How to Style Knitwear

Words | William Phung

Heres our guide to staying warm but keeping your cool in knitwear.

Just because you're not putting on a suit and tie doesn't mean there isn't any pleasure and dignity to derive from looking your best. Quite the opposite. Much like everything else in life, it's how we carry ourselves that matters. And few things make us feel better about ourselves than the dignity inherent in being well dressed, even when donning some causal knitwear. (Which is why we put together this guide, of course)

The V-Neck Sweater

An immortal classic, the V-neck sweater is a garment every man needs. The V-neck sweater is arguably the most formal in the sweater pantheon, owing to its sharp neckline that frames the face. Consequently, it works best when paired with similarly angular garments such as a classic cotton shirt and warm wool blazer. Without a blazer, the V-neck can look a little staid, even odd. Its defined neckline coupled with its figure-hugging tendency cries out for an additional layer of clothing. You can get around this with a looser-fitting knit that you can wear on its own, over a t-shirt, or under a coat.

The Crew Neck Sweater

The most simple and versatile knit, as well as the oldest, the Crew Neck has been around ever since humankind worked out how to knit yarn from animal fleece and/or flax. The crew neck comes in a swathe of variations, from the nautical guernsey worn by Irish fishermen, to the patterned Fair Isle sweaters of northern Scotland, to the "sweat-shirt" associated with collegiate field sports. Its rounded neckline makes it more offbeat than other models, softening the facial features instead of accentuating them, and makes no apologies for its sportswear/workwear roots. When worn with a button-up shirt, the shirt collars should pass neatly under the neckline. The crew neck shouldn't be worn with a formal business suit as its casual character clashes too strongly.

The Half-Zip Knit

The German menswear writer Bernhard Roetzel describes the Half-Zip as "every man's favourite", and it's not difficult to see why. Perhaps the most contemporary knit on this list, the half-zip's defining characteristic is its zippable neck. Though seemingly insignificant, the detail lends the garment an aura of modern sportiness lacking in other variants. Like the mock-neck, the half zip adapts itself well to both smart-casual and casual outfits, whether that's with a pair of jeans and chinos (or hell even leggings in the right circumstances). The more sartorially adventurous will take things a step further and attempt to pair the half-zip with formal business tailoring. Such idiosyncratic flourishes belong to elegant Italian Industrialists to whom the word 'sprezzatura' denotes not a style but a way of life.