What’s an intarsia jumper when it’s at home?  And how do you make it look cool?  Let me fill you in. 

Intarsia is actually a knitting technique where you switch from one coloured wool to another mid row.  It’s used to create knitted in patterns.

Wikipedia gives a good analogy to a woodworking technique of the same name:  fields of different colours and materials appear to be inlaid in one another, fit together like a jigsaw puzzle.

Have a look at the carousel of intarsia jumpers below to get an idea of the glorious array of patterns intarsia jumpers can boast.  In fact, if you’re all over the current trend for “ugly jumpers” you probably own one or two intarsia jumpers already. 

This post is going to focus on a particular type of intarsia jumper – those with a picture on a plain background.  Such as an animal or a pair of lips, or a house hold object, anything in fact.


Munroe Burgundy Cashmere
Munroe Burgundy Cashmere
Munroe Burgundy Cashmere


Now, on to this particular intarsia jumper, which is from Joules.  Don’t get me wrong, I like Joules, but it’s a bit horsey isn’t it?  

I associate Joules with women who wear quilted jackets and those half leather, half suede knee high waterproof boots that cost a bomb (you know the ones I mean?). I.e. nothing that I’d like to wear in the near or distant future (although they do look comfortable!).  And apologies if you are one of those women, but I suspect you are not. 

But Joules do do colourful, quality clothes, which ticks two big boxes for me, so I sometimes browse their sale.

And on this particular occasion I came across this teal beauty (A/W 17/18).  It did look a bit pony club sitting happily alongside a pheasant jumper on the website, but I pretended not to notice this. And I snapped it up.

So then came the conundrum of how to make an item that could be viewed as quite nicey nicey look cool. Several outfit try ons later, here’s what I have learnt:


1. Pair it with something unexpected but on trend

Don’t opt for your favourite jeans in the hope that the jumper will be the star of the outfit. You need to work a bit harder.

Take a look at current trends and pick out something that will work with the jumper but add a bit of edge. Think slip dresses, flares, animal print, teddy coats etc.

I’m loving the trend for long flowing skirts with a big jumper tucked into the front. Feminine and yet a bit boyish at the same time. So this was the look I settled on in the end.

2. Avoid anything else that smacks of the same or similar brands

Pairing it with a tweed jacket and hunter wellies is going to label you as part of a particular tribe. If you want to look original then it’s best to avoid any brands that carry that same horsey/landrovery look.

3. Use the colours to your advantage

The bonus of jumpers like this is that someone else has done all the colour coordination for you. Pick out the colours in the jumper and roll with them. You can even use the same ratios the designers have – if they have used a small but strong pop of colour, you can do the same by matching it to your shoes, hand bag or jewellery.

Or try tying in a different tone of the same colour palette. For instance my peacock jumper has a couple of pops of fuchsia which doesn’t massively suit me (hence I don’t have many hot pink accessories). So I opted for plum accessories instead.

The bird has lovely navy sequins running down it’s neck, which led me to choose the navy pleated midi skirt. And there’s a pop of gold on its beak, which sent me running to my Biba leopard handbag (any excuse – although it should be noted that I don’t have a lot of handbags yet – the downside of being new to blogging, so you might be seeing this one a lot!).

4. If in doubt, try ankle boots

Or whatever footwear is the current hot trend of the day. At the moment ankle boots are still a sure fire way to add a bit of edge to an outfit especially when paired with skirts.

5. Use the front tuck technique

Simply tuck a bit of your jumper into the front of your chosen bottom half. If your jumper is bulky and you feel like you have a hernia sticking out try cinching it all in with a belt.

It’s such a simple technique, but it highlights your waist and elongates your legs. What’s not to like about that?

6. Don a hat

I find it so funny that hats used to be so ubiquitous and indeed “proper” and now they are the playthings of only the brave. Which is funny because often outfits look so much more polished with a hat to finish them off. So take the plunge – find a hat that works and go for it.


This is the result. I hope you like it, and hopefully I don’t look too much like I might start talking in a loud posh voice about horse trials at any time soon!

What, where and how much?

Joules Peacock Jumper (sale) Joules
Unbranded blue pleated skirt unbranded Depop £9+pp
Dune Leopard shoes eBay £20+pp
Biba Leopard Handbag Heart of Kent Hospice £15
Tortoise shell sunglasses £35
Plum Hat Radiance by Helena £15