Sweater season

Finally! The Sweater season is here!

When you feel the cold crispy air on your face during your morning walks, you know for sure that the sweater season has finally arrived. There is nothing as cozy as throwing on a warm cozy sweater.Agree?

Fall season is not just for pumpkin lattes and colored leaves, it is that time of the year when the sweaters and the boots come out to play.

Be it chunky sweaters or cable knits, be it plush pullovers or mock turtlenecks, there is no better way to update your winter wardrobe than with a cozy sweater.

What is a sweater?

sweater is a piece of clothing worn on the upper body to keep the person warm. Sweaters are usually knitted or crocheted.

What are the different names given to a sweater?

Some other names for sweaters are:

Cardigan – Sweaters that open in the front are often called cardigans.

Jersey -woolen vest or jersey, originally worn in rowing,

Jumper A sweater in American English, is called a jumper in British English.

Pullover– A sweatshirt that pulls over your head.

Raglan -The raglan sleeve is a classic sweater style that is noted by its shoulder seams that run across the front of the chest. It’s a very comfortable shape that allows for easy movement, which is why you will often see it in athletic wear

Shrug -A shrug is a cropped, cardigan-like garment with short or long sleeves cut in one with the body, typically knitted, usually for women. Some shrugs are tied together just below the bust line.

Slipover -When sleeveless, the garment is often called a slipover

Sweater Vest – A sweater without sleeves, usually with a low-cut neckline.

Sweatshirt -Sweatshirts are loose or oversized, never fitted. Even though they come under types of sweaters, they are not a sweater.

Sweaters can be worn all year long for comfort and warmth.They are without a doubt invaluable wardrobe staples.

Do you want to know all about the different kinds of sweaters, the fabric used to make them and much more? Read on, but first the back story….

The Backstory

Growing up in a land with tropical weather conditions, I hardly had the need to look for sweaters except perhaps when on family vacations to places of high altitude, where the temps were a little colder than in the plains.

Nothing had prepared me for the Chicago cold, until the day I arrived here in Fall season, a decade ago. I had never seen snow before either.Much as I loved the Fall season and the changing colors, I was not used to cold crispy winds or the dropping temperatures.Needless to say, I knew much less about the types of sweaters, the fabric they were made in, or how to choose a good sweater.

Ask me about the kind of cotton wear or silks, I can rattle off a bunch, but sweaters and cold weather outfits , I had no clue about.Being someone who enjoyed dressing up and feeling good about it,I felt a little lost when I did not know the appropriate outfit to pick and wear during the colder months here.I was always fond of bright happy colors, so I knew I would pick them in any fabric I chose to wear, but the texture, the feel , the different kinds of sweaters were all new to me.

Yet, there is nothing like the joy of finding yourself in a new place, you now call home; amidst strangers, you now call friends; and fitting into clothes, you now call your second skin.I knew the fashionista in me had not abandoned me on foreign soil.I wanted to look and feel good, like I have always done, be it in a saree or a winter coat, that is part of how I was wired inside……and, I had no intention to change! 😀

So off I went, window shopping for sweaters during my first Fall season here.There is something so heart warming about window shopping that can fill a woman’s soul like no other.

She can stand outside an outfit store window and gaze at the dressed up mannequins for hours imagining herself in all those lovely clothes and be completely oblivious of the passers by.Has it ever happened to you for more times than you can count? Then, you, my friend are the perfect girlfriend I would love to go shopping with.

Read on….to learn all about getting that perfect, all essential sweater, before we look to shopping for down jackets and tweed topcoats, for the cold weather. Yes, that was what layering up is all about, I soon learnt.What I did not know, I asked around and learnt some more each year.

My hope for you is that, this list of helpful tips on buying sweaters will help you get, the best worth for your dollars and keep you warm and cozy for many seasons to come.

How sweaters came to be?

Sweaters date back to the 15th century when fishermen’s wives from Guernsey in the Channel Islands between Britain and France knitted “guernseys” for their husbands.

