In the distant past, when men's wardrobes consisted primarily of shirts, trousers, jackets and coats, knitwear was a very unpopular category for men. The sweaters were usually firm, hard, heavy and scratchy, so they were avoided... especially the ones that were home-knit, which were often awkwardly shaped or had silly patterns.
That wasn't that long ago - but still miles away. The world's knitting producers have made enormous progress when it comes to yarns, weights and fits. And so today there is knitwear - that's the name of the category, from the English "to knit" - that is at the same time stunningly beautiful, soft, warm and comfortable to wear. Thanks to new 3D machines, many pieces are now knitted from one thread in one piece.
What do you need? Below is everything you need to know about six indispensable knitting essentials that you should know or, better yet, have in the cold season.
The V-neck sweater - the classic V-neck sweater is best bought in plain (single color) and in a rather fine quality, so you can wear it over a T-shirt, over a shirt and also under a veston. Also cool with a club tie – looks preppy. An ideal combination buddy.
The round neck sweater – works best as a solo artist, whether thick or thin, whether colorful or monochrome or even patterned. Very light yet voluminous knitted models that have a small amount of stretch fibers are great. They wear as naturally as a sweatshirt.
The turtleneck - the simple, slim-cut basic with the tunnel collar turns any buffoon into a fine intellectual in no time. It also looks great with a suit and can even work with a dinner jacket on cold evenings! Sturdy turtleneck sweaters – such as those with cable knits – are definitely part of your winter gear.
The cardigan - also known as the Cardigan, named after its biggest promoter, the 7th Earl of Cardigan. When buttoned it looks classic, with a shawl collar a bit like Steve McQueen, with a zipper it looks sportier and more like a trucker. Both variants are important.
The sweater - the sleeveless sweater was frowned upon and old-fashioned for a long time, but it is currently gaining substantial market share again. Incidentally, it is not known by this name in English; the term we use is a pseudo-Anglicism, i.e. a German neologism that sounds English. But “sweater vest” would be correct. With buttons we call the part a vest.
The polo sweater – a hybrid between a polo shirt and a sweater, and can therefore be combined in many different ways! The soft turn-down collar and the short button placket are characteristic. When worn high it looks like English mods, worn open like Italo Playboy in Cortina d'Ampezzo. More of a summer item, but also a grateful extra in autumn.
The following applies to all items: the higher quality the yarn, the better the sweater. Look for first-class merino or virgin wool, cashmere, cotton blends or even silk... and avoid synthetic admixtures that are more than 15 percent. And be careful when washing, because fine knitwear only likes it to a limited extent.
Jeroen van Rooijen is a style critic and columnist, writes for international newspapers and magazines and was co-founder of the Alferano concept store in Zurich in 2015.
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