be one with jeans) and with vintage fatigues, below. 

The cream is definitely cream - not white, or off-white, or ecru - which is a gorgeous Summer colour, especially nice with blue or black denim, khaki cottons, and Army green like the fatigues. 

The navy is good with blue jeans too of course, and actually is pretty good with black jeans, as long as there’s a little fade going on. And perhaps a belt to break them up. 

Hand framing knitwear means using a smaller loom than normal, operated by hand. It’s basically the same machine that’s been used since the 16th century, and it produces a sweater that has more natural stretch and pliability - between an actual hand-knit (one person, knitting needles) and a power loom (the vast majority of knitwear). 

We actually covered hand framing for the first time when I visited Corgi all those moons ago, but we've also talked about it in respect to Stoffa’s knits, and the high-end ranges from Saman Amel and Rubato. It’s more expensive, but for the work involved and the end product, still good value. 

Hand framing is also noticeable by the way the knit is fashioned together - those seams on the side of the body, on the saddle shoulder, on the ribbing and the collar. It’s a lovely bit of craft to notice and pick up on. 

In terms of fit, the knits are made to a similar size as the Cashmere Crewneck, and I’d recommend taking the same size if you already have one. I wear a Medium in both. 

Cotton does grow with wear, but should only do so where it needs to - where the body is pushing against it (rather like denim). So for that reason if you’re between sizes, you might be better with the smaller one as it will enlarge by a couple of cm as it needs to. 

The collar is deliberately small, and will feel tight when you first put it on. But it too will grow as needed, and in fact we added a centimetre here to what Speciale does as standard. I have a 60cm head (certainly not small) and the collar works well. Much more flattering than one sitting sloppy and low. 

Cotton knits are just very pliable, and rather like the sweatshirts we talked about a while back, and can be moulded a little to your shape - a gentle tug of the chest, a little pull at the collar. You can also do it with the body length, though in that case make sure to pull the whole hem down, not just in one place. 

Some nice design details are that the collar is made in a 2x2 rib, but the hem in a 1x1. This looks really nice at the collar, but gives the hem greater tension, so it holds the waist and doesn’t drop down. 

And the cotton used is a four-ply - similar in that way to the Cashmere Rugby. The yarns are different of course, but they have a similar feel and the same kind of pleasing handle. 

The Hand-framed Cotton Sweater is available now on the PS Shop, in navy and cream, and five sizes. It is also in the PS Pop-Up at 19 Savile Row to try on. 

Any questions, please let us know in the comments below.

Product details:

  • 100% cotton knit made in collaboration with Speciale
  • Hand-framed, with hand-fashioned seams, in Wales by Corgi
  • 4-ply cotton, 5-gauge knit
  • 2x2 rib collar, but 1x1 hem 
  • Saddle shoulder
  • Cost £345 (including VAT)

Sizing details:

  • Fits true to size, similar to the Cashmere Crewneck
  • Simon wears a Medium, and is six-foot tall with a 39-inch chest
  • Collar is deliberately tight to begin with, but softens as needed
  • Material will grow if needed, so take size down if between sizes, although a comfortable rather than close fit is recommended
  • Product measurements are in centimetres, but inch conversions provided for reference

Size chart:

cm Small Medium Large X-Large XX-Large
Chest 51.5 54 56.5 59 61.5
Length 63 65 67 69 71
Sleeve 49 50 51 52 53


inches Small Medium Large X-Large XX-Large
Chest 20.25 21.25 22.25 23.25 24.25
Length 24.75 25.5 26.5 27.25 28
Sleeve 19.25 19.75 20 20.5 20.75

Chest: pit to pit

Length: the back, from where shoulder seam meets collar

Sleeve: underarm, along seam, including cuff


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Can it be (hand)washed?


Thanks, i am considering the cream, Ive got a old sweater in a similar colour, and stains/dirt are easily seen, so I wash it often, so I think yours also will have to be washed realtively often. So its nice that it can be handwashed!


Is machine washing also possible?

Sir C

I have owned numerous knitted cotton sweaters similar to this one, and have consequently washed them @ 40 degrees (celsius). Have yet to experience shrinkage. They’re also less inclined to loose shape than wool knitwear, as long as you dry them flat.


Lovely Product! Stupid question: Would you wear it in winter over a shirt? So it would be wearable the whole year.


Thanks! Do you think it will still be available in april? I‘m waiting for the restock of the shorts. Both in small.


Hi Simon, now I see why you flagged my comment about Speciale’s cotton sweaters last week!
In terms of suitability for cooler weather, I wore my navy Speciale sweater throughout the winter and it was perfect as long as I had a reasonably warm coat and scarf. Nowadays British winters are very mild!


