Knitwear Guide for Style, Care and Fit

Knitwear is a wardrobe must in the colder months, and not only for practicality – you quite literally can’t beat a good knit! From polo necks and cardigans to cable knits and jumpers, the autumn/winter seasons present us with endless styling opportunities.

A staple on the autumn/winter runways each year, they lay the foundations for a well-dressed wardrobe. From how to keep your knitwear looking fresh to styling advice, we’re here to help!

knitwear guide

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#1 How should knitwear fit?

Because it comes in so many different styles there’s no simple answer to this question. Depending on personal preference some may prefer a more oversized fit rather than a tighter more snug fit. We would recommend sticking to your usual size or moving up one size if you want to layer over more than your t-shirt. As a general rule, your jumpers should finish just beyond your waistband for the perfect fit and shouldn’t be too snug that you find it hard to lift your arms above your head.

#2 Which fabrics can be washed?

Depending on the composition of your knitwear, you may need to wash it in a particular way, or maybe not at all. Here’s a quick and easy guide on which fabrics can be washed, as always check the label first!

Cashmere – No, most cashmere items will be dry clean only.

Mohair – Hand wash only. Putting mohair in the washing machine can cause your item to shrink.

Wool – Yes, use the wool setting on your machine or hand wash.

Viscose – can be washed in your washing machine, but we would recommend hand washing if you can.

Cotton – Yes , machine wash

Acrylic – Yes, machine wash

#3 How to hand wash knitwear

We always recommend checking out your label first, but most knitwear will either need to be washed on a specific setting on your washing machine or by hand. If you’re washing by hand we suggest following the below steps.

  • Mix lukewarm water with a gentle detergent in your wash basin.
  • Place your item in the mixture and leave to soak for around 15 minutes.
  • Rub gently on any stubborn areas to clean.
  • After 15 minutes remove your knitwear and squeeze out excess water.
  • Place flat on a towel and air dry.
  • Don’t place on drying rack or radiator as this may cause your knitwear to stretch into a different shape or shrink.
knitwear guide


#4 Why does knitwear bobble

It’s inevitable if you don’t look after your knitwear you’ll start to see little bobbles appearing on your favourite jumper. These bobbles are caused by fibres becoming loose by either rubbing on other clothing, washing on too high a cycle or simply any cause of friction. Here are our top tips for keeping your knitwear looking fresh.

  • Try to avoid accessories like bags or jewellery rubbing directly on your knitwear if possible.
  • Wash your knitwear on a delicate cycle that isn’t going to cause too much friction.
  • Invest in a knitwear comb or shaver to reduce your bobble count as you go.

#5 Style tips for men

Knitwear is one of the most versatile parts of your wardrobe, meaning we’re spoilt for choice when it comes to styling. For a smart casual look, wear your knitwear under a casual suit. Alternatively, when you’re looking for more of a relaxed style, team with a pair of denim jeans, casual jacket and trainers.

Etre Cecile knitwear


#6 Style tips for women

Girls, the knitwear styling options are endless. Layer oversized fits over maxi dresses and skirts for a seasonal update to your more feminine wardrobe or team with a pair of denim jeans and chunky boots for your off-duty every day style.


Written by Emma Bowkett

Emma Bowkett

Emma Bowkett

Writer and expert