It’s officially knitwear season and I couldn’t be more delighted. Big designers and niche brands alike have gone large on knitwear this autumn, from coastal fisherman cable knits and colourful patterned Fair Isle to oversized sweaters and roll necks This woolly cornucopia of styles have given us much to process, so in order to make your life a little easier I’ve picked out my top five knits that will see you into the depths of winter. I’ve also given it some thought on how best to wear them, whether that’s as a statement knit on its own or used as a key layering item. It may just be skimming the knitwear surface, but it’ll certainly put you in the right direction on how to pull these trends off with confidence.
1. The cable knit – Norse Projects ‘Arild’ cable knit sweater
The cable knit has been reinterpreted in a number of guises by top brands this season, who have all played with the scale and placement of the distinct braid stitch. We’re staking our claim on this knit by Copenhagen-based label Norse Projects. Inspired by the traditional fisherman knit, it’s spun in Italy from wool sourced in Scotland. What’s more, Norse Projects are known for their dedication to quality and functionality, meaning this cable knit will be totally fit for purpose when temperatures take a dive. This off-white ‘Arild’ style is also incredibly versatile, working equally well under functional workwear pieces, such as four-pocket chore jackets, as it does with a camel cashmere overcoat, chunky brown cords and Chelsea boots.
£200, shop now
2. The Fair Isle – Kent & Curwen Fair Isle sweater
British brand Kent & Curwen have form when it comes to reinterpreting vintage pieces for contemporary wear. We love this Fair Isle crew neck with its distinct collegiate-inspired style and tonal Fair Isle pattern, as favoured by Charles Ryder in Evelyn Waugh’s Brideshead Revisited. The muted tones of ochre, ecru and olive green are well matched for the current season’s obsession with murky browns and greens. With such a distinct pattern going on, it’s best to let this piece do all the talking. We’d recommend teaming it with a vintage leather bomber jacket, loose pleated trousers and an untucked white or chambray shirt, so the tails can be seen below the hem for a layered effect.
£345, shop now
3. The rollneck – Thom Sweeney rollneck sweater
Thom Whiddett and Luke Sweeney, the talented duo behind this British label, have long been redefining the smart-dressing man’s go-to wardrobe. And it doesn’t get much better than their interpretation of the classic roll neck. Crafted in Italy in extra-fine merino wool, the roll neck comes in this season’s coveted colour of bottle green. Its the perfect weight for layering under a denim shirt or wearing on its own under a brown puppy tooth blazer.
£290, shop now
4. The stripe – Wooyoungmi intarsia-stripe sweater
There are many interpretations of the classic stripe knit this season, from the soft ombré stripes at Paul Smith to the wide bold lines at Howlin. Stripes are big news this autumn, so it will pay to have more than one variation in your knitwear arsenal. This sweater from South Korean label Wooyoungmi hits that sweet spot of being bold, yet wearable. The colour combination of camel, white and blue against the deep green will also work when layered with outerwear. It’s cut a little larger in size so ticks that oversize knit trend, without drowning your torso. Wear it under a denim or corduroy trucker jacket now, and wrap it up in shearling or a long navy overcoat come the colder months.
£460, shop now
5. The cardigan – Zanone ‘Chioto’ cardigan
Why have just a standard cardigan when you can have a multi-purpose one? This olive green version from Zanone, which is part of the Italian collective Slowear, is effectively a cardigan bomber jacket. Made from 100% virgin wool in Italy, where all Zanone’s knitwear is produced, the Chioto cardigan works as an outer layer for milder days, when you only need a fraction of the heat to keep you warm, and will also layer nicely under a jacket once we hit proper brass monkey weather. Wear it with a fine silk roll neck underneath and charcoal wool tailored trousers, or take the simple approach and team with a navy crew neck T-shirt and a pair of sand-coloured cotton chinos.
£375, shop now