Gorgeous. Will be picking up one in cream.

Would you ever consider wearing this under a piece of outerwear (i.e. Valstarino or PS Overshirt)? I noticed that none of your included an outer layer.


Quick questions, is this lighter than Rubato’s handframed cotton sweater? I was looking at their cotton sweaters before I went to bed last night but when I checked this morning they had disappeared despite all sizes being available. Could this be a coincidence?
Also are your linen trousers made up of Irish linen?


Hey! Just wanted to jump in quickly here, our cotton knits are 8-ply, however we might start with a finer yarn before plying up so to speak. In terms of the handle we haven’t handled Simons sweaters so we couldn’t comment on the hand but they sure look great!
Regarding the availability keep your eyes peeled for launches…
Kind regards,


Morning Simon,
These look great and I’m very interested.
Ideally I’d like to visit the pop up to try them on but thought I’d ask you a question here on sizing just in case.
I have some Rubato jumpers that fit me well and these are size small. When comparing their measurements to that of the Speciales I would be a medium in the chest but small in terms of the length.
I’m just under 5’11 and I find that some jumpers can look a little long on me, hence the consideration of the length, whilst also not wanting them to look too fitted.
Any recommendations?


Thanks Simon.
Are there likely to be any further colour options if these are popular? Such as grey and natural/taupe colour (hint hint)


Hiya Simon,

Just to update you the jumpers fit well and will be keeping them. Not the most mobile at the moment so wouldn’t have made the pop-up sadly but very happy with my purchases.

Please make some in a grey (maybe melange), a taupe (similar to Rubato’s natural) and maybe a dark green?

One observation, when wearing my PS t-shirt underneath the shoulder seams are slightly visible/protrude into the jumper. Assume this will just loosen over time as you’ve mentioned?


Morning Simon,

Are there any shawl collar cardigans in cotton of a similar weight that you’d recommend? As it’s warming up a bit it would be nice have a non-wool cardigan option.


Thanks, yes that’s a fair point. Are there any lightweight shawl collar cardigans of a finer gauge instead?
It would just be nice to have a thin layer cardigan for versatility.


Yes I completely agree – whilst the finer wools are lighter, they lack structure and heft.
I’m not against a non-shawl cardigan, I largely love shawls for the neck line which I think flatters me. An alternative would be a high non-shawl collar cardigan, almost akin to a kendogi/kimono style collar if you understand my analogy. However I think that might be difficult to source.
Thanks for those options, I am actually drawn to the mohair one. I have wanted a sleeveless cardigan but am concerned it can look a bit old fashioned.


Hi Simon, what a fantastic idea and product! For some time I had my eyes on Speciale’s knits but as you mentioned they seemed just a bit too short so this is great news! How would you say they compare in terms of feel and weight to the cotton jumpers from Ghiaia (If you or Lucas ever handled them)? Thanks a lot!


That certainly puts the pricing on the Ghiaia Knits into perspective. But the colors are lovely indeed and I love the knitting pattern. Sadly good cotton knits are a rare sight!
This collab looks lovely, will have a look at them in the next year I guess:)


Lovely stuff.

Does the design differ in any other way from the Speciale jumper apart from length? Their sizing my suit me better as i am similar height to you with slightly more weight.



Yes the length of yours would definitely be better. I meant if I sized up to a large in the speciale version it might be better in the shoulders and still have an ok length. How is the large one from them in comparison to your medium length? Maybe I’ll get both and then decide. Thanks as always


Oh and do you like the rubato version?


Hi Simon any adjustment to sleeve length compared to Speciale’s original version? Thanks, Sam


Thank you for putting this together – I’m a taller chap with long arms and legs so the original speciale with high rise tailored trousers is perfect on me but I’ve ordered a cream to go with my jeans etc – thanks again

Zach S

Looks beautiful, are the only changes to the original the length and collar size? As a short guy with proportionally shorter body I tend to find even with more casual, lower rise trousers that many things end up a little longer than I’d like

Sir C

These are very nice! Having sworn to thick cotton knits for years, I can also attest to the nice patina the darker one will develop.

A question: have you (or anyone else here) any experience with linen knitwear? Ive noticed that Inis Meain produces some. Is the weight/heft similar to cotton knitwear? Is it as robust as hq bed-/shirt linen?


Have had the same problem with linen. I wonder if adding some cotton to a linen sweater might help alleviate this issue without taking away from the performance/qualities?


