1. V-necks with small openings are the best, because they're more versatile. You can wear them with just a v-neck undershirt, button down collared shirt (just make sure the points are tucked in), and with or without a tie. Paired with a sportcoat, they can be more interesting, as they create a layered look that can also help frame your face. 2. Lambswool can pill more than merino, but I find that they can have a more interesting depth in texture and color. Merino wools often come off as very flat to my eye. However, some people have claimed that they've found lambswool to be itchy. I personally haven't found this to be the case. 3. Cotton sweaters are the worst. They don't provide much warmth, at least compared to similar wool sweaters, and their colors are flat and fairly ugly. However, they're easier to take care of, as you can just throw them in the washer and dryer, whereas wool sweaters have to be handwashed or dry cleaned. At the same time, wool sweaters need to be cleaned less often, as they don't pick up smells and dirt as easily as cotton, so I still find cotton to be inferior. 4. Good cashmere is out of your budget. Bad cashmere is a false bargain. Avoid cashmere in your case. 5. Don't do zip up sweaters, and be careful with mock neck 1/4 zip up sweaters. The first makes you look shlubby and the second makes you look like a dad. 6. Go for solid colors, but ones with interesting textures and depth. Here is an example, and here are some others. Ignore the fact that the first link goes to a cardigan that looks a bit like something an old man would wear. Just focus on the how the wool has depth. 7. Go for versatile colors. This slightly depends on what color your pants are. I personally find grey and navy to be the most versatile, but I often also wear the wheat colored one I've shown above. If I was just starting off, however, I would buy grey and navy for now, then branch out into wheat colors, burgundy, and cream. Keep in mind what color your jackets and outerwear pieces are as well. The general tip is that you want your pieces to contrast. For example, if you have mainly blue and brown pants, then you'll want a grey sweater. This will work even better if your outerwear pieces tend to not to be grey. 8. Be careful about buying sweaters where you think the material will stretch easily. Sweaters made out of poor materials will lose their shape much more quickly than ones made from better materials. This will be especially true if you tend to do things like push your sleeves up, which essentially stretches the fabric out. Don't be afraid of investing in quality sweaters. It may take some time for you to develop a sense of how good the material is, but you should start paying attention now. One good sweater that will last you 5-7 years is better than one poor sweater that will lose its shape after 1-2 years. 9. Keep in mind that a knit tailor can taper your sweaters. Thus, you only need to make sure that the sweater fits the shoulders, arms, neck, and length correctly. If it seems baggy at the sides, just bring it to a knit tailor. They'll taper it in and you'll have a much, much better looking piece. I personally never worry about whether a sweater is too baggy at the sides because I have the number to a good knit tailor. Make sure the tailor you bring your piece to is competent however. You may want to get recommendations from high end stores or perhaps send in a "tester" knit - some piece that you won't mind if the job gets botched up, and you can use to examine their work. 10. Lastly, remember that a sweater should hit just below the belt line. You want something that doesn't make your legs look too short or your torso too long. Good luck on your search. For what it's worth, the companies I mainly turn to for sweaters are Ralph Lauren, Brooks Brothers, and John Smedley. Of course, these makers might not necessarily work for you, but I thought I'd say a bit about my own experience. Some of the designer pieces at places such as Barneys NY will also have nice things, but they can be a bit over designed, and perhaps something you should pick up well after you're comfortable with your basics.
post #16 of 20
1/8/11 at 3:23am