The jumper – another versatile item that every man is going to have a few of, but like most versatile items, there are quite a few nuances that are good to know when you’re buying to build a great wardrobe.
Jumpers can be worn all year round, but it’s advisable to vary your choices of fabric, colours and pattern between the seasons. If you follow what’s said in this guide, then you should be well on your way to knowing your argyle sweaters from cashmere cardigans.
How Many Jumpers Do I Need?
We recommend investing in at least 3 different jumpers or cardigans. Take a look at the different fabrics, cuts and patterns below when making your choice.
- Navy Blue Farah Vintage Cable Knit Jumper
- Cheap Monday Slub Knit Jumper
- Cheap Monday With Block Stripe Jumper
The first place to start with jumpers is with the fabric. There are four main types of fabric used:
- Cashmere: The top end of jumper fabrics, cashmere is a significant cut above in terms of price and quality. The wool is obtained from the hair of Cashmere goats, and is fine, strong light and soft. Jumpers made from it are very insulated.
- Wool: Softness and quality may vary depending on the animal the wool has been obtained from, but wool is a very good insulator best suited to colder months.
- Cotton: Not as warm as wool or cashmere, so better suited to Spring/Summer (although you can just as easily wear in Autumn Winter). Generally cotton items are cheaper than wool and you can machine wash them.
- Synthetics: These can mimic the properties of wool and cotton, but they are usually much cheaper items. They also require less care when washing. The downside is they’re generally less breathable or warm – so make sure you get a feeling for the item’s insulation before you wear to an important event.
A note on washing: cashmere and wool are delicate fabrics. Even if a wool item says it is machine washable, it’s almost always preferable to handwash it and avoid warm water. If you stick a wool item on a machine wash at a standard 40 celsius, the result will be a jumper that will fit a very young child, but not you.
There are three common ‘cuts’ of jumper, referring to the shape of the neck:
- Crew Neck: A rounded neck cut, well suited to wearing a coloured shirt underneath.
- V Neck: A v that goes down the chest – a visible underlayer can add a pop of colour to outfits.
- Roll Neck: Also referred to as a polo neck (not to be confused with the collar of a Polo neck t-shirt) or turtleneck – this cut has a thicker layer of fabric that covers the neck area. Great for Autumn/Winter.
One colour jumpers will be the most versatile insulating items in your collection, but there are also a few common patterns that are useful to know about before making your next purchase:
- Horizontal Stripes: The nuances in this popular pattern are in the thickness of the stripes. More neutral thick striped jumpers are best suited to cooler months. If you’re oval shaped, then horizontal stripes are best avoided.
- Argyle: A diamond pattern that needs to be the focal point of your outfit, so it’s best worn with simple items. Given the pattern will probably be remembered, it’s best not to wear repeatedly to work.
- The Christmas Jumper: Normally a heavy knit with several horizontal patterns on, they can be a good piece for the festive season. They have a reputation for being the awful present of some aunt with a reindeer on – probably best you don’t deliberately purchase one of those.
- Aran: This isn’t so much a knitted or printed pattern, but a textured pattern woven into the fabric. Aran jumpers contain more fabric than other jumpers so are generally heavier and warmer. While they traditionally filled a functional role for keeping Irish fishermen warm, heavy knits are also common in cricket jumpers, so you could wear one in a preppy look.
How to Wear a Jumper
- If you're wearing a shirt underneath, always make it a lighter colour.
- Match v neck jumpers with crew neck t-shirts.
- If you're opting for a crew neck jumper, then wear it with a coloured shirt.
- Although all jumpers can go with a blazer, a roll-neck can work perfectly, particularly if both are dark colours.
- Make sure heavy patterned t-shirts like argyles or arans stand on their own.