Fashion is a funny thing. In fact sometimes the same fashion fad can be hysterically funny to some observers and the epitome of chic to others. Everyone can think of at least one ‘hot’ catwalk design that lasted about six weeks and then mercifully died and went to wherever awful fashions go. Some items of apparel, however, never quite go out of fashion, though they go through infinite changes. Case in point is the jumper.
If you want the precise definition of ‘jumper’ when it comes to fashion, forget it. There is no precise definition. Basically, though, it’s a garment to cover the upper body. Note the ‘cover’ part; jumpers aren’t designed to fit closely or show off cleavage. In fact Sarah Lund, who may have been the major catalyst in this jumper trend due to her role in ‘The Killing’, said one reason she loved it was that it didn’t emphasize her sexuality.
‘Jumper’ is just not a fashionable word. It sounds old-fashioned to the point of being obsolete and/or laughable. So call it what you will (and some call it a sweater, which is also unfashionable) but basically it’s a practical and extremely versatile garment that can be worn with or without an under- or over-garment; the only characteristic you can count on is that it’s worn on the upper body.
For those who follow fashion trends (surely the majority of British females over five years of age), you can see the ‘progression’ over the past ten years or so wherein cashmere re-gained popularity, then the cardigan regained popularity, and now the jumper has re-emerged as its own fashion statement for better or for worse. Worse would only be if the trend takes a turn towards the wildly impractical; better is almost a given.
One of the nicest things about jumpers is that they lend themselves to almost any fabric, colour, design and shape. Jumpers are what kids used to throw on as warm-ups; they weren’t expected to be either fashionable or high-maintenance, and they mostly went along with jeans or any other very casual wear. Of course if they bear the name Givenchy or Erdem, for example (which they do now) they’re probably going to be treated a bit more carefully.
You may wonder what it is that sets off these trends, but if you keep track of celebrities in general you’ll notice that it’s usually when one of them is spotted (and photographed) in something notably different than what’s expected. In the case of the jumper, Sarah Lund got the ball rolling, apparently, and carried it off so well that suddenly half her fans needed a similar or identical addition to their wardrobes.
Not long ago Carine Roitfeld, former editor of Paris Vogue and no stranger to either celebrity or notoriety, gave what amounts to a seal of approval for the growing trend by giving an interview while dressed with casual disregard for fashion – an old gray jumper, no less. So the new look is going to be, at least in part, casual, practical, and – thank goodness – warm enough to survive the coming winter.
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