The guernsey was adopted by other coastal communities in the British Isles and the North Sea and was later called a “gansey.” The gansey featured a short collar and easily re-knitted cuffs.

In the mid-19th century, the fitted woolen sweater was worn as a part of the uniform by sailors, navy, and army personnel. At the end of the 19th century, the fashion trend became more relaxed so men wore their sweater as outerwear. The women followed suit thereafter.

What are the different types of sweaters?

According to the neckline

Crewneck – A sweater that has a round neckline and no collar, often worn with other layers.Crew necks are basic round necks, and they are the most popular type of sweater there is. Good for both men and women, crew necks flatter most body types, and they also offer top-notch comfort, regardless of what type you end up buying. This is a basic, but classic look, and it behooves everyone to have at least one of these in their closet.

V- neck – These sweaters have a collar shaped like a V, hence the name. There are many advantages to wearing a V-neck sweater. Not only are they very attractive and trendy, but they can elongate your body and make you look taller, which women in particular love.Its neckline shows off the tie ( in men) and the collar of the dress shirt (in both sexes) worn underneath it,.The fabric tends to be thin and smooth enough to be worn under a sport coat or even suit jacket. Even when worn on its own, the V-neck typically looks dressier than its crewneck counterparts.

Turtle neck – This sweater will have a high close-fitting folded down collar. It is also known as a polo neck or roll-neck. Turtleneck sweaters are extremely popular and with good reason. Not only do turtleneck sweaters come in a variety of fabrics and colors, but they can also be appropriate for both casual and more formal occasions.

Mock neck –This sweater has a neck that looks like the turtleneck sweater but it will not be a turned down collar.The neck will stand up instead of folding over like the turtleneck. These are very similar to a turtleneck in the way they look, with the difference being that the neck itself isn’t as constrictive or as large as a regular turtleneck sweater. If you like the look of a turtleneck, but don’t like the way the collar feels on your neck, the mock turtleneck sweater might just suit your fancy. It also comes in a wide variety of fabrics and colors.

Roll neck – Roll-neck sweaters are sometimes confused with turtlenecks, but in roll-neck sweaters, the neck part isn’t as high. Meant to be worn mostly for casual occasions, it is essentially a combination of a crew neck and a turtleneck. It does have a high collar, but it is not normally as high as a turtleneck, and it has an edge that is rolled a little.

Cowl neck -This sweater has a hanging neck which is similar to a turtle neckline but with a more draping effect – this cowl can be narrow or very broad and hanging (chunky cowl) 

Shawl collar -Shawl collars are so named because the tops of the sweaters look like shawls. There is extra fabric sewn around the neck area to keep you warm and comfortable. Shawl collars are most common in cardigans, and they are good for both casual and formal wear, or even if you need a replacement for your hoodie. They are also worn by both men and women, so they are not only attractive sweaters, but they can be fashionable as well.

Full zip-A cardigan sweater with a full front opening fastened with zipper.

Half zip –As far as design goes, these sweaters can be made of almost any fabric and come in a variety of designs, but they all have one thing in common – they have a zipper that runs from the top of the neck to about mid-chest area. In other words, the zipper isn’t found the entire length of the sweater, so you still have to pull it on over your head. Half-zip sweaters are meant as outerwear and do a great job of keeping you warm on those cool fall or winter days.

According to how they are worn

Pullover sweater– This is your typical comfy cozy sweater with a rib-knit crewneck, cuffs and hem; the kind that you can wear over shirts, tops and blouses and stay warm all over. In UK a pullover sweater is also called Jumper.

Cardigan ( Open style) sweater -Sweaters that are open in front.Crew necks are basic round necks, and they are the most popular type of sweater there is. Good for both men and women, crew necks flatter most body types, and they also offer top-notch comfort, regardless of what type you end up buying. This is a basic, but classic look, and it behooves everyone to have at least one of these in their closet.

