It’s a great combination that can you take you from work to a formal event.
A knitwear and shirt combination is a versatile mix. This couple works for both going to work and going out. It can be at the top of formality and the top of casualty. The tone depends on the kind of mix.
But there are rules for this style, as it can easily be turned tacky or too old fashioned. The colour combinations also need to be spot on to pull off this look. Sound a bit confusing? Here’s our top tips so can master this great combination.
Knitwear Neck Shape
A good point to start this combination is the neck. Because neckline is not only a female issue, but a male one too. But while women have a wide range of options, men can actually simplify the knitwear’s neck into two options: crew neck and v-neck. They are, in fact, a matter of taste, but recommendations tend to promote v-neck for men who have fuller faces, as it elongates the neck, while crew necks are better for men with a more oval face.
Like other garments, knitwear was created for fishermen and seafarers as it would keep them warm from winds and the water. The term “crew neck” actually comes from the shirt styles worn by crew working on the boats. This is the reason why this type is considered more casual than v-neck.
But despite this, if you want to be formal and still insist with a crew neck, there is a clue in the tie. Since the crew neck will show less of the tie, do add a good dimple in order to reach a three dimensional sense of elegance, and a bit of character, too.
So, once the neckline is done, the next step is to focus on what fabric to wear. You can decide this according to the appropriate occasion or style.
Since cashmere is taken from goats and wool –most commonly- taken from sheep, these fabrics provide the maximum warmth with a soft feel. Cashmere jumpers and cardigans are the best fit for shirts, in order to give a more formal look to denim jeans. Do wear a fine-gauge merino wool knitwear, with a soft colour shirt, in order to be almost as formal as wearing shirt and tie.
Then, we have cotton, which is a lightweight and breathable fabric. Due to it being so soft, it’s a great budget item that feels elegant to the touch.
Finally, there are the synthetic fabrics –like polyester, nylon or the blended fabrics- while making things easier on the wallet, are a good casual choice. Do wear a polo shirt as a replacement of a shirt. And replace cardigans with sweatshirts.
Regarding colours, do wear darker ones for more formal occasions, and lighter for the casual ones. Opt for navy, grey and black as the top of the essentials, and play with a a coloured crew neck layered between your shirt and jacket. And don’t forget to add a flash of white at the neck if you want to get a stylish touch. You can get this with a white shirt.
There are other points to consider when talking about fabric, the kind of textures and wefts. There are Line texture, Upholstery, Ribbed Knit texture, Weave Fabric, Silky Woven, Cable Knit Pattern and so many that both weavers’ and industries can offer.
If you choose a pattern knitwear, such as argyle or houndstooth, go plain with the shirt, and vice versa if you wear a squared, tartan or Scotch shirt, go for plain knitwear. And a block-coloured version offers a striking way to mix up your formal layering. Do leave the chunky or heavy knitwear for very, very casual events.
Further Reading: History
Knitting is a technique of producing fabric from a strand of yarn or wool, which does not require any large equipment nor looms. The earliest forms of this technique come from Egypt, in the 3rd Century BC. The skill then traveled to Europe through the woollen trade routes over time, and through nomadic travellers from around the 5th Century BC.
The patterns at that time had influences from the Middle East. Some of the pattern techniques found their modern origins in Scotland, for example, the Fair Isle patterns or the Argyle one. By the time of the Industrial Revolution, the machine-knitting won fame and it was considered classy, while hand knitting was seen as domestic and amateur. The fashion for knitwear expanded to accessories such as hats, gloves or bedclothes.
Until the 20th Century, stockings were the most popular knitwear. In the early 20’s the commercial production of knitwear had grown from underwear to fashionable outerwear. The haute-couture designers encouraged something warm and practical to become something chic, modern, commercial and fashionable. The new modernity reflects a new fast-paced world where bodies require comfort, convenience, efficiency and freedom. Arriving to 21st Century, there are wide options of fabric, texture and colours in order to get the perfect mix.
Remember the quote of the Fashion editor of The Times. She said that “no man can go wrong in a charcoal grey V-neck jumper with a white T-shirt underneath, worn with dark-wash jeans.” She’s right because, these are very comfortable clothes and, above all, remember to be comfortable.
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