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Sweaters, tightly-knit or loose?

King Salmon

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I'm looking to buy some sweaters (it'll be cold soon here in Alaska). Is it better to get one with a loose knit (very stretchy) or tight knit (not very stretchy)?

It seems like loose would be a bit more comfortable, but would it lose its shape over time?

Does the ply matter? Assuming the same weight, would a higher ply be better?
 

chasingred

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If you buy on the low end, it's safer to go with a tighter knit, as it'll retain its shape longer. On the high end, you can go either way.
 

a pine tree

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Just go find some cheap old scratchy loose-knit wool sweaters from 15+ years back.

Cheap, durable, and effective!
 

Belligero

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From my experience in temperatures below -40, the cut of the sweater and the quality of the wool makes a bigger difference than the tightness of the knit.

Personally, I'd go for something a bit tighter knit and and fitted. It will be more versatile than a super thick sweater, and you can regulate your temperature much more easily. Also, the loose ones make it tough to put on overgarments, and do nothing to block wind.

As an example of functionality, Canadian and Scandinavian military wool sweaters use a tight knit and an athletic, trim cut, but still provide plenty of stretch and aren't confining.
 

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