According to styles

Grandpa sweater- This is an oversized cardigan style sweater with a shawl collar and button opening which begins around half way of the sweater.These are very similar to the shawl collar sweater, even though some are made without the collar. They are loose-fitting and have over-sized features, including large buttons, large pockets, and large patches on the elbows. They are usually made of something such as wool to keep you extra warm, and they are extremely comfortable as well.

Boyfriend sweater -This is a pullover sweater with a loose, slouchy fit – which makes it seem as if you are wearing your boyfriend’s sweater. This type of sweater is a cardigan with a V-neck, and it is usually a button-down sweater. The great thing about the boyfriend sweater is that it goes with both casual and dressy occasions, especially because it comes in such a wide selection of fabrics and colors. It is also an oversized sweater that is both comfortable and flattering.

Fanny sweater -A long style of sweater whose hem will come under the hip level ( covering the fanny/buttocks)

Sweater with a hoodie -A hoodie is built into the neckline.

According to patterns

Cable knitted sweater- Cable-knit sweaters are known for a unique cable pattern, but it is there for more than just aesthetic appeal. It also adds warmth and a little texture, giving it a relaxed look that you can wear anywhere you need to go. It is meant more for casual occasions, but if you wear it with dress slacks or a skirt and a blazer, it can look quite dressy. Cable-knit sweaters are both comfortable and fashionable, which is one of the many reasons for their popularity.

Ribbed sweater -Just like the name suggests, these sweaters have a “ribbed” look, similar to corduroy. You can find these sweaters in various thicknesses and colors, and they give you great texture without all of the bulk that a regular sweater has. It is a lightweight sweater, but if you pair it with a blazer you can even wear it when it’s cold outside.

Fisherman’s sweater -This is a type of traditional cable-knit crewneck sweater. Also called Aran Jumpers/ Aran cable-knit sweater/Aran Isle Knit sweater. This is an Irish origin sweater, with beautiful and specific patterns on its front – raised cable pattern and interlaced vertical diamond patterns. This sweater kind of denotes wealth and privilege unlike its name fisherman’s sweater. 

Argyle Knit sweater-The knit sweater with designs in different colored diamonds in outline and solid shapes.

Tennis sweater –A white coloured pullover sweater with V- neck and long sleeves and coloured narrow bands at the neck and wrists.

Ski sweater- A heavy pullover sweater made of thick jacuqard knit yarns with elaborate patterns.

According to sleeves

Sweater vest – Sweaters without sleeves.Sweater vests are sleeveless and meant to be worn over some type of shirt. They can have round necks or V-necks, and they make a perfect accompaniment to a business suit or even a casual outfit.

Raglan style sweater – This sleeve uses one continuous piece of fabric and has no joints of separate pieces until you get to the neck. If you’ve ever seen a typical baseball shirt, this is a perfect example of a raglan sleeve.

According to fabric

Hand knitted sweater

Most sweaters are knitted and have a distinct vertical pattern that shows the stitches, and there are many advantages of this type of sweater. They stretch well without tearing, and they are easy to maintain as well.

The best part about knitted sweaters is that they go with everything and come in so many different colors that it is all but impossible not to find something that pleases you. They can also be knitted out of various yarns, which means you’ll find just what you need whether you want something lightweight or a little heavier.

Sheep Wool sweater – “If you live in a cooler climate, a wool sweater is great for keeping you warm.

Other than cotton, sheep wool is used for most sweaters made nowadays, and there are various types of wool that you can choose from. They each vary when it comes to softness and warmth, but the most common types are Shetland, Merino, and Lambswool, the latter being the result of the first shearing of the sheep.

In regards to softness, Merino ranks first, followed by Lambswool and Shetland. If you have a sweater that is itchy, it was likely made of Shetland wool, because Merino wool is much softer and more comfortable.

