Knitwear goes high fashion for autumn / winter with standout pieces to take you anywhere. Stephanie Smith seeks out knits with the power to impress.
No one is exactly certain when this happened, but the jumper has ceased to be a humble item of clothing. It is, in fact, a statement piece, one that you choose to dress in to impress, an object of desire.
The bright young things (I’m not choosing my words carefully here) of ‘reality’ TV show Made in Chelsea are swathed in statement knitwear in the current series. It’s creating a welcome distraction from the eyebrows. Meanwhile, catwalks across the globe have been chocca with glorious, innovative, lust-worthy knitted pieces. There’s no doubt about it, knits are the way to go for the chilly season to come.
Head for Anthropologie in the newly opened Victoria Gate shopping centre in Leeds, because there are some heavenly knits in there, including pieces by Northallerton-based Needle, which offers exactly the sort of knitwear that serious style-hunters are after – understated but clearly special at the same time, in beautiful quality wool and cashmere, and in muted but rich tones, elegantly colour-blocked, with the relaxed silhouettes and clean lines that denote contemporary chic.
Urban Outfitters, part of the same group as Anthropologie, is another place to seek out knits with that cool standout quality, a pretty reasonable prices.
Country wear has long been the home of the seriously stylish sweater. Another brand newly opened at Victoria Gate, Joules was born in the fields of Great Britain more than 25 years ago, when Tom Joule began selling clothes at outdoor events, finding a niche for colour.
Joules continues to be a familiar sight at country shows including at the Great Yorkshire Show, which features a huge stand every year. The business is based in Market Harborough, Leicestershire, where everything from design to distribution takes place. It has an office in New York.
White Stuff is another favourite High Street brand that offers perfect knitwear possibilities. It started in the mid Eighties when ski-loving George and Sean started selling ‘Boys from the White Stuff’ T-shirts and mad cow hats in the French Alps before moving back to London to start their business proper. Head there for its lovely Fair Isle pieces for both men and women – a very cool and cosy buy for this season.
Meanwhile, Johnstons of Elgin is the home of It knits, many of which represent a serious investment, but are classic quality pieces that will last and impress for years and years to come. This season, it has crafted some astonishing cable knit capes – very beautiful and practical, in that you can throw them on over anything and you’re good to go.
Of course, you could take up the needles yourself, but with such knitted beauty all around us, there really is no need to bother.