Knitwear: the term just sounds a bit old-fashioned and conjurs up images of twinsets or dowdy cardigans.
And if ‘knitwear’ sounds frumpy, then ‘shumper’ definitely sounds even worse: more cleaning product than clothing. This blog was supposed to be about how to create the layered look yourself, not about how to cheat. Nor did I ever think in a million years that this odd item would be headlining my key pieces for the AW season. However, since discovering a scattering of ‘shumpers’ around, I have noticed that they are everywhere and that I am actually, dare I say it, totally converted. The more I think about the concept, the more it makes sense – getting dressed should be easy and this is exactly what the shumper does – it takes the effort out of layering. So dress smart but keep your lazy layering secrets to yourself and be smug in the knowledge you have mastered the art with zero thought!
I love the Cos and Topshop styles from last week, but here are a couple more feminine options if the ‘normcore’ look isn’t your thing. Top of this list is this Nude Shirt Tail Knit £69 from Mint Velvet which is not somewhere I normally shop, but they do have lovely knitwear. Added bonus is a 15% off code NEWYORK15 until the end of September. This style also comes in Lichen which is a silvery grey colour and very sophisticated too. Add a printed scarf if you want to inject some colour and personality to the look.
Another more feminine style is the Navy & Ivory Peplum Knit £79.
Of course you can’t just have a wardrobe full of ‘shumpers’ and there are a multitude of other knitwear styles out there. Starting with a good set of basics.
Gap has a good selection of Merino crew Neck Sweaters £39.95 that will work well on their own, with a shirt/blouse underneath or with a cardigan over the top. They come in a whole selection of colours from this lovely, sophisticated and on-trend blackberry to navy, black and camel. Great price for something you can wear everyday in multiple ways. Add a heel and a jacket and you are set for the evening too.
I am also a big fan of Cos and have this Round Neck Wool Jumper £55 which also comes in black. Navy is still very close to my heart this season and for a sweater it is a much softer, more wearable alternative to black for most skin tones. Wear on its own or with a crisp white shirt underneath.
If a Breton top is a Spring essential then a striped jumper is definitely a staple for Autumn. Hush has this lovely Stripe Boatneck Jumper £65 which is a very soft gauzy knit. I love the way this is styled with the Boyfriend Cardigan £220 over the top, but it could just as easily be a black blazer. Equally pop a soft cream blouse underneath or a white shirt for a modern preppy look.
If you want to ring the changes on stripes and have something a bit different then Mint Velvet also has this Navy & Grey Zip Back Knit £69.
Whistles does a good stripe too which gives a nod to all the roll-neck jumpers out there but looks more modern and cooler than a close- fitting, ribbed roll-neck. Incidentally, go for a skinny roll neck and you will hit the 70’s mood for the season but only if you don’t have much in the boob department. They don’t look great with a couple of balloons inflated inside.
Stars are a bit of theme too and Mint Velvet has this Granite Felt Star Knit £69.
Or go for a single star at Hush with their Stella Jumper £75 – this also comes in a blue/navy colour combo.
Cardigans now and I would go for a boyfriend or waterfall style. I have a navy (surprise, surprise) long-line cashmere cardi from Zara from years ago and still love it. Perfect for now (minus the rain) when you don’t necessarily need a jacket.
Hush has this Nina Cardi £90 which comes in this biscuit colour – particularly great with dark hair – and also a silver grey.
I also have two very old waterfall cardigans from Zara which are exactly the same style as this Draped Front Cardigan £55 from Cos.
Mint Velvet has this nice Zip Cardigan £89 which comes in pebble marl and silver grey too.
If you do have the cash to splash, then Eileen Fisher is an American label with a few stores here in London. They have gorgeous knitwear and if you want to nail layering then look no further because this is this brand’s raison d’Etre. Just need to stump up the cash first… I can’t seem to access their UK site which must simply be me being a muppet. Here is their Icon Washable Wool Cardi $278.
The sleeveless cardigan or long waistcoat is a huge trend this season across outerwear and knitwear and is good for this timing when it isn’t too chilly. I always feel the cold so it would have a limited lifecycle for me. However, this one from Warehouse is lovely and would work well next spring and summer: Sleeveless waterfall waistcoat £30.
If you want something a bit chunkier then M&S has this Open Front Ribbed Cardigan £35 which comes in light grey and a bright blue too.
So I hope you are feeling suitably snuggly and cosy after reading this and ready to layer up for the winter. Let’s face it, we have skipped summer and, at this rate, we will probably be skipping autumn too. Time to book another holiday or emigrate.