True to form, it’s been an interesting but not unpredictable few months of ever colder and wetter weather; and thankfully, it’s a trend that men’s fashion has managed to complement this autumn/winter. I’ve always been a big fan of the chunky knit – Christmas jumpers and oversized cardigans picked up in charity shops never went out of fashion in my book – and finally it seems the world agrees.
One of the areas most pushing the current trends for retro-inspired knitwear and chalet-chic has been menswear. In fact, the high street has been as quick off the mark as the designers in moving sharp looks from McQueen and Tom Ford straight to the rails up and down the country. Think big collars, necklines creeping slowly higher, belting at the waist and ethnic woollen patterns, designer sunglasses optional.
We’ve seen all these as references and style notes in the ladies’ shows, from tassles and suedes to the return of the big print and the ever-popular boyfriend look – but the perfect fusion of these persistent favourites is in men’s jumpers. And such a shy and unassuming beast it usually is! Suddenly the cautious variations on a neutral crew-neck sweater are a thing of yesterday.
Instead, men’s jumpers this year have picked up from 2009’s craze for chunky cardigans and pushed a whole new approach to everyday style. The catwalk’s introduction of chunky knits seems to have coincided with the urban indie kids’ newfound obsession for old Aran wool sweaters.
Vintage stores have been bursting with forgotten polo-necks and wraps in the creamy interwoven wools for a while now – and I can’t tell who started it all. Perhaps it’s just good timing all round, as the high end designers and penny-scraping skinny young things are both channelling the same ideas. Ted Baker has some lovely stoney coloured variations on the theme – and Topman has already cornered the market in high street thick-woven cardigans and jackets.
Try New Look’s shawl men’s jumpers, which are hitting a happy line between Christmas patterning and solid shape – and are not just made for the slim sizes. For a thinking man’s take on the look, I am still drooling over just about everything Cos has to offer in the department – dense fabrics, deep greys and neutrals that never feel boring, and beautiful detail on the neck and cuffs to add character to timeless classics.