Winter is a time for comfort food. For wrapping up warm, staying in and cosying up to someone special. If the past couple of weeks' worth of temperatures are anything to go by, winter has definitely arrived.
Unfortunately, that snuggling and cosying often means any hopes of looking stylish goes straight out the window. Within the confines of your own home it doesn't matter what you wear. That's right folks, Ugg boots and hoodies ahoy.
But for most of us, as soon as we step outside, our comfort clothes have to disappear. Not all of us have workplace dress standards low enough to allow the hoodie to make its winter appearance a daily occurrence.
In the past, this has made things tricky for men. While womenswear consistently offers a veritable smorgasbord of stylish, comfortable knitwear, it can be slim pickings for the discerning male shopper. But this winter, mankind can breathe a collective sigh of relief, for there are jumpers, cardigans and vests aplenty. So, how do you wear them?
Perfect for layering over a business shirt for work or a tee or polo shirt in the weekend, fine-knit jerseys are a heaven-sent solution for stylish men. The fine-knit jersey will quickly become your go-to warm layer.
Vests are a great option for the workplace. The lack of sleeve means they'll fit comfortably under your suit jacket or blazer without restricting movement, yet if the heater kicks into overdrive in the office, you don't risk overheating.
Cardigans can be a little bit scary, I know. But if you're after a hipster/preppy look, the man-cardy (or mardy, as they're called in our house) is your answer. Buttoned up for the office or undone for a more casual look, you can just chuck on your mardy and head out the door at a moment's notice.
But if the mardy is too risky for you, you can always fall back on the old favourite - a hoodie. Hoodies made of sweatshirting should stay distinctly in the realm of skater/surfer kids and students. But a knit hoodie? Now that's a casual bandwagon I can get on. In fact, several years ago my husband had a lambswool hoodie from Mandatory in Wellington that he wore every day for three years. Eventually it wore so thin it wasn't warm at all, but he continued wearing it until the sleeves wore right through to nothing. It was a great purchase and a great comfort piece.
There are a few keys to making your knitwear last as long as my hubby's hoodie.
The first is content - if it's 100 per cent merino or lambswool, it will last longer than polyester. I realise wool can be expensive, so just buy the highest wool content you can afford. Having said that, wool has come down in price significantly in recent years. Hallensteins have nice wool-blend knits for $39.99.
The other key is to make sure you look after your knits properly. Read the care label. If it says handwash only in warm water, then only handwash it in warm water. Some are okay in the washing machine on a delicates/wool wash, but if you're not sure, handwash for safety's sake. It'll prolong the life of your garment. And for goodness sake, don't throw your wool knits in the dryer! Finally, dry them flat on a clothes horse and store them folded. Coat hangers will stretch the shoulders out in unnatural ways.