In Depth: Submariner Sweaters and Roll Neck Knits

Deep digging into submarine sweaters and roll neck knits

As fall arrives and the temperatures drop, summer decorations become homely. Salads give way to healthy soups, and cotton gives way to thick wool. The roll neck jumper is one of them.

Like button-down oxford shirts and three-button blazers, the roll neck is one of those timeless pieces that will always be there. In the 15th century, brave knights wore similar under their heavy chainmail armor to prevent chafing, and in the mid-19th century, polo players wore high necks in the freezing cold outdoors. was wearing a jumper.

This reason is just one of many known roll necks. Some call it a polo neck, a turtleneck, or a skivie, which means underwear. But generally it means a pullover type sweater made of thick wool with a high ribbed collar.

Many of the early roll necks were hand-knitted for fishermen and sailors, but in 1907 Ernest Shackleton wore them and sailed to Antarctica, which spread all over the world, and many of the 1911 Australian Antarctic Expedition members wore.

In the early 20th century, high-collar knits existed in many shapes and patterns, but they began making thousands of heavy roll-neck woolen sweaters for the Royal Navy, and during World War I they became what we know. changed to the shape of

Sailors were required to wear something under their jackets while fighting in harsh seas. The high neck hung tight over the collar of the duffle coat, keeping the neck warm while on deck, and the soft wool provided a touch of comfort in the cramped cabin.

These strengths also meant that the mysterious subsection of the Royal Navy was also quite popular with submarine crews. Due to the isolated nature of the work, the crews were less reluctant to follow the guidelines set by the Navy's top officials. (Considered modern-day pirates by other navies because of their long beards and filthiness.) But while the rules weren't strictly followed by half of the sailors on the water, the crew neck knit was a delight. was
This treasured presence in the water has given us another roll neck, the Submarine Sweater, with many nicknames.

During World War II, most of the uniforms of those involved in the Arctic convoys carrying valuable supplies through the icy waters of the North Sea to the ports of the Soviet Union were roll necks. Jumpers were also worn under flight jackets by RAF pilots when extra warmth was needed.

Convenient and versatile, the rollneck quickly took off and became a staple of the outdoor wardrobe thanks to countless post-WWII military surplus stores. Bikers layered roll necks under leather jackets, climbers and hikers under tweed jackets. As ever, rollnecks remained a favorite with explorers, and George Lowe famously wore orange and ecru striped rollnecks during the 1955-1958 Federal Trans-Antarctic Expedition.

Thanks to such heroic feats, the Submarine rollneck was seen as a badge of life outside the norm, worn by poets, writers and artists eager to present themselves as an outsider. . Beat poets of the 1950s were just as much fans as Ernest Hemingway.

By the 1970s, lighter, slimmer turtlenecks made from fine-gauge wool became the epitome of modern intelligence. The endearing Submarine sweater remains the ideal garment for colder days.

Even today, the classic white roll neck worn by submarine sailors is still used by the Navy. The world may have changed a bit since rollnecks first came out, but nothing still keeps the cold out quite like a well-made submarine sweater.