Knitwear is having a moment as the hautest texture play of the fall/winter season.
As fashionable as it is functional for the change of seasons, knitwear is taking on a directional new spin. Designers from Jacquemus to Chanel rooted much of their Fall/Winter ‘20 collections in an exploration of more modern knitwear silhouettes, texturizations, and stylings. Their runways inspired street style and model-off-duty takes on classic knitwear looks that elevate knits to ‘must-have’ status in every well-curated winter wardrobe. From Katie Holmes’ [now viral] debut of the Bra-digan [read: coordinating knit bra + cardigan pairing] to influencer Pernille Teisbaek’s hyper-chic tonal play on body-con knit wear dress; and, the style cue imparted by Phoebe Philo’s double-knits at Céline along with Michael Kors’ sweaters-as-scarves runway styling, a classic knit is proving to be a low-cost investment that can yield the high fashion return this season.
The advent of knitwear as a fashionable consideration in one’s wardrobe, however, has been more of a modern-day development. The concept of knitwear itself was born out of the famous ‘fisherman’s sweater’. In 14th-16th century Britain, fishermen were, as somewhat of a occupational hazard, frequently exposed to harsh weather conditions on the open seas. It is chronicled that they parlayed their skills in repairing woven fishermen’s’ nets into knitting wool into functional sweaters to wear on the job. In the aftermath of post- WWI Europe, pragmatism and utility in fashion became the dominant ideas of the time, which appropriately introduced the durable fisherman’s sweater into the common-day dressing throughout much of Western Europe. It wasn’t until the 20th century, when the Prince of Wales sported a fair isle print sweater while playing golf, that knitwear was elevated in the collective fashion consciousness as regal enough to be worn by British royalty and, by extension, the elite class.
Since that time, knitwear has been reimagined in many iterations from deconstructed menswear shapes worn by women during the anti-establishment youth culture of the 1960s-70; to the deconstructed iterations that amplified 90s angst-ridden, grunge culture. Knitwear has woven its way through the the cultural fabric of our collective reality for centuries. And, perhaps it’s not a surprise that this durable materiality is taking on new importance this year as designers defer to this common expression of durability and design to anchor our looks for the months ahead.
Here are the best new knits of the season along with the thoroughly modern ways to style them to instantly upgrade your new fall/winter look!
The retro-inspired 70s collar is all the rage this season as designers take a nostalgic look back to refresh timeworn classics. Update this classic silhouette with one of the season’s au courant gold chain necklaces for an of-the-moment spin that will leave every knitwear look perfectly polished.
The bra-digan is the biggest news in knitwear this year. Channel Katie Holmes’ insouciant Khaite knitwear play by pairing a luxe cashmere bralette underneath a boxy cardigan for a layered play that will instantly ‘up’ your fashion cred.
Perhaps one of the easiest pieces to add into your wardrobe. This one-piece-wonder will work under almost any cut jacket for the colder months. For a high-fashion styling twist, pair a knee-length [or longer] knit dress with a tonal color knee-high boot for a hyper-chic pairing that will carry you from day through night.
Take a cue from the runway and style two matching or tonal knits, positioning one draped over your shoulders or around your neck for added rich dimensional impact to every fall/winter look. This treatment works best when styled using two medium to thick gauge knits of equal weight.
photo credit: @anoukyve