It would appear that almost every week on FashionBeans we are, in one form or another, waxing lyrical about how menswear has broadened its horizons. Particularly the way print, pattern and colour has stamped its mark on both our wardrobes and recent collections, and how the modern style-conscious gent has become more accepting of the ostentatious and what was previously deemed outlandish.

We witnessed the rise of statement tailoring last season, whilst outerwear, shirts, shorts and even shoes have all been the medium prior. Yet this season’s offering presents another new addition; the last bastion to be breached.

Yes, no longer are we restricted to simply plain, neutral or striped knitwear – the industry is presenting us with a plethora of statement styles this year, which are sure to help inject a sense of life and a touch of individuality into your cold weather ensembles.

With this in mind, we break down the three major trends within men’s knitwear for AW13, and show you how to pull off a bold knit in style…

1. Coloured Knitwear

The first in our trio of statement-making knitwear is one that you shouldn’t be too unfamiliar with: coloured versions. Coloured knits are quite possibly the easiest to wear out of the three on show today, especially when introduced into a smart- or business-casual ensemble. Just keep the knitwear plain, simple and as vibrant as your confidence will allow.

Key hues this season are autumnal shades of burgundy and emerald green, whilst cobalt blue and orange continue to be major colour trends across the board. For those looking to really stand out from the crowd, don’t be scared of striking yellow or red; they can be easily neutralised and anchored with a trusty navy blazer and a neutral pair of chinos/trousers.

Whether used for a burst of colour under a suit jacket, as a standalone top layer or simply as a crucial component in a creatively layered look (see the gilet outfit in lookbook below), this statement piece is surprisingly versatile and easy to integrate into your current wardrobe.

Further reading:
Transitional Season Essentials: Lightweight Knitwear
An Introduction To Colour

Get The Look

Inject some seasonal colour into a classic smart-casual outfit by layering a burgundy jumper under a tweed blazer. A white shirt and navy polka dot tie in textured silk anchor this heritage combination in a timeless way.

Dress down the look with some clean, dark blue denim, which helps to balance the smarter top half. Finish with a solid pair of Chelsea boots in tan brown to complete this practical, comfortable and wholly stylish outfit that has a contemporary twist, despite the obvious retention of timeless elements:

  • Reiss Zinc Stretch Poplin WhiteReiss Zinc Stretch Poplin White
  • Reiss Pilot Textured Cotton Knit Wine BerryReiss Pilot Textured Cotton Knit Wine Berry
  • Asos Slim Fit Blazer In TweedAsos Slim Fit Blazer In Tweed
  • Drakes Swiss-dot Shantung Silk TieDrakes Swiss-dot Shantung Silk Tie
  • Nudie Jeans Tape Ted In Dark BlueNudie Jeans Tape Ted In Dark Blue
  • Allsaints Cabot BootAllsaints Cabot Boot
Men’s Coloured Knitwear Lookbook

Men's Bold Coloured Knitwear Lookbook AW13

Woolrich John Rich & Bros aw13el burgues ss14Armand Basi aw13angelo nardelli aw13banana republic aw13ami ss14reiss aw13burton aw12sanahunt ss13
Key Styles
  • He By Mango Cable-knit Cashmere SweaterHe By Mango Cable-knit Cashmere Sweater
  • Steven Alan Cleveland Shawl-neck Cardigan 164902Steven Alan Cleveland Shawl-neck Cardigan 164902
  • Allsaints Aspera Crew JumperAllsaints Aspera Crew Jumper
  • He By Mango V-neck Wool SweaterHe By Mango V-neck Wool Sweater
  • Uniqlo Men Lambswool Blend V Neck CardiganUniqlo Men Lambswool Blend V Neck Cardigan
  • Reiss Orion Woolly Merino Crew Neck Sweater YellowReiss Orion Woolly Merino Crew Neck Sweater Yellow
  • Reiss Cigar Raglan Sleeve Fisherman Knit Blood OrangeReiss Cigar Raglan Sleeve Fisherman Knit Blood Orange
  • Topman Sparks Aran Knit Jumper Topman Sparks Aran Knit Jumper
  • Beams Plus Cable-knit Merino Wool VestBeams Plus Cable-knit Merino Wool Vest
  • Suit Kalle Crew Neck Jumper In MustardSuit Kalle Crew Neck Jumper In Mustard
  • Asos Lambswool Rich Vee CardiganAsos Lambswool Rich Vee Cardigan
  • Esprit V Neck JumperEsprit V Neck Jumper
2. Graphic Knits

