History Lessons 02 / The V NECK

Summer. A time for cricket, tennis and maybe even a spot of golf. And what do each of these sports have in common? The humble V neck of course, which it turns out, is celebrating its 100th birthday this year. 

OK, admittedly, no one can say for sure when the first V neck jumper was knitted, but we do know that it started to gain popularity in 1921, when it was worn by Edward VIII - pre abdication crisis.

He favoured the fancy Fairisle V necks both on and off the golf course – a style which was quickly adopted throughout the British Isles by both men and women. His v neck sweater vests are as on-trend today as they were back then. 

The above clipping is taken from the magazine 'Man and his Clothes' which in 1930 was commenting on the the ensemble worn by Edward, Prince of Wales (later King Edward VIII, Duke of Windsor) to play golf.

His plus four suit was in a red and black check for matches he played at Le Touquet, his pullover was tucked in (a style many people had condemned as 'cheap' apparently) and his stockings were in light fawn with over checking. 

In its early beginnings, the V neck was mainly used for sport. Why? Well, the neckline lets in a bit more air than other round neck styles. What's more the lower neckline makes it easy to whip off when you’ve warmed up. Tennis, cricket, golf, sailing… they all have become synonymous with the V neck jumper.   

By the 1940s, V necks had become an everyday fashion staple, particularly for men. They were often worn over shirts and ties, adding a slightly more casual feel to formal workwear. 

But it was the 1960s when the 'dad jumper' style really came into its own. Beloved by trend-setting Mods, the V neck became a regular on the big screen – worn by everyone from Michael Caine to Steve McQueen. Even that epitome of cool – James Bond – sported one in the 1964 classic Goldfinger.   

In fact, it’s hard to think now of an era that hasn’t embraced the V neck. From Tom Selleck in Magnum PI to Jane Birkin and Taylor Swift, many a celeb has relied on the humble V neck. There’s a reason it never goes out of style. 

The V neck is one of the most versatile knits we make at Navygrey, proving the perfect partner for everything from your favourite pair of trusty jeans or dressed up with nothing underneath. 

Inspired by the traditional cut of the man's jumper, at Navygrey we reimagined it for today's modern woman.

Considered details such as the set-in sleeve, wide trim deep V, French shoulder seams and longline rib cuffs elevate the style beyond the classroom staple. 

It's now one of our best-selling styles. Available in Navy, Blush and a new beautiful shade of crisp white. How will you wear yours?

+++ 

All inspirational archive imagery courtesy of Alamy.