A knit tee that looks like it came straight from the 1940’s but is totally wearable today. And all the proceeds even go to charity! What’s better than that?
Since I’ve been in quarantine, I haven’t been doing much buying. It makes sense since I’m not technically working, but I know that quite a few of my friends have still been copping a few jawnz. Maybe it’s just because I prefer to shop in person, rather than online, but I’ve actually been largely okay with being on a slight copping freeze; the fact that I haven’t been tempted at a flea market has done wonders with what small money I still have.
I’m not completely celibate from spending, but it’s certainly put things in a new perspective. More focus on saving for something I really want, which has been a theme the past year on the blog. Good shoes, for instance.
So in the past few weeks, I’ve only bought a few things. My first oriental rug, to make my room feel more like David Coggin’s apartment. Animal Crossing (second hand) for my switch, so I can live life in a virtual world and dress in Japanese-Americana. And most recently, an Anthology Knit tee.
The Anthology will no doubt be familiar to you, as it’s one of the hottest (and youngest) bespoke tailoring firms to enter the menswear arena. Started by my friend Buzz, the brand really is something great, producing nice soft shouldered, wide lapeled suits (with high rise trousers), with many of its staff (in London and Taipei) becoming certified menswear icons in their own right. I’ve enjoyed watching the brand grow, especially since all involved are the same age as me!
While they are bespoke tailors first, they’ve branched off into a couple of RTW ventures, starting with a chore-blazer called their Lazyman jacket. You may have seen it a few times in my Casual Ethan article. Then, a few weeks ago, Buzz let me know of their newest project: a knit tee shirt.
The Anthology knit tee is definitely inspired by 1940s-1950s clothing. Made from a fine-gauge cotton, it follows a lot of what I love from Golden Era knitwear in general: a shorter length and wide ribbing. The higher collar (almost a mock neck) ensures that it follows the old school silhouettes of tees by having a snug (but not tight) fit in the top block, that is comfortable and comes in at the waist, emphasizing that ideal V-shape.
Buzz and his fellow Anthologists are bit of a vintage vintage enthusiasts, commenting a few times on my vintage jackets and even considered doing a low-gorge lapel on a suit. If you follow Willy and Charles on IG, you’ll see that their love of vintage certainly involves some heavy collecting. With that in mind, it’s no surprise to see the vintage-style points in the Anthology’s latest offering. Priced at $90, it is certainly worth it as there really isn’t anything similar to it (or at least this well done) out there right now. And yes, I’ve seen Rubato, but as an Angelino, I need all my knitwear to be in cotton to be even remotely wearable.
The tees are available in cream, navy, and mustard, which makes them a bit more wearable than the original ones, which tend to have novelty prints and patterns, as they were meant for youth. Even though I’d prefer the same details as a cotton crew or v-neck sweater (since the world is missing that), it’s still nice to see a great tee that is literally just begging to be worn with tailoring. That is how they did it back in the day after all!
Buzz showed me a bit of the designs early on, as he originally planned on selling them this summer, but due to the COVID-19 epidemic going on, he actually decided to release them early. They also decided to donate 100% of the proceeds of this 300-batch run to COVID-19 relief efforts which include the International Red Cross and Doctors Without Borders. I was hesitant on buying, but this very fact pushed me to go ahead with the purchase as soon as it was launched.
So I ordered a medium (after a lot of back-and-forth with Buzz) in cream (because I want to lean into tonal looks for spring/summer) and patiently waited for it to come. Due to how much this crisis has affected businesses all over, I was totally okay if it had an extended waiting time. After all, I’d just wear it at home for the time being!
My Anthology Knit Tee
To my surprise, it only took about a week to arrive!
Firstly, I’m glad I got a medium, which FYI, has a chest measurement of 42. I typically wear a size 38R (or a 40/50R in Ring Jacket), which really put me in between sizes for the knit tee. Due to my height and slightly stocky build, Buzz settled on Medium and I trusted him. And as you can see, it fits perfectly. I was a bit concerned it would be too big (vintage knits are supposed to be very snug), but it’s just right.
