The Sweater Showdown: J.Press Shaggy Dog vs. Polo Brushed Sweater

The title says it all, but I will provide a little background. Even though I had just recently purchased a Shaggy Dog sweater from J.Press I added another brushed sweater to my closet. This sweater is a brushed Shetland/Lambswool/Cashmere blend from Polo Ralph Lauren. These sweaters are both currently available so I thought that a review would be useful for those with a brushed sweater on their want list.

J.Press Shaggy Dog Pros & Cons
Shaggy DogPros

  • Impressive Brushed Quality
  • Warm
  • Well Made


  • Thick
  • Expensive
  • Maybe Too Warm

Polo Ralph Lauren Brushed Sweater Pros & Cons
PRL Brushed Sweater

  • Soft
  • Nice Brushed Quality
  • Well Made


  • Thin
  • Delicate
  • Expensive

As you can see from the Pros/Cons list above each sweater has its own advantages. The Shaggy Dog is iconic, incredibly warm, and has a thick brushed appearance. On the flip side, it may be too warm to wear in most indoor scenarios (luckily, my office is often freezing.) and the thick texture may make one feel like the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man. It is about 2-3 x as thick as the PRL sweater (You can see the height difference in the top picture.)

The PRL sweater is beautiful looking sweater with a very soft hand, but at first I thought that it might be too delicate for my style. It is also a little thin for what I expect from a brushed sweater. However, the brushed appearance gives the garment just enough texture for me to get over the delicate debate.

Both sweaters are priced pretty high at $265, but they are also both on sale at this time. The Shaggy dog is currently $183.65(see here) and the PRL sweater is $149.99 (see here). They also both have a place in my closet. If you are looking for more brushed options Derek from Put This On put a nice list together (check it out here).

oxford cloth button down
Jerrod Swanton is a simple man interested in simple, classic, and traditional style.

16 Comments on "The Sweater Showdown: J.Press Shaggy Dog vs. Polo Brushed Sweater"

  1. ChildDoc says:

    Congratulations on purchasing the Ralph Lauren wool/cashmere (88/12) blend sweater. Each season Ralph Lauren has brought this sweater to their collection. What is unusual is that the sweater is made in Scotland (as opposed to their typical Asian knit product) and is knit in a seamless/in the round fashion. As you indicated it is relatively light weight, but still reasonably warm. I have this same sweater in a cable and plain knit (from previous seasons) and can certainly attest to the quality and durability. Incidentally, in addition to being on sale as you indicate, it is currently available at an additional bit off, bringing the price to $124.99–a fantastic bargain when compared to the rather absurd price for the Press counterpart.

  2. fred johnson says:

    One of my favorite shops, Enson’s in New Haven has very nice, thick brushed Alan Paine shetlands for $160. Also the Andover Shop has their made in Scotland Shetlands for $165. That being said, I stick with my un-brushed and un-saddle shoulder LLB’s.

  3. George says:

    One of the many things I miss about Colorado life is the impressive array of sweaters I was able to assemble and — more importantly — regularly wear. Relocating from there to much warmer climes was painful in this regard, and several friends received a rich bounty upon my departure, gratis, of course.

  4. Roger C. Russell II says:

    I like them both. I wore the R.L. version years ago when I was 14 yrs old, (now 48). I keep hoping I can find it to pass on to my oldest son. I remember it as soft and I never made the connection until I read your post that it was so soft due to it being brushed. I do remember that it seemed very delicate.
    I have never had a J. Press product, but it sounds like the workhorse of the two. We don’t get J. Press in Dixie. Contrary to popular belief we do need proper Winter clothing in the South. We do get negative temperatures and often get a lot of ice.

  5. rmpmcdermott says:

    And let’s not forget the $125 option from Bahle’s in Michigan. They’re made by Harley of Scotland. I don’t own one, but I’ve heard very good things and the price is definitely right. And that’s the regular price, not on sale. Anybody have any experience with them?

    • Steve L. says:

      As a Northern California resident I get the feeling that a Shaggy Dog would be stifling in the mild weather here. But Harley Shetlands are ideal. I prefer the appearance of their weave, as compared to the “brushed” look, but of course that’s subjective. What doesn’t often show up in online photos of the Harley items is the complexity of their colors: they are not monotone. There is what I can only describe as a luster attributable to a mix of yarns there that really makes them pop when seen in person.

  6. oxford cloth button down says:

    Derm -This post was for those seeking a brushed sweater. I apologize if I did not make that clear. I have heard good things about Harley of Scotland’s. The only thing that has stopped me from purchasing from Bahle’s is that they do not carry Smalls (or at least they don’t feature them on the website if they do).

  7. rmpmcdermott says:

    Oh man. That’s my fault. You did make that clear, I just glossed over it. All-in-all, great post, though!

  8. Christopher says:

    There’s also an option from oconnells. I’ve never purchased it but a $165 it seems like a solid investment. Not quite the shaggy dog but a helluva lot cheaper and a good variety of colors. Here’s the link

    • NCTrad says:

      The O’Connell”s sweaters are not bushed. They are a very nice standard Shetland sweater. OCBD’s post is about brushed shetlands.

  9. HerrDavid says:

    Ox, I know I’ve seen a few smalls at Bahle’s, but it was usually early in the season and their inventory thins out quickly. (It’s often hard even to find a medium in popular colors!) This reflects the fact that Harley’s tick all the boxes of a classic shetland and $125 shipped is a great price. With respect to this post, however, it’s worth mentioning that they’re not brushed. They’re also not quite as soft or, for lack of a better term, “fluffy” as O’Connell’s shetlands,* but for $40 less I don’t think anyone will complain.

    *I seem to remember a post from one of the several iterations of HTJ that included a pic comparing the thickness of Harley’s and O’Connell’s respective shetlands and the difference was evident. I miss that blog.

  10. Gazza79 says:

    I own three Shaggy Dogs from J. Press. I purchased all while they were on sale, the first in 2004, and I know they will last until I fall apart. A sweater of this caliber I will gladly “smartly” pay a little extra for knowing that I am buying the authentic, real item. Nemo me immune lacessit!!!

  11. Slim says:

    If the J.Press version is “too warm”, it’s because you’ve been sitting inside blogging too long.
    Let the warm sweater be your guide and go out for a walk (assuming it’s at least below 40 out).
    Don’t knock the wool for doing its job… it looks nice, but it also has a purpose.

  12. Gazza79 says:

    I just received the Ralph Lauren sweater in the mail today. My first impressions are very positive. The sweater is thinner than the J. Press, my guess is this has to do with the cashmere blend. I understand what is meant by the sweater feeling more delicate as well, but this is only when compared to the J. Press Shaggy Dog. The Ralph sweater feels like it will work out just fine and might even be more appropriate under a sport jacket in the office.

  13. JOA says:

    I enjoyed the thorough review, Jerrod. As I was in the market for a lighter grey Shetland, I bought the same PRL one as you. I agree with the points you brought up about it being thinner but, as someone who lives in the South, that’s a quality I appreciate about it. It’s warm enough for my purposes without the sauna-like quality of the Shaggy Dog. Now, if I can just keep myself from buying the pink one, too…

    Keep up the great work.

  14. oxford cloth button down says:

    JOA & Gazza79 – Thanks for reporting back. After several more wears I like the PRL sweater even better.

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