Cashmere sweater – Cashmere sweater is made from the precious Cashmere which comes from the Cashmere goat that is found in High Himalayas. Cashmere is softer and light than sheep’s wool and offers better insulation. Cashmere sweater is highly durable but cashmere sweater price is expensive than woolen sweater.

Acrylic sweater -Acrylic sweaters are great alternatives to wool sweaters, as they are inexpensive. A disadvantage is that they can stretch out of proportion if they are not washed and dried with care. Inexpensive low-quality acrylic sweaters can pill like crazy and they may not last long and may even itch. If you can buy anti-pilling, colour-fast lightweight acrylic sweaters you can by-pass some of the disadvantages.

Cotton sweater -Perfect Fall and spring transition pieces, which are cost effective than the heavier sweaters.Cotton sweaters are perfect fall and spring transition pieces and usually are more cost-effective than heavier sweaters.”

Cotton sweaters are lightweight, durable, and cool. You can wear them in both the summer and the spring whenever there’s a late-night chill. Although it is mostly considered casual wear, cotton can look dressy if you know how to accessorize.

You can also choose cotton blends if you don’t like to iron. Cotton is one of the most comfortable and versatile fabrics available, and finding cotton sweaters that are high quality and reasonably priced should never be difficult

Blend Fabric sweater- Depending on the materials used, blends can make sweaters either cooler or warmer, and lighter or heavier. There are cotton blends and silk blends, and whatever you’re looking for you can easily find it.You can find sweaters made of high-end materials such as cashmere, silk, and wool, which produce a classier product; or lower-end products such as linen and cotton if you want something lighter and more durable

You can also grab the odd acrylic or poly blend, if it’s a piece you really love and you understand it won’t be the coziest thing you own, and it probably won’t be with you forever

Donegal sweater -Donegal Sweater is made of a wool tweed (100% wool) with colorful slubs knit (speckled wool) into the fabric – it has a traditional honeycomb Aran cable stitch. It is  very soft and very durable.

Performance sweater – This sweater is made of branded performance fabrics that have special abilities like moisture-wicking, water resistance, anti-pilling, etc.

Linen sweater -Because linen is breathable and absorbs moisture even better than cotton, this is one fabric you’ll only want to wear when the weather is warm. Linen can wrinkle, which is one of the reasons many men don’t like it, but it is a light material that comes in various colors and designs, and it will keep you cool as nothing else will. It is also a very attractive material, coming in colors that range from light blue to darker colors such as burgundy and navy blue.

Silk sweater -Sweaters made entirely of silk are difficult to find, but you can find sweaters made with silk as an insulator and also to add to its aesthetic appeal. Silk is not only comfortable and soft, but it is also a durable material that does a great job of retaining heat. In most cases, you are going to find silk blends, but they are nonetheless very soft and comfortable sweaters. The sweaters come in various designs and styles, so you can get one in any color or size you need.

Common FAQ’s

What is the best fabric for sweaters?

Sweaters made of natural fibers like cashmere, wool, or cotton are best.If you want a sweater to be with you for longer than a season, stay away from synthetic yarns containing acrylic, rayon, and/or polyester.

Many commercial sweaters are made of acrylic and acrylic blends, which are usually easier to care for and washable, but are not as breathable and comfortable to wear, and don’t always wear well over time.

If possible, try to stick with one natural fabric per sweater, rather than blends. Cashmere sweaters are luxurious and expensive, but it helps greatly if you narrow down your purchasing options, if you decide to get sweaters made with only one or two natural fibers.

Having a sweater made up of just one material also helps prevent pilling and degradation of the sweater over time.

What are knitted sweaters called?

sweater, also called a jumper in British English, is a piece of clothing, typically with long sleeves, made of knitted or crocheted material that covers the upper part of the body.

When sleeveless, the garment is often called a slipover or sweater vest.

What are half sweaters called?

A shrug is a cropped, cardigan-like garment with short or long sleeves cut in one with the body, typically knitted, usually for women. Generally, a shrug covers less of the body than a vest would, but it is more tailored than a shawl.

