I can trace my love affair with the navy sweater back to my childhood. Long summers spent in rural France, it was worn by anyone and everyone, and seemed to me the epitome of laid back chic, pulled on over a cotton shirt or simply draped around the shoulders.
I recall returning home to Yorkshire after such a holiday and spending my meagre clothing allowance on a Marks & Spencer navy round neck sweater – absolute classic – and I wore it everywhere, from school (no uniform in the sixth form) to the local pub for our Friday evening ‘socials’!
Twenty five years later, I have seven navy sweaters in my wardrobe. This particular piece of clothing, in any form, is one of the first things I will grab if I’m not sure what to wear, or need to hedge my bets over the possible dress code for a given occasion.
As we age (no getting away from that?!) navy is generally more flattering and softer on the complexion than black, and classic styles can be dressed up or down.
My current favourite is a simple, crew neck in cashmere that I bought from & Other Stories a couple of years ago. It sits just on the waist and is slightly shorter at the front than the back. I wear it with everything from jeans to a smart pencil skirt and heels.
Then there is the v neck version I bought on holiday in the Canaries a couple of years ago, when I was caught out by the chilly evenings of late March. It was my first holiday alone with the children and packing my own clothes had not really been a priority. The day times were fine – sunny, breezy but still ok to swim in the pool. But the evenings…. I tried to brave it in a yellow sundress and a cashmere throw on Evening One, and had to have a hot bath when I got back to the room after dinner, to prevent the onset of hypothermia! All those chic ladies I had seen bikini-clad around the pool in the afternoon were sensibly dressed in jeans, sweaters and jackets for their evening excursions. Day Two, I managed to find a men’s, pure wool navy jumper in the hotel boutique, and justified the purchase knowing I could continue to wear it when I got home to London.
Cos Stores do great fine knit, round neck sweaters, and I have the navy version (and also the grey and the forest green). With looser trousers, or my favourite boyfriend jeans, the slim fit is perfect. I also have another Cos navy sweater, this one with a silk buttoned front, bought a couple of years ago.
On another holiday, this time in Crete (there’s something about relaxing abroad that encourages me to shop?!) I bought a longer length, navy cotton sweater. I was feeling slightly bohemian at the time(!) – a mixture of lazy days, beach, sunset and the occasional little glass of Raki. It is a heavier cotton knit, more of a marine blue, and has a beaufiful round keyhole at the back.
If you are in the market for a new sweater, why not try something ethically produced, for example the Hand-Knitted Navy Blue Wool Sweater by ABURY Collection.
Abury sells unique handmade collections made by local communities all over the world. It’s Foundation re-invests a part of profits back into education and community projects in the communities it works with. Win win.
Or, at the higher end, you could try Brunello Cucinelle. Each collection features products that are made in Italy by craftsmen who live in a sustainable village in Umbria. Cucinelli believes that “money only has real value when it is spent to improve the life and development of people,” so he donates a large part of his profits towards restoring and renovating the hamlet in which his workers live, and supporting arts initiatives there. Most of his knitwear is made of ethically sourced, pure cashmere and merino wool
Finally, according to colourtherapyhealing, the colour blue is calming, relaxing and healing and also the colour of communication. It relates to self expression, and the spirit of truth and purpose.
Do you need any more reasons…?