Nerdy jumpers are the unlikely garments stepping into fashion limelight – should we lament or celebrate the ultimate bad taste trend?



It’s not news that, in time, uncool becomes cool. Chinos, once restricted to dads and golfers, have recently taken the high street by storm, challenging denim as the king of the trousers. Shirts are now worn buttoned right up, and sensible loafers are frequently replacing killer stilettos. And of course, every self-respecting hipster has at least a few Polaroid snaps of themselves working geek glasses saved on their MacBook.

But surely, woolly jumpers just cannot be sexy? There’s something about a red sweater complete with snowflakes that conjures up images of unwanted Christmas presents and feigned smiles, when what you really wanted from Grandma was that Gameboy Advance game. Thanks ever so much, it certainly looks… Cosy. Remember those times you were forced to wear it for “Boxing Day Walks”, trying to work out what offended you more; the blatant uncool factor, or the itchy, itchy wool.

Trust Chanel to change all that. Lagerfeld’s Autumn/Winter 07/08 show, set in Paris’ Grand Palais, paraded some of the world ‘s most beautiful people wearing some of the geekiest knits around. Male and female models both strutted the catwalk wearing kiddie penguin prints and cable knits. Then, the next winter, Stella McCartney created a collection where polar bears zigzagged across the chests of some of fashion’s most famous models.

But this was not just a passing trend confined to the world of high fashion – Zara’s new season wolf sweater is a contemporary bargain at only £36. It injects a portion of humour into your wardrobe and keeps you toasty all through The Bubble’s chilly winters – who can argue with that? Wear with leggings and ballet pumps for a relaxed feel, or toughen up with Chelsea boots and leather jacket for an edgier, slightly ironic take. Topshop’s £40 cross-stitch floral knit could equally be worn for lunch with the parents, or for drinks at Ma Bells; just add black skinnies. If you’re a guy, team with desert boots and slim fit jeans to avoid looking too bulky; the key is to keep everything else fairly fitted. Hunt in charity shops and vintage stores for one-off patterns and hand-knitted gems to avoid being twins with half of your tutorial group.  But most of all, I say wear with pride. It’s a look that is practical and funny, a nod to the past and the present, simultaneously cool and uncool. In the words of Bridget Jones to a reindeer-clad Mark Darcy at the fateful turkey curry buffet – “nice jumper!”


Anna Samson


Photographer: Holly Tarbet

Model: Kris Leask