Buy Simon’s Jumper

I’d be surprised if there’s anyone who regularly reads TM, who doesn’t also know of or read Simon Crompton’s blog Permanent Style.

Now in its 10th year, Permanent Style is, to me, the benchmark for well written, considered, insightful and (most importantly) honest menswear journalism. Simon has always written without hyperbole, but a clear and well thought out voice in both reviewing makers and educating readers. It’s a harder path to blaze, taking much longer to build an audience which is more interested in authenticity and substance, over those who follow fashion and hype.

Over time, this much exposure to the best craftspeople across the breadth of menswear, gives insights into a) What the best products are in each category and why. b) How the best products are made (and equally, how lesser products are made). c) Which products stand the test of time and are the most versatile in a wardrobe.

As a result, over the last few years Simon has, in collaboration with some makers or on his own, manufactured limited runs of products which he sees as quality wardrobe staples (like the Friday Polo). The products, like his writing are subtle, well considered and honest attempts to produce something which is the best at what it is.

Most recently, Simon has produced a small run of merino knitwear, designed to be worn under tailoring or on their own. As you’d expect, they’ve had a suitably maniacal amount of attention to detail put into them, which Simon explains in detail in the link above.

I picked one up straight away, and have worn it literally everyday for the last week and a half.

Step 1; remove Cocker Spaniel fur. Fur aside, you can see how well fitted the sweater is.

Simone Mattioli runs the family owned Umbria Verde factory in Perugia, which specialises in fine gauge knitwear, making for the likes of Loro Piana, Hermes and others. We actually visited Umbria Verde early in 2016 (we’ve started a company manufacturing fine gauge knitwear) and Simone had come highly recommended to us as being among the very best. A lot of Italian knitwear manufacturers are going through the motions, making decent but generic knitwear of middling quality. Simone, on the other hand, has a real passion for what he does and is keen to see the factory thrive into the future, so he puts in a lot of effort into ensuring they’re making products to a very high standard and for customers who have high expectations of their manufacturer.

The jumper is now probably my favourite piece of knitwear, for several reasons.

Firstly, it’s the right shade of navy. Nice and dark, but not too much so, making it wearable with almost anything. Secondly, the fit is great. I ordered a small (5’10″/177cm) thinking I’d have to have it taken in as I wear my knitwear fairly fitted (wishing an xs was an option when ordering) but the pattern is an ideal slim fit and doesn’t need anything changing. An xs would only be necessary if you’re a lot shorter than I am, or very slightly built. Thirdly, The merino was a good idea, instead of cashmere (as Simon rightly points out in the article introducing the knitwear) as it holds it shape better and will spring back into shape after a days’ wear. Cashmere is more likely to bag out and stay like that until the next wash. Also, with merino this fine, you’d honestly be hard pressed to know it isn’t cashmere when touching it. The only thing I’d change is to give the neck opening an extra 1/2cm width to let a collar sit a little more openly, but that’s a personal preference, not a design flaw.

Where effort has been made to make improvements over other knitwear on the market, you can genuinely tell. The seems are smoother and sit more comfortably against the body; there’s no bulk. I actually compared it to a navy RL cashmere/silk v-neck knit I have and they look very similar at face value, but once you look at the seams, there’s so much more bulk to the RL knit and now I can’t stop seeing it (which may have ruined that RL knit for me, but I can live with that).

Finely knitted seams make for a comfortable fit against the body.

In essence, this is an indispensable wardrobe staple, executed superbly, using quality materials and manufacturing. It’s something you can wear with jeans or chino’s and runners, or under a jacket (though I’d recommend the v-neck {also available} for wearing with tailoring). It’s effortless to wear and the price (190GBP ex vat) reflects the effort which has gone into it and avoids the significant markup you’d pay for the same knitwear from a bigger brand.

Apologies to everyone (Simon included) for the slightly sub-standard photo’s in this article. We snapped them in a window of a few minutes before an appointment and I hadn’t planned on actually taking any photo’s just then. I’ll take some better pics shortly and update the article accordingly.

In the meantime, buy Simon’s jumper.

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  1. says: Shem

    Hey Andrew, I’m deciding between and s and m for the finest knitwear. Can I ask you what is your actual chest size If you don’t mind to get an idea of fit. My chest measures 100cm and I’m thinking if s is too small…

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