Mohair cardigans and Rubato chinos
These chinos are the Rubato ones I’ve asked them to reissue, which will be available exclusively in the PS pop-up shop on Savile Row next week.
They’re not exactly the same as the originals, which were a single pleat where this is a flat front - the Officer’s Chino model I’ve reviewed previously.
But it’s the same in every other respect, and the colour is the important thing - a surprisingly dark brown, rather smart, and particularly nice with neutrals like white, cream and black, as well as menswear standards like navy and grey.
It’s a colour I wear a lot already with the charbrown flannel from Fox (eg here) so I already knew I'd get a lot of wear out of them.
When Rubato and I started talking about doing something for the pop-up, I was keen to do these chinos because I wear my other ones so much, but missed out on the brown.
They agreed to reissue them, albeit with some compromises. Their chinos are all made with a button front now and I prefer a zip; but I can live with that. And as mentioned in the past, I slim mine down to a 20cm bottom when I get them, from the 22.5cm they come with (in a size 48). But I know others prefer the wider leg.
And it’s worth it to get my favourite smart chino in such a unique colour. They’re fairly limited - around 25 pairs - so if you’re interested, worth getting to Savile Row next week to have a look.
The pop-up runs from Wednesday, April 20 to Saturday, April 23, at The Service on Savile Row - featuring Rubato, Ludovic Lunetier, Jake’s Shirts, Bentley’s Antiques and of course PS. All details here.
There will be welcome drinks on the Wednesday evening from 5pm, so do come along then if you fancy a glass of something.
Returning to the chinos, the hard right-hand twill does feel a bit stiff to start with. The dyed colours like khaki and brown in particular.
But I’ve found they soften after three or four washes, and that extra, dense weave is worth it for a great feel in the long run.
The khaki colour also has a bit of a sheen at first, which softens over those first few washes. I don’t know the technical reason for this (any fabric nerds, please let me know) but it’s the case with many dense cottons, including the more workwear-inspired ones.
In fact I got a pair of Freewheelers ones from Son of a Stag last year, and lovely as they are, the sheen is only starting to go after about 10 washes.
I’ve pictured the chinos here with two cardigans - a style I find I wear a lot these days, given I’m still working from home a lot and not wearing a jacket as much.
The oatmeal-coloured one above is from Connolly, but I'll talk about that in our regular ‘Spring Top 10’ piece next week, so I won’t go into details now.
The other cardigan, however, is worth exploring.
It’s a mohair knit from The Real McCoy’s, which I was rather unsure about when I first got it: I was sold on the material, but the style was a little unusual.
The material grabbed me as soon as I picked it up.
The long, raised fibres - the fluffiness - probably comes across in these images. What won’t show is how dense and heavy it is. It feels soft, spongey, with an amazing substance and warmth.
Mohair cardigans (old and new) usually use a yarn comprising a nylon or polyester core, with mohair spun around it. The McCoy’s version uses a wool core instead, with the knit then hand-rolled to lift the hairs and create that fluffy surface.
The result has real heft in the hand, but isn’t heavy when worn - it feels more like it’s hugging around the body.
The mohair, though soft, is a bit scratchy. It’s fine over a shirt, but I wouldn’t wear it over just a T-shirt (as most of the modern ones are styled).
I know there will be some that’ll question buying an expensive cardigan that’s ‘a bit scratchy’. But to be looking at clothes like this at all, you’ve really got to be in love with materials - what they can be, how they are made, how the resulting clothes can feel and drape. I certainly am, and this one is beautiful.
Now the style. Mohair cardigans have a fairly long history, with their first spike of popularity in the 1960s. But that was largely among women, and most today will know them from Kurt Cobain in the 1990s - or, if you’re younger, from the recent trend created by Marni, Needles and others.
The heritage is Ivy; they feel naturally more casual and grungy; but the current vogue is to dress them up, albeit in stronger colours.
Over the time I've been wearing this one, I’ve found that it's too casual for shirts and tailored trousers. The cut is a factor - the low neck and straight body are very different from sartorial-type cardigans.
It’s also too stark a colour for my casual default of mid-blue jeans. The other stronger colours of mohair, like Jelado’s mustard, would be better there.
Instead, it’s best with dark denim and flannel/chambray shirts, or with chinos and an oxford shirt as pictured here.
And no, there’s no sensible reason to have both this cardigan and this alpaca one. Other than to try both and write about them.
The loafers are full straps from Alden in Color 8 cordovan. The belt is alligator, also from Rubato.
The shirt is a white PS Oxford, while the socks are (short) charcoal wool from Trunk.
All details on the pop-up here. Looking forward to seeing everyone next week.
Photography: Jamie Ferguson