Since the dawn of trad, Shetland sweaters have been the knit of choice for natty East Coasters and those that study their style. The only catch is that, like so many other classic Ivy pieces, Shetland sweaters traditionally fit about as well as a burlap sack. For all of us who have tried to pull off the “young John Updike” look only to come out looking like men in Shetland dresses, J. Press York Street’s trim Shaggy Dogs are the holy grail of updated American style.
Not all Shetlands are Shaggy Dogs, but all Shaggy Dogs are Shetlands, and that’s not the start to an IQ test question, just a crucial point of clarification. While a Shetland denotes any sweater produced on the Shetland Islands using that region’s distinct lightweight yet robust wool, Shaggy Dogs are a creation that is all J. Press’ own. As opposed to being shorn down for a more uniform texture, J. Press decided (and full disclosure, J. Press is a Paul + Williams client) to fluff out their knits creating a unique brushed look that certainly lives up to its unkempt monkier.
While the look of Shaggy Dogs has captivated fans of New England style for decades, J. Press’ fit had just become too boxy for contemporary standards, and so with the introduction of the more forward thinking (and fitting) York Street line, J. Press saw their opportunity to introduce slimmed down Shaggy Dogs. The designs remain as classically Ivy as the Kennedys, with a few multi-colored patterns tossed in there for “fun,” but aside from an overhauled fit, these are about as authentic as it gets. And of course, if you prefer the classic fit, J. Press still has those for you, because after all, nothing says great sweaters quite like democracy. -JG