I don't think I'm a demanding consumer. Just one with a discerning taste in fashion. I know what I like, I know what I don't like and I know that in general, clothes that are made of natural fibers are better (breathable, pill less etc). I also don't have a spectacular budget to blow so shopping around means conscientiously looking at the fabric label, the workmanship and of course, the price tag. The gist of the matter is I like plenty of bang for my dollar (or in my case sterling pound).
I have a gorgeous Isabel Marant Etoile knitted sweater made of 100% cotton tricolor yarn. I was lucky enough to nab it at the summer sale. The funny thing, I get asked a lot about my other sweater. When I blithely utter "ASOS" and "£29", there were a few jaws dropped to the ground followed by looks of disappointment. I was expected to say something rather exciting like - Alexander Wang or Isabel Marant or even COS. The quality? Incredible. Considering how little I'd paid for it.
Lately, my fashion designer friend, Kylie and I have had several intense discussions about knitwear which she's producing for her next collection. We verbally dissected the jumper, though not too dissimilar to what I did with a sheep brain (ghastly stuff) in my first year of Psychology. The way we were going on, you'd think that there's a science to making sweaters. First, the neckline needs to be slightly scooped to expose the collar bone but nothing too risqué. It's more flattering and slimming (especially if you've got a moon face like mine). Next, the armholes should be relatively narrow without the batwing effect. Again, it helps the sweater to drape better creating a more attractive silhouette. However, it mustn't cling or hug the body because you don't want to emphasize the bulges. The point to this is to ensure a loose fit so that there's room to layer but you don't want to end up looking like you're wearing a sweater 4 sizes too big.
My last point is more of a rant. Lately, I've gone from shop to shop to try on, feel, molest and eyeball my fair share of sweaters. All in the name of fashion, of course. There are many, I do mean, many who gladly charge £285 upwards for a wool/polyester/acrylic blend sweater. And then there is a handful that are made of 100% natural fiber (wool, cashmere or cotton) with the starting price of £19.99.
I'm an equal opportunity sweater wearer. I love plain V neck ones as well as the chunky cable knits. The merino wool and cashmere ones from Uniqlo are hands down, the best value for money. Or the other option is Saint Laurent which are incidentally sold out. The price for the privilege is £560. Yes, that's £560 for a plain v neck sweater.
If you're after 100% cotton chunky knits, you simply can't go wrong with these ones (in the collage) from ASOS and Mango. I've tried on the ones from Zara (too thin and utter rubbish polyester crap) and COS (too scratchy) and they were nowhere as good. The ivory and black cotton blend cable knit sweater from Mango (No.2) is very similar to this season's offering from Isabel Marant Etoile. It's not wool but at nearly a tenth of the price, I can forgive Mango for the oversight.
What reasonably priced sweaters are you loving at the moment?