Introducing the Archival Wool Cap – cardigan knit in warm and sturdy merino wool. Stock up at $44 a cap. Made in USA.
Inspired by traditional knit wool watch caps worn by fisherman, sailors and alpine climbers, our Wool Knit Cap is constructed in the USA of soft, 100% merino wool. It is constructed using a ribbed, knit cardigan weave that conforms closely to the head white maintaining its shape. Designed for active outdoor use. Will keep you warm and dry when the going gets cold and wet. Available in gray, olive and orange.
For 2014, we’ve restocked our Archival Zip Cardigan in three colorways: navy,olive and new black. Our Zip Cardigans are made by our friends at Centralia Knitting Mills. Knitted from 4-ply worsted wool on circular knitting machines from the 1930s, the fabric is remarkably sturdy, warm, and pill resistant. We love them fall, winter, and spring, worn either under an overcoat or, on more mild days, as outerwear in their own right. This historical sweater design features a low rib knit shawl collar, a two-way brass zipper, and knitted cuffs. Double-knitted elbows reinforce that wear point without an unsightly external patch. Pocket bags are trimmed with multi-weave wool. For more information, visit our Archival Web Shop.
During WWII, citizens in the US and UK were encouraged to knit garments for servicemen. Trolling ebay, I found a sampling of the many patterns for sweaters, mitts, mufflers and socks. The patterns are timelessly stylish and worthy of reissue. I’m especially fond of the service cardigan and the marksman’s gloves (which would be perfect for cyclo-commuting). If you wish to complete your own WWII ensemble, nab one of these ebay patterns or order one from HJS Studio Patterns or the extraordinary Vintage Knitting Lady.
I first spotted these snappy racing sweaters in Men’s File Magazine. They were made exclusively for Velo Moto by our favorite French knitwear company, Saint James. The sweater is built on the chassis of the Saint James Matelot, a model designed to fit snugly to the body. According to Velo Moto, the racing sweater was popular with cyclists from the 1930s to the 1960s. It remains the perfect style for keeping out wind and damp on moving boats, motorcycles and bicycles. My favorite elements are the sleeve striping, contrasting red placket and rear buttoning pocket. This pocket, a traditional feature of cycling jerseys, translates well for everyday use (to stash house keys, pen and notebook or smart phone).
I’m probably the only one shopping for heavy duty knitwear. But here I am in April obsessing over the new Dachstein boiled wool pullovers on offer from Bradley Alpinist. The sweaters are made in the Dachstein Region of Austria of wind and water resistant boiled wool. I’ve been sporting Dachstein-style wool mitts by Ortovox for cycling. In wet or snowy conditions, the boiled wool absorbs water and still keeps you warm.
Although Dachstein does not offer an XS pullover, I’m negotiating to test a sweater that was delivered with abnormally small dimensions. Report to follow.
While the Left Field crew is marketed to gents, it’s trim fitting enough that the women of AC were able to handle the review. Our test sweater came in size 36, the smallest available. Petite women and slim gents might petition Left Field for a size 34. Here’s a detail view of the sweater’s most visually arresting feature — its vintage-style, wide crew collar. Wool and knitting expert Erin noted that the raglan sleeves were mostly likely seamed together with a sewn-on ribbed collar which she identifies as “very old-school athletic wear construction.”
In addition to the vintage collar detail, the Left Field crew is most notable for its soft merino wool. The sweater is made from a worsted, Canadian merino yarn in a heavier than average gauge. Left Field no doubt sourced merino for its soft, itch free properties. Although I love feel of a soft merino, I do worry about its potential for pilling. My own preference is for a longer stapled wool yarns that exhibit both durability and softness. Tester Sara wore the Left Field sweater to work over a Made in USA Splendid turtleneck. She deemed the sweater “cozy” and liked the fit, especially the long slim arms with ribbed cuffs. Coworkers admired the crew neck collar. At Archival, we endorse clothing that is well made, best quality, locally manufactured and reasonably priced. The Left Field crew is currently on sale for $148 through the Left Field web shop. This is a good deal for a domestically produced, heritage sweater. I hope to see future editions of the Ivy crew made available in a more robust yarn. And our female testers would like to see the sweater offered down to a size 34 or 32. Otherwise, this sweater is a nearly perfect reissue of a classic style.
Part of the pleasure of the Archival Clothing enterprise is to source and sell hard to find items. In the distant past, I used to spend weeks tracking down a bag or jacket or bike part before ordering it from an obscure or overseas vendor (most often by phone, not online). For example, in the early 90s, I would order French Saint James knitwear sweaters directly from Upland Trading Company in New York. I was always looking for non-stock styles or color combinations that were pictured in the print catalogs but not available in the U.S.
Saint James Matelot (navy stripes on ivory field)
I’ve always worn the Saint James Pont, a fine stitch nautical sweater that has a terrific, slim fit and great, seasonal color variations. It fits me better than the Binic, a looser fitting sweater designed for gents. One of our Saint James reps, Sarah K., introduced me to the Matelot, a style I had originally overlooked since most U.S. stockists (including JCrew) only sell the Binic. Now I prefer the Matelot for the robust quality of the wool, the uber slim fit and the full body striping. Originally designed for the French navy, the Matelot is a seaman’s sweater with a looped round collar and a dense body with fine one-by-one rib knit. It has a wonderful long snug fit. There is a button placket on left shoulder. The original Matelot is designed to fit snugly to keep out the wind and damp during maritime voyages.
Button placket on left shoulder
The pure wool used for the Matelot is among the best quality we’ve seen on a contemporary sweater. It’s thick enough to be a substantial layer without being too warm to wear all day. The Matelot has also become one of Tom’s favorite garments. Since the sweater is unisex, women can wear it as well as gents. We carry the sweater down to a size XS (refer to sizing charts in our shop) but we can special order XXS for slimmer men and petite women. I just ordered a XXS Matelot for myself in Medoc, a stunning tomato paste red.
In addition to standard Saint James colorways for this sweater (navy white, white/navy), Archival Clothing was able to secure a limited production run of Matelot sweaters in light gray with dark charcoal stripes, a color no longer available. Check our web shop for size and color availability. We also carry other Saint James items including the Pont sweaters, wool caps and cotton and wool scarves.
Arrow, Caitlin and Mac (sporting non-archival footwear)