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What is a Raglan Sweatshirt?


It feels like every cool sweatshirt is coined a Raglan sweatshirt at the moment, but what does it actually mean? A Raglan sleeve is created from one piece of fabric that runs from the neck of the sweatshirt to the underarm, giving the seam a slanted look. It’s now often used for casual clothes, athletic wear specifically, and means that there are no shoulder seams. The beauty of this is that the same sweatshirt perfectly fits various sizes and it’s a truly comfortable and flattering style for everyone.

The Raglan sleeve sweatshirt is a classic piece, a staple for anyone’s wardrobe and for that precise reason it’s part of the BOUJO HAKE collection and will so remain!

The history of the Raglan Sleeve and Lord Raglan

Lord Raglan was born in 1788 at Badminton House in Gloucestershire, the youngest of nine sons. He was a Field Marshal in the British Army serving in the Napoleonic Wars and the Crimea war, where he died. He injured his arm in the battle of Waterloo in 1815 and as a result it was amputated. It was said that before they took his arm away, Lord Raglan asked to have his ring removed that was gifted by his wife! Lord Raglan then had to learn to write with his left hand when he resumed his post as secretary to the British Embassy in Paris but it was inevitably difficult for him. It was his creative tailor who decided to amend his clothing, adapting the style of the sleeve to aid dressing and ease of movement. The diagonal seam that extends from the collar to the underarm was born, the wider underarm allowing for better mobility. Since then the Raglan sleeve gathered popularity being used in sports and perhaps the best example of the Raglan sleeves are the American baseball sweaters.

For BOUJO HAKE the classic crew neck Raglan sweater somehow epitomises 1980s NYC, which is amusing and slightly odd given its British army history!

It’s all in the detail

Like any popular garment, there is a wide range of Raglan sweatshirts from a style and quality perspective. They are ubiquitous (and admittedly sometimes wrongly called a Raglan). Fruit of the loom, as we well know, create crew neck sweatshirts and many have a Raglan sleeve. They are also 100 cotton and offering free delivery with no minimal order, so what’s not to like? A leading question, of course, but the finer details are crucial and make all the difference between a run of the mill sweater and one that you could wear to a special occasion - perhaps with a dramatic, feminine tulle skirt.

Types of cotton

Many of us grew up thinking that if we bought natural materials such as cotton that was all that mattered and in many ways deciding to pick natural materials is a start. But, for example, 100% Supima cotton is vastly different to 100% Upland cotton. Supima cotton is considered the finest cotton which is to do with the fibre length – long – making it far stronger and durable that, let’s say, Upland Cotton which has short-staple fibres. Upland cotton has a very high yield and is easy to grow and so is the most common type of cotton. In addition to some cottons being in a different league to others, there is also certified GOTS Organic Cotton which means that, aside from being kinder to the environment, the material is also kinder to us as individuals, allowing our skin to breathe without coming in contact with harmful pesticides.

Cotton can be hard and itchy or it can be super soft, getting better with age. This will also mean that the garment will drap differently.

Details such as the cuffs or width of the collar and length of the sweatshirt can alter a look. And a small stand out detail such as different length hems on the front and the back can make an ordinary sweater special.

Raglan Sweatshirt Women’s

It’s funny but even the sub title – Women’s Raglan Sweatshirt – is immediately off putting. Why should a sweatshirt ever be described as female? And that’s what is appealing about the Raglan Sweatshirt. There is nothing that makes it male or female. For BOUJO HAKE the most inspiring pieces are not gendered, even if they initially were.

BOUJO HAKE’S Oversized Raglan Sweatshirt

Much thought went into this piece. First of all there are the Raglan sleeves with flatlock stitching – a detail which meant that not all factories were able to oblige as they didn’t have the machine to create these particular, traditional seams. The cotton is organic, of course, and GOTS certified with that specific cotton being chosen because of its clean finish with the softest fleece lining. It is midweight cotton which means that it’s not stiff and hangs beautifully. And then there is the detail of the hem of the sweatshirt which is slightly longer at the back – a minor detail that makes a major difference. Finally, in keeping with the BOUJO HAKE neutral palette, the sweatshirt comes in Black, Natural White (the most useful, and perhaps unexpected, item of clothing that you’ll ever own) and Pink Salt. It is cut for an oversized fit so that you can also choose to downsize if you so wish.

It’s incredible to think that all this stemmed from Raglan’s amputated arm in the Battle of Waterloo!