The term, “sweater” is one of the most highly misused labels in the fashion industry. As such, it’s time to clarify exactly what a sweater is…and exactly what a sweater is not.

In fact, the term “Sweater” is a popular catch all for various types of garments. However, the distinguishing factor between a true sweater and other popular garments for the upper body is the fact that the fibers used to make the sweater are woven together. Material useds (wools mostly, but can also include cotton or synthetics) and the weight of the garment (heavy mostly, although there are lighter sweater types) can also help indicate a sweater from another garment, although because of the variations in these, there is still a lot of confusion. A sweater is also commonly referred to as a pullover, jumper, or jersey.

There are also types of sweaters, most common being the cardigan, the pullover and the vest. A cardigan is a sweater that opens in the front and can be closed with ties, buttons or clasps. A pullover is the most common type of sweater, offering full coverage around the torso and arms. The term, “pullover” is labeled quite obviously- one must pull the sweater over his or her head to wear it. Finally, the vest, otherwise known as the “Sweater vest” has no arms, and is typically worn over a button down, blouse or other knit shirt. The sweater vest is popular as an additional layer that is still light and airy, and many times, adds a nice, colorful aesthetic to an otherwise drab outfit.

In addition to the warmth a nice sweater provides, sweaters are popular for a few other reasons. First, many sweaters are not extremely form fitting (because of the elasticity of the fibers), and as such are comfortable to wear, and require no tailoring.