The Winter Jumper: A Study

Of all the subjects possible to analyse, the jumper is perhaps the least appealing and least in demand: it is apparently uncontroversial, usually fairly monotonous. During winter, it becomes an item of absolute necessity and desire, yet also somewhat dulls the violent array of neon, wavy outfits typical around university. It is not uncommon for me, in jeans and a jumper, to be matching exactly at least three other strangers at a zebra crossing, the library, or in the queue at Eat A Pitta.

However, I recently discovered how ignorant of the subject I really was; hitherto, I had been making blanketing assumptions about the jumper, unaware of the diversity woven within it. It was during a casual conversation with my flatmate that I was unexpectantly awoken to the fact that some people wear the jumper sans any other under-layer; for some, it is an independent piece in own right, a proud singleton sauntering with Emma Watson-esque self-partnered pride in defiance of whatever tempests may face it.

Often we are told before embarking on our university journey that it is moments like these that make your time worth it: it is not the credits you accumulate or the formidable number of books you’re witnessed withdrawing from the ASS, but the moments in which you learn about yourself through meeting extraordinary people. With this in mind, I will proceed to explore the potential of winter’s favourite item.

Not only does the jumper come in variety of materials (wool, cashmere if your mum has a separate dining set for Christmas/special occasions or if you claim never to have read the Daily Mail, wool, etc), but it is extremely versatile.

Ways to wear the jumper:

  1. Layered: In my opinion, the more civilised fashion and also, thankfully, the more common one. Layering implies you are a person of complexity, depth – that you are what Shrek would term an ‘onion’ of a person. It also demonstrates practicality; regardless of the context you find yourself in, you have options and can adapt. Therefore, when layered the jumper is essentially a symbol of liberty. While we are yet to achieve the luxury of being able to utterly remove all layers in summer as men do, it does provide something close as an imitation of this.
  2. Layered…with a turtleneck: This option can go two ways. Done well, it combines the maturity of option one with the severity of the turtleneck to morph into a being of unparalleled sophistication. This combination bestows you with the intellectual flair of Steve Jobs but with Amelie mystique. However, be careful to ensure you get the neck-to-jumper ratio right, as otherwise this can result in Steve Jobs’s intellectual flair paired with Drake in Hotline Bling
  3. Festive: Layered or not, and regardless of what is on your lower half, you are still wearing the face of a reindeer, bearded man, or are featuring literal fairy lights. While when making the decision to don your Christmas jumper in the morning you may not be on the same level of innovativeness and wit as the Christmas pudding hat-employers, you are nevertheless a fierce defender of those who believe the jumper to be an item of practical tedium.
  4. Independently: as a minority largely unrecognised, I have a new respect for those who stride out of their cold student flat into the colder (dependent on your window glazing) outside world with only their single jumper for moral and physical support. For such people, there isn’t the relief of removing a layer after power-walking into a seminar 5 minutes late, or the option of engulfing yourself in an oversized sweater when you are post-Mrs Potts suddenly not feeling yourself.

Everyone’s preferred, go-to winter item is perhaps also the least respected. However overlooked, the jumper prevails as not only a symbol of practicality, but of personality and meaning.