This may come as a surprise to anyone who’s witnessed me waxing lyrical on my deep love for neutral clothes and a minimal aesthetic, but up until last month, I didn’t own a black jumper. I know. Who even am I?
I’m going to assume it’s because I’d tracked down the perfect camel knits (& Other Stories) and grey jumpers (M&S and Boden), and an array of striped polos and zip-ups (Zara for the former, H&M for the latter) over the years, so I never felt the need for a black version. I had timeless neutrals down, and since the beauty of a neutral wardrobe is that everything can be mixed and matched and blends seamlessly thanks to the simple colour palette, I didn’t necessarily have a gap that needed filling by a black knit.
Shopping the COS Black Friday sale however (the gift that really gave), and before I headed to the checkout, I spotted a V-neck heavyweight black knit that looked way more expensive than its price tag suggested.
Now, my some of my rules when shopping are that if I have something that already ticks the box, or can’t see a need for this new item, then I can’t buy it. Looking at the jumper in my basket, I envisioned myriad outfits that would suddenly be pulled together by this one long lost staple, and since I didn’t already have one, I bought it. Since acquiring it last month, it’s not an understatement to say it changed my winter wardrobe.
I’m typically a jeans-and-knit gal through winter, but on the days when I go for leather trousers or a coloured tailored pair, my new black knit is the perfect background piece, tying my look together without making any kind of statement. It’s perfect.
Now that my eyes are open to them, I’ve spotted great ones up and down the high street. They’re never made into a big deal, so you’ll rarely catch them in the shop windows styled up. Instead, they’ll be lurking about halfway through the stores on back walls behind statement knits and next to blazers.
Online, they’re easier to sniff out. Filter the knitwear section to just black styles, and on some sites, you can even filter by material. During the sales, I’ll tick ‘cashmere’, but for the rest of the year, merino wool blends are in my budget.
I get why they’re overlooked, so if you’re anything like me and have been passing them up in favour of other knits, I’ve created an edit of the best around right now.
Where to buy the best black knitwear on the high street
The oversized one
Just think: this slouchy knit paired with tailored cream trousers, box-fresh white trainers and gold jewellery. A *chef’s kiss* of an outfit that would work for smart-casual workplaces. & Other Stories excels at knitwear on the high street, and I had to really resist buying this premium style in-store.
Taking inspiration from that infamous Katie Holmes Khaite cardigan, Albaray’s dupe knit is ideal if you want something a little more interesting than a plain jumper. With a low V-neck (wear a thermal vest underneath, or nothing if you’re taking it into evening), and oversized pockets, it has details that make it seem more expensive than it is.
The V-neck knit
Don’t underestimate my hero knit. This is the one I bought over the Black Friday sales (a win!), and have worn it at least 10 times since. The teeny V-neck means it gives off a cool masculine vibe, and I lean into this by wearing it with black tailored or leather trousers and trainers for a sleek off-duty look.
The roll-neck knit
During my black knit journey, I’ve come to the realisation that every winter wardrobe needs a black roll neck. It’s the layer that’ll take all of your blazers and midi dresses through winter to summer, and adds an edge to feminine looks.
The cashmere polo
For amazing quality cashmere that’s easy to care for, M&S should be your first port of call. For the price, it’s unrivalled on the high street, so seasoned black knit wearers should look to invest in a cashmere version for extra warmth and a timeless, long-lasting style.
The luxe cardigan
It’s not every day chunky knit, and if you’re looking to elevate yours for evening, be it with satin trousers and platform heels, or with sparkly slingbacks and a silky midi skirt, you’ll need a fine luxe knit for the job. This slinky Everlane number is a great contender.