09 February 2010

Confusion

Sometimes, I like to play it by the book, dressing with an allegiance to an arcane code of rules. Other times, I like to put things together however I damn well please. But even still, I occasionally stumble across an item of clothing that presents me with a downright conundrum. Such an item is this old classic, the "Tennis Sweater" :
A cream colored, cable knit number, accented by a classic pair of stripes, one burgundy and one navy, at the collar, cuffs and waistband.
From long-gone Boston shop Kennedy's. This sweater, is warm and soft to the touch, but it confuses me.

I wore it just the other day. With jeans, penny loafers and a blue oxford, I thought I looked casual but smart. But all day something kept bothering me: isn't tennis a warm weather sport? Of course. So...shouldn't tennis attire be worn in the Spring? Even if you're not playing tennis? But wait a minute, this thing is thick, like any winter sweater in my closet.

But if it's warm enough for tennis, who needs a wool sweater, let alone a really thick one?

This is one of those circular arguments that could make your head spin if you let it. But who wants to get their head spinning over something as ridiculous as the outdated vagaries of menswear?

I think I'll just go ahead and wear it when I like. Truthfully, 99% of people today won't give a damn about the fact that this thing is designed for a seasonal sport...especially when that seasonal sport is played in big crazy sneakers, headbands, and nylon shorts. As for the 1% who does think of such things...that's me, and I don't care.

As great as I think this thing would look with light grey flannels and white bucks, I think I'll stay away from that combo...unless I find myself in California in 1927. or something.

25 comments:

jeremy said...

some would say its a cricket sweater and often in cricket players would wear sweaters.

i only know this because my boss is a HUGE cricket fan. the joys of working for a UK company i suppose

clg23 said...

well it could be "tennis inspired", tennis is a warm weather sport as far as being televised, but normal people still play it throughout the year. I believe there is a hint of over thought here haha. Its a great sweater, I love burgundy/navy combo.

Anonymous said...

Just wanted to leave a comment on this one, because I have a nearly identical sweater. Looks very similar, but alas it's a cheap acrylic Izod. Still, great minds must think alike!

spoozyliciouzz said...

Guiseppe,

whatever this thing was intended for, just go ahead and wear it, regardless of the occassion.

By the way, i would love to see you dressing up like it's 1927...i´m sure your wardrobe would make that task a rather easy one...

Dale P.L. Chadwick said...

I was thinking of the same thing today - telepathy perhaps? I have a white tennis sweater with the classic navy stripes around the V-neck collar and on the cuffs yet it's too cold for any outdoor recreation. Would it look absolutely ridiculous then to wear the sweater? Though if we were to use that logic, we should be wearing long-sleeved polos then, because it'd be too cold to wear short-sleeve polos if you're playing real polo...

Rebecca said...

If/when "worst comes to worst" people today "felt" woolen sweaters and make all sorts of decorative and useful items - mittens, arm bands, coasters, purses, pins, etc. But it is far too early to send this one through the felting process, I believe.

Scott Alexander said...

This is a great sweater. Jeremy's totally right about it also being a cricket sweater. I don't know which sport adapted it first, but it's certainly a classic, regardless of material... unless that material is acrylic or polyester.

~The Cable Knit Collegian

Rebecca said...

wor·sted (wstd, w├╗rstd)
n.
1. Firm-textured, compactly twisted woolen yarn made from long-staple fibers.
2. Fabric made from such yarn.

After I commented, I checked my use of words to be sure I wasn't imagining this use the term.....

Enzo AGC said...

Jeremy's right, if we really are going to get technical, its definitely a cricket sweater, not a tennis sweater. I thought this post was going to veer in the direction of the navy/burgundy being school colors of an institution that you didn't attend. Both of these issues have prevented me from wearing my father's old UPENN version. But that's just me. I know that half of the designers at RL live in these things...

Mr Brown said...

It's a cricket jumper.

Summer in England does sometimes warrant just a shirt (tee or otherwise), but if you're standing around in the field you'll want one too.

Some great pictures of umpires piled high with jumpers when the sun comes out and the boys get a bit toasty.

A Treasury of... said...

Spring or not, wear the sweater inside out to show off the cool font on the label!

Thad said...

I have to second the comment about it not being that warm in the UK during the summer ... and it does not matter whether you are at The Oval or Wimbeldon, this sweater would look awesome!

Also, just in case you didn't see it, Roger Federer wore a Nike sweater to Wimbledon in 2008. So, depending on your climate, sweaters are definitely a summer option!

David M. said...

99.99% of tennis players don't wear tennis sweaters. I have red Izod cotton tennis sweater, people say I remind them of Otter from Animal House.

David V said...

This look is all wrong for you!
There is simply no way you can make this work.

Fortunately I have your solution. Just pack it up and ship it to me.

Young Fogey said...

Hmm. You'll wear a Black Watch suit --which you call "Giuseppe's Craziest Item"--but won't wear a tennis sweater, gray flannels, and white bucks--shoes, that from a distance, might be mistaken for sneakers?

OK....

It's a great sweater. Wear it however and whenever you want.

Sophie said...

Definitely cricket, and all too necessary in English summers! I have one with a pink / navy neck and cuff trim. It's one of my favourite casual sweaters.

NCJack said...

Carry a tennis racket when you wear it. If anyone says "Oh, that sweater is wrong", whack 'em.

foolio_iglesias said...

Man,I totally sympathize.I've got quite a few winter/fall garments in summery colors and it's like,when do I wear this stuff?Hey,I say ,let the weight of the item decide when and wear you wear it......

Death Bredon said...

Tennis sweaters are the one type commonly worn with short trousers. They work particularly well, weather with tennis shorts of white cricket trousers in northern climes that do not really have "hot" summers. Hence, their naturally habitat is England and New England.

Jake said...

I guess it's more of a cricket sweater but, either way, I suspect these originated in the UK when, even in summer, having a sweater to hand is often a good idea. This would be especially true if you have just come off the pitch and want to avoid cooling off too quickly. I think these sweaters are absolutely fantastic though, and if you do find yours too warm, they are also traditional in a sleeveless version.

TRVS said...

A great sweater, with a greater label! I think your ensemble sounds perfect and I agree with the majority~~just wear it! It will be great come springtime when we're all sick of overcoats.

C.Sharp said...

Here is a whole discussion about it
http://www.askandyaboutclothes.com/forum/showthread.php?t=101454&highlight=tennis+sweater

If you embrace it as a classic you can wear it with many things. In college I wore it with Oxford cloth button downs and Donegal tweed trousers. I might have looked like I came off a jazz age ice pond but I could live with that and I never heard a complaint.

Rebecca said...

Is this the chappy who dares to eschew convention? Wear what you damn well please! (I side with the cricket sayers.)

BLUENOSE said...

Guiseppe,
I've had a couple of sweaters like this – I called them tennis sweaters and even played tennis in them a few times because I used to play from last snowfall in the spring to first in the fall. They were warm and perfect with white shorts. Mostly, though, I wore one with jeans and a light coat just because it looked so cool. And nobody else had one – often the easiest definition of cool. I hate sweaters but if I still had one of these I'd wear it.

larsd4 said...

This sweater is also used for squash, on indoor, often unheated North American squash courts. Perfect.