Previously associated with Wall Street, the zip-neck jumper has in recent years shed its banker connotations to become a garment that deserves its spot in any modern wardrobe.
Ideal for layering in transitional weather, a zip-neck is a practical choice, but one that can be exciting too. Throwback styles can add a bit of vintage flair to otherwise pedestrian looks, while there’s nothing softer against the skin than a luxurious take crafted from cashmere.
From choosing the right fit to the best zip neck jumper brands, here’s everything you need to know about this effortless knitwear style.
Zip-Neck Jumper Buying Considerations
Fabric is important for any garment but it’s especially important with knitwear, as it defines the look, feel and warmth of each piece. For example, a lightweight merino zip-neck jumper serves a very different function to one made from cable knit lambswool.
So before taking the plunge yourself, it’s crucial to decide on when and where you’ll likely wear it. If it’s a layering piece you intend to use predominantly in the winter months, perhaps go with the latter, as lambswool is thicker and warmer than most other yarns. Alternatively, if you’re after the finishing piece for your spring office wardrobe, lean towards a lighter wool or cotton blend that can be thrown on between your shirt and blazer without adding too much bulk.
As always with knitwear, go for a classic shade and you’re bound to get more wear from it. That means opting for a navy blue or mid grey piece which can be combined with practically every other colour in your wardrobe. Perfect for smart casual looks, navy and grey knits work with white or light blue shirts as well as dark tailored trousers, neutral coloured blazers and black or brown shoes. You don’t even have to really think when wearing them – simply throw them on over your current office attire and you’re good to go.
For something a little more interesting though, you might want to consider a zip-neck jumper in a more colourful tone. Due to the design of the garment, which zips all the way up to the neck, this style of jumper visually takes up a lot of the top half of your outfit, so it’s ideal for injecting a bit of colour into an otherwise basic outfit. Deep green, burgundy, burnt orange and brown are all relatively easy to pull off, providing more of a pop over the standard navy or grey.
As they fall somewhere between a base layer and a light jacket, zip neck jumpers tend to come in a wide range of fits. For something you intend to wear over only a T-shirt, you can go for a slimmer cut, since it doesn’t have to accommodate much underneath.
However, if you want to layer your zip neck, consider going for one in a boxier shape, which allows for shirts to be worn below.
Overall, though, zip-neck jumpers make for the perfect layering piece, so our advice would be to avoid anything too tight as it will only serve to restrict its innate versatility.
The Best Zip-Neck Jumper Brands
When it comes to cashmere, few brands do it better than Luca Faloni. The Italian brand manufactures all of its knitwear in its home land at some of the best factories in the country, so you can guarantee everything from its cardigans to its zip-up jumpers will last. The latter are available in a range of rich colours from ‘forest green’ to ‘hunting beige’, so there’s bound to be one that suits your style and skin tone.
To build the perfect capsule wardrobe, the only brand you really need is Asket. The Stockholm-based label prides itself on its clean, minimal designs which are always rendered in the finest fabrics. Its zip-neck jumpers are no different, with their sleek cardigan-like design and soft extra fine merino wool fabric construction.
With a focus on craft and making use of exceptionally soft fabrics, Aurelien should be your go-to for sensibly priced yet luxurious pieces designed to last a lifetime. For its zip-neck jumpers expect a soft colour palette of neutral tones as well as fabrics including ‘cashwool’ – a seriously fine yarn sourced from merino sheep in Australia.
John Smedley claims to be the oldest manufacturing company in the world, as it first started production way back in 1784. Since that time the British brand has perfected its knitwear, with its zip-neck jumpers being among the finest in the world.
Still knitted in the heart of the UK, expect the softest, most durable fabrics including merino wool and Sea Island cotton.
Colourful Standard do one thing and one thing well: cotton jersey. Its simple, staple designs include sweatshirts, hoodies and of course, zip-neck jumpers, which are crafted from the brand’s signature organic cotton. Available in a range of colours and coming in comfortable, relaxed fits, they’ll easily slot into your existing wardrobe.
Reiss has long been a high-street stalwart, with its sleek designs, tactile fabrics and accessible price points. Its zip-neck jumpers are just another example of what the brand does best: simple, contemporary design and easy, wearable fits.
For all-out luxury when price point isn’t an issue, Loro Piana offers the pinnacle of knitwear. The Italian brand weave their own fabrics in house, then knit them in their own factory, so you can expect the utmost quality from its selection of wardrobe staples. Expect zip-neck jumpers with perfect fits, crafted from the softest wool and cashmere on the planet.
AllSaints might be more well known for its leather jackets, but the London-based brand also produces a fine line in knitwear. Its zip-neck jumpers are available in a range of relaxed cuts, and come in the brand’s signature muted colour palette, making them perfect for wearing with blue or black jeans, sneakers or boots.
Peter Millar has been around since 2001, when it launched with just a single cashmere sweater. Although its product line-up has expanded dramatically since then, it still prioritises quality, working with only the best factories and mills around the world. Its zip-neck sweaters take pride of place each season and are notable for their refined fit, vast selection of fabrics and versatile colourways.
For preppy Americana, expertly chosen fabrics and refined fits, Ralph Lauren is always a smart choice. Its zip-neck jumpers don’t stray from its traditional aesthetic, so expect vibrant colourways that are ideal for adding a bit of individuality to an otherwise simple outfit.