The festive jumper as we know it, consigned to the novelty tag and earmarked as a sign of questionable taste, is no more. In spite of a reputation for poorly judged style, the seasonal knit has managed a meteoric rise to fame over the past couple of years. Now a genuine Yuletide staple, certain incarnations stretch beyond the Christmas period, making great wardrobe warmers throughout the winter period.

Before we really begin, banish all beliefs that the style is limited to grandma’s hand-knitted novelty originals. In fact, the word ‘novelty’ should be dispensed with in its entirety. Over sized, over characterised, in-your-festive-face knitwear is not what you’re aiming for here.

How To Wear: The Festive Jumper
Festive Jumper Lookbook

Men's Festive Jumper Lookbook

Wear With: Textures & Heritage Pieces

We recently ran an article outlining the merits of tweed and, in particular, the tweed blazer. Combine a well cut jacket with your festive knitwear for a seasonally appropriate and heritage inspired look. Layer your jumper over a fitted white shirt and a textured tie, with the blazer then worn over the top.

Corresponding tweed suit trousers dress the look up, although a pair of chinos, cords or even jeans would be suitable additions to produce a more smart-casual edge.

Pick your footwear depending on your trouser choice. Brogues are a safe call for all occasions, while a pair of desert boots work for a more casual, dress-down approach. Loafers are another great choice, although should not be attempted without socks when the frost bites.

Accessorise with a pocket square to take the look up a notch and maybe even a lapel pin for a real individual element:

  • Topman White Long Sleeve Smart ShirtTopman White Long Sleeve Smart Shirt
  • Hampton Fairisle Knit With Shawl CollarHampton Fairisle Knit With Shawl Collar
  • Etro Minete Wool-blend Tweed SuitEtro Minete Wool-blend Tweed Suit
  • Ted Baker True – Semi Plain TieTed Baker True - Semi Plain Tie
  • Reiss Icarus Plain Silk Pocket Square NavyReiss Icarus Plain Silk Pocket Square Navy
  • Grenson Stanley Brogue ShoesGrenson Stanley Brogue Shoes
Wear With: Neutral Anchors

The festive jumper is a superb day-to-day piece and, alongside a pair of casual trousers and complementary shoes, you really can’t go too far wrong. Neutral coloured cords in a slim fit are a superb alternative to your usual chinos and jeans; especially in the winter months as the heavier fabric is well suited to the colder climate.

Boot up and maybe throw in a hem turn up to finish the look. When venturing outside, adopt a wool coat over the top. A grey, single-breasted, shawl collar coat an excellent choice, as the neutral colour is in keeping with the rest of the items and doesn’t threaten to clash or overshadow the jumper, which remains the central piece:

  • Topman Navy Reindeer Pattern JumperTopman Navy Reindeer Pattern Jumper
  • Folk Grey Wool Shawl Blakey CoatFolk Grey Wool Shawl Blakey Coat
  • Marc By Marc Jacobs Slim-fit Corduroy TrousersMarc By Marc Jacobs Slim-fit Corduroy Trousers
  • Base London Icy BootsBase London Icy Boots
Wear With: A Festive Colour Palette

Roll necks have become a major talking point across menswear this autumn/winter. A bright, yet seasonally appropriate palette up top works well alongside deeper colours down below to create a stylish, festive inspired look.

Great for attending Christmas eve drinks or boxing day trips to relatives, considering your colour combinations is enough to take any casual outfit such as this to the next level (so make sure you learn your colour wheel basics).

Add a pair of practical, leather desert boots to the outfit and layer a pea coat over the top to help you brave the elements.

  • Monsieur Lacenaire Louis Fair Isle Wool SweaterMonsieur Lacenaire Louis Fair Isle Wool Sweater
  • Allsaints Frith Pea CoatAllsaints Frith Pea Coat
  • Levis Commuter Burgundy Chinos 511 SlimLevis Commuter Burgundy Chinos 511 Slim
  • Topman Ben Sherman Ezra Desert BootTopman Ben Sherman Ezra Desert Boot
Men’s Festive Knitwear Picks
  • Nn.07 Mens Akira Knit JumperNn.07 Mens Akira Knit Jumper
  • Fair Isle Crew Knit SweaterFair Isle Crew Knit Sweater
  • Burton Montague Burton Buddy CardiganBurton Montague Burton Buddy Cardigan
  • Scotch And Soda Jumper With Snowflake PatternScotch And Soda Jumper With Snowflake Pattern
  • Denim & Supply Ralph Lauren Fairisle JumperDenim & Supply Ralph Lauren Fairisle Jumper
  • Snowflake Knitted Button CardiganSnowflake Knitted Button Cardigan
  • Howlin By Morrison Brian Claret KnitHowlin By Morrison Brian Claret Knit
  • Reiss Crossbow Shawl Neck Jumper Dark GreenReiss Crossbow Shawl Neck Jumper Dark Green
  • Easy Grey Chunky Fairisle Knit JumperEasy Grey Chunky Fairisle Knit Jumper
  • Topman Green Fox And Flake Patterned SweatshirtTopman Green Fox And Flake Patterned Sweatshirt
  • Penfield Lewisville Grey KnitPenfield Lewisville Grey Knit
  • Allsaints Howard Zip Up CardiganAllsaints Howard Zip Up Cardigan
  • Ben Sherman Shawl Collar Fair Isle JumperBen Sherman Shawl Collar Fair Isle Jumper
  • Maison Kitsuné Fair Isle Wool SweaterMaison Kitsuné Fair Isle Wool Sweater
  • Topman Monochrome Snowflake Christmas SweatshirtTopman Monochrome Snowflake Christmas Sweatshirt
Final Word

When selecting your festive knit this holiday season, think well proportioned patterns, variations of Fair Isle and the odd reindeer, snowman, tree or snowflake in proportion rather than detailed or overbearing. A dash of whimsicality is great and all part of the appeal; resemblances to a poorly dressed man-child, however, are not.

Have your say:

  • What are your thoughts on the festive jumper?
  • Seasonal staple or style suicide?
  • Will you be wearing/buying a festive knit this holiday season?
  • How will you style yours?

Let us know in the comments below…