Gown it up or down – however does this $32 sweater deserve its star ranking?
Elevate your hand in the event you’ve ever tried to emulate Daniel Craig in a shawl-collared cardigan. It’s okay—this can be a secure house. In On line casino Royale, Craig (the brand new, grittier, extra dressed-down Bond) wore a black shawl-collared cardigan in two scenes, however Quantum of Solace was maybe extra memorable for menswear followers. You recognize the scene: Italian villa, exorbitant Tom Ford cardigan, white shirt, beige pants, and brown chukkas. Regardless that Quantum got here out in 2008, the sweater’s reputation appeared to blow up a couple of years later as a number of components like Americana, Steve McQueen, “hashtag menswear,” Tumblr, Reddit, and numerous message boards all mixed to kind the proper storm that was 2012-14 males’s fashion.
These days I’ve been again on the hunt for a snug shawl-collared cardigan that may hold me heat at my desk but in addition look presentable if I ever do go away the home. Hoodies are nice, after all. However the hood by no means appears to put proper after I’m sitting down, and the steel zipper will get annoying when unzipped. And I’ve by no means been a fan of the Y-neck cardigan fashion. Full-zip mock necks are high-quality, however there’s simply one thing concerning the consolation of that beefy scarf collar and the buttons that can help you regulate the heat stage good.
And after I started my seek for the proper cardigan, I had Quantum of Solace behind my thoughts: black, substantial collar, thick ribbed materials, patch pockets. However surprisingly, it’s laborious to search out. And something in merino wool or cashmere is pricey—generally even eye-watering. I get it; they give the impression of being and possibly really feel superb. But it surely’s nonetheless a sweater. And also you positively get diminishing returns if you pay outerwear costs for knitwear.
So for me, variations from Drake’s, William Lockie, and even Spier & Mackay (who appear to have a really good merino one for round $200) had been out. I additionally tried and returned the 100% lambswool model from Amazon’s Goodthreads line (which could be hit and miss for me). The material was skinny, insubstantial, misplaced its form simply, and simply felt low cost. Facet notice: it’s straightforward to get misled by an merchandise that’s “100%” one thing or different. You should buy wool, cashmere, or Supima items which are nonetheless dangerous as a result of not all materials inside that household are created equal or constructed equally nicely. A high quality mix can beat a crappy wool.
Then I stumbled throughout a model from Amazon’s lower-tier Amazon Necessities line. I ended up pulling the set off as a result of the evaluations had been first rate and the cardigan had every part I used to be in search of: good thick collar, substantial ribbed cloth, patch pockets. And it got here in black. I’m pleased with it for the value and with a number of caveats.
First, the sizing. I’m a stable medium in Goodthreads and different manufacturers (Hole, Banana, Uniqlo, Polo), however the Amazon Necessities medium was HUGE. The small match completely, with preferrred sleeve and physique size (I’m about 5’10” and 165 lbs.). Measuring knitwear is hard, however listed below are some tough dimensions for the small:
- Chest (pit to pit): 22”
- Waist (at hem, simply above ribbing): 19”
- Shoulder seam to shoulder seam (in again of sweater): 17” or 18” (troublesome resulting from knit)
- Size (from base of collar in again to hem): 25.5”
- Sleeve (from shoulder seam to cuff): 26”
The flattering match, collar, and button stance lend it that Quantum search for a low worth, and that’s its principal power.
Second, the material. At this worth, clearly, we’re not anticipating wool. And we’re additionally not anticipating 100% Supima cotton. What we find yourself with is a 56/23/18/3 mix of cotton/poly/acrylic/elastane. Now, going again to the 2012-14 males’s fashion orthodoxy I discussed above, we’ve all been instructed that synthetics are dangerous and blends are used to chop prices, and so on. And that may actually be true. However every part wants context. For knitwear, I’m not a fan of 100% cotton as a result of it baggage out shortly and doesn’t return to kind till you wash it. On this case, the acrylic helps give this (admittedly low cost) cardigan extra loft, insulation, and form retention. In different phrases, it’s a greater imitation of wool than 100% cotton. It’s completely snug in a cold home, and nonetheless heat for a short journey exterior within the 50s (perhaps higher 40s) when worn over only a t-shirt. And 0 itch.