A few years ago Drake’s produced some lovely summer seed-stitch jumpers that were 27% merino and 73% linen. Unfortunately I did not get one and they’ve never repeated it but they said in the post (which seems to have vanished with the site refresh) that the wool was there for the performance of it.


I own and frequently wear Inis Meain linen jumpers as well as some thinner ones from Timothy Everest. If you like the slouchy look, then they are great. If that look is not for you, then, as suggested by Simon and Con, cotton is probably a safer bet.


I think you are a 39 inch Chest not a 39 inch waist….-).


Great recommendation. I too never really saw the point of them in the past but now appreciate the usefulness when a wool sweater would just be too warm.

Glad to see the saddle shoulder and that they have a short drop as this suits my build – I often find I can’t wear sweaters as they are simply to long.


Hi Simon,
Would this work over a collared shirt despite being meant for “warmer” weather?


No problem!

Thank you!


Surely you don’t have a 39” waist – that’s a very flattering jumper if you do.
Seriously – lovely piece. Tempted but must hold out for the merino Dartmoor/finest polo re-stock.


Hi Simon,

Another one knocked out of the park by the looks of it.

My wardrobe is becoming rather PS weighted!

So, differences please between this and the A&S peer product? I know this is hand framed but weight, ply and anything else relevant would he good to know.

Also, is the new book on sale at the pop up?

Many thanks.



Ok noted re the book and thanks for the info on the jumper – helpful as always.

With perfect timing, I lost my wallet and cards on Friday evening due to that classic reason – inappropriate middle aged inebriation when out with the “lads” after a long time. (I am sticking with my story to the Wife of it being unintentional). Hopefully my replacement cards will arrive by Friday so I can purchase the book at the pop up.

See you soon!



Hey Simon,

What I thought was the overhang from that hefty Friday night turned out to be an infection. Being dealt with now by antibiotics very effectively.

Not fighting fit yet and my cards have not yet arrived either so it looks like I won’t make it into the pop up – a real shame as I did want a signed copy of the new book. I guess you had better get to writing the next sartorial literary masterpiece sooner rather than later so I can get that signed instead.

Will order the book online though.

Also on sizing please and bearing in mind that with all A&S products (knitwear – indulgent and others, polos and linen polos) I take an XS:

1. Re the cashmere crew and rugby – XS or S? And also will the XS be stocked in both as standard when some of the colours are restocked in the Autumn?
2. The new cotton crewneck – would small work best?

Now, finally, I just have to figure out, should I point out to the Wife that as I wasn’t unwell due to partying I should begin planning another great night out, or do I choose to stay silent, live another day so I can order some more PS goodies……


Super. Many thanks Simon.


Sorry Simon,

As a guide on my sizing I also took an XS in your finest short sleeve polo I believe.



Sold out in XXL already!? I only just tried one on at the pop-up, got back to the office and went to order… all gone!?


So… restock? (Sad face, hopeful tone?)
Sigh. Well, at least it proves there’s a demand!


On the topic of washing: do you wear a shirt underneath in summer? On the one hand, wearing a cotton tee underneath would impair the breathability of the weave. On the other, even on cooler evenings, one tends to sweat and it seems that would necessitate more frequent washings. Going without an undershirt might also lead to the dreaded pit stains, especially in cream.


Ever since I saw a rather old RL America Flag Sweater I fell in love with cotton sweaters. Not to mention the Ghiaia Looks, they’ve done their part to it too.
Has anyone compared the Speciale to the RL Flag Sweater? It’s awfully expensive new but used it’s alright. I want to try a cotton sweater before pulling the trigger on the PS one (I hope it will get a restock next year).
That being said: the navy one is very very tempting. But I have to many navy sweater I’m afraid


My thoughts exactly while reading this, makes me want to pull the trigger on the any of the old polo hand framed in china cotton knits. Of course, i’m sure the make on Speciale’s is of a different class. The fit may be the biggest difference. But i’m sure even Simon wouldn’t object to vintage polo as a budget alternative!

Sean Breezie

Hi Simon, the grey linen trousers are wonderful. It’s very hard to find linen in a true soft grey. Where is the cloth from?

Sean Breezie

Excellent. Thank you. 😊

Sean Breezie

Many thanks for looking that up for me!

Aaron L

Could it work with a shirt?


Have you tried the Anthology cotton knits and if so how do they compare? I have the anthology one in the sage green


Wonderful jumpers Simon.

What size do you think I should order. I am debating between small and medium.

I am 5.8 with 38 inches chest and 34 inches waist.

Best Regards


Alright…will do so.

Thanks for your response.


Hey Simon
i want to know other than warmth factor
and else benefit would it give compare to lambswool

Thank you


isnt that mean in the near future you would be considering the wool or cashmere version too?

