Sweaters are nothing new in winter wardrobes, but this season they have got a smart restart.
This is thanks in part to designers at brands such as Chloé, Fendi, Missoni and Proenza Schouler, who covered their fall tracks in chunky eye-catching knitwear.
They predicted that consumers, after getting used to our pandemic wardrobes with sweatpants and pajamas, would not give up comfort when we started getting out again. So retailers across Long Island have filled up with knits that speak to three major trends:
Yesterday’s prime sweater set gets a workout. Today’s set mimics the casual athleisure look of a sweatshirt and sweatpants. At the Shag New York store in Roslyn, they come in luxury, lounge-y cashmere.
“You can put it on with a pair of funky boots and wear it out for dinner, just like I do,” says Shag owner Ann Corn. “Or wear it with a pair of sneakers or Ugg boots.”
Or with a boarding pass.
“It’s great to travel in when you’re on a plane and want to have fun,” she adds.
Vintage pants with wide legs and sweater vests give your work wardrobe (if you are in the office these days) a nubby, structural update. At Bloomingdale’s, you can grab Bardot’s cable-knit cropped cotton pants or a pair of super-soft alpaca-blended, rib-knit pants from Eleven Six, paired with a matching cropped cardigan. At Macy’s, you can go for shrunken vests in nerdy-chic patterns, from collegiate argyle (Lucky Brand) to daisies and cherries (Just Polly) to a forest hut print (Mango).
Nights out stay cozy with chic knit dresses. Gallery Couture in Manhasset carries versions from Naadam, a brand that works directly with Mongolian goat herders to find sustainable cashmere. Owner Afshin Haghani also loves a knitted cocktail dress from Milly, complete with 1920s-style fringe and cutouts (another knit trend) that tie around the shoulders and just above the seam. Pair it with high-heeled boots and a fur jacket (or faux fur).
“You can stay warm while still blinking with some skin,” he says.
Why we go crazy after knitting
A cotton shirt can feel crisp, a leather jacket fierce, but nothing conveys coziness like a sweater. So what gives it the primary appeal?
It’s not just its thickness, notes Kate Preston, mother of four boys from Rockville Center, who makes specially knitted hats, scarves, pillows, blankets plus miniature sweaters for babies and dogs.
Stitch patterns also affect coziness, sublimity and general comfort, she explains.
Take fishing jerseys that go back more than a century to Ireland’s Aran Islands, with unique textured cables that once indicated a fisherman’s origins. “All of these cables and bubbles hold in heat,” Preston says. “That’s why these lumpy uneven knits feel so luxurious.”
Just ask model Kate Upton, who wore a specially knitted Preston swimsuit on the Sports Illustrated pages in 2013.
Preston finds the process of knitting relaxing. “You can focus on one project and put your other worries aside.”
And maybe that’s why we feel so comfortable in sweaters and sweater-like knits, especially those that are handmade. As Preston notes, “A little piece of my heart goes into everything I knit.”
CALL ALL STRIKERS …
Ines Basso Glick has a secret – she’s does not a knitter. But the former elementary school teacher is organized, which helps when it comes to running Care to Knit, a non-profit organization in North Babylon she founded in 2004, which has distributed more than 85,000 hand-knitted items to Long Island area veterans’ hospitals, shelters and other groups. .
Her hardest time of the year? “January and February, where we get a lot of inquiries about hats, scarves and blankets,” she says.
For information on how to help, call 800-966-KNIT or visit caretoknit.org.