By this point in the year you’ve probably raided the bag beneath the bed (or whatever storage system you use for your wardrobe’s off season) and pulled out your favourite jumpers, cardigans and rollnecks. Hopefully you found them free of moth holes and ready to wear for another winter. Maybe some needed a gentle launder, others a darn in the elbow. The beauty of investing in hard-working essentials is that they’re there to greet you season after season.

And when it comes to knitwear, paying attention to fibres is the key to finding pieces that last. Merino wool, cashmere, cotton, alpaca and mohair are some of the best choices for staying warm (without overheating) and ensuring longevity in your closet.

If you’re in the market for a cosy new layer, there’s an energy for personality-packed pieces in the air – whether that’s made-to-order styles and DIY moments or bold colours that shake up classic silhouettes.

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Kowtow

New Zealand brand Kowtow is built on a circular design model with a commitment to transparent manufacturing and responsible trade. But how does that translate into its knitwear collection? Each season, pieces are made from 100 per cent certified Fairtrade organic cotton and knitted individually to prevent yarn waste during production. V neck jumpers, wrap-style cardigans and knitted polos arrive in classic colours that can be worn year after year.

Monday Journal

Doing things slowly is Monday Journal’s motto. Based in Wānaka, New Zealand, the brand offers a small collection of clothing and knitwear, as well as patterns and yarn for DIY enthusiasts. “I have always loved making things by hand – you cannot beat the satisfaction and pride in wearing something that you have made,” founder Phoebe Paterson says. “Not to mention it is incredibly addictive and hard to put down once you get into the swing of a project.” But if you’re not so crafty, you can wear Paterson’s projects with pride. A small selection of pieces are regularly in-stock and ready to ship.

Assembly Label

Walking the line between timeless and trending, Assembly Label’s range of knitwear is a firm favourite in Broadsheet closets. With a focus on fabric (wool, cashmere and alpaca fibres are common on care labels), these well-priced pieces promise to last winter after winter. Look out for chunky ribbed knit styles, lightweight vest made for layering and even skirts and dresses to add to your collection.

Marle

Knitwear is at the heart of New Zealand brand Marle – it was creative director Juliet Souter’s major at university. With a modern take on traditional silhouettes, Marle’s collection of sweaters and cardigans reject the idea of always needing “newness”, and instead seek to build on what’s already in your wardrobe. “A piece of knitwear made from natural fibres can’t be beat. They are second to none next to the skin and provide unparalleled warmth and moisture-wicking benefits,” Souter says. “When it comes to fit, my personal favourite is a slightly oversized crew neck jumper in a classic stitch.”

McIntyre Merino

McIntyre Merino makes a statement. The Melbourne brand’s signature bright (often striped) styles are packed with personality. But they also promote the power of natural fibres, particularly Australian wool. With proper care, these pieces will leave a legacy on your wardrobe. “Treat a good knit like jeans and only wash once or twice a season,” founder Ned Scholfield says. “When summer comes, wash your knits and store them in a garment bag. This means there will be nothing for those nasty moths to eat and they will leave your favourite knits alone.”

Friends With Frank

If you’re a member of the cardigan gang, be sure to peruse Friends With Frank’s winter offering. This season brings old favourites back, as well as offering new pieces to covet. But the Melbourne brand might be most loved for its fluted-sleeve dresses and tops – and coordinating pleated skirts – which are made from ribbed cotton that can be worn year round.

LMND

Best known for its collection of button-down shirts, LMND is here to inject a little colour into your life. “Colourful knitwear can liven up our often monochromatic winter wardrobes without a complete seasonal overhaul,” founder and creative director Ana Maria Escobar says. “Play with textures by pairing a crisp shirt with chunky knitwear. Opt for contrasting colours or clashing stripes and patterns for something fun.”

Aje

Logo details and embellished touches bring Aje’s signature charm to the brand’s knitwear collection. From statement styles that will carry an outfit to sporty silhouettes that don’t require you to break a sweat when styling courtesy of Aje Athletica, the Sydney brand always delivers.

Francie

A Francie knit is forever. Luxurious but low-impact is the model that founder Anna Woodruff has built her business on, endeavouring to work with ethically accredited factories across Australia and New Zealand. “Our idea of the perfect knit is pieces that respect the body in both fit and in feel,” Woodruff says. “We take the time to do countless fittings on many different beautiful figures, and find the best-quality yarns that feel beautiful against the skin – no itchy wool here.”

Lil’ Knits

Focusing on two key silhouettes – the Big Knit jumper and Big Knit Cardigan – in a variety of colours, Lil’ Knits aims to offer handmade garments that transcend seasons and can be worn year after year. Exclusively using natural or recycled fabrics is an important part of the process for founder Lillian Morgan, who is working towards having an entirely Australian-based production for her small but growing business.

Lucy Folk

Summer might be in Lucy Folk’s DNA but the brand delivers a small edit of luxe knitwear for the off-season. Delicate silk and mohair fibres mix to create pieces you’ll treasure for many winters to come. Muted colourways and motifs that speak to a sense of ritual are key this season.

Lee Mathews

Like most things Lee Mathews, the brand’s knitwear offering is filled with timeless, quality pieces that offer plenty of personality. Seasonal highlights include bold cardigans spun from mohair, luxe cashmere turtlenecks that will swaddle you in style, and the draping wool tees, skirts and pants – the secret weapon when it comes to looking polished in plummeting temperatures.

Frisson Knits

Frisson Knits are handmade in Aotearoa. Each piece is unique and shines a light on how much care goes into the craft. Buying a bespoke knit will cost you more, but pieces like that are made-to-order will definitely find a place in your wardrobe for many years to come.

Camilla and Marc

Camilla and Marc do modern wardrobing well. And the brand’s knitwear collection is no different. Chunky turtlenecks match back with denim and tailoring alike for work and weekend wear. Bold sweaters inspire wearers to ditch the usual dreary winter hues. And draping skirts and dresses remind us knitwear isn’t just for the top half.

Standard Issue

New Zealand label Standard Issue has been crafting knits for more than 40 years. Simplicity is at the heart of low-impact styles made from cashmere, merino, possum merino and alpaca. The brand’s Jumper for Jumper initiative, in partnership with Middlemore Foundation, means for every jumper purchased this winter, Standard Issue pledges to knit and gift a jumper to a Kiwi kid in need.

This story was first published in July 2023 and has since been updated.

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