Thank you


Just curious how many sweaters did you have made for this initial run? They seem to have sold out already in some sizes.

J Crewless

I’ve noticed that you typically don’t wear collars under sweaters. Is it a faux pas now to do so? Sometimes I do. Most of the time I don’t as it has a bit of a nerd feel about it.

I’d be interested in your viewpoint as there seems to be an evolution how sweaters are worn.


This is a very good looking sweater with vintage charm, but I hate to say that I’m struggling to see the usefulness. It seems too heavy for warm days but too breezy for cold days. I also don’t understand the comparison to linen trousers. Linen trousers are perfect for hot days in ways that few other trousers are, but these bulky cotton knits are too heavy and warm for them. I can see the use case for a summer cotton knit, but I’d think they’d need to be much lighter and less bulky than these (perhaps more akin to these: Maybe the PS cotton knits are made for English summer to which I’m unaccustomed, but I’m having difficulty seeing how these could be worn practically in much of the US where summer gets hot and stuffy.


Simon mentioned in the article about taking one on holiday to France/Portugal. I definitely see the benefit of having a sweater that’s a little heavier as it’s amazing how chilly it can get sometimes in the later afternoon and into the evening even on the hottest of summer days anywhere around the Med or even further north into Germany

Peter Hall

Just back from a business trip and was so happy I remembered my well worn LL Bean cotton sweater. It has survived the loving attention of many a hotel laundry service.

Fabulous sweater . Classic but modern.

J Crewless

Yeah, they’re pretty good for Spring and Fall.

William Kinread

26.5 is still a pretty standard length for a large if not still on the short side. I am 6ft 2 and have a long body. I really struggle to get jumpers and polo shirts that are long enough. Any recommendations?


These look great Simon, I’m also a fan of cotton knits. I recently purchased a Berana linen cotton knit from Trunk and have an ice cotton knit I purchased a couple of years ago from Anglo Italian (both in navy because I have no imagination, but I think they have other colours). I can recommend both. I find them useful even in mild winters for a layer under a jacket.


And just to correct that typo, I meant Barena Venezia from Trunk


They look great. What do you wear underneath them in the shots above?


Hello Simon
The look of this cotton jersey, although nice quality, is exactly what i dislike about cotton jerseys! That heavy look, draping and baggy doing nothing for the physique. Even your images show too much length in the arm for my liking and, in the back section too. I also find that over time they become even more droopy and, in my mind they always look off the shelf from a cheap shop. Furthermore, the weight on me is something i really dislike.
Light cashmere even in summer is to my mind much more comfortable and, lends a classier look.
Nice post though as its always good to hear about better makers out there – thank you


Simon, who is the maker of the green chinos? They look fantastic, by the way. Craig


Hi Simon – appreciate vintage purchases can be down to right place / right time but I’ve really struggled to find a pair that look anywhere near as great as those! Do you happen to remember where you picked them up?


Many thanks! And apologies for lacking the common sense to do a proper search first!


The saddle shoulders make the swearer.
I was looking at Ben Silver’s offerings, they’re nice, not too, too pricey, but that detail is absent.,51263.html?b=d*6051&s=d&p=10&c=31

Dr Peter

I live in Wisconsin, USA and we have a company here called Lands’ End. They were sold to Sears, but now, it is unclear where they stand in terms of ownerships after Sears Holdings filed for bankruptcy. I mention this company because for many decades, from the sixties to the nineties, they made excellent clothing for men and women, almost all of it in the US or Britain, and sometimes in Europe. Their Drifter cotton sweaters were truly splendid, and quite inexpensive, maybe $30-$50. I still have many of these sweaters, well-preserved over the decades, and still functioning beautifully, albeit with the colours faded lightly.
Lands’ End prices were very reasonable, and the company offered outstanding value for one’s money. They also offered Shetland sweaters, Bedford cords, Harris Tweed jackets and all sorts of other items. Many of their items, including the Drifters, can be found at thrift and vintage shops.
I say all this because I truly cannot fathom paying close to $450 for a cotton sweater of the kind you describe, Simon. It isn’t bespoke, although sized accurately. But how critical is sizing to a garment like a sweater, which is usually meant to be worn loosely on the body? Is the cotton material itself somehow rare, perhaps, and of a calibre far superior to that woven from the best Egyptian extra-long staple thread? Or perhaps it is the hand-framing that accounts for the price premium?

Dr Peter

Thanks, Simon. I thought as much — especially regarding hand-framing. I suppose my requirements for a casual cotton sweater are rather more flexible and loose!


