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One Woman’s Brave Search For The Perfect Knit

What does the perfect knit mean to you? A whisper of warmth or a big bear hug?

By Rebecca Tay

Does anyone else wish that sweaters and knits took up just a little less room? That we could extract a single one from the shelf without the rest, all neatly folded, coming tumbling down? That hanging them didn’t lead to saggy shoulders and unsightly lumps and bumps?

Yes, if I could have a wardrobe full of knits, I would. Instead, my shelves of jumpers are tightly packed, and adding a new one usually means rehoming another. But it’s not all bad: it means tightly editing the styles I keep on rotation, making sure I truly love it, and that it meets all necessary parameters.


Cotton knit sweater, Marimekko, $238; Skirt, Iris and Ink, $330; Shoes, Rebecca’s own.

Which brings me to parameters. For me, the perfect winter knit is one that can be worn with both jeans and skirts – that strikes that perfect, elusive balance between casual and refined, and that I can wear on the weekend, to the local, full-of-cool-kids café, but also to the office or for a work video call. Oh, and it goes without saying that it has to be warm.

Chunky or fine are both good in my books: a grey cashmere sweater that’s so thin it feels like wearing warm tissue paper is my ultimate multi-tasker (I love it with a bold skirt or coloured trousers), while a mustard wool mock neck with thick cables and generous ribbing is also getting plenty of outings at the moment. In fact, these sorts of dichotomies seem to be dominating my feeds in general: knitwear right now is either finely ribbed, very thin and barely hits the waist (and worn with loose-fit jeans, low slung to reveal just a thin band of Gen Z skin), or it’s oversized, somewhat shapeless, and goes to the thigh (and also worn with loose-fit jeans).


Wool jumper, COS, $175; Mini skirt, JAG, $100; Gold hoop earrings, Arms of Eve, $95; Shoes, Rebecca’s own.

A few years back, I—like many other millennials on Instagram and general fashion folk—went hard on that trend of leaving my hair tucked into a turtleneck, as though I’d forgotten to flip it out after pulling my head through. Now, though, a turtleneck that’s too tight gives me serious neckache: something about the constrictive shape makes my shoulders and back tense up. No, thanks.

One thing that hasn’t changed for me in years—decades, even—is my preference for colourful knits. Call me consistent (or boring, though how could I possibly be boring when I love a bright yellow sweater? Or one with a cool print?!), but there’s nothing better than pulling on something that’s as comfy as a warm hug but that also brings joy. Because hey, winter can be dull enough. Your sweater game doesn’t have to be.


Cotton-blend sweater, Iris & Ink, $297; Skirt, Lee Matthews, $699; Tote bag, St. Agni, $349; Boots, RM Williams, $649.













Photography: Michael Brunt

Styling: Bree Macara and Lucy Wood

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BY Rebecca Tay

Rebecca is a fashion writer, originally from Canada and now based in Sydney via London, where she worked for NET-A-PORTER and Victoria Beckham. She believes there’s always room for another pair of loafers and another colourful knit.

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