In theory, summer is about breezy shorts, swimsuits and diaphanous dresses. But now and then we need something more substantial, such as a seasonless sweater – a piece sturdy enough to see you through chillier moments: a meeting in a frigid conference room; a film in an over-air-conditioned cinema; a day out when the weather does what British weather does best – swing cold.
Few designers pay attention to the seasons any more. You’re as likely to find a great jumper or leather skirt in a spring/summer collection as you are in an autumn/winter one. The line that has historically separated the two has grown more porous – and it’s the same in our own closets. When was the last time you packed away your winter wardrobe in order to make room for your summer dresses? I no longer bother. I wore a lightweight coat and cashmere sweater just yesterday. And the day before that, a T-shirt and miniskirt. As the climate crisis disrupts our seasons, the way we define “summer” and “winter” wardrobes is bound to evolve.
This shift is not lost on most designers; the pre-fall collections (essentially an entire season dedicated to seasonless dressing) are filled with all-year-round knits. Stella McCartney did one with oversized sleeves and large, drawstring cut-outs at the shoulders, while Sarah Burton created a fitted, bejewelled cable knit for Alexander McQueen.
The seasonless sweater can make an outfit work, with little additional effort. This isn’t about your average Uniqlo crew neck (though I own plenty of those); it’s a statement, designed to be noticed. The ribbed version by Sandro I’m wearing here is a prime example. All I added was a pair of old Levi’s and leopard heels. Done.
The seasonless sweater should also transcend trends – the idea is to buy the nicest quality you can find, hold on to it and rewear often (better for your wardrobe, budget and the planet).
Inevitably, you will wake up one day and feel as if you have nothing wear. Or you will emerge from the shower, stand in front of your wardrobe and find the things hanging there have lost their appeal. This is when the act of getting dressed, that age-old performance of personal adornment, can feel like more trouble than it’s worth. There are the mornings when the seasonless sweater works the hardest, and will stay your friend all year round.
This article contains affiliate links, which means we may earn a small commission if a reader clicks through and makes a purchase. All our journalism is independent and is in no way influenced by any advertiser or commercial initiative. By clicking on an affiliate link, you accept that third-party cookies will be set. More information.