The Informant: The Timeless Sweater for Any Occasion

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There are a lot of ways a sweater can go awry. It can be too loose in the neck. It can be too thin so the buttons from an oxford poke through. It can pill fast and fade quickly. And so finding the perfect sweater, especially as more and more heritage brands get bought up by big conglomerates and change their manufacturing processes, can be a daunting task. But there’s still one company defining what it means to make a good sweater: J. Press, with its Shaggy Dog Sweater.

Earlier this winter, one landed on my desk in a beautiful heathered brown color. (Brown — or chocolate, for anyone paying attention to runway fashion this season — is very in right now.) It’s made from pure brushed wool; my other sweaters are largely blends, or at least partial blends, of wool and cotton. That makes them a bit softer, sure, but also means they’re a little less warm. This one looks good and immediately heats things up an extra 5-10 degrees.

When I first put on this sweater, I realized it wasn’t the best to wear against bare skin — the material felt slightly scratchy — but the first time I popped it over a university striped oxford button-down and with old jeans and chukka boots, I realized I’d stumbled up on a true treasure. It makes me look like I just came from a Princeton 401 course and am on the way either to a bar downtown or a play uptown. It’s versatile, too. I can pull it over everything, and because it’s brown, it goes with anything except black, which I don’t wear anyway. (The brand also offers other hues, like heathered pink and a blue-brown.) One thing to note: The Shaggy Dog sweater runs a little snug, so it’s best to size up, especially if the plan is to layer it.

The Shaggy Dog also has a history as rich as its deep, heathered shades. It was born when J. Press’s founder, Irving Press, visited a knitting factory in Scotland’s Shetland Isles nearly 80 years ago. (For those unaware, the isles’ other famous export is Shetland Ponies — proof that the region just cranks out gem after gem.) From there, the sweater quickly cemented itself as timeless. JFK had one. Mick Jagger wears one. It’s even been remixed by contemporary menswear brands, like Rowing Blazers and Harmony Paris. That said, one should still get the J. Press model. Spin-offs are great, but never as good as the real thing.

Overall, this sweater is just BDE in shaggy wool form. And, especially during the harsh days of winter, who doesn’t want that?

J. Press Shaggy Dog Sweater
J. Press Shaggy Dog Sweater

J. Press Shaggy Dog Sweater, Classic Brown – Classic Fit

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Price: $245.00

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