a little bird told me

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

A Guide to Winter Woollies

stylish winter knitwear

Like bags and shoes, knitwear is something I'm happy to invest in. Winter is a cold, unforgiving mistress, and a cosy jumper is a much-needed comfort when the wind's whipping.

There are plenty of winter woollies to be found on the high street, but it's worth checking the label before you buy. £35 may seem like a decent price to pay for a seasonal knit from Zara... but it's probably 100% polyester. And unless you want to be sweaty, static-charged and covered in bobbles, polyester is not the one when it comes to knitwear.

I really struggled to find any good quality, stylish jumpers in the usual suspects - Topshop, H&M, Zara - so took my search further afield. Here's a quick guide to essential winter woollies and what they're made of...

winter knitwear

The Chunky One
Everyone needs a great, big, hug of a jumper to see them through the dark days. At the bottom of the pile is the American Apparel Fisherman's Pullover. It's a thick waffle knit in 100% cotton - warm without being sweaty or stifling. I bought mine from ASOS using a discount code to bring down the (rather steep) £66 price tag, but after wearing this almost constantly since I got it, I can vouch for the quality.

The Cashmere One 
Cashmere has a bit of a reputation for being very expensive. The clue is in the name. But, there a few high street retailers doing great deals on cashmere knits, including Uniqlo. I bought a Cashmere V Neck Sweater in navy for £52.50 (ish), down from £79.90. It's worth keeping an eye out for these deals (Gap do some good ones too), as cashmere jumpers are supremely cosy without being bulky.

The Stripy One
I bought this stripy sweater in the French Connection sale back in July and have worn it so often. It's a great basic for any season, made from fine cashmere so it's lightweight enough for warm weather but loose enough to layer up when it's cold. At the moment I'm wearing it with a Uniqlo HEATTECH long sleeve tee - it's the perfect alternative to block colours.

best winter jumpers

The Fine Knit
When you're jumping on and off trains, going in and out of shops and moving from a boiling office (central heating wars are rife from October onwards) to a freezing street, all while wearing this season's stylish but utterly sweltering coat, a fine knit is key. Uniqlo come to the rescue again with their Extra Fine Merino jumpers, which don't feel bulky under a heavy coat and can be layered up for extra warmth. And for less than 20 quid, I bought a few.

The Medium Knit
A little bit thicker than a fine knit. Obviously. My favourite knit of the moment is this Leather Patch Jumper from Cos - made from super soft lambswool, it's warm enough to wear with just a vest underneath and not at all scratchy. I'm totally loving the knitwear selection in Cos, and the prices aren't too bad either - this was £55.

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The Fun One
Knitwear is a serious business, but there's always room for a little fun. If you're far too sophisticated for a Christmas jumper (what do you mean, Santa's not stylish?), check out the amazing range of patterned knits in TK Maxx. I picked up this Antoni & Alison angora jumper for £29.99 - it has a cute snowflake print, making it perfect for Christmas Day. If you have the patience to dig through the rails, TK Maxx is excellent for high quality knitwear at bargain prices.

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Do you have a favourite winter woolly? What are your tips for buying knitwear?


  1. This post is brilliant, it was so interesting to read :) I adore snuggly jumpers, I treated myself to a couple of new ones today :D
    Love Holly x

  2. Top tips! Snuggling up in knitwear is great! I recently bagged myself an oversized woolly white cardigan and am in love with it!

  3. I love all my woollies - I'm just an autumn/winter girl, not really into summer clothes at all. I only have one cashmere piece though, wish I had more! Love your collection :) x

  4. lovely blog...i love my winter knits x

    check out my new blog post on www.prettyquirkyblog.co.uk

  5. This is definitely interesting!! I personally never took any notice of the jumper labels, but will definitely keep this post in mind next time I'm looking for one!


  6. Impressive research! I have to say though, I have a couple of statement shouldered jumpers from Primark which are my absolute favourite AW staples.

    I've just dug them out of storage for their third year of service in this season's wardrobe switchover (took me almost as long to blog about it as to do it!) and they're still so comfortable and look like new :)

    Sam Muses xx

  7. Ahh, if only I could bring myself to part with enough money to buy decent things!
    I bought a £6 cardigan from Primark a few weeks ago (seduced by the lovely berry colour) and almost immediately regretted it. It makes me sweat like a pig! Not attractive and confidence-undermining enough to outweigh the lovely colour. Boo.
    On the other hand I also recently bought a Lands End cabled cardigan from TK Maxx for £14 (red labelled) and it's excellent. It's cotton & wool & something and is pretty warm but not sweaty and not too bulky.
    I think I've learned my lesson now - I'm already considering purging my collection of acrylic so I have an excuse to buy more woolly loveliness.

  8. Knitwear is the one thing I always invest in. There's nothing worse than cheap jumpers and cardigans that have bobbled by the second wear. I find charity shops are a good place to look as some of the older pieces are made from the most gorgeous snuggly materials :)

  9. I love jumper dresses - a few weeks ago I picked up a cream 100% wool aran jumper dress in TK Maxx and it's so warm bundled up with tights and boots. I got this gorgeous red fair-isle type print angora mix jumper dress from River Island last winter:


  10. I never really liked jumpers because I felt like they were too restrictive and boring, much preferred cardigans. However now I live in a cold house and can't bear to have the heating on all the time, I LOVE jumpers! I have an amazing m&s cashmere one which is gorgeous and a lovely hobbs one. My warmest is actually a cheap chunky knit from Tesco, love it. I actually wear it over cardigans now haha.

  11. Great post Jen, I love a cashmere jumper but haven't seen a bargain yet, definitely an investment.
    I got an incredible huge chunky knit fishermans cardi from ASOS which has lasted well, I find I can't wear a chunky knit jumper as I look a tad butch in it and my boobs tend to resemble a shelf.

  12. I love that pink jumper, looks so snuggly. Good tips on knitwear, it's definitely a good idea to invest in something that is going to be comfortable and long lasting rather than something that will shrink in the wash and make you sweat xx

  13. Marvellous post - really like that American Apparel jumper and thanks for reminding me about Uniqlo and their incredibly priced knitwear :)


  14. Great tips! I just moved to Chicago from Nashville, Tennessee and I am working on preparing my winter wardrobe!

  15. how does 'skint but stylish' ever fit in with this post?£55 for one jumper is shit loads. super misleading

  16. I love this post, it's such an interesting read and such great tips! I'm a massive fan of chunky knitwear and I've already spent a fortune on jumpers this season.

    Lucy Loves To Blog

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