If there’s one piece of clothing we all wear during the fall, it’s a nice sweater. They’re simple, keep us warm, and look great. But do you know their history, how to style them properly, and what to look for in a quality sweater? If not, that’s what we are going to teach you today.
History of the Sweater
Like other attire including the peacoat, sweaters were an invention made for fishermen or men at sea to help protect them from the harsh weather. Going back to the 15th century, sweaters called “guernseys” or “ganseys” were knitted of thick wool and named after their origin, Guernsey. This piece of clothing was able to repel water and keep anyone wearing it warm while working out in the water. Other communities across the North Sea and British Isles began adopting this style and variations of it soon after. Guernseys were characterized by a short collar, ribbed cuffs, and a distinctive pattern across the entire build.
By the time the mid 19th century arrived, the Royal British Navy had adopted the gansey as a part of their uniform. Very members of the British Military still wear it to this day. Around this time of history, similar knitted sweaters were being made in Scotland and traded off the island. Up until the 20th century, sweaters were more of a functional garment more than anything else.
Edward VIII, Prince of Wales had a reputation of being quite the trend setter. When he was given a Fair Isle sweater vest, he liked it so much he began religiously wearing sweaters and socks of the same material. Fair Isle is a knitting technique that is used to create patterns with multiple colours like seen above. This inspired many gentlemen around this time to start wearing the same style and it became very popular.
Sweaters began to slowly become a staple piece of menswear and not just a functional garment. More men started to wear and layer them with other attire like dress shirts. Cary Grant, Mick Jagger, and other notable male actors during the 90’s integrated them into their wardrobe which further propelled their popularity.
Types of Sweaters
Not all sweaters are alike and they all serve a different purpose. These are the various kinds of sweaters you will find and what makes them unique:
- V-neck: Just like the name suggests, these sweaters are accompanied by a collar that is in the shape of the letter V. You can also find these collar type on t-shirts very commonly. It’s best worn with a dress shirt or ascot underneath.
- Turtleneck: These sweaters will cover most if not all of your neck. They are best worn on their own with chinos or jeans. You can also wear one under a blazer for a very sharp look at the office.
- Crew neck: Worn originally by crew of fishermen, this sweater features a rounded collar and pullover style. Just like the v-neck, it looks its best with a dress shirt layered with it.
- Cardigan: An open sweater that can be closed with buttons which also comes in double breasted designs.
- Zipper: Either features a half zipper or full zipper and normally is made of fleece or cashmere. These can be worn with a dress shirt under them as well but usually look best when worn casually.
The material a sweater is made of will define its quality, use, and function. Here are the main fabrics you should consider.
Cashmere is a known for both its soft texture and warmth. It has been proven to be up to 8x more warm then wool from sheep. Now this quality comes at a higher price tag though you can find cashmere sweaters for more affordable prices. What dictates the price difference is how thin or thick the fibers of the hair are. Cashmere that has thin and long fibers will be softer, warmer, and always last longer. These you will typically find from Mongolia or China. Cashmere made in countries such as Iran and Afghanistan tend to be a bit thick and rougher which you would think wouldn’t be a bad thing but it actually lowers its quality. They tend to pill more easily and don’t feel as nice against your skin.
The most standard material for sweaters these days is good old wool. Wool sweaters and cardigans over button up shirts is a timeless look we can all enjoy. For a thinner but still warm option, merino wool is composed of finer fibers and should be considered.
If its a warm fall day or the climate is just a bit warmer where you live, cotton and linen sweaters are ideal. While they don’t offer a lot of protection from cool weather, they look great and layer easily. If you know you will be moving around a lot through the day, these make a great choice.
How Should a Sweater Fit?
We’ve said it again and again, fitting is everything. It is one of the most critical components of fashion and if you get it right, you’ll look like a million bucks. With a sweater it’s relatively simple, you just have to focus on a few main points:
- The sleeves should land at the end of your wrist and shouldn’t need to be scrunched up to do so.
- Shoulders seems should run along where your shoulder bone ends.
- The hem should fall on your waistband and shouldn’t show any of the shirt under it.
- It should hug your body but have a little bit of extra material so you have room.
Always wash your sweaters according to the fabric, fold them, and wash them as sparingly as possible to increase longevity.
Inverallan is a fashion brand that has continually impressed us with premium knitwear. This is a hand knitted lumber cardigan that showcases their expertise and is made from Scottish lambswool.
- Constructed of 100% Scottish lambswool
- Hand knitted.
- Features a cable knit pattern.
- Wooden buttons.
- Chunky ribbed cuffs, hem and collar.
- Made in Scotland.
A nice mix between a sweater and jacket that you will enjoy during the fall. It’s an easy to wear piece for the outdoors and casual activities. Crafted from a knitted, heathered polyester fleece with raglan sleeves, the result is a comfortable and stylish sweater jacket every man will love.
- 100% polyester which is light and breathable.
- Stand collar.
- Full zipper closure.
- Raglan sleeves.
- Hand warming pockets with zipper.
- Elasticated cuffs & hem.
Since we touched on the Fair Isle style earlier, it only makes sense we include one. This woolly and warm authentic rendition pops with colour to keep you looking and feeling good.
- 100% wool.
- Timeless Fair Isle pattern.
- Ribbed crewneck, cuffs & hem.