Like bags and shoes, knitwear is something I’m happy to invest in. Winter is a cold, unforgiving mistress, and a cosy jumper is a much-needed comfort when the wind’s whipping.
There are plenty of winter woollies to be found on the high street, but it’s worth checking the label before you buy. £35 may seem like a decent price to pay for a seasonal knit from Zara… but it’s probably 100% polyester. And unless you want to be sweaty, static-charged and covered in bobbles, polyester is not the one when it comes to knitwear.
I really struggled to find any good quality, stylish jumpers in the usual suspects – Topshop, H&M, Zara – so took my search further afield. Here’s a quick guide to essential winter woollies and what they’re made of…
The Chunky One
Everyone needs a great, big, hug of a jumper to see them through the dark days. At the bottom of the pile is the American Apparel Fisherman’s Pullover. It’s a thick waffle knit in 100% cotton – warm without being sweaty or stifling. I bought mine from ASOS using a discount code to bring down the (rather steep) £66 price tag, but after wearing this almost constantly since I got it, I can vouch for the quality.
The Cashmere One
Cashmere has a bit of a reputation for being very expensive. The clue is in the name. But, there a few high street retailers doing great deals on cashmere knits, including Uniqlo. I bought a Cashmere V Neck Sweater in navy for £52.50 (ish), down from £79.90. It’s worth keeping an eye out for these deals (Gap do some good ones too), as cashmere jumpers are supremely cosy without being bulky.
The Stripy One
I bought this stripy sweater in the French Connection sale back in July and have worn it so often. It’s a great basic for any season, made from fine cashmere so it’s lightweight enough for warm weather but loose enough to layer up when it’s cold. At the moment I’m wearing it with a Uniqlo HEATTECH long sleeve tee – it’s the perfect alternative to block colours.
The Fine Knit
When you’re jumping on and off trains, going in and out of shops and moving from a boiling office (central heating wars are rife from October onwards) to a freezing street, all while wearing this season’s stylish but utterly sweltering coat, a fine knit is key. Uniqlo come to the rescue again with their Extra Fine Merino jumpers, which don’t feel bulky under a heavy coat and can be layered up for extra warmth. And for less than 20 quid, I bought a few.
The Medium Knit
A little bit thicker than a fine knit. Obviously. My favourite knit of the moment is this Leather Patch Jumper from Cos – made from super soft lambswool, it’s warm enough to wear with just a vest underneath and not at all scratchy. I’m totally loving the knitwear selection in Cos, and the prices aren’t too bad either – this was £55.
The Fun One
Knitwear is a serious business, but there’s always room for a little fun. If you’re far too sophisticated for a Christmas jumper (what do you mean, Santa’s not stylish?), check out the amazing range of patterned knits in TK Maxx. I picked up this Antoni & Alison angora jumper for £29.99 – it has a cute snowflake print, making it perfect for Christmas Day. If you have the patience to dig through the rails, TK Maxx is excellent for high quality knitwear at bargain prices.
Do you have a favourite winter woolly? What are your tips for buying knitwear?