The hottest winter knitwear for men right now

If your winter layering is usually centred around the same navy cable knit you wear every year, this may be the moment to amp up your game.

The key jumpers for this season aren't about work subtly into an outfit, they're vying for attention and taking centre stage.

From bold graphics at Marc Jacobs' checks to animal designs at Gucci where tigers and birds (well, Donald Duck, specifically) are the motifs du jour; Thom Browne's whimsical depictions of surfers, sharks and palm-lined beaches and jumpers that are more like blankets: These are knits that get noticed.

Supersized sweaters

The accepted wisdom in fashion circles is 'fit is everything' in menswear, the theory going that wearing the finest fabrics and best cuts amounts to naught if the sizing isn't right. Which is a fairly sensible approach for a smartly tailored suit, but because fashion loves nothing more than to bend its own rules, knits are ignoring the conventions of fit and becoming supersized.

On the runway, knits have been used to exaggerate proportions in sublime and faintly ridiculous ways. With knee-grazing hemlines and sleeves long enough to accommodate go-go gadget arms, some pieces blur the lines between jumper and blanket.

In the real world, a more accessible look is to be had via colourful, slouchy cardigans (Balmain and Haider Ackerman), while Stella McCartney's subtly oversized jumpers are supremely wearable. Keep pants slim to offset the volume up top and so as not to overwhelm the silhouette entirely. The added benefit of extra long sleeves negates the need for gloves in the height of winter.

Preppy pullovers

If you're in seeking a more subdued but still up-to-the minute trend, go for a sporting touch. Join the Ivy League and adopt a kind of off-duty jock vibe from those frat movies Americans love (minus the hazing). This is fertile style territory, playing nicely into fashion's current mood for applique patches and badges.

Look to collegiate detailing coming through on cardigans and sweaters – Coach, Ports 1961 and Givenchy have each indulged in varsity stripes on new season knits. For a preppier, less Animal House take, look to that most un-American of sports: cricket. Contrast stripes and chunky cable knit detail on pullovers in white or off-white (not the best colour for pulling kegs a frat party).

Return of the rollneck

The knit of choice for thespians and art critics has gone mainstream, largely off the back of a return to '70s inspired dressing. Fitted, fine gauge skivvies in can be worn on their own or layered with your regular wardrobe favourites. Underneath shirts, tailoring or even a crew neck jumper, they make a stylish second skin for added warmth in the cooler months.

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You'll also find heavier versions in vibrant patterns, such as Prada's jacquard knit, suited to a more casual look worked back with slick joggers or denim. Off the back of the rollneck's revived fortunes, its more relaxed brother the funnel neck – looser and wider rather than throat-hugging – is also making a bid for popularity.

The novelty jumper

Every man has classic crew neck or two in his wardrobe but this season look to inject them with a sense of fun. Jazzed up with a roll call of quirky characters, designers are going all out in the novelty stakes in a charming childhood throwback.

Some brands are adopting cartoon and comic book faces – Gucci takes on Disney; Superman is the hero at Iceberg – others are toying with the T-Rex (Saint Laurent). There are all manner of kitschy graphics to be found from robots to monsters (Comme des Garcons and Fendi, respectively). With humanoid snacks appliqued on sweaters, Kenzo is going against the advice of mums everywhere and playing with its food.

Check out the gallery above for some of the best knits to warm your bones this winter.