Moving on from colour, graphic statement knits are set to become a key piece within menswear this season. Prominent at the global AW13 fashion weeks, it is a trend that has quickly filtered down to the high street, with the style being incorporated into recent lookbooks by major retailers like Reiss, Topman, Debenhams, Primark and River Island.

It’s actually extremely hard to nail down exactly what graphic knits are, with the blanket term being used within the industry to describe a wide range of concepts – from colour-blocking and panelling to stripes and geometric shapes – rather than traditional graphic images (like you would find on tees) being applied to knitwear.

Marni and Jil Sander were just two designers who showcased on point graphic knits within their AW13 collections. In particular, the crossed sashes at Jil Sander and the cut and sew panels at Marni were extremely wearable and would effortlessly transition to the everyday male’s wardrobe:

Graphic Knitwear at the Marni & Jil Sander AW13 ShowcasesGraphic Knitwear at the Marni (Top) & Jil Sander (Bottom) AW13 Showcases

The great thing about graphic knitwear is that it’s able to create a real statement of intent when worn as a top layer, yet they are easily tucked away and neutralised completely with an over layer – something you cannot say about their coloured counterparts.

This ensures their versatility and allows them to make an unexpected statement; layer under bold coloured outerwear when outside, and then remove the coat once indoors to let the sweater shine.

Get the Look

Roll necks returned to prominence a couple of years ago now, and they have gone from strength to strength ever since. Opt for a heavier gauge version with an of-the-moment graphic to help you fend off the elements in style.

A burgundy coat provides a potent injection of autumnal colour and will really carry the look outdoors. Heavyweight trousers are a transitional essential and complement the top half well, introducing additional texture and anchoring the outfit.

Finish with some rough and ready worker boots:

  • Nn.07 Leivur Wool-blend Rollneck SweaterNn.07 Leivur Wool-blend Rollneck Sweater
  • Marni Hooded Parka 162941Marni Hooded Parka 162941
  • Reiss Liverpool Dogtooth Check Trousers Light GreyReiss Liverpool Dogtooth Check Trousers Light Grey
  • Asos Workboots In LeatherAsos Workboots In Leather
Men’s Graphic Knitwear Lookbook

Men's Graphic Knitwear Lookbook AW13

Armand Basi aw13drykorn aw13topman next big thing 2013primark aw13reiss aw13berluti ss14simons aw13ted baker aw13bal aw13
Key Styles
  • Topman Villain Colt Jumper Topman Villain Colt Jumper
  • Alexander Mcqueen Panelled Wool And Cashmere-blend CardiganAlexander Mcqueen Panelled Wool And Cashmere-blend Cardigan
  • Topman Cream Pattern JumperTopman Cream Pattern Jumper
  • River Island Ecru Colour Block Cable Knit JumperRiver Island Ecru Colour Block Cable Knit Jumper
  • Ps By Paul Smith Patterned Merino Wool SweaterPs By Paul Smith Patterned Merino Wool Sweater
  • Jil Sander Plaid-front Wool SweaterJil Sander Plaid-front Wool Sweater
  • Vito Roll Neck JumperVito Roll Neck Jumper
  • Allsaints Rugen Crew JumperAllsaints Rugen Crew Jumper
  • Reiss 1971 Cyclone Sweater With Contrast Sleeve OatmealReiss 1971 Cyclone Sweater With Contrast Sleeve Oatmeal
  • River Island Navy Angular Colour Block Jacquard JumperRiver Island Navy Angular Colour Block Jacquard Jumper
  • Kenzo Mountain Style Contrast Crew-neck Sweater 163774Kenzo Mountain Style Contrast Crew-neck Sweater 163774
  • Paul Smith Striped Cable-knit SweaterPaul Smith Striped Cable-knit Sweater
3. Patterned Knitwear

What can be said about print that hasn’t already been covered, at least in passing, over past seasons?

