Oct' 1928

Fashion

Man About Town’s Knit List, A Definitive Guide To Knitwear

Every autumn winter is the same, it starts to get rather chilly rather quickly, ergo you need some new knitwear.  Okay, so you may not need new knitwear, but moths may have gone on a feeding frenzy over summer or you may have unwisely hung your jumpers instead of folded them leaving them irreparably shapeless… Or, if you’re being completely honest, you may just really, really want some new knitwear, and who could blame you when this season’s designs are so strokable, stylish and utterly seductive?

So much choice, but where to start? Unfortunately – much like when choosing a significant other- good looks simply aren’t enough.  That roll neck that looks so debonair on Daniel Craig is a pretty sure-fire route to exposing those torso trouble spots which you’d rather stay hidden.  Eyeing up a chunky knit? Make sure you’re aware of how and when to wear it otherwise you’ll be sweat-soaked and left longing for something much lighter. To that end, here’s everything you need to know about wearing knitwear over the coming months.

 

The Chunky Crew Knit

In the world of knitwear, the chunky crew neck jumper is an underrated stalwart, always the bridesmaid, never the bride.  While most of us are busy eyeing up the latest innovations in roll neck design (trust me, they really do get more impressive year on year) crew-necks are a much-utilised but much overlooked staple.  The sartorial equivalent of a Labrador, the crew neck jumper is a reliable companion, always there when you need it, but ultimately to set tongues wagging for its inspired-design.

It’s not all doom and gloom for the crew neck jumper, I’m a card carrying member of the crew neck appreciation club and in particular its chunky counterpart.  The beauty lies in its functional simplicity and the fact that there’s no man on earth who won’t suit the design in one form or another.  Off-duty, there’s no more wardrobe-friendly option than a sports-inspired sweatshirt, easily dressed up with a wool overcoat, but just as happily worn with jeans and sneakers.  If you’re looking for something a little more high octane, I recommend instead trying a flecked or textured weave (or even better both) which will amp up the crew neck jumper’s attention-grabbing potential and ultimately keep you that bit cosier.

When To Wear – Ultra versatile and a fantastically warm base layer, the chunky crew neck will enable you to wear a jacket or lightweight coat without feeling the chill!  A favourite combination of mine is alongside a classic wax jacket, great for a casual outfit.

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The Roll Neck

When practicality and style come together you can be sure that I’ll be an enthusiastic supporter.  Case in point is the classic roll neck which has successfully shaken off stuffy connotations to become just as loved for its refined appeal as its insulating properties.  If you want to welcome the roll neck into your wardrobe but are put off by its geeky reputation, pick a vibrant colour (I’ve plumped for burgundy) to ensure that you’re more stylish than studious.   

Look to layer up with more textured pieces for a forward-thinking take on a cold-beating classic or combine with a blazer or suede jacket for a smarter vibe.

When To Wear – A great alternative to a shirt when a blazer is required, with the added benefit of no ironing required!

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The Mock-Turtle Neck

When your standard crew neck won’t cut the mustard against the bitter chill, it’s time to run to a trusty mock turtle neck for increased insulation and protection.  Offering unrivalled warmth and timeless style, it’s a cold-weather wardrobe essential and one that I’ve become increasingly obsessed with this past month.

The mock turtle neck jumper is criminally underrated – it can be worn in all manner of ways and (unlike the roll neck) it’s impervious to passing trends, feeling timeless whenever it’s worn.  For all its reliable credentials, it’s hardly going to set the world alight and needs styling up, I’m always a fan of pairing my mock turtle necks with a statement jacket, stand out blazer or chunky overcoat.  It also works well underneath a shirt for those extra cold mornings and takes a classic Oxford shirt to another level of sophistication.

When To Wear –  The ultimate of base layers that can be worn individually or as part of all manner of combinations.  If in doubt this season, pass on the classic roll neck and reach for the mock-turtle neck!

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The Funnel Neck

The funnel neck jumper has slowly fallen from favour among menswear’s most stylish and has been left to languish in sartorial Siberia, seen primarily on those over 60 leaving little to be desired.  There’s truth in the fact that a funnel neck is probably the warmest of all knitwear designs, but there’s still a whole host of style crimes to level against this once cherished design.

There are ways to get around the funnel neck jumper’s bad reputation and carry off this style with none of the aforementioned problems however. Avoid dull colour shades and instead opt for something a little more vibrant and stand out.  Similarly, thick weaves complement the neck’s shape design far better than lightweight fabrications. 

As for styling, the very worst thing you can do is pair a funnel neck over a shirt or under a blazer, unless of course, you’re looking to channel the wardrobe the of an off-duty politician.  Wear yours instead with a pair of smart jeans with a turn up, a cosy gilet and some streamlined white sneakers.

When To Wear – Ideally suited to days when you’re likely to be outside a fair bit, the funnel neck has become a staple piece in my dog-walking uniform!

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