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Slim-fitting knitwear at Anderson & Sheppard

14 October 2013


Most shops do not redesign the knitwear they stock. They pick colours and models, and decide which sizes to carry, but the overall design and fit is left untouched. This is perhaps understandable: they do the same with other stock such as ties and handkerchiefs, picking from a variety of silks and patterns but essentially relabeling the designs of the manufacturer.


The problem is, if you don’t fit the standard industry sizes, you’re out of luck. Knitwear tends to be full in the body, based on the rationale that men are more likely to notice if it is too tight than too loose. Even average-sized men find it hard to buy slim-fitting knitwear, outside of some of the designer brands (which come with their own problems with price and fashion).


Last year I tried Loro Piana’s made-to-measure knitwear for a piece in The Rake. After an initial failure, we ended up with a piece that fitted very well. But Loro Piana’s lack of alternative fits demonstrated how undynamic the market is. Full and boxy is all you get.


As you might expect, I mention this problem only in order to reveal the solution – or part of it, anyway. Audie, Anda and the rest of the team at the Anderson & Sheppard haberdashery have done what few other shops do and redesigned much of their knitwear. They worked with the same Scottish, Irish and Italian producers that you know and love, but went through multiple prototypes to get fits that they felt better suited their customers.      


This isn’t easy. I went through that process with John Smedley myself of course, and tried on a few A&S prototypes during their process to give feedback. You quickly realise why few shops think it is worth the time and effort.


As yet, the A&S shop does not have a full website and there is no guide to the various designs. So I mention my four favourites here – I find it’s always nice to have an idea what you’re looking for before you wander into a shop. These are all models with a particularly slim fit that, for that reason, stand out for me from the rest of the market.


The prices vary considerably, reflecting the cost of the materials and the desire of the A&S team to offer a range of pieces. As mentioned before, I think this range and realistic pricing means there is something in there for everyone.



The shawl-collar cardigan, £280. Perhaps the most radical of the redesigns. Cut short and slim in the body, with a slim sleeve. The slimness of the body and sleeve means it can fit under a lot of jackets, while the short body means it sits just on the waistband of regular trousers. It is a world away from the normal, baggy shawl-collars. May even be too short for some. In lambswool, so relatively affordable.



The Shetland sweater, £140. In Shetland wool, so also quite affordable, and cut slim in the waist. I wear a small, as I do with the shawl-collar, and the sleeves are not too short – a common problem when sizing down with knitwear. A&S designed most pieces with slightly longer sleeves in reaction to comments from customers.



The cable-knit lambswool sweater, £140. Thinner than most cable-knits, so fits under a jacket, and cut to the same model as the Shetland.



The ultra-thin cashmere, £265. The perfect piece for sitting underneath a jacket in that Italian fashion (think navy crewneck, blue buttondown and checked blazer). Comes in a variety of colours, and both crew and V-neck, though stock is a little low at the moment. Cut slim in the body and sleeve. I wear an extra-small, though should really have gone with a small. Being cashmere, and very fine cashmere at that (at 30 gauge), it is rather more expensive.

Pop in and have a look.


Photography: Luke Carby