18 August 2008

Essentials Part Four: The Knit Of It











Winter slowly creeps upon us and we must wave a solemn goodbye to summer, returning languidly to school or work for another round. Although for many the colder weather is unwelcome, for me it is a wonderful release for creativity and reinvention clothing wise. With the colder weather comes the opportunity to layer, wrap up and explore a vast array of textures and cosy yet practical fabrics. Also comes the inevitable excitement (although for many a dread) of rearranging our wardrobes, pulling out old favourites and making new additions.

For men knitwear plays a very important role, especially for the majority working over the winter period and trying to keep warm for the commute. Sadly however this attempt is often met by many men through the rather chaotic process of jumping into a pile of old and dingy knitwear, filled with long forgotten Christmas presents, and coming out wearing as much of it as will fit under a suit jacket.

Knitwear is often a difficult area for men in colder weather, it is where many will split into two camps: those wearing that old and lumpy sweater knitted rather clumsily, or wearing many thin layers and pulling on an oversized winter coat. As far as layering goes, it is a technique that requires a knowledge of your own shape and the shapes that work for you. However generally speaking layering is the easiest direction to go, simply wearing an undershirt, thin v-neck sweaters or a simply cardigan over a shirt and a simple pea coat over their suit. Yet when approached in the correct way, wearing a chunky knit or statement sweater can work wonderfully both smart and casual for winter wear.

The essential part of such knitwear is the simplicity behind it. You can easily pair it with a shirt, trousers, shoes, scarf and if needs be a coat. Yet it also works on a casual level, paired with jeans and boots or trainers. The wonderful thing is that the garment covers a lot of you and holds a lot of visual importance, therefore the simple addition can reinvent an entire look.

The main considerations are that of function, style and shape/fit.
  • The function of the piece is how and when you intend to wear it. If you require it mainly for work purposes, you will want to go for a more conservative style, usually a simple cut cable knit cardigan in order to show your tie, whilst also looking great and keeping you warm. However if you intend to wear it mainly for casual events, you can go, to name one example, for a slightly more patterned and colourful crew neck design. Obviously the rules here are not hard fast, it depends on what is acceptable for your work place, what you feel comfortable in and your personal tastes.
  • The style of the piece is also a key consideration due to the variety that exists. Depending on tastes one can go for a cardigan, v-neck sweater, crew neck sweater, or in the realm of statement knits any adventurous hybrid or design. Obviously choosing one that works for you and your needs is best.
  • Shape (and fit) is usually the last consideration when you have found the style you want. Here you can go in two general directions: either you get a fitted knit, or go for slightly oversized and chunky, usually reserved for casual winter wear. Obviously general fit rules still apply, although you can usually be slightly less strict, due to the flexible nature of the fabrics and construction.
  • Take note that for sleeve length, slightly longer tends to be preferable. The reason being that unlike a simple sweater that should show your shirt cuff, these knits are intended to cover you, in that you will want them to sit past your wrist, however when pulled straight to cover the majoriy of your hands.
  • Please note however that unlike something such as a shirt or blazer, the very essence of the chunky knit or statement knit, means that you can be far more adventurous with fitting rules and styles. However unless you are totally comfortable with exploring these, sticking to more traditional ruling here is safest!
Once you have found the piece, you will want to keep it that way throughout the winter months. The majority of these pieces, for maximum warmth, will tend to be made of wool (or wool blend), which is actually also fireproof (play with fire at your own risk). Here are a few easy to follow rules regarding care:
  • Keep the garment clean between wears, lightly brush after wearing it just to stop dirt gathering in between the weave. This is made easier by the very nature of the fabric, given that the weave is usually done with thicker threads.
  • Remember that wool is flexible, it will retain its shape however can also be stretched. In order to help keep the shape, make sure not to overwear the garment and give it time to reshape in between wears. Try to use a wide shoulder hanger to help keep the form (wire hangers are for breaking into cars as a makeshift slim jim, not for your cupboard!)
  • Do not keep woolen items together and touching, if you have more than one try to seperate them. This helps prevent the garments becoming fuzzy via strands becoming interlocked and tugging at one another.
  • Try not to wash the garment too often as this will cause the wool to become weak and shorten the garment life.
  • For washing machines try to use a wool cycle, or failing this a cold cycle. However remember that water that is too cold can also harm the wool, often shocking the fabric and causing it to shrink even more than if submerged in hot water. For hand washes try to use room temperature water and gently clean the garment, avoid rubbing the fabric to maintain the strength.
  • Always test your fabric cleaner or treatment on a small area just to be safe.
  • Never use a dryer unless you intend to give the sweater to a small child.
  • When washing a cardigan with buttons or zips, it is often best to make sure these are fully done up. For those of you that have a zipped garment, where the zip seems to have gone wavy, it is as the fabric has shrunk slightly, yet the zip has maintained its full length. By keeping the buttons or zip done up, it helps keep the shape far better.
  • Try to dry on a flat surface to help keep the form and prevent odd stretching.
Following these basic rules will help you find and care for that garment you will love for winter and hopefully years to come!

