As the leaves continue to fall, and as the weather continues to be indecisive, there's always one wardrobe staple I can turn to, whether I need a coat or not - a piece of knitwear.
Knitwear is the everywoman's staple of A/W, whether it's a little warmer outside and you just need something to protect you from the wind, or it's seriously chilly and you need all the layers you can get. Knitwear is often the statement piece of an outfit too, whether that be by colour, cut, design or pattern, whatever the occasion, knitwear tends to be our wardrobe go-to.
Seeing as we're ever-so-slightly approaching Winter, I thought now would be a good time to discuss the ever-arching topic of knitwear, where to find the best pieces, what materials to invest in, and my favourite styles that I'll be bringing out for this years A/W season.
1. What's available now
There has been a huge abundance of great knits available at the moment, especially on the high street. A brand that I feel have definitely ticked all the boxes this year in terms of quality, style, comfort and price-point are &OtherStories - they offer so many different styles that are wearble all throughout the season, and the quality for the price-point is pretty outstanding - these are items you will definitely be keeping in your wardrobe for years to come. The key when buying knitwear is making sure that the quality of the fabric is high and that the overall manufaction of the product is high - &OtherStories never compromise on either, even when an item incudes polyamide and/or acrylic. Their knitwear almost always has 50% or more of natural, high quality fabrics such as wool and cotton. Here are a few of my favourite styles by &OtherStories at the moment:
1. Puffy Shoulder Cardigan, £59, 50% Wool/50% Polyamide
2. Wool Sweater, £59, 73% Wool/27% Polyamide
3. Mohair & Wool Sweater, £49, 34% Wool/34% Mohair/27% Polyamide/5% Elastane
4. Stripe Knit Sweater, £59, 50% Wool/50% Polyamide
5. Turtleneck Sweater, £79, 73% Merino Wool/27% Polyamide
6. Knit Sweater, £35, 42% Cotton/26% Acrylic/25% Polyamide/4% Wool/3% Elastane
7. Alpaca Blend Jumper, £49, 39% Wool/25% Acrylic/22% Alpaca/13% Polyamide/1% Elastane
8. Flounce Cuff Sweater, £49, 60% Cotton/30% Polyamide/10% Wool
9. Mohair Jumper, £69, 50% Mohair/31% Polyamide/19% Wool
10. Crop Sweater, £45, 42% Cotton/26% Acrylic/25% Polyamide/4% Wool/3% Elastane
11. Paris Sweater, £59, 73% Wool/27% Polyamide
12. Raglan Sleeve Sweater, £59, 65% Cotton/35% Merino Wool
13. Stripe Jacquard Sweater, £69, 50% Wool/40% Polyamide/10% Alpaca
14. Colour Blocking Cotton Sweater, £49, 100% Cotton
15. Jacquard Sweater, £49, 100% Cotton
16. Ribbed Sweater (on sale for £28), 100% Cotton
Wearing the &OtherStories Ribbed Sweater in Khaki last Autumn
Other high street brands such as Topshop, my absolute go-to for fashion, have also been high in quality and variety of knitwear this year. Higher end High-street brands such as Whistles and Jigsaw have also been dominating knitwear this season. Below are a few of my favourite picks from other brands this year:
