With Autumn looming, now is the ideal moment to take an overview on knitwear. For one thing, with its varying weights, sleeve-lengths and vent details, it’s perfect for our climate.
For another, it has categorically ceased to be a casual afterthought and become a major player on the fashion field. Whether you’re casting around for something chic, stylish but relaxed to wear every day, looking to leverage some power dressing, or going to a ball, chances are a knit will be the most contemporary and comfortable solution.
Who needs the fuss and bother of an overblown catwalk collection and show when you can just give women what they want – skillfully cut, stylish knitwear? Note the detail about cuts. Knitwear of yesteryear tended to be a bit vague on this point. Shapeless was the key-word.
Nowadays, there is contouring, seaming, stretch and ribbing, all of which contribute to a polished, flattering finish. Statement sleeves, ruffles, cut-outs, rows of buttons, jeweled embellishment, ties, bows and contoured seams that turn a cardigan into as-good-as-damn-it a jacket, only more cosy… it’s all out there!
Even oversized jumpers should sit, or slide, neatly over the shoulders and be properly weighted at the hem. Slits, pockets and silk or chiffon inserts are all design add-ons that make a knit seem anything but hum-drum, while a ruffle or a Lurex stripe lend them that modern wear-anywhere quality.
When it comes to working new knitwear styles into your existing wardrobe it’s a question of textural contrasts and proportions: the fancier and more luxurious the knit, the better it will work with denim, canvas or shirting. Mix up weights and abandon old conventions about what goes together: a cable-knit jumper looks much more contemporary over a summery silky dress than a shrunken cardigan and means you’ll be able to wear the dress into winter.
All knits work particularly well with this autumn’s tweeds, velvets and I love wearing them with floaty chiffon kilts and boots come December-March. For something conventionally glamorous, look for lace-backs or cold shoulder effects.
I have compiled a list of the 11 MUST HAVE k nitwear styles for the Autumn/Winter…
A lovely, cosy detail that looks as good with denim as with a silky dress. Look out for modern details such as slit elbows.
2. The panelled cardigan
Lace backs or chiffon inserts add interesting dimensions and versatility.
3. The cropped knit
Not so short you flash your navel. We’re adults for heaven’s sake, but if you wear high waisted skirts and trousers you’ll want one or two of these.
4. The cut- out detail
Cold-shoulders, scooped back – whatever your favourite feature, highlight.
5. Ruffles, lurex and embroidery
Anything that seems extravagant is, in practice, going to make your knitwear more special and therefore more versatile.
6. The coatigan
A wardrobe classic that ranks alongside t-shirts and jeans as a foundation of usefulness. Reversibles are even better.
7. The peplum knit
An excellent device for highlighting your waist, adding a feminine twist to an otherwise androgynous get-up (it’s very good with black slim trousers and brogues), it’s also fashionable and far more practical than bell and trumpet sleeves.
8. The ultra fine knit
Viewed in March, this will seem a fripperie you’ll never wear, but come August evenings somewhere balmy but cooling, you’ll be so happy you had the forsight to stock up. J.Crew and Warehouse are excellent sources but wait for the J.Crew sale.
9. The stripy knit
Another basic in every wardrobe, it too will balance out your figure when worn with plain lower halves.
10. The oversized jumper
A no-brainer, except it’ isn’t. Look out for ones that don’t end at your thighs (you want them other hip length or somewhere around the knees. Thigh length just draws the eye to the area you probably don’t want it to be drawn). It should fit neatly at the shoulders and have a flattering neckling. Whether this is boat (lovely on long necks and with short or pulled back hair), turtle (warm and less constricting than a polo) or V (neck lengthening and better for full boobs ) is between you and your mirror.
11. The twinset
Be exceeding cautious about cut. These need to be slim and artfully shaped and in the most delicious, unusual shades – or they’ll make you look 100, and not in a good way.