Third, the sturdiness. I purchased the sweater principally for working from dwelling, however there could be no level shopping for one thing new except it’s additionally presentable exterior the home. And for the value, I wasn’t anticipating superb high quality. Even cashmere drugs, so I used to be anticipating a superb little bit of pilling. And boy, did it capsule—that is the most important disadvantage. The cardigan held up alright to a wash (chilly water, delicate cycle, dried flat) however required fairly a little bit of de-pilling with a sweater shaver.
Is it preferrred? No. However in the event you go in with the proper expectations, the Amazon Necessities scarf cardigan offers you a flattering 007 look that received’t stretch your finances. Which is, no less than, some solace.
How does the Amazon Necessities cardigan evaluate to a $150 Banana Republic Supima cardigan?
I’ve owned many-a scarf collar cardigans in my day. For me, it is an ideal good informal merchandise, it could simply be worn rather than a hoodie like I do within the pictures above with a henley and denims; or it may be dressed up with a button up shirt and trousers like Bond did for a extra enterprise informal vibe. I bought this black Supima cotton cardigan final winter and featured it on this Getup. It’s simply the costliest sweater I’ve purchased, I need to say I paid $128 for it, however I might be mistaken because it wasn’t on sale and now it is $150.
Supima is a model identify for American made Pima cotton and is meant to be a standing indication of high quality. It is a stable sweater for certain, however I’ve additionally bought scarf collar cardigans from Lands Finish, two from Hole, Abercrombie, American Eagle, and one other from Banana Republic. Most of them I purchased on sale via Primer’s deal picks between $40-$80. I’d say the Supima cardigan is extra of an $80 sweater than a $150, simply primarily based on what I’ve gotten earlier than, however this one has not been included in any of the gross sales at BR since I purchased it in order that will not be reasonable. If I had been to pay $150 for a scarf collar cardigan, I might most likely pay a bit extra and splurge on one from Buck Mason or one of many three Christopher talked about above.
That will get me again to the Amazon Necessities cardigan: I am a man who has seen the flexibility and long-term usefulness of a top quality scarf collar cardigan so I am high-quality with paying extra for an improve. However in the event you’re new to the fashion or know it is going to be a restricted pull for you in your rotation, it makes excellent sense to begin out with budget-friendly choice.
Subsequent to one another the sweaters are practically similar wanting. The knits are barely completely different – Amazon’s has extra of a fuzzy texture and the Banana Republic’s being a bit extra high-quality and fewer chunky, most likely giving it a slight edge in having the ability to be extra dressy however it’s way more of a choice than a transparent rule. The Amazon Necessities can simply be dressed up too.
Curiously, the Amazon model does have a softer hand really feel, however it’s that synthetic softness you get with poly or acrylic. The Supima is just not tough by any means, it simply looks like high-quality cotton. Buttons and pockets are comparable, with the Banana Republic having a chest pocket in addition to the 2 entrance pockets.
With regard to high quality and pilling, Amazon’s sweaters basically have met my expectations for the value, not like ones I’ve had from Previous Navy, H&M or comparable manufacturers, however I am fairly light with how I wash them. I have been burned over time with placing even nicer sweaters within the light cycle so I typically solely launder when essential, washing them by hand and air drying them to keep away from pilling and colour loss. (If you’re going to wash a scarf collar sweater within the washer, you may positively need to flip it inside out to keep away from colour loss/fading.)
I ordered each the small (which I usually am throughout the board) and an x-small primarily based on Christopher’s evaluation and I discovered the small to be ample so I did not hassle attempting on the x-small. I’d suggest shopping for each your regular dimension and a dimension down, simply in case your expertise matches Christopher’s.
Hand me each with out labels and I’d choose the Banana Republic sweater due to the texture – however is it value an additional $120? In case you’re a man simply stepping into the look or know you could have restricted put on alternatives, the Amazon Necessities Scarf Collar is a secure purchase at $32(!). Deal with it and you must get your cash’s value. Then again, in the event you already consider within the gospel of the scarf collar and plan to put on it for years to return, I might maintain out for a Primer deal choose within the $50-70 vary or bounce off of the deep finish with one of many increased priced choices above.