What is the difference between shrug and cardigan?

 Shrug is a tight fitting and cropped cardigan-like clothing comes with front open. Whereas, cardigans are knitted garments that also contains front opening. Shrugs cover only the back, arms, and the shoulders, whereas cardigans cover the entire upper body, including the arms

Do you wear a shirt under a sweater?

Sweaters are normally worn in cool weather. If you wear a shirt underneath, then you are doing what is known as “layering”. That means if the weather warms up a little you can remove the sweater and still be well dressed.

shirt under a sweater is a nice and well put together look.

What is a sweater with a collar called?

The turtleneck also goes by several other names, including the roll-neck or the polo neck. Mock neck sweaters include a collar that partially covers the neck, but does not roll over.

What is a hoodie with a zipper called?

If sweatshirt does have a hood, it automatically becomes a HOODie. A hoodie with a zipper is a jacket or still can be called a hoodie.

What is the difference between sweatshirt and sweater?

The most basic difference between a sweater and a sweatshirt is the way they’re made. A sweater is crocheted or knitted, whereas a sweatshirt is not. A sweatshirt is made with heavy cotton.Sweaters are made of lightweight material, so they don’t absorb sweat but just keep you warm.

What is a long cardigan called?

Long cardigans – fondly called dusters .They work well when paired with boyfriend jeans, A-line skirts, coat dresses, and yoga pants.

What to look for when buying a sweater?

  • When buying a sweater, feel the fabric, if it feels scratchy, stiff and cheap don’t buy it, coz it simply means a poor quality yarn is used to make it. You will be spending dollars on a sweater that won’t last
  • On the other hand, if the material feels soft and warm against your skin like cashmere sweaters do, they not only last long, they feel good against your skin, though a little pricey, the last for many seasons, if you care for them well.
  • While buying a sweater pay attention to the pattern, good quality sweaters have consistency with their patterns and are not wonky with continuity.
  • Inspect the seams, to see if they are smooth, even and give a streamlined shape to the sweater. Puckering or weak seams represent lower quality sweaters.
  • Be mindful of small details like buttons, ribbing and zippers to make sure there is no distortion.
  • You may buy a good fitting sweater or an oversized one, the choice is yours. A slightly larger sweater would come in handy if you are planning to wear a dress shirt under it for work or to look professional.

Caring for your sweaters

It is so important, to ensure sweater care, for your sweaters to last through many years and seasons.

Get my E-Book : The Ultimate List on sweater care here.

My E-book will help you learn about all the details that go into caring for your sweaters like what to do if you notice piling, how often to wash your sweaters, how to wash different fabrics, how to retain their shape and more.

E-Book :The Ultimate List of Tips on Sweater care

Caring for your sweaters not only guarantees longevity, it also helps retain their shape.

How to wear a sweater?

  • Make sure your outfit is well fitting when wearing an oversized one. Adding a belt to your waist will further define your figure.
  • De-pill your sweater regularly to avoid a sloppy unkempt look.
  • Wear a good fitting one if you are planning to wear a jacket or coat over it. Turtlenecks work well to give a professional look along with a leather jacket.
  • Choose colors that flatter your complexion and compliment your figure, don’t go for the washed out look of stark ,unflattering colors.
  • Wear an oversized one, with a mini skirt and leggings.
  • Match it with a mid-length skirt and a tiny handbag.
  • Wear a sweater dress with a winter hat for that classy look.
  • Wear thigh high suede boots with it and leggings.
  • Tuck the front of your sweater in your pencil skirt and dress the outfit with a pair of strappy heels ( or keep it casual with loafers) and step into the day and own it.
  • Having a bad hair day? No worries! Pick a neutral colored floppy hat, a bright oversized sweater, leggings and flats and watch your Fall day come alive!
  • Dress up your sweater, with a cozy scarf this Fall and no one will ever count the number of times you have worn the sweater this week.
  • Enhance your outfit by layering your sweater.Choose neutral colors, add a splash of lipstick along with high heels should do the trick, to wake the fashionista in you.
  • Pair your sweater with black leather legging and clean white sneakers for that casual look.
  • Combine your sweater with white denim, neutral booties, and a statement purse to celebrate this season the right way.
  • If you are the kind who loves accessories, choose a neutral colored statement necklace to wear with your sweater , a subtle foolproof way to elevate your attire without calling for attention.

