What makes a good knit? Preparing a smart and stylish fall wardrobe.

Scroll down to skip to the good stuff about knits if you’re not interested in the background story.

As the days get colder I, like many of you, I’m starting to switch out my wardrobe and bring back out those heavier and warmer pieces that I had put away. Living in Norway, and especially in Bergen which is a colder city most of the year, the sweaters and thermals are never too far away. I didn’t have the luxury of packing them up in suitcases and stowing them away for months. Oslo is a whole different story, on the other hand. The seasons have clear demarcations: summer is warm, autumn is rainy and colder and winters snow heavily.

So having spent a good part of this year in Oslo, I finally get to get excited about sweater and coat weather, mostly because I get to get cool sweaters and jackets. This year, I get to consciously prepare my wardrobe for a new season, and ne excited about my summer fashion choices now transitioning to cool autumn pieces.

It might sound odd to you if you’ve been doing this your whole life. I am a child of the tropics. I grew up dressing for summer all year round. When I moved to Malta, that changed to dressing for summer and a non-snowy but windy, sunny but cold winter. Then came Bergen, where it’s constantly raining most of the year. Away from Bergen, now you start to understand my joy at finally being able to have a more versatile wardrobe through the year.

Back to knits. I have gone on a fashion journey to discover cool, fashionable knits. A sweater doesn’t have to be boring to it’s job of keeping you warm. Here is my list of qualities for fashionable knits that make my wardrobe.

5 things that make a truly fashionable knit

1. Fabric

I have got one word for you: wool. Wool is the gold standard for cold weather wear. The higher the content (percentage) of wool the warmer you’ll be, but there is one catch. The higher the wool content, the higher the price. Fortunately, even a wool blend knit mixed with the right fabrics can keep you warm and cozy. 100% cashmere sure sounds heavenly but you don’t have to have 100% wool. A word of caution though: watch out for those brands that loudly label 5% wool items as “wool blend” and then slap a very high price tag on them hoping you don’t check to see how little wool they actually contain. A wool blend is not a bad thing, but the price tag has to match the quality of knit.

It is important to me to look good and be fashionable, but it is also supremely important to me to be warm at all times. For me, that is the difference between a good date or dinner with friends and a terrible time. Was I warm? If yes, then it was a success.

Make wool an eternal friend, and invest in yourself an your wardrobe. Invest in durable woolen knits and scarves, and your whole life will thank you!

2. Flair

I have some very simple knits, but I am mostly partial to knits with dramatic sleeves, and memorable details. If the knit is going to be the main event of my outfit I like to choose a knit with big sleeves or some other memorable feature.

Let there always be at least one (positively) memorable thing about your outfit, is a simple rule I have invented for myself to abide by. Some days are more memorable than others thou, I will be the first to admit.

Another beautiful piece from And Other Stories.

Sleeves were the dramatic flair of choice in this one. It’s very hard to go wrong with voluminous sleeves on knits. A piece of cardigan suddenly transformed into fashion for the cold masses? Sign me up!

This one’s from Vero Moda.

3. Colour

While colours like black, cream and white are timeless, chic, and easy to style with other neutral pieces in your wardrobe, do not shy away from bold and vibrant colours if that is more your personality. Neutral tones can be styled into beautiful monochrome looks. You may have seen those head-to-toe camel-coloured or grey-toned looks that instantly elevate a person’s look.

Bold and bright colours like yellow and red can transform an outfit into an eye-catching ensemble. Personally, I do really like a rich colour. It heightens my sense of individuality in a sea of people wearing grey and black – plus I generally just love colour! Find what works for you, experiment!

The red one pictured here is from And Other Stories, which has quickly become a favorite of mine as far as knits go. Their price point is comfortable, and they have a wide selection of knits of very good quality. One of my current favourites from them is their Mock Neck sweater which they have in just about every colour. They are thick, soft, warm, and the length of the neck is just right.

4. Thickness

This will depend on how you want to wear your knit. If you plan to layer it under other clothes then go for something thin and ribbed. If your knit is going to be the main event, as in you want to layer it over other pieces then go for something thick. You can find woolen knits of both thin and thick variety.

5. Fit

Again, this comes down to preference. I am very tall and do not particularly like myself in overly baggy clothes. I like my knits to fit just right. Sometimes clothes come out of the factory made to fit loose, and some knits are made shapeless, a a style I guess. You can always style the item to fit you, your frame, and your aesthetic.

Favourite brands for knits

Here is a list of the brands whose knits I’m loving, if you want to check them out.

  • And Other Stories
  • COS
  • Acne Studios
  • Arket
A thick knit, paired here with a pencil skirt because I like to wear skirts and dresses as far into the cold climes as I can. I am wearing thermal tights under the skirt though for extra warmth.
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