The arms and chest are slightly snug (in the good way), before getting a bit looser through the body. However, the tight and wide waist ribbing ensures that a proper “V” figure is retained despite the extra room. This fact, combined with the slightly heavier weight (more than a regular tee but less than a cotton sweater) results in a really great drape. I also love the high neck, since it makes for a “proper” look compared to just wearing a tee shirt.
Ribbing is incredibly important here, since it helps to “catch” the excess fabric. On regular knit tees, the ribbing is narrow and the length is long resulting in a very sloppy appearance. When the body is short, it gets to blouse of the waist-hugging wide ribbing in an elegant way to helps retain that silhouette. You can see this blousing effect in the vintage photographs and illustrations.
To me, it’s quite similar to the knit polo shirts from Uniqlo I bought a few years back, except higher quality, finer feel, more drape, and an overall better fit. The short length and wide ribbing definitely makes The Anthology ones better, not just from a vintage standpoint, but because these details make it much more appropriate for high waisted trousers.
It’s plenty comfortable and I couldn’t wait to wear it properly.
Even though the knit tee hasn’t seen the actual sunlight, it was perfect to be worn for #DapperDayAtHome, as April 19th was supposed to be the day of the Spring 2020 Expo for Dapper Day at Disneyland. It’s unfortunate that we couldn’t go to the expo with all my friends like we’ve done before, but that didn’t stop me from dressing up; plus, it’s a nice change of pace to be dressed up on a weekend for once!
The cream tee is a fantastic shade so that it contrasts ever so slightly with my off-white 1940’s Palm Beach Cloth suit. This DB suit is one of my prized possessions and probably would’ve been worn for the actual Dapper Day festivities, if the virus hadn’t reared its ugly head. The high neck of the knit tee keeps things looking well put together without being too sloppy.
The whole tonal ensemble is definitely something out of the Swedish minimalistic playbook, echoing the outfits done by Saman Amel. I’m not usually a big fan of minimalism in tailoring when it concerns traditional shirts and ties, but with a knit tee, it’s the perfect piece for it. And of course, the slouchy beretadds in the “Ethan component”.
It’s perfectly in line with the vibes I’ve been doing for Dapper Day in recent outings, mixing in vintage and contemporary!
As we start moving into a post-sneaker world and it’s love of vintage, it’s nice to see the world of tailoring (which can be a bit closed-off) have that old school charm creep in. Wide lapels and higher waists have been en vogue, but knitwear details have sorely been lacking. Rubato was the start, but I want to see more!
I’ve only worn this tee a few times (mainly the Dapper Day fit), but I do love this knit tee. Seriously, Buzz and the rest of The Anthology knocked it out of the park with this! Not only is the fit great (again, I sized “up” to a Medium), but the details! With just the short length and wide ribbing I was sold nearly immediately. The fact that Buzz decided to donate all the proceeds from this 300-batch run to COVID-19 efforts was just icing on the cake. They didn’t have to do it, because the shirts are great and would’ve sold themselves, but I’m proud of them for doing it.
I’m not sure if they’re going to producing more after the run is out, but I certainly hope they do so that others can join me on this short length, wide ribbed journey. In fact, if The Anthology does the same thing with long sleeves as a crew neck and v-neck cotton sweater (the cloth is so good), I will definitely buy both because that’s the type of knitwear I need in Los Angeles; wool sweaters can only go so far!
Anyway, The Anthology knit tee is definitely worth it if you’re looking for a proper knit tee (with vintage details), which if you’ve done the research like me, you’ll know that there really aren’t a lot of options out there. If I am to go off the many DM’s I got when I first received the shirt, many people are interested, so be sure to grab one now if you can!
And don’t worry, I’ll update this with more fit pics as I wear them. But for now, in quarantine, this is what I’ve got!
Always a pleasure,