The Bottom Line

A sweater goes with just about everything. Whether you pair it with jeans and a jacket or if you plan to wear it with a party dress, it adds warmth to any outfit and serves as an added layer that will up the style of whatever you are wearing.

One sweater, many options! Or better still pick a few this season!

What are you waiting for? Get cozy and remember to stay warm this season!

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Cindy Moore
Cindy Moore
3 years ago

My favorite season is here! I love layering on clothes. Thanks for a very informative look at sweaters!

3 years ago

Growing up in Wisconsin and living in other parts of the northern half of the U.S. I love sweaters. Your post was very informative.

Cindy Mailhot
Cindy Mailhot
3 years ago

Holy Moly…everything one ever needed to know about sweaters is here. Great job! I prefer one that is super soft, oversized, and opens in the front.

3 years ago

Wow, I never knew so many things about sweaters – such a thorough post! I love sweaters, though we’re not there yet in SoCal.

3 years ago

Wow! Thats a heck of a lot of sweater information! I love how sweaters look… unfortunately, I’m ALWAYS hot, so I rarely even wear long sleeved t-shirts!

3 years ago

Great info. Very interesting background. Glad to be warm and cozy!

3 years ago

My favorite time of year, love going to thrift shops and finding vintage, chunky sweaters.

3 years ago

Great post. I like that you outlined the different types of sweaters. I am from the northeast so I know all the seasons very well. I live in Florida now and we really just have hot, warm and once in a while cool weather. I would say everyone else’s winters is our fall which is the only time I get to enjoy a sweater! Although most public places are indoors and quite chilly inside I usually have a sweater with me just in case!

Suzan | It's My Sustainable Life
Suzan | It's My Sustainable Life
3 years ago

I envy you your tropical upbringing, Maya! I, however, was born in the cold…literally. The middle of the winter cold. Sweaters are a staple in my closet and these are some great options!

3 years ago

Wow, what an in-depth look at sweaters! I love a good cotton cardigan on a cool fall day!

3 years ago

I had never thought before how many names we had for a sweater. And I’ll bet the Chicago winters were a major change that first year for you! Definitely something that takes some adjusting to.

3 years ago

Cozy sweaters are my fav! In TX, we don’t get to wear them as early or as often tho!

Sabrina DeWalt
3 years ago

I never realized there were so many varieties of sweaters.

3 years ago

While living in Hawaii I looked forward to the few weeks of the year when it was cool enough to tolerate wearing a sweater. In Denver, of course, there is no shortage of opportunities. My son, who grew up in Hawaii but now lives in Denver, calls everything he wears for warmth (mostly hoodies) a jacket. 😉

Maria Gustafsson
3 years ago

I love argyle and ski sweaters. Don’t have a lot, because it doesn’t get super cold here in Victoria, and I tend to run hot. But I always stare longingly at them when I see them!

Tiffany Smith
Tiffany Smith
3 years ago

I love sweaters! The fuzzier, the better!!

Brianna Fitzgerald
3 years ago

Wow this is a very knowledgeable post about the various sweaters you can have for winter time. Thank you for sharing

Jill DeMasi
Jill DeMasi
3 years ago

I love sweater weather! I just got all of my sweaters out and can’t wait to wear them.

3 years ago

I hope that we get to sweater weather soon we are on day 70 of over 110° today. These are gorgeous and I am going to check them out!

3 years ago

Sweater season is my favorite! so many different styles to choose from!