In search of…evening jumpers

Mulling over the coming season, it has become glaringly obvious to me that there’s a gaping hole in the knitwear market. Namely the ‘evening jumper’ category.

Let me clarify. An evening jumper is a dressy jumper with a little bit of quirky flair. It needs some sort of excitement or surprise, or extravagant detail. But not too much. I admit, I like a hint of novelty in my evening jumpers but only a hint, and it must be juxtaposed against a backdrop of simplicity. So if it’s going to have a bonkers print or motif, the colour, shape and details must be absolutely plain and fuss-free. To quote my styling idol, Polly Allen Mellen in Unzipped, ‘Fussy, finished‘. Indeed. I like Peter Pan collars, some jolly stripage, loveheart-shaped buttons, red, even a jaunty pompom or two, just not all on the same jumper.

The perfect evening jumper needs to be warm and dressy. And crucially for me, mustn’t have a low neckline as I will be wearing about 3 layers of long-sleeve thermal top underneath. My go-to label for getting evening jumpers just right is Sonia Rykiel. Rykiel’s knits are consistently jazzy without being clownish. Bella Freud and Erotokritos do a nice line in them too and to show some skin, I just push the sleeves up and add my Hermes Medor watch or a Cartier-like jewelled bangle. Also – news just in – menswear knit label Sibling is about to launch its first womenswear line. Famed for its primary-coloured leopard-print cardigans and twisted twinsets, it launches at Topshop on September 9th. See, the evening jumper is catching on already…
Blue cashmere-mix sweater, £605, Sonia Rykiel at

Pompom jumper, £216, Sonia by Sonia Rykiel at

Je T’aime Jane merino wool sweater, £200, Bella Freud

Ginsberg is God merino wool sweater, £200, Bella Freud

Black merino wool jumper, £200, Bella Freud at

[Catwalk image: Harper’s Bazaar]