Listen up womenfolk (and menfolk in this instance), we’ve found a great new brand that is worth checking out. Well, when I say ‘new’, Sunspel is actually a grand old lady of 154, the brand launched in 1860, but recently it has been given a modern shake up that has made us sit up and take notice. In terms of style, imagine the minimalist love child offspring of COS and Margaret Howell.
The brand has opened a new store in Chiltern Street (below) and invited us to take a closer look at the tightly edited range.
Sunspel started life making underwear and simple, everyday clothes in quality fabrics. Indeed it was the first UK manufacturer to bring the boxer short to British menfolk (in 1947) and has a claim over introducing the modern T shirt to these shores, (Haines of course, introduced the US to T shirts). It still has its Long Eaton factory making much of its jersey wear and its long staple, Sea Island cotton T shirt will have you swooning with its smoothness.
The jersey collection is what Sunspel is well known for and its modern restyling has created cross generation appeal, due to the brand launching a pop up in the deeply cool New York Dover Street Market as well as having been quietly sold in good departments stores for some years.
But I want to you take note of the really beautiful knitwear, from the basket stitch navy sweater, the shirt-style fine knit merino jacket and the vintage style funnel neck These images make them look quite fitted but they are nicely generous rather than skinny-fit, and the quality is terrific.
When I asked the ‘what size do you go up to’ question we were initially saddened by the limited 8-14 but then my charming store guide informed me that although not ideal, many of the women’s styles were similar to the mens, so women could transfer to the mens range for larger sizing. In the days of us happily wearing the boyfriend jean/sweater/coat, I think this is a reasonable second-best option and Cyril says the brand is watching its sales like a hawk on sizing as they realise they may well need bigger size range.
I was in quite a spin wondering which style story to pick to write about, I was so taken with the collection. The white shirts are exceptional quaiity for the price and I love the versatile shirtdress, there’s a lovely little kilt in super-soft herringbone wool and then there’s the lounge-y sweats collection….
The range isn’t cheap but it’s not bad value when you get up close and feel the quality. Shirts start at £105, T shirts at £45 and knitwear at £125. And ahem, you could always wait for the sale or a promotion to start you off.
I am hooked.