Boat Sweater like St. James

If you don't feel like doling out $85 for a St. James boat sweater, try this $29 version at the Belmont Army Navy in Wicker Park.

st james striped nautical teeRight after Christmas, those window-dressing wankers at J. Crew on North Ave. decided to f’ with Chicagoans by outfitting all their mannequins like they were taking a summer roadtrip to the Hamptons (or at least New Buffalo, Mich.). We get it, spring fashion hits the stores much earlier than the actual season, but when you’re trudging through snow to exchange Christmas gifts, you could care less about buying picnic attire. 

We probably should of covered up J. Crew’s storefront windows with zombies-in-parkas street art, but we respect our local chain businesses (and Mickey Drexler’s temper). So instead, we went inside to check out what we could wear in five months. One item that we couldn’t take our eyes off was the St. James boat sweater, a blue-and-white striped beauty with an oval neck hole and ultra-light fabric. You might have seen it highlighted in the “GQ Endorses” section of the magazine’s April issue. At $85, the sweater might be a bit pricey for some, especially for anyone spending actual time on a boat full of cheap beer, Steve Winwood jams, and drunk dudes that are likely to spill hops, scotch and jello shots on you.

So here’s our recommendation: head to the Belmont Army Navy store on Milwaukee Ave. in Wicker Park, proceed directly to the basement, and snatch one of their blue-and-white striped nautical sweaters for the low-low price of $29. These might not be made by the legendary St. James, but we assure you they look just as cool as J. Crew’s version. Plus you’ll have plenty left over for drinks at your favorite warm-weather, out-door-patio-sporting bar. We advise you get to Belmont Army Navy soon — the Milwaukee Ave. store only had about five sweaters left as of Saturday (sadly, the only size left was small, but luckily the small fit like a medium). Belmont Army Navy also carries a companion piece to the sweater: a blue-and-white striped tank top made from the same fabric, which might make you look like a turn-of-the-century beach bum. Still, we think that’s a better look than being part of the “Suns out, guns out” crowd at North Ave. beach.

Belmont Army Navy * 1318 N. Milwaukee Avenue * Wicker Park * 773.384.8448