Sweaters are nothing new to winter wardrobes, but this season, they’ve gotten a chic reboot.
That’s thanks in part to designers at labels like Chloé, Fendi, Missoni and Proenza Schouler, who blanketed their fall runways in chunky eye-catching knits.
They predicted that consumers, having grown accustomed to our pandemic wardrobes of sweatpants and pajamas, wouldn’t want to give up comfort when we started getting out again. So, retailers across Long Island have stocked up on knits that speak to three major trends:
Yesteryear’s prim sweater sets are getting a workout. Today’s sets mimic the easygoing athleisure look of a sweatshirt and track pant. At the Shag New York boutique in Roslyn, they come in luxe, lounge-y cashmere.
"You can put it on with a pair of funky boots and wear it out to dinner, 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 be cozy," she adds.
Vintagey wide-leg pants and sweater vests give your work wardrobe (if you’re in-office these days) a nubby, textural update. At Bloomingdale’s, slip into Bardot’s cable-knit cropped cotton pants or a super-soft pair of alpaca-blend, ribbed-knit trousers from Eleven Six, paired with a matching cropped cardigan. At Macy’s, go for shrunken vests in geek-chic patterns, from collegiate argyle (Lucky Brand) to daisies and cherries (Just Polly) to a woodland-cottage 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 source sustainable cashmere. Owner Afshin Haghani also loves a knit cocktail dress from Milly, complete with 1920s-style fringe and cutouts (another knitwear trend) that ribbon around shoulders and just above the hem. Pair it with high-heeled boots and a fur (or faux-fur) jacket.
"You can stay warm while still flashing some skin," he says.
Why we go nuts for knits
A cotton shirt may feel crisp, a leather jacket racy, but nothing conveys coziness like a sweater. So what gives it that primal appeal?
It’s not just its thickness, notes Kate Preston, a mother of four boys from Rockville Centre, who makes custom-knit hats, scarves, pillows, blankets, plus miniature sweaters for babies and dogs.
Stitch patterns also affect coziness, loftiness and overall comfort, she explains.
Take fisherman sweaters, dating back more than a century to Ireland’s Aran islands, with unique textured cables that once indicated a fisherman’s origins. "All these cables and bobbles hold the warmth," says Preston. "That’s why these lumpy bumpy knits feel so luxurious."
Just ask model Kate Upton, who wore a custom-knit Preston bathing suit in the pages of Sports Illustrated in 2013.
Preston finds the process of knitting relaxing. "You can focus on a project and put your other concerns aside."
And maybe that’s why we feel so comfy 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."
CALLING ALL KNITTERS …
Ines Basso Glick has a secret — she is not a knitter. But the former elementary school teacher is organized, which helps when it comes to running Care to Knit, a North Babylon nonprofit she founded in 2004, which has distributed more than 85,000 hand-knit items to Long Island-area veterans’ hospitals, shelters and other groups.
Her toughest time of year? “January and February, when we get a lot of requests for hats, scarves and blankets,” she says.
For info on how to help, call 800-966-KNIT or visit caretoknit.org.