How to dress like a grown-up with Shane Watson: Be fashion-forward in an elegant springtime knit

For those of us who are into fashion but not the silly stuff — you won’t be reading about that tiny bag that’s too small to fit a phone in here — there are certain fashion terms that arouse suspicion.

A sleeveless coat is one. Carrot-shaped pants, another one that’s popping up a lot these days – spring knits.

What’s the problem with spring knits? Maybe it’s the fact that they sound a bit pointless. It can also be the suggestion of Easter bonnet pastels, neat cardigans, short sleeves – none of which sounds appealing. But maybe we should give Spring Knitting a shot.

Kendall Jenner (pictured) in a knit crop top in New York. Shane Watson says she recommends the sleeveless sweater or tank top

First of all, we live in a country where, even in warmer weather, you often need more than just shirt sleeves under a jacket. For this reason, I heartily recommend (not for the first time) the sleeveless sweater or tank top because they are so useful and stay useful well into winter.

If you don’t already have a pair I bet because you think they make you look fat. They won’t, and if you’re tall on top, just get one with a deep V, like Cos’ Longline Crochet Knit V-neck (£69, cosstores.com).

Jade Thirlwall (pictured) in London opted for a knitted waistcoat paired with a large blue shirt.  Shane describes this look as perfect for summer cocktails

Jade Thirlwall (pictured) in London opted for a knitted waistcoat paired with a large blue shirt. Shane describes this look as perfect for summer cocktails

Indeed, a loose sleeveless jumper can be extremely flattering, and if you have toned arms, they’ll look elegant peeking out from the dropped shoulders of a deep V-neck cashmere vest (£125, cosstores.com). That plus a pair of chic wide-leg pants is your early summer cocktail look sorted.

Amanda Holden (pictured) in a black cardigan and leather-look trousers for a smart-casual look

Ann Marie (pictured) in a colorful ensemble, including a knitted vest

Left: Amanda Holden in a black cardigan and leather look pants for a smart casual look. Right: Ann Marie in a brightly colored ensemble with a knitted vest

Sleeveless jumpers add an Annie Hall-esque preppy levity, especially in Cricket White and Cream (£59, crewclothing.co.uk); and a striped tank top (£16, weekday.com) under a pantsuit jacket keeps it looking more youthful. I like to wear a navy blue V-neck cotton tank top (£125, meandem.com) with a bright blue Nrby shirt to brighten up dark jeans, and a solid color tank top to warm up a summer dress and give it a 2022 upgrade (£ 55 , arcet.com).

The second category of spring knits is the 1970s short-sleeve top, which also looks a lot like something a country girl would have worn on a special Sunday (pretty, but also simple). I bought one in textured navy and white with three-quarter puff sleeves from Me+Em last year and have worn it more than anything else. The new version comes in an orange and cream stripe or a cream chevron stitch (£125 and £135, menandem.com).

I wear the stripe for work with high-waisted navy pants, under a pantsuit, with a denim midi skirt, or with khaki pants.

I’ll wear it in the evening too, with silky trousers, maybe in a blue and white print. For me, the volume in the sleeve and the extra length make it a lot more flattering than a regular short-sleeve knit, but if your arms can take it there are some chic t-shirt styles, including the Breton-inspired Cos Stripe (£39).

KNITWEAR: THE RULES 2022

  • Note texture and contrasting trims
  • Pouf sleeves are flattering beyond plain
  • Wear a bright knit to break up all white
  • Combine a striped knit with a print

This one has a navy blue block top, beige collar and a navy blue tie with cream stripes that hits just below the ribs and looks smart enough to wear with a Chanel suit.

The new Clash Cardigan is almost as practical. An old printed dress looks instantly modern when you throw another print into the mix, and the easiest way to do that is with a bright striped cardigan.

New Look’s candy pink and scarlet style (£19.99, newlook.com) isn’t just a nod to the season’s hot color combo, it’s a sophisticated way to refresh all manner of prints. To successfully collide, all you have to do is strike the right note and be brave.

After all, there’s always room in your closet for a sheer, long-sleeved sweater in a sherbet shade that you can hang around your neck for a pop of color. (If the prospect of wearing all white or cream seems daunting, this is your safety net article.)

Cos has a crew neck in yellow or green cashmere (£135), Marks & Spencer’s icy pink crew neck sets off reds or blues nicely (£19.50, marksandspencer.com) and Nrby’s roomy coral jumper (£99, nrbyclothing.com) hits to the place.

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