Of course, knitwear is an area that has always enjoyed quite a fruitful relationship with patterns. Fair Isle, Navajo and Nordic-inspired designs are prominent each and every autumn/winter, whilst we’ve also seen the rise of quirky Christmas sweaters during the holiday period, albeit worn with a touch of irony.

These seasonal patterns are prevalent once again for AW13, yet modern prints reflective of recent trends are in the frame to take over the knitwear scene – think the now ubiquitous camouflage and new kid on the block, animal.

Bear in mind that it’s fairly difficult to neutralise any form of printed knitwear – unless you cover it completely – so be confident in your choice and styling to really pull off this bold take on a wardrobe staple.

Get The Look

Use a chunky printed cardigan as an outerwear replacement; especially useful during the transitional period when the weather and temperature is at that awkward in-between stage.

Throw the cardigan on over a denim jacket and shirt for a creative layering mix that makes good use of texture to create depth – an integral factor of any well styled autumn/winter ensemble.

Some black jeans push the outfit into double denim territory, although the contrasting shades and the presence of the cardigan helps avoid any faux pas and draws attention away from the similarity of the fabrics.

Some grey Derby shoes and a driving cap complete this transitional look that incorporates a variety of unique elements and talking points, yet does so in a way that ensures none are clashing. You could even throw on a tie to dress the look up for some smart-casual action:

  • Reiss Astley Button Down Oxford Shirt WhiteReiss Astley Button Down Oxford Shirt White
  • Superdry Oslo Shawl CardgianSuperdry Oslo Shawl Cardgian
  • Allsaints Kanda Denim JacketAllsaints Kanda Denim Jacket
  • Acne Max Cash Slim-leg Jeans 173140Acne Max Cash Slim-leg Jeans 173140
  • Topman Charcoal Checked Flat CapTopman Charcoal Checked Flat Cap
  • Topman Ronson Punched ShoesTopman Ronson Punched Shoes
Men’s Printed Knitwear Lookbook

Men's Printed Knitwear Lookbook AW13

burton aw12primark aw13jack wills aw13ted baker aw12debenhams aw13next aw13burton aw13essentiel antwerp aw13gant rugger aw13
Key Styles
  • Superdry Navajo Knit Zip CardiganSuperdry Navajo Knit Zip Cardigan
  • Acne Men’s Clissold Animal Print JumperAcne Men’s Clissold Animal Print Jumper
  • Gant Rugger Jumper In Patterned Roll NeckGant Rugger Jumper In Patterned Roll Neck
  • Topman Navy Aztec JumperTopman Navy Aztec Jumper
  • Reiss Roamer Monochrome Boiled Wool Jumper BlackReiss Roamer Monochrome Boiled Wool Jumper Black
  • Allsaints Miger Crew JumperAllsaints Miger Crew Jumper
  • J.crew Wallace & Barnes Camouflage-print Cotton-jersey CardiganJ.crew Wallace & Barnes Camouflage-print Cotton-jersey Cardigan
  • Easy Fairisle JumperEasy Fairisle Jumper
  • Burton Brave Soul Ecru Textured Knitted Crew Neck Jumper Burton Brave Soul Ecru Textured Knitted Crew Neck Jumper
  • River Island Orange Tiger Print JumperRiver Island Orange Tiger Print Jumper
  • Superdry Oslo Shawl CardiganSuperdry Oslo Shawl Cardigan
  • Topman Samsoe And Samsoe Pattern JumperTopman Samsoe And Samsoe Pattern Jumper
Final Word

With menswear continuing to take a new, bolder approach in its stride, the application of prints, colour and graphics to knitwear represents the last area of the wardrobe to succumb to this new sartorial direction.

But now we want to hear your view:

  • Are you going to be working statement knitwear into your looks this season?
  • How do you intend to do it?
  • Which of the three key styles above do you like best?
  • Or will you be sticking to timeless, neutral knitwear?

We would love to get your thoughts, so leave a comment below…