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Apparel Arts: How To Wear A Knit

April 26, 2016

By Giovanni di Lupo

From the M.J. Bale Academy of Style, here's our guide to wearing a knit with a suit or blazer.

While trying to look busy here at work the other day and wind down the clock before we could crack open the wet bar, the M.J. Bale editorial team came across some old 1930s illustrations from Apparel Arts. The 1930s was a period colloquially regarded as the ‘Golden Age of Male Elegance’, where getting dressed up in well-tailored suits was considered not an art form, but simply part of a gentleman's daily routine. Apparel Arts, which eventually became Gentleman’s Quarterly (GQ magazine) in 1957, was the man's style bible of the day.

Anyway, we noticed this pic of two gents walking side-by-side away from a horse-drawn cab in the Jan-Feb 1938 issue. The gentleman on the left wielding a cigarette is wearing a traditional belted American raincoat, while the smug chap checking his watch is wearing a tailored flannel double-breasted pin-stripe suit with a black woollen V-neck knit substituting for a waistcoat. 

Adding a woolen garment to a suit or blazer is a smart way for the M.J. Bale man to battle winter in style, particularly on the cold morning commute. Layers trap air between the garments, which act as a natural insulator. And if gets hot? Just start to slowly strip off layers like Magic Mike at a tailor’s convention. Here’s how to put it together. 

1. Anchorman Style: Return of the Turtleneck

Ron Burgundy likes Scotch. Scotchy, scotch, scotch, right down to his belly. He also likes the turtleneck knit paired with a jacket. Good call, Ron. Wear it with trousers or dark denim and a jacket that contrasts in shade to the knit (i.e lighter jacket means wear a darker turtleneck, and vice versa) and waft in the smell of leather bound books and rich mahogany.

2. V for Suiting Victory

Freezing your proverbials off on the bus or train to work in winter, and need something simple to layer between your shirt and suit jacket? Reach for the V-neck, my friend. The V-line works fine with a shirt and tie and is warm and versatile, meaning you can just slip it off when you reach boiling point. Go for a light colour if wearing a dark suit, and vice versa.

3. Come Out Blazing

The crew neck with open neck shirt, blazer and pocket square is one of our favourite layered looks for smart winter casual. Try and match the shirt and blazer in a similar colour (i.e shades of blue) and make the knit pop with a contrast colour (again, light v dark etc.)