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The History and How to Wear Each Sweater Style

The History and How to Wear Each Sweater Style

Mar 1,2023
Stylish and warm, knitwear is a staple in our wardrobes as temperatures drop and transition times of the year. Sweaters, cardigans, and other knitwear are incredibly versatile, making it easy to wear them in a variety of styles for all occasions. They are a key piece in many smart casual looks during the cooler months. In this article, we'll take a look at how to wear each sweater, the different materials they're made from, and the history behind them so you can find the perfect knit this season.

Cable-knit Sweater

Originating from the Aran Islands, a small group of islands off the west coast of Ireland, the cable knit sweater was created in the late 1890s for fishermen to keep them warm and dry while on their boats. The original cable-knit sweater was known as the "Guernsey Sweater", which evolved into the "Aran Sweater" as it became more popular in the local fashion scene.

Just before World War II in the 1930s, cable-knit sweater styles migrated to mainland Ireland, where they gained further popularity. In 1958, the famous knitter Elizabeth Zimmerman created the first cable-knit sweater inspired by Alain, which was published in the American magazine "Vogue". This fueled the popularity of the cable-knit sweater, which remains a winter wardrobe staple to this day.

How to Style a Cable Knit Sweater

Thanks to the sophisticated pattern and design on the cable-knit sweaters, they can be easily layered with chinos and jeans over a T-shirt for a smart, casual look. While they can also be worn comfortably over long-sleeved shirts, V-neck sweaters are often a better fit for the situation. For added warmth, a casual jacket or coat can also be layered over it.

Shawl Neck Sweater

The shawl collar sweater has a unique collar and is a winter classic. The origin of the shawl collar sweater is a subject of constant debate. It has been suggested that the shawl-neck sweater was originally designed for Lieutenant-General James Brudnell, 7th Earl of Cardigan, who asked for a sweater to be made so he wouldn't mess up his hair when he wore it. Others also believe that the shawl collar sweater is an evolution of the Victorian smoking jacket of the 1850s.

How to Style a Shawl Neck Sweater

A shawl collar sweater strikes a great balance between chic and casual. They can be worn underneath a tee and jeans, or over a collared shirt with a pair of cozy chinos. Shawl collar sweaters generally don't work well over a jacket or coat because of the collar.

Shawl collars are a great option when looking for pieces for casual attire and smart casual occasions.

Crew Neck Sweater

Developed for the US Navy in 1913, the crewneck T-shirt was intended to be worn under a sailor's uniform to provide warmth while covering chest hair. In late 1920, football player Benjamin Russell Jr was looking for a more comfortable sweater for his team.

His father, Russell Snr, created the first crew neck sweater and designed a crew neck tee-style sweater for his team. After seeing it on the field, fans started wearing it too, and by the 1950s it had become a classic menswear style icon.

How to Style a Crew Neck Sweater

Arguably the most popular knit style, the crewneck sweater has a crew neck that works well with any layer. This type of sweater is extremely versatile and can be worn comfortably over a business shirt at the office, or over a T-shirt for more casual occasions. They look especially chic when worn with chinos and layered over a blazer. Available in a variety of colors, the crew neck is perfect when an easy extra layer is needed.

V Neck Sweater

V-necks are the perfect knitted layer for finishing off your look. While it is sometimes worn with a T-shirt underneath, a V-neck sweater is best paired with a collared shirt because of the neckline. For a comfortable, smart casual look, layer a V-neck sweater over a long-sleeve shirt, then layer it with chinos and a blazer for an elegant look.

Available in a variety of colors, the V-neck sweater is a great option for smart work attire and is common in most workplaces.

How to Style a V Neck Sweater

While it is sometimes worn with a T-shirt underneath, a V-neck sweater is best paired with a collared shirt because of the neckline. For a comfortable, smart casual look, layer a V-neck sweater over a long-sleeve shirt, then layer it with chinos and a blazer for an elegant look.

Button Neck Sweater

Combining the convenience of a cardigan with the warmth of a sweater, the button-down sweater is a modern take on the line in recent years. While they don't have as long history compared to other types of sweaters, they're still a modern take on a classic design.

How to Style a Button Neck Sweater

A casual version of the V-neck sweater, the button-down sweater is perfect for smart-casual occasions. They can be worn over a tee and jeans for a comfortable, neat look, or over a business shirt and chinos for an office-friendly look.

Half Zip Sweater

The zip collar concept was first used on wool tracksuits in the 1930s. This allows the wearer to open the neck when warm and close it when cold. The idea is that people don't need as many layers when exercising because they can change the neckline.

Many years later, in the 1970s, the idea of the zip collar was first used on sweaters. While the design and fabric of half-zip sweaters may have changed, the convenience of the zipper remains the same.

How to Style a Half-Zip Sweater

Like their button-down brethren, half-zip sweaters are also considered a casual version of the V-neck sweater. They feature a high neckline that can be zipped up or down depending on the number of layers you're wearing underneath, allowing for more flexibility in your outfit. Our Half Zip Sweater creates a comfortable smart casual look when layered over a shirt. For added warmth, layer a slouchy jacket over it with a pair of jeans or chinos.

Fisherman Sweater

Historically, this style of knitwear was born when fishermen needed a durable layer to protect them from the elements. Perfect for casual or smart looks, this textured knit combines utility with style.

How Should Your Knitwear Fit?

1. The hem of the sweater should fall just below the belt

2. The seam on the shoulder should be at the end of the shoulder bone

3. Your sleeves should cover your entire wrist

4. On your body, the knit should fit comfortably with a little space, but not so much that the material starts to roll-off

Types of Knitted Fabrics

Lamb's Wool: Lamb's wool is the first layer of wool cut off from a lamb, usually around 7 months, and lamb's wool is particularly soft and delicate. Premium fleece provides excellent insulation while remaining breathable.

Merino Wool: A premium and extremely soft wool from Merino sheep. Thanks to its warming properties, merino wool knits offer excellent insulation and are perfect for when you're out and about in the cold.

Wool: Warm, breathable, and naturally stretchy, the fibers of wool naturally absorb a lot of moisture, making it an ideal fiber for the colder months

Cotton Knits: Cotton knits have a flexible drape, making them a great choice to wear with you. Like wool, cotton is hypoallergenic and has moisture-wicking properties. A Cotton jersey is an easy, casual piece for year-round wear

The above details the history and wearing method of each sweater style, if you want to order a sweater, please contact us.

ChenHong is a professional custom sweater manufacturer with more than 20 years of experience. We are a professional manufacturer of high-quality knitted products and related products. We produce a wide range of men's/women's knitwear and sweaters. Relying on a large family of 200+ skilled employees, Dongguan ChenHong constantly accepts new knowledge and new technologies to provide high-quality clothing and is committed to improving clothing quality while keeping up with production efficiency. We treat big and small brands equally.
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