1. Topshop Cropped Cable Knit Jumper, £34, 100% Acrylic
2. Topshop Metal Yarn Split Sleeve Top, £42, 65% Viscose/26% Metallised Fibre/9% Polyamide
3. Topshop Asymmetric Hem Stripe Jumper, £34, 50% Viscose/26% Polyester/24% Nylon
4. Whistles Colour Block Funnel Neck Knit, £115, 100% Wool
5. Whistles Star Intarsia Knit, £139, 80% Wool
6. Jigsaw Colour Block Cashmere Jumper, £180, 100% Cashmere
7. Mango Ribbed Edges Sweater, 46% Polyester/39% Recycled Cotton/15% Viscose
8. Boden Jasmine Jumper, £70, 100% Wool
9. Zara Oversized Sweater, £29.99, 64% Acrylic/23% Nylon/9% Wool/4% Elastane
10. Uniqlo Mock Neck Sweater, £34.90, 100% Wool
2. Who does what the best?
When it comes to knitwear, every brand has it's own way of going about things. Often the most modern and trend-keeping styles come out of places like Topshop, Zara and Mango, but the quality of fabrics is usually lower than places like Whistles & Jigsaw who offer more timeless pieces, but at eye-watering prices for the High Street. It's good to keep up to date with who-offers-what, and what price points and fabric qualities are available and where. I've already discussed my adoration towards &OtherStories and their knitwear range - the price points are relatively reasonable for good quality and up-to-date styles. But they're not the only High Street brand offering good prices and good fabrics. You may be surprised, but one of my absolute go-to stores for high-quality yet low-price knitwear is Uniqlo. Uniqlo knitwear is often 100% wool, cashmere or cotton, unlike many other brands (including &OS) who mix with synthetic fabrics. The problem I have with synthetic fabrics isn't the way they feel on the skin, but often what they physically do to the skin. Synthetics often make you sweat far more than normal fabrics, produce odours, and if you have sensitive skin like me, can cause skin-redness and irritation. Uniqlo rarely use unnatural fabrics, however, they're less in keeping with trends and more in keeping with staple items. I bought my 100% cashmere roll-neck in Uniqlo three years ago, and the exact same style is still on offer in store, and for the same price. Staple styles such as the cable-knit sweater, or the cashmere roll neck I've just mentioned, are easily some of Uniqlo's best price points, for example, the Mock-Neck-Sweater above: £34.90 for 100% wool. It's laughably affordable, and my pieces from Uniqlo have been in my wardrobe for years. They are easy to style, comfortable, high quality, and most importantly, timeless.
1. Women Cashmere Turtle Neck Sweater, £69.90, 100% Cashmere
2. Women Uniqlo U Soft Lambswool Crew Neck Sweater, £34.90, 100% Wool
3. Women Extra Fine Merino Crew Neck Sweater, Currently £19.90, 100% Wool
4. Women Extra Fine Merino Ribbed Turtle Neck Sweater, £24.90, 100% Wool
5. Women Cotton Cashmere Cable Crew Neck Sweater, on Sale for £14.90, 95% Cotton/5% Cashmere
6. Men Lambswool Crew Neck Sweater, £19.90, 100% Wool
3. My Knitwear Staples & Favourite Pieces
Over the years, I have accumulated many items of knitwear, and most of them are pieces that I believe will last me for years due to quality and versatility. There are some pieces that I love as they're more trend-led than others, but I try as much as possible to never skimp on quality. Here are my top items and why (in no particular order).
1. This breton stripe sweatshirt from Whistles. Super easy to style, adds a touch of Parisienne to any outfit, and is surprisingly warm for a sweatshirt. Great for layering with, too. It's by far one of my most worn wardrobe staples.
2. This H logo Crew Neck Knit from Tommy Hilfiger. Another great layering staple due to how thin it is, super soft and cosy, and adds a nice touch of prepiness to every-day outfits. I love pairing it with super grungey items like my double sole creepers or a leather jacket.
3. My all time favourite camel tie jumper from Whistles. Wool and cashmere mix, flattering, a little edgy, and a great colour if you want to stop yourself from reaching for an all black outfit. This jumper saved me from many a wardrobe meltdown last winter, and I'm sure it'll do the same for me this year! It's also still available in some stores, and the navy one is still available online (link here)
4. This Parisienne chic number from Boden. I'm a huge fan of anything with stripes, anything with blue and red, and anything that looks even slightly French - so this jumper's an all round winner. The semi-cropped length, the slightly higher neck, and the touch of Angora and cashmere makes this jumper flattering and comfy.
5. My royal all round jumper from the ASOS x Wah collection. From the royal blue tone, to the Royal slogan (and loyal on the back), I thought this item of knitwear would've been more of a trend led piece for me, but on the contraire, it's a year since I purchased it, and I still wear it whenever I can. I love the shade of blue (another great way to get away from the all black outfit), and the turtleneck is such a staple for me, that this item has truly passed the test and has become a staple piece of knitwear for me.
6. The classic cashmere turtle-neck (Denner & Uniqlo). The easiest to wear, warmest and comfiest style you can go for. Unlike my camel jumper from Whistles, my roll-necks from Denner & Uniqlo are much less of a funnel neck shape, and more of a roll-neck. They go with absolutely everything (I own them in navy and black, so literally, anything) and they are by far one of the best staple pieces you can invest in. Though it's a little difficult to see, I'm wearing the navy Denner knit in the above photo - what's great about it is that it's easy to layer over too, especially as it has more of a fitted shape than my black one from Uniqlo.
Personally, I'm super excited to start bringing out my knitwear again. How about you? x