Is it cold enough to talk about knitwear yet? Probably not, but I’m going to do it anyway. On Friday I treated myself to not one, but TWO pieces of knitwear AND a scarf. I know, wild. I’d finally got sick of wearing my husband’s tatty old hand-me-down Uniqlo jumpers (which are great, don’t get me wrong, but I wanted something brand new to call my own for once) and so I popped into Gap.
Holy cow is Gap having a great season. Sometimes I can’t find anything in there to excite me – for example this summer all their lovely cotton sundresses finished annoyingly above the knee, which I simply won’t do, so I had to regretfully leave them on the rails. But they’ve really pulled the stops out for autumn/winter 2013. There was so much to look at and try on I didn’t know where to start. So when in doubt, start with knitwear.
I’m taking this whole ‘90s revival thing with a massive pinch of salt because I AM OLD but if there’s one thing that I loved in the ‘90s as much as I do now, it’s a nice preppy sweater. Back in the day I’d have worn one with a pleated mini-kilt and Kickers platforms, these days it’s more likely to be a crisp white shirt or a plain tee, but it always, always looks neat. And yes, I am using neat as an adjective, along with nifty, snazzy and peachy – what of it?
Autumn is the perfect time to wear a fine-grade knit with a cotton t-shirt underneath, then all you need is a light blazer on top and you will be warm enough, but not hot. This is not the time for roll-necks or chunky jumpers my friends, trust me, it can get sweaty out there. I bought a navy and maroon stripe, round-neck, merino wool sweater and a bottle greencardigan at the Gap on Friday and they’ve slotted seamlessly into my wardrobe (I don't know why they don't have those specific colours online, but they're in store now).
I have my eye on this windowpane pullover too – that oversized check was everywhere at London Fashion Week and it’s so clean and graphic, I love it. And my shopping buddy picked up this pointelle sweater in navy which has great bracelet sleeves – that’s the kind of little detail that makes a casual weekend outfit a bit special.
With indigo skinny jeans, Chelsea boots and a blazer I’ve got my everyday look sorted for the next few weeks (that’s when I actually leave the house – when I’m at home I will be living in Gap’s stripy lounge pants and one of the aforementioned moth-eaten Uniqlo pullovers.)
And here’s a little Stingy Shopper tip for you: if you want a cashmere scarf, head to the men’s department at M&S. I picked up this beauty for £35 which for cashmere is incredibly good value. It’s indecently soft, long enough to wind multiple times around my neck and snuggle into, and the deep burgundy colour is spot on for the autumn trend for all things wine-coloured. Quite frankly, the cashmere scarves in the women’s department were hideous – why did they keep the nice ones for the men?
Sporting my new Gap knit and M&S Collezione Pure Cashmere Scarf, £35, marksandspencer.com
And here are a few more...
Anything in a deep, dark berry or wine shade is going to be a) mega-flattering and b) trendy in the laziest way possible, aka a winner in my book! This simple sweater from Evans is a prime example...
Evans blackberry scoop neck jumper, £19.50, evans.co.uk
And so is this one from the often-forgotten Benetton, which does incredibly high quality knitwear at really reasonable prices.
Benetton long sleeve v-neck sweater, £19.90, benetton.com
And just because something's simple and fuss-free, it doesn't mean it's boring - take this & Other Stories asymmetric knit as a case in point.
& Other Stories asymmetric wool sweater, £45, stories.com
And if you really want to look mega-cool, do like the stylish women I saw at fashion week and tuck a fine gauge knit into a full skirt (preferably leather). This one from Hobbs would be perfect - just wear a camisole underneath.
Hobbs London Keira sweater, £79, hobbs.co.uk