Images courtesy of Asos, Oki Ni and Men's Style.

Currently playing: Light In Your Eyes - Sheryl Crow / Entourage - Omarion

xxxx

59 comments:

  1. although not a great fan of winter (snow and all the hoopla), i love layering so i am ready to bid goodbye to summer. there´s just no room for creativity when it´s so hot like this.

    your picks on the knitted cardigans are sick! love the one from sabatino.

    ReplyDelete
  2. this is such a great post! have sent it to my bf to look at! i love the margiela thick knit! xo

    ReplyDelete
  3. Oh I love the Paul & Joe one! It reminds me of this light blue McQueen cardigan, I had in 2006. The rest aren't bad either! Great finds.

    I'm gonna do a menswear post later on this week. ^_^

    ReplyDelete
  4. Slouchy knits, the perfect transition into Fall. Great topic.

    Thanks for your comment, glad you liked my last 'look' in the blog. :)

    ReplyDelete
  5. im lovin all your fashionable analysis !! cool job

    ReplyDelete
  6. Put on some nice knitwear and take a cup of tea when it's chilly. I like!
    xx

    ReplyDelete
  7. Cool post!! I love all of the cardigans!! XDD

    ReplyDelete
  8. lol same here not a fan on winter.

    as i look at your pictures I keep thinking, he's so.... lucky he's not my brother, because i'll "borrow" all your clothes, and you will have to get a lock!

    ReplyDelete
  9. As you know we love cardigans...great post!

    Can't believe you listen to Juanes, what is a guy from UK listening our Colombian fellow.. ? Just to let you know... Ramonas are from Colombia ;), what a good surprise to know you like him.

    thanx for your comments!!!

    love,

    the.ramonas.

    ReplyDelete
  10. I'm really looking forward to pulling out my thick and knitted cardigans for winter. Great entry!

    And about the socks in the previous one, I couldn't agree more. Socks should be considered as great style elements.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Great post. Your essentials are always so thorough.

    ReplyDelete
  12. great tips! thanks for the comment. i'm so glad you are enjoying oliver. it makes me smile when i write scenes & i smile more if i've entertained one for only a moment. thanks again.

    i want all these sweaters. like that's gonna happen. not.

    ReplyDelete
  13. impressive post. i just love the way you put this sweater piece together. tips and everything. cool.

    thank you for keeping up with simon and josh too. thanks for the feedback.

    ReplyDelete
  14. loove the layering in these pictures!

    ReplyDelete
  15. what great cleaning tips, thanks! And i need some of that margiela wool!

    ReplyDelete
  16. awesome post! =)

    cardigans are a true essential to everyone's wardrobe.

    http://la-couturier.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
  17. awesome post! =)

    cardigans are a true essential to everyone's wardrobe.

    http://la-couturier.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
  18. I love knitted cardigans like those!
    Specially the 7th one!
    lovely post.

    ReplyDelete
  19. I love winter! I cannot wait for summer to be over! I want to say hello to jeans and knits!

    ReplyDelete
  20. Your blogs rocks! You've been selected by Apresenta Concept for a 2008 Premio Brilliant Web Blog Award! See my blog for details.

    http://apresentaconcept.blogspot.com/2008/08/apresenta-concept-gets-2008-premio.html

    Have a Fashionable Day!

    ReplyDelete
  21. I really like the Junk sweater. great tips too.

    ReplyDelete
  22. I love knit wear for any season ... cashmere is my personal favorite because it is not bulky and is really warm and soft :)

    ReplyDelete
  23. i love guy sweaters. the folk ones are my favorite.

    ReplyDelete
  24. yay another part of you essentials seres (:

    ReplyDelete
  25. another great post ! :) ooow... i havent been here in a while.. but i really love the yellow jacket and red socks there !:)

    ReplyDelete
  26. Hope all is well. Getting those sweaters lined up?

