Slideshow will continue in seconds. Click to skip
It's time to take a trip back through knitwear history! Click through to see—and shop!—the evolution of the humble sweater, from the short-sleeved knits of the 1930s through the graphic sweatshirts of today.
1930s: The Short-Sleeved Sweater

Skirt hemlines have historically been an indicator of economic strength; during a recession, midi and maxi lengths tend to be more popular, while minis are traditionally favored during more flush times. So it's interesting that short-sleeved sweaters were so widely worn during the Great Depression; could an opposite relationship be true of sleeve length and economic stability? There were a lot of long sleeves worn during the '90s Wall Street boom…

Click through to shop short-sleeved sweaters that'd fit right in on today's streets.

1940s: The Cardigan Twin Set
Prim and proper was the name of the game in the '40s, making matching cardigan-and-shell sets a must for any woman. While twin sets might not feel particularly modern today, the fitted cardi is still a knitwear staple that works beautifully over dresses and basic tees alike—and that layers easily beneath a trench or shorter jacket, too.
Click through to shop fitted cardigans with a modern twist.
1950s: The Fitted Crewneck
In the '50s, knits stayed on the straight and narrow, from the high-cut necks down to the slim-fit sleeves. All the better to contrast the volume of a Grease-style poodle skirt, right?
Click through to shop some classic crewnecks.
1960s: The Collared Knit
In the Swinging '60s, it was all about a face-framing cowl neck, rolled collar or fold-over shoulder; usually, girls balanced out that extra volume up top with a slim-fitting pant or pencil skirt.
While cowl necks might not be as big a trend today as they were in the '60s, rolled collars and otherwise exaggerated turtlenecks sure are. Click through to shop a few favorites!
1970s: The Chunky Fisherman Pullover
Nautical knits were a big deal throughout this groovy decade—and those same chunky cable styles continue to be closet classics today.
Click through to shop the best fisherman sweaters on the market.
1980s: The Crazy Statement Sweater

Thank you, Mr. Cosby, for almost single-handedly making it cool to look like your knitting machine exploded all over your body. While the so-called "Cosby sweater" fell out of favor in the late '90s and '00s, it's once again a wintertime staple—and one that shouldn't just be reserved for ugly sweater parties at that.

Click through to shop some crazy-cool graphic sweaters worthy of the Cosby patriarch himself.

1990s: The Oversized Boyfriend Cardigan
With the birth of the grunge movement—and the swift adoption of the baggy, distressed silhouette by bands like Nirvana and Pearl Jam—it was suddenly cool to borrow your significant other's oversized knitwear (and flannel shirts, and jeans, and Docs…). It's no secret that the grunge look has experienced a major resurgence in popularity over the past couple of years, as has the preference for a roomier, slouchier fit—and so boyfriend-style knits continue to be big news today.
Click through to shop our favorite boyfriend cardigans.
2000s: The Shrunken Shrug
Remember those long-sleeved cashmere or angora shrugs that had long ties meant for crisscrossing around your torso? Or those cap-sleeved sequin shrugs that seemed so perfect for layering over your "going-out top" of choice? Of course you do. And while you might've assumed we were over and done with such shrunken sweaters, they've since evolved into something equally popular and just as debatable: the cropped sweater.
Click through to shop cropped knits, today's answer to the sweater shrug.
2010s: The Graphic Sweatshirt
No longer just the domain of varsity football players and hungover college coeds, the humble sweatshirt crossed over into fashion It status just a few years ago. Shortly after taking the reins at Kenzo, Opening Ceremony's Humberto Leon and Carol Lim released a colorful, casual pullover embroidered with a roaring tiger—the house's longtime logo. Copious street style placement ensued, and before long, nearly every label released some sort of graphic sweatshirt. The trend shows no signs of slowing down—so if you don't already own a