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Item of the week: the knit dress

By Rachel Douglass

13 Apr 2022


(From left) Image: Nu-in, Zenggi, Ted Baker

What it is:

The knit dress presents an array of options that can attract just about any shopper looking for the perfect, cosy wardrobe addition for the autumn/winter season. To start with, knit silhouette styles cannot be defined as one form. Some take the appearance of an oversized sweater while others have a more body-hugging fit, taking the shape of the wearer through the use of a stretch material. Type of knit is also a factor when selecting the perfect dress. While the cable knit consists of a chunky fit, the rib knit, defined by a vertical stripe pattern, is slightly more lightweight and therefore is useful for even the spring season. Each technique can be the difference between an elevated look or a more casual dress, however, either way, the knit dress can still be used for both daywear or as comfy couch attire. Its range was evident in runway shows for the coming season, where designers experimented with techniques, forms and structure to present creative ways of tackling the trend.

Image: Filippa K

Why you’ll want it:

The knit dress offers up many possibilities for buyers as a garment that can take the wearer from daywear to eveningwear to loungewear. This makes it a good investment piece for shoppers who are looking for versatility and an item that can provide more than one purpose. Additionally, while knitwear can often only be attributed to a specific season, different iterations of the knit dress can provide possibilities for throughout the year. Strappy, lightweight dresses, for example, can work just as well for cooler spring and summer days, taking away the potential need for extra layers. Meanwhile, the chunkier knits, whether complete with a mini or maxi cut, are perfect for standalone options for autumn and winter and still allow for suitable outerwear layers when necessary.

Image: A Line

Where we’ve seen it:

The knit dress wasn’t defined by one specific silhouette or style this season, and was instead presented by brands as an extension of their collection’s individual concepts, meaning that there were many different iterations of the dress style. For American label Coach, the brand presented a handful of knit dresses that were formed using a crochet technique, some complete with bow details that either emphasised the waistline or structured a loose-fit silhouette. The designs were a juxtaposition of other looks from the same collection that boasted bold graffiti prints and displayed a more rugged aesthetic. Similarly, Altuzzara’s knit pieces also contrasted that of the extravagant printed gowns and sequin dresses they were exhibited next to. The American-French label offered up a form-fitting grey maxi dress, layered with a chunky, cable knit cardigan. The dress was elevated through the use of thigh-high slits and fluffy accessories that ensured the look was appropriate for the season ahead. Knitwear was also a prominent part of Eckhaus Latta’s AW22 collection, in which the LA brand presented a range of knit options in a deconstructed fashion. Whether it was a form fitting dress with an exaggerated tassel hem or a layered two-piece that appeared to have a chainmail-like texture, the house made sure to play with the knit technique in creative yet refined ways.

Image: Selected Femme

How to style it:

A knitted dress is the perfect way to sport a sophisticated look while staying both warm and comfortable. For colder days, simply pair the garment with black tights, boots and a long coat. Sneakers can also work with the knit dress, if the wearer is looking for a more casual outfit choice. Slim-fitting versions of the dress can be glammed up with simple accessories, while the looser silhouettes are a more casual wardrobe item and can mostly stand on their own. There is also the option to play with layers. If the dress is a strappy number, bring it to life with a button up or colourful turtleneck underneath or, alternatively, add an overshirt that is tied at the waist to create definition.

Image: Stella McCartney

While the knit dress often appears as a one season garment, the range of iterations available allow for it to work almost all year round. Its diversity in silhouette, technique and style also enables it to appeal to just about any customer who is looking for a refined yet comfortable look that can effortlessly take them from daywear to loungewear.

Image: The Kooples

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Item of the Week