There ought to be some kind of medal for services to knitwear awarded to Katie Holmes. It was the diminutive actor who sent the internet into an absolute tizz in 2019 when she stepped out onto a New York street and hailed a cab wearing a Khaite cashmere bra and cardigan.
The cult brand may come with a steep price tag but the cardigan/bra set – the bradigan as it has since been dubbed – has become just one example of how knitwear has had a makeover in recent years. Sure, it might be sweater weather but the options for knitwear, well, they’re knot what they used to be.
Take Christopher Esber, who routinely produces knitted dresses and tops with a distinctly provocative twist, thanks to cut-outs and slinky silhouettes. Or Danish brand Ganni with its rainbow-hued knitted dresses and jewel-encrusted cardigans. Or even Byron Bay’s Nagnata, with its modern, merino wool take on activewear.
Even that knitwear mainstay, the cardigan, has had a makeover. Whether it’s the itty-bitty, super sexy numbers from cool French brand Jacquemus worn by it-girls such as Hailey Bieber, the aforementioned almost unbearably luxurious ones from Khaite or Harry Styles’ viral patchwork JW Anderson one, the cardigan is no longer the domain of sensible librarians.
For more proof, consider the recent Netflix series Anatomy of a Scandal. Sure, it was a study of privilege and consent, but it was also a masterclass in Sienna Miller wearing excellent knitwear. If it’s anything, thanks to Sienna Miller, this winter is one for wearing a turtleneck with everything (see also Ralph Lauren’s most recent collection where Gigi Hadid wore a black turtleneck under a white button down for a twist on all-American elegance).
All of these examples prove that knitwear retains its essential cosy usefulness and comfort, but it can be an elevated piece in your wardrobe too.
Elevated and interesting knitwear is something that Australian designer Anna Hoang has earned a loyal following for with her label Anna Quan. In addition to sharp tailoring and crisp shirting, Hoang’s knitted dresses, tops, skirts and more are easy to wear and flattering for most.
Hoang says her customers appreciate how the brand’s knitwear provides them with plenty of outfit options. “We receive regular feedback from customers regarding the versatility, comfort, and endurance of their favourite Anna Quan knitwear pieces … Recently, we introduced an innovative blend of knitwear crafted from cotton, nylon, and elastane to enhance structural integrity, endurance, and body comfort. Pregnant ladies often express their gratitude regarding the knitwear’s ability to comfortably accommodate their evolving shape whilst remaining stylish,” she says.
“Knitwear doesn’t have to be about a lumpy sweater or pilled cardigan. Make it a reliable and versatile ‘hard worker’ in your wardrobe. A well-constructed knitwear piece can stretch and recover well, be machine washable, non-pilling, breathable, and flatter your silhouette.”
As for how to incorporate knitwear into your wardrobe, beyond merely pulling on a jumper, Hoang suggests shaking things up. “Many people have a preconceived notion about knitwear – about its traditional symbolism, and how it should be worn and styled. It’s time to let go and experiment,” she says.
“I like to mix and match knits with woven items, and juxtapose textures to add interest and play with proportions. It’s very much about styling the knitwear in a way that is non-traditional and unexpected to create a little ‘theatre’, but still effortlessly stylish.”
And ultimately, who doesn’t want to wear an outfit with impact and also not lose an ounce of effortlessness or comfort?
Just ask Katie Holmes.