As the mercury drops and the cold weather party season heats up, having one or two high quality knitwear garments is an easy-does-it key to ensuring you’re layered up for a range of occasions and weather systems. Whether you’re looking for something to wear on weekend jaunts or under a suit to work and special events, here’s our brief guide to the key knit garments (and some images of people looking cool wearing them).
A classic iteration of knitwear, made in wool or cotton, is perfect for wearing over a collared shirt and under a suit, with or without your favourite tie. Keep the colour restrained, the fabric in a high quality Merino wool or premium cotton, and ensure the fit is snug, tailored and yet comfortable - not loose, sloppy or stretched out. While the humble V-Neck has a chequered history, a little associated in the past with elderly golfers and snobbish country clubs, it’s had some sartorial highs too: icon-at-large Paul Newman and a young John F. Kennedy both found a way to make it shine, while Michael Douglas famously hit the nightclub in Basic Instinct in a (maybe questionable) green V-neck sans shirt.
With storied roots in early 1900s Ireland, where cableknit sweaters were woven with all-over patterning to add extra warmth for fishermen at sea, the cableknit has become a sort of laid-back iteration of thoughtful fashion, each one distinct, unique and full of timeless charm. Warm, breathable and worn by just about every icon of fashion in history, the cotton or wool cableknit is perfect for layering over jeans, chinos or tailored trousers, as well as under a coat or suit. Just look to McQueen or Chris Evans in the recent murder/mystery caper, ‘Knives Out’, for a masterclass.
The Crew Neck Sweater
As simple as it comes, a crew neck sweater crafted from high standard wool or cotton is a tested, timeless way to execute layering sophistication. When it comes to a round neck sweater, there are varying degrees of formality, from more corporate-ready staples primed to wear under suits to sports-inspired cotton numbers perfect for chinos or denim. Though, it should be said, the nature of modern tailoring means there’s lots of space to mix your inspirations and formality - tailored wool trousers and cotton loafers with a casual cotton crew is a perfect way to ease back into post-pandemic dressing up. For the fashion trivia players, the ‘crew neck’ was originally invented for US Navy sailors as a way to give them some extra warmth without showing off their unsightly chest hairs.
The Roll Neck
The big statement piece in knitwear has seen a resurgence in recent years, after a few decades of being worn into obscurity by grandfathers opting for kitschy, ill-fitting versions. Ideal under a tailored suit or high quality coat, the roll neck (or turtleneck, in America) is the sort of piece that says: ‘I’m in the club, even if you don’t get it yet.’
Start browsing our own unique collection of knitwear on the InStitchu site right here.