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New knitwear: Sharp winter knits

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Left to right: Chinti and Parker spring/summer 2013 and Chanel spring/summer 2013

Left to right: Chinti and Parker spring/summer 2013 and Chanel spring/summer 2013 Photo: VLADIMIR POTOP

Jumpers – worn with slim trousers or soft pleated skirts and flat brogues – really do seem to have emerged as a new kind of uniform for many women. If you’re someone on the lookout for new fashion trends that aren’t just being worn on the catwalk or by a few celebrities who’ve been sent a pile of freebies, that’s exciting.

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Meet Mulberry’s knitting nans

And it’s hallelujah time if you’re a knitwear designer. Poor devils. They’ve been hearing about the revival in knitwear for aeons, and now it’s finally happened.

What helped the jumper craze finally fly, I think, was this winter’s over-sized, chunky versions from the likes of JW Anderson. Why? Because they work over skinny jeans, stop leather leggings from looking too rock-chicky (really not a good look past your forties) and – absolutely pivotal this – they cover your bum and make your legs look slimmer.

Meet Mulberry’s knitting nans

They’re also textured or patterned or have little contrasting patch pockets (Chinti and Parker) or flashes of primary colours. The woolly got interesting, or at least enough of a statement to replace jackets. Come to think of it, I’ve hardly worn a jacket for months. What looks like a jacket (see above right) is a knit – the perfect hybrid.

The only catch is they’re a bit warm. But even this is being addressed. Whistles has just done some block-coloured fine knits for spring that can be layered over shirts or worn on their own. Gap’s new V‑neck cardigans in a nylon, acrylic and wool mix have cute neon-lined pockets, while Topshop has lovely J W Anderson-esque bobble-knit Sloppy Joes for around £32, which you could sling over a T-shirt for now, then later on wear without a coat.

I should emphasise that the bobbles are deliberate. These new knits are meant to have personality, but that’s not to be confused with being tired and emotional. To pass muster as a smart-jacket alternative, they need to be pristine and pressed.


Left to right: Karlie Kloss and Cara Delevingne PHOTO: GETTY

Two models seem to have the fashion world at their feet right now. Karlie Kloss is lofty, supremely elegant, a little bit disengaged-looking, with cheekbones every bit as calciferous as the Rockies – and an amazing body. But if I’m honest, she seems a little bit bland to me. The other is Cara Delevingne, a dazzlingly pretty, self-styled kook with a weakness for onesies and gurning in front of the camera. Guess which is the Brit.

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