Sweaters are the coziest staple as temperatures drop. Whether you need a casual crew neck or a thick cable knit, there’s a sweater for any occasion.
But with the endless options, shopping for a sweater can be a true poke in the eye. Be wary of product descriptions that don’t disclose the fabric composition—that ‘virgin wool’ could be 80% acrylic.
In the thirties, college girls layered sedate Shetland or cashmere cardigans with matching sweater skirts — a fad that helped knitwear industries thrive. By the forties, a sweater could be embroidered or beribboned, and its neckline was soaring up to the chin or dropped to the shoulders. The Museum holds a sweater designed by Elsa Schiaparelli (1890 – 1973) to give the appearance of a scarf around the neck, a design that presaged many later, amusing, sometimes outrageous sweater designs.
The name’sweater’ is actually a catch-all for a wide variety of knitted garments, both pullovers and those that open and fasten down the front, such as a cardigan sweater. These include shawl collar, V-neck and turtleneck styles; crew neck, and, less commonly, round-neck. Some are even belted, a feature inspired by the Victorian campaign for ‘rational dress’ that called for more comfortable clothing for sports, especially those that required active movement. Knitted fabrics were also becoming more comfortable next to the skin and finer materials such as silk were used.
If you’ve been scrolling TikTok or Instagram lately, you’ve probably seen Old Navy’s SoSoft Cropped Cardigan. The sweater has been getting rave reviews for its high-quality design and affordable price, putting it at the top of many fall 2023 shopping lists.
The sweater’s neckline and sleeve style are what give it its unique look. A few examples are saddle shoulder, dolman sleeve, and split hem.
A novelty sweater is a statement-making piece that can be worn as a dress or layered over jeans. It’s characterized by its use of different colors and patterns or by its unusual shape, which can be a fun way to add a splash of personality to an outfit. The sweater’s texture also contributes to its unique look. A few examples include ribbed cuffs and hems, a striped textured pattern, or a pom-pom textured hat. There are also sweaters that have a single band of color expanding or contracting throughout the body, forming flared fabric that’s close-fitting at the waist.
There are numerous materials used to make sweaters. Wool is the most common, ranging from standard to Merino wool (a softer and more expensive version). Cotton is another option.
Sleeve styles can also add to the look and feel of a sweater. Scoop necks are a popular choice for women’s sweaters because they elongate the neckline. Henley necks are characterized by a placket below the collar with 2-5 buttons, which can be functional or decorative. Ribbed sleeves have a distinct appearance with a wide band that runs from the front to the back of the sweater and may include patterns that symbolize different parts of the world.
Full fashioning and shaping are manufacturing techniques that eliminate the need for cut and sew. During this process, the knitting machine adjusts the size of the fabric panels by changing the number of needles and transferring specific loops to form wider or narrower areas. This creates the shaped sweaters you see in stores and reduces the cost of production.
Sweaters are a versatile, wearable staple that can be worn for anything from movie nights in with the fam to a casual fall hike. However, not all sweaters are created equal and some may fall short in delivering top-level performance.
For example, cotton can absorb moisture, slows drying time, and traps odor and shrinks easily. But wool is naturally soft, breathes well, and is resistant to odors, wrinkles and shrinkage.
Choose COBMEX sweaters for your workwear uniform that are made from durable, performance materials to keep employees warm, dry and comfortable. For example, our Performance Blend Lined 1/4-Zip Wind Sweater is the perfect layering piece for beating the elements. It’s lined for wind protection and engineered to trap air for additional warmth. The mock collar with complimentary color interior detail and banded cuffs and hem offer a professional look that can be worn over a button down or polo shirt.