It’s Time to Embrace “Crazy Knit Spring”

You deserve a bright, fun and unexpected sweater this season. We've got picks.

February 15, 2022 12:39 pm
a compilation of 6 sweaters on a cloud background

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Hard on the heels of the failed “hot vax summer” and subsequent “omicron winter,” the rising temps and quickly-approaching seasonal shift means it’s almost time for what we’re coining “Crazy Knit Spring.” Why? Because your friendly neighborhood Tom Holland — also, the world’s biggest and best designers, showcasing their brand-new collections in Milan and Paris — said so. And who could blame him? A lightweight sweater is the perfect transitional layer.

It’s not just Holland who has recently been spotted stunting in an out-there jumper. Tyler the Creator’s periwinkle sweater vest situation was one of the most universally-lauded looks of Paris Fashion Week, and who could forget the infamous Kyle Kuzma Raf Simons sweater debacle? All around you, wild knits are hiding in plain sight.

Truly, there’s no sartorial job too big or too small for a well-woven knit, especially given the range of the category. Sure, fisherman and full-wool might be headed back into the closet, but a lightweight cardigan suddenly seems like a viable means of defense against weather, and one might even consider a (very bold) sweater vest, sans shirt, pending a balmy spring day.

And why crazy? Isn’t that a bit … much? Not so, reader. In fact, don’t you think it feels entirely appropriate to embrace out-there styles after a shitty winter and a shitty two years? We all need a bit of fun in our lives. Plus, crazy is really just a catch-all — from vests to v-necks, cardigans to crewnecks, there’s a style and a fit for everyone, no matter your comfort level.

To help you figure out if you’re more of a cardigan cat or luxury lifer, we’ve compiled a list of all the ways you can rock knits this spring, and some of our favorite styles. These layers range from r/basicbastard to downright avant garde, traverse tax brackets and generally run the gamut of sweaters. Pick what makes you feel at ease, or maybe pick something that makes you feel really, really uncomfortable. Whatever you choose, know that it is your god-given right to rock a crazy-good knit this spring.

The Beginner’s Choice — Not-So-Simple Crewnecks

a collage of sweaters
Left to Right: AMI Paris, Wills, Saturday’s NYC
End/Huckberry/Saturdays NYC

Our Pick: Wills Spacedye Alpaca Crew Sweater

Runners Up: Ami Large A Heart Crew Knit, Saturdays NYC Charles Mohair Stripe Sweater

The casual crewneck isn’t just a spring style move — it’s the wardrobe staple. Even for the most uninspired dressers, a pullover crewneck can be an easy way to spice up your style. Try incorporating one element — fabric, color, texture, even graphics — that you might not typically go for into your spring sweater game, and watch the compliments roll in. The Wills Alpaca Crew Sweater is a perfect example of an upgraded knit: traditional in every way, except for the subtle dye-job. Likewise, the striped Charles Sweater adds some funky mohair to the mix, and the otherwise standard Ami Crew throws in an (extremely hot) heart graphic for that little something-something.

The On-Trend Option — Crazy Cardigans

a collage of cardigans
END. Clothing/Corridor/Mr. Porter

Our Pick: Corridor Handknit Grandpa Crochet Cardigan

Runners Up: A Kind Of Guise Kohaku Cardigan, Paul Smith Wool Cardigan

The grampa-ication of fashion is complete — cardigans are the hottest piece of knitwear around. Especially cardigans that look like they’ve been sitting in a closet for 35 years. Crocheted, wool, or otherwise geriatric vicinal textures and fabrics are encouraged. For our money, Corridor makes the best cardigan around. Chunky, slouchy, and patterned to perfection, it’s the ultimate springtime corduroy compliment. Get wacky with it, too. Inspired by the Japanese noragi jacket, A Kind of Guise’s Kohaku ties at the waist (no buttons, bo problem), and Sir Paul Smith’s wool cardigan-blazer hybrid feels fancy enough to replace your sports coat. 

Sun’s Out, Guns Out — Sweater Vests

a collage of sweater vests
END. Clothing/COS/Brooks Brothers

Our Pick: Cos Rack-Stitch Knitted Vest

Runner Up: Brooks Brothers Fair Ilse Vest, Gucci Tank Top Vest

Vests are perhaps the wildcard of spring sweaters — only recently re-inaugurated into the sartorially sound club (a joint appointment, along with short shorts, cargo pants, penny loafers and balaclavas), they tend to lean on extremes. For instance, the Brooks Brother’s Fair Isle Vest might seem extra pocket-protector adjacent at first, but with a big shirt and some flared trousers a la Paul McCartney, it’s the perfect ’70s spring get-up. Likewise, a Gucci Tank Top might be a little intimidating — in both dollar amount and fit — but if Harry Styles has taught us anything, it’s to embrace our fears in Italian-spun cotton. COS’ knitted iteration is the pinnacle of a spring sweater vest: cozy enough to wear on its own and poppy enough to sport over a white tee, it’s truly the perfect lightweight layer for your day-to-day excursions.

Mr. Money Bags — Luxury Jumpers

a collage of luxury sweaters
Mr. Porter

Our Pick: Tom Ford Degradé Cashmere, Mohair and Silk-Blend Sweater

Runner Up: Marni Argyle Mohair-Blend Sweater, Celine Homme Jacquard Sweater

We get it. Not everyone has the funds, or the desire, to buy an expensive sweater. But if you’ve got the means and you’re so inclined, there’s nothing wrong with blowing some skrill on a luxury label. After all, you know what they say: Once you go cashmere, you never go back. Luckily, the Venn diagram of thousand-dollar sweaters and crazy spring knits is a circle. Tom Ford, Marni, Celine Homme all feature in our top picks, as does mohair. We loved it on Knicks star Julius Randle — why not you?

Fresh From the Runway — Must Have Designers

a collage of sweaters
Lyst/END. Clothing/END. Clothing

Our Pick: Bode Sport Dog Crew Knit

Runner Up: Adidas x Wales Bonner Knit, Rick Owens Black Cape Sleeve Crewneck Sweater

Knits are one of the easiest ways to dip the toe not only into the world of luxury but of cutting-edge fashion, as well. Some designs, like Bode’s down-to-earth crewneck, feel familiar and easy to rock. Others, like the shoulder-less Rick Owens Cape Sweater, are a bit more of a departure for normal-folk wear. We encourage you to test your boundaries and try new things; there’s a big wide world of knits out there, just waiting to be explored.

Practically Obscene — Graphic Sweaters

a collage of graphic sweaters
Abercrombie/Rowing Blazers/Ralph Lauren

Our Pick: Rowing Blazers Warm and Wonderful Sheep Sweater

Runner Up: Abercrombie & Fitch Oversized Scenic Pattern Crew Sweater, Polo Ralph Lauren Polo Bear Sweater

This ain’t your average graphic tee. Printed and embroidered sweaters don’t have to read “pre-teen department store.” Au contraire, the best of the best graphic sweaters manage classy and playful expectations simultaneously. The key to sporting a crazy graphic is twofold; the first is up to confidence, but strategically choose your battles is just as important — stick with iconic figures (we’re looking at you, Polo Bear) and playful designs. Remember, in the case of Rowing Blazer’s W&W Sheep Sweater, you’re wearing literal little lambs on your jumper — it’s not that serious.

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