    Thanks for reading, too.

    ReplyDelete
  27. i like the robert geller sweater! very cool!

    ReplyDelete
  28. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  29. oh, how nice! they were so fine. All of them.

    ReplyDelete
  30. oooh...cable knits and fairisle make my heart flutter! i can't wait for fall either. great post!

    - roz

    ReplyDelete
  31. You've got some kick ass style I love it.

    ReplyDelete
  32. I think I prefer less chunky knits on men but I do really like all of your choices. The Paul and Joe especially.

    ReplyDelete
  33. posts like these only make me envy those who live in cooler climates or those who at least have distinguishable seasons. i just live in a 90 degree hothouse pretty much all year round. =/ so, chunky wool sweaters are not goign to find a home in my closet anytime soon. but, i will keep in mind what you wrote for when they do!

    ReplyDelete
  34. 2nd and 4th sweaters are tres chic!! Love love love....

    ReplyDelete
  35. Great Post I am a sucker for cardigans!

    ReplyDelete
  36. I love the first one and the paul and joe one. I like the details on how to care for them also. Your too cute! Oh and your pictures below are awesome....I like them socks.

    Tart

    ReplyDelete
  37. This post was done with such care, DK - I love it!
    Great advice and pics. Especially digging that Sabatino wrap. I wish more men wore knits!!

    xoxox,
    CC

    ReplyDelete
  38. I thought of you when I was watching doe boy today with James Duvall..all the IVs. Its kind of a sad movie, but James Duvall is really good in it as one of the last hemophilac cherokee indians in the state of Oklahoma..the movie came out in 2001 the same year he was the demonic rabbit in Danny Darko.

    ReplyDelete
  39. So have you been watching Project Runway? I have to watch it tonight..even if good stuff might be on the olympics.

    oh..and Trent Ford is on my Hawt list now. I watched him in PARK and he got to use his English accent.

    ReplyDelete
  40. Ahh I ♥ Paul & Joe! I have one of the sweaters from her line at Target last year. I love your rules for caring for the wool, my sweaters will be thanking you haha :)

    peace&love
    nicole.

    ReplyDelete
  41. winter knits are so comfortable.
    its important to keep them clean.
    dirty clothes are awful.

    ps:
    i added you back : )

    ReplyDelete
  42. I love knitwear on men, looks absolutely stylish.

    As usual, you did a stunning job with that post. Kudos!

    ReplyDelete
  43. Ooh, I love a man in a good cardian - done right it can look oh so sexy!

    ReplyDelete
  44. the only sweater i would get is the Sabatino. I love the Pattern.

    ReplyDelete
  45. omg is that a picture of chuck bass from gossip girl or am I mistaken? he is so fine. I want to make out with him for seven hours.

    ReplyDelete
  46. Stopping by to check up on you. Did classes start?

    ReplyDelete
  47. i love all of those knits! i much prefer guy ones to the womens section in most shops ha! A/W is so much better that S/S in my opinion. in terms of the clothing/trends/weather/glorious photograph opportunities!
    sea @ fashionsqueah! x

    ReplyDelete
  48. I love those folk cardies! Men should wear more knits, methinks!
    I love autumn/winter too. Winter coats are my weakness but you can't beat a good wooly jumper.

    ReplyDelete
  49. You are truly a menswear expert.
    I adore the Folk one. Something about the defined button line and eskimo-esque forearm sleeves just make me want to curl up with the morning paper and decorate a Christmas tree or something.
    I've missed reading your posts!

    ReplyDelete
  50. GOOD GOD! I love that third sweater, even if it's for myself! <3

    ReplyDelete
  51. How does someone so young know so very much?

    ReplyDelete
  52. you are gorgeous;) love the 3rd knit

    ReplyDelete
  53. Can we also state that not everyone can pull off the style of the Margiela sweater? My cousin wore one of those, and he looked ridiculous. It looked like he had rummaged through grandpa's trunk and pulled something out and wore it. I think he might have ruined that style for me entirely. I can't see it without seeing him in it.

    ReplyDelete
  54. This is really useful, even for a girl. I really love the sweaters they come out for men but it's a shame that younger men don't ever buy them. I usually see guys in those lumpy sweaters. Ugh.

    ReplyDelete
  55. I want all ! yes i know im greedy hehhe,but you chose some glorious ones and even though they are for men,id knick them from hubby's closet and wear them!
    Love the post and blog,fancy trading linkies?
    kisses,
    Marian

    ReplyDelete