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Item of the week: the grey sweater

By Rachel Douglass


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(From left) Image: French Connection, Superdry, Y.A.S.

What it is:

While not exactly the most electrifying item of the week, the grey sweater reigned supreme on the runways of the autumn/winter 2023 season. Among the frills and florals, this minimalist pullover style was spotted throughout a vast number of collections, often paired with statement pieces and contrasting colourings that made it a must-have layer for the colder months ahead. While the silhouette of the sweater differed from line to line, from bulging sleeves to exaggerated hemlines to structured shoulders, the look-and-feels were also not constrained to one style, with designers exhibiting an array of materials and prints to elevate the look.
Image: Kuyichi

Why you’ll want it:

The grey sweater is a simple, yet effortless addition to a wardrobe, and can be embraced by a wide group of consumers as an easy option that works all year round. As a staple item, the sweater is versatile and doesn’t fall out of fashion regardless of the season or time period. This essential garment is something that shoppers will return to year after year, and doesn’t require them to step outside of their comfort zone. It can simply exist as an easy throw on, a layer for warmth or an item that can be paired with just about anything.
Image: A Fish Named Fred

Where we’ve seen it:

While the grey sweater may admittedly be not the most exciting garment, for autumn/winter 2023 designers took the simple piece to the runway with updated iterations that made it more engaging. While Victoria Beckham, Loewe and Patou played with varying proportions, Isabel Marant and Jil Sander experimented with metallic detailing for their own fluffy sweaters. Hermès, Zegna and Kolor updated the look with patchwork, merging differing materials and prints. Meanwhile, Prada kept it simple, showing a range of minimalistic grey sweaters that were paired with textured midi skirts. For Giorgio Armani and Fendi, the sweater was used as a ‘logomania’ piece, with enlarged prints coursing through the knits.
Image: Burberry

How to style it:

With such a simple item, styling allows for many possibilities. The colour itself is neutral, making it a one that works well with just about any other hue, once again making it adaptable depending on the wearer’s desires. Particularly good combination colours are that of red, lilac and blue, all of which were deemed to be colours of the AW23 season, and were also seen in abundance on the runways. It is also possible to take cues from designers when styling the piece, like Prada, which showed its grey sweaters with sheer midi skirts or matching, structured overcoats, or Kolor, whose sweater was layered with an oversized cardigan in a matching grey.
Image: S. Oliver
Ultimately, the grey sweater was a stand out product for this season, favoured by designers and consumers alike as a versatile item that never falls out of fashion. Its appeal spreads across consumer groups and seasons, making it a great investment piece that will last all year long.
Image: La Ligne

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French Connection
Item of the Week