When it comes to knitwear, men tend to fall into two camps: the play-it-safe crowd with wardrobes full of grey and navy crewneck; or the novelty crew, for whom it’s never too early to break out the Rudolph jumper. But there’s a more interesting middle point on that spectrum, full of lesser-spotted yarns that lend your wardrobe colour, texture and a dash of the unexpected.

Knitwear means much more than itchy jumpers and nan-made scarves. Knitted fabrics have been used to make everything from socks to suits to sweatpants, which is obvious when you think about it, because knitting is all about flexibility. They breathe, they move with your body and they’re a pleasure to wear. They also dye beautifully, so are a perfect canvas for colours or patterns. These are the knitwear styles to add to your wardrobe.

Mohair

Made from the hair of the Angora goat, mohair is sometimes nicknamed the ‘diamond fibre’ because of its lustre and strength. You can spot mohair by its halo of fuzzy fibres, which trap heat and make it particularly soft to the touch.

Best for: jumpers and cardigans.

Intarsia

Intarsia is a technique that knits together different shades and types of wool to create bold images. Unlike Fair Isle, where the pattern repeats, intarsia is like the knitwear equivalent of a graphic tee – the blocks of colour are separate and distinct. The result is knitwear that’s distinctive, punchy and feels more youthful.

Best for: jumpers, socks, scarves

Sportswear

Clothes inspired by sport generally come in jersey, because it absorbs sweat and is easy to wash. But if you’re not actually going to wear your rugby shirt on the rugby pitch, then a knitted version adds some smartness, makes it more comfortable and sets it apart. Suddenly, it’s the kind of thing that looks better under a blazer than with muddy shorts.

Best for: rugby shirts, polo shirts, sweatpants

Mixed-up textures

The beauty of knitwear is its tactility – because of the way it wraps fibres together, knitted jumpers feel as good as they look. Cable knits have always been the apotheosis of this idea, but a new breed of knitwear is taking it a step further and bolting together cables, ribbing, darned patches and even panels in contrast materials like jersey. The result is something that feels completely distinctive, and which everyone you meet will immediately want to touch.

Best for: jumpers, rollnecks

 

WORDS: THERESA HAROLD
PHOTOGRAPHY: CHRIS HOWLETT
STYLING: MILLIE RICH