I know your question was for Simon but for me, sizing is critical and I’ll go without rather than buy a sweater that doesn’t fit. This is the case whether a sweater costs £20 or £500. Not all £500 sweaters will fit me, but I do find that the lower the price there is a tendency for it to be a ‘one size fits all’ and I’m never quite happy with the fit.

Speaking of Land’s End. I have a great Barn coat made by Land’s End that I picked up in a charity shop for about £20. It’s got a lovely comfortable corduroy around the collar and inside the cuffs just where you’d want some comfort. It’s lined with a nice soft checked cotton and the outer is a hard wearing yet soft cotton canvas. Absolutely love it.

Dr Peter

I understand. I suppose my requirements for a cotton sweater are not that critical when it comes to size, certainly not as much as a sports jacket or suit coat. In fact, I love somewhat loose-fitting sweaters, especially for casual wear.

Good to hear you found a fine Lands’ End piece at a thrift shop. I too find occasional Lands’ End pieces which are well-made, and fit me nicely, especially jackets and overcoats as well as polo shirts. They generally tend to be older items.


Bit startled when I saw the price for this. I was expecting in the 150-250 range, based on other PS cotton pieces. Some elements of handmake in there I suppose.


Hi Simon,
I wear an XS for the tapered t-shirt. Will a small fits me (roughly) in this case?


Thanks Simon! Just realised how inexperienced this question is…


My head is also 60cm and I am certainly a size small in the body. Should I be worried about my head getting stuck?


Superb, thanks!


Your white shorts look very nice. I noticed in your writing it says they are an ongoing project at the moment.

Are there potential plans to turn that into a ps shop product in the future?


Hi Simon – reading the comments on your products, there are always plenty of questions on how they compare to each other. I wonder if there may be some value on creating a table comparing them, including qualitative elements (e.g. style suggestion and type of fit) and quantitative elements (e.g. measurements, ply, etc). Probably not that useful for all the categories, but potentially for knitwear where you already have a decent size offering.


Finally, jumpers in the right length!!


Hi Simon,
Great piece! Will there be a restock of the cream version?
I’m afraid I was too slow…


I am! Thanks👍🏻


Hello Simon — On a separate note, is the cap you anre wearing originally black or dark blue? The colour it’s developing is great. Have you been machine washing?


Hey Simon,
I received my jumper last week and whilst it is lovely i find it too tight in the shoulder and chest but the length in the arms and body is perfect. I’ve tried it on twice and its already loosening up abit so wanted to check how much it stretches out with wear? If it does then i’d be more than happy to keep it.


I did yes – sorry i should have clarified, i was trying to understand how much by. If its only a little it may still be too snug in the shoulders that’s all.

Apart from that really beautiful sweater and love the muted navy colour.



Beautiful! For those having a hard time rationalizing 350 GBP for a cotton sweater and looking for a budget option, style- and fit-wise the Dutch brand No Label offers something very similar:


You are right. But for a heavy cotton crewneck it’s fitted nicely and creates a rather similar overall look – still if it weren’t for the price I’d prefer yours.


Simon, have you had a restock of the cotton sweater? I notice you have all sizes in stock, except medium, which is the size I’m after. I’m on the waiting list but didn’t get an email. Have I missed out or have you not had any mediums yet?
On another note, I’m about to order a Rubato v neck. I’m the same size as you, pretty much. Apparently they have tinkered with the sizing slightly. In their new sizing are you a M or L? I’m thinking medium but the sleeve length looks very short. 48cm from armpit to cuff apparently. How do you find the sleeve length? Thank you.


Seeing the outfit with white shorts made me think: are white (not ecru) shorts easier to wear than white jeans? Simply because there is less of all that white, maybe?
What do you think? Would you still pick ecru over white when it comes to shorts, assuming you would with jeans?


Hi Simon,

Unfortunately, I missed out on the PS cotton sweaters this time around. They look very similar to the Rubato ones, albeit a different shoulder style. Would that be a fair assessment or would you say there was anything else that is vastly different from the PS ones being 4-ply compared with 8-ply of the Rubato? Is there a noticeable difference in the 4- verses 8-ply?

Many thanks.


Thank you, Simon.
All useful information.


Hi Simon, i suspect that this restock has happened – is that correct?

Navy options in medium always go first, ha!


Thanks Simon. So there is a restock coming?

I know it’s a question I should send to Lucas, but do you do a gift option for the PS shop, whereby the price is removed from the invoice? That’s right, I’d rather my wife didn’t know!

Just wondering, I assume this is informal enough to pair with PS shorts? I have both beige and khaki, which would go well in my eyes. It looks like you are wearing a smarter short here.