The 17 Knit Trends We’ll Be Hibernating In All Autumn & Winter Long

Designed by Kristine Romano.
The leaves are turning gold, the air is distinctly crisp and I’m deep into my annual Gilmore Girls rewatch. Yes, autumn is here and it can mean only one thing: the return of sweater weather. Say what you will about the season – shorter days, darker nights, tumultuous weather – but you cannot beat being swaddled in an ultra soft knit. It’s like a bear hug, a cup of tea and an evening by the fire, all rolled into one.
Whether you’re a Meg Ryan in When Harry Met Sally, turtleneck-under-a-blazer kind of person, haven’t been able to stop thinking about Chris Evans’ perfect cable knit in Knives Out or are all about kitsch, embroidered cardigans, the beauty of knitwear is that there are just so many options out there. This season especially, designers are leaning into a comfort-first approach to autumn/winter dressing. On the AW21 runways we saw everything from extra thick yarns to skintight, mesh-like knits; dress sets, sweater vests and capes; candy colours and earthy neutrals; patchwork designs and graphic prints. After more than 18 months of working from home, spending our days moving from desk to sofa to bed, rolling out of pyjamas and into loungewear, we are thrilled.
To kickstart sweater season in style, we’ve scoured the AW21 shows, window-shopped our favourite brands and curated a guide to the best knitwear trends around. Read on for the 17 styles keeping you cosy and comfortable all autumn long.

Gradient knits

You want a touch of colour to brighten your autumn days but a primary bold is a bit too much – especially against the muted, earthy tones of the season. Enter the gradient knit: a softer wash of colour, whether a single hue or different rainbow shades bleeding into each other. There’s something about the haziness of these knits that just adds to the cosy vibe.

Granny square crochet

If it doesn’t look like your nan knitted it for you in front of Countryfile, then we don’t want it. Granny square crochet knits are a statement in themselves so keep the rest of your outfit simple.

Extra chunky, extra oversized fits

Using extra thick yarn, these chunky, extra oversized knits take sweater weather to a whole new level. The undoubted queen of chunky knits is Hope Macaulay, a Northern Irish designer whose Colossal Knit Jackets in the sweetest sorbet shades you’ve probably already seen all over Instagram.

Wraparound, ballet-style cardigans

Who knew 8-year-old you, coming home from ballet class, was such a style icon? Whether you opt for an on-theme baby blue (like this style from & Other Stories) or an autumnal neutral like Gap’s super soft design, a wraparound cardigan is best styled with straight-leg jeans, heeled ankle boots, a blazer and a knit beret for a cool, Parisian look à la Jeanne Damas.

Collared knits

Hitting the sweet spot between preppy polo shirts and lightweight knits, we can’t get enough of collared sweaters and cardigans this season. When it’s cold out and layering is your only hope to stay warm, the collar peeking out adds much-needed dimension and interest.

Knit sets and co-ords

When in doubt, opt for a knit co-ord. Not only are they super comfy and the perfect seasonal update to your WFH loungewear situation, they look polished and offer multiple outfits in one. Win-win!

Graphic print knits

Graphic prints aren’t going anywhere for AW21, they’re just migrating to your knitwear drawer – logo prints and abstract patterns alike.

Knit one-pieces and bodysuits

Every trend has its more stylish, harder-to-wear iterations as well as those that make everyday dressing a breeze. Dodo Bar Or's pointelle-knit playsuit and Jaded London’s dupe are the former – you’ll have to wriggle out of these after a night out. For easier moving around, try the looser silhouettes of Free People’s Easy Living One-Piece and Allude’s Wool-Blend Jumpsuit.

Landscape print knits

Lockdown’s landscape prints aren’t going anywhere. Clearly we're all still dreaming of quaint countryside vistas, mountain retreats and seaside sunsets.

Knit dresses

Knit dresses are far more sophisticated than your typical oversized jumper. We’re wearing ours with knee-high boots and faux leather trench coats while it’s still warm enough.

Knit vests

We can thank Harry Styles for many things but it’s his affinity with a knit sweater vest that we love most. They provide another layer during winter’s coldest days and, if you opt for a kitschy, grandpa print, add colour, pattern and interest to an otherwise simple outfit.

Knits with cutouts

Not even your knitwear drawer is immune to AW21’s love of a cutout. Our favourite way to opt into this trend is with statement tops: thinner knits with detailed, cutout necklines. An autumn update on the classic 'jeans and a nice top'.

Classic turtleneck jumpers

You can’t go wrong with a classic turtleneck. Wear yours now with plaid skirts and knee-high boots for a Dark Academia-inspired look and under dresses, blouses and sweater vests once the temperature drops.

Half-zip knits

Kinda sporty, kinda preppy, all around stylish – the half-zip knit jumper is ideal for the transition from summer to winter and autumn’s unpredictable weather.

Embroidered knit cardigans

In a world of chunky knits and oversized fits, delicately embroidered cardigans are a sweet palate cleanser. Button one up with your favourite jeans for a simple but romantic date-night look.

Cable knit jumpers

Of course we had to include the classic cable knit, if only to honour the very best examples in pop culture. Alongside Chris Evans in Knives Out, there’s Billy Crystal in When Harry Met Sally and Marilyn Monroe in Let’s Make Love.

Striped knits

Whether you go for extra thick or delicate stripes, rainbow brights or the classic Breton navy and cream, you can’t go wrong with a striped knit or two in your autumn arsenal.

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