In terms of closet classic status, the sweater is right up there with blue jeans, trench coats and polished pumps. No matter what your personal style, budget, age or body type, every woman needs a good handful of reliable knits in her wardrobe—and with everything from minimalist turtlenecks to versatile cardigans to graphic pullovers on the market, there’s a sweater to suit absolutely everyone.
But have you ever paused to consider the evolution of this near-perfect piece? To be sure, sweater styles have changed enormously over the course of the last century or so. In honor of this year’s final few weeks’ worth of sweater weather, we thought it the perfect time to take a trip back through knitwear history! Click through above to see—and shop!—the evolution of the humble sweater, from the short-sleeved knits of the 1930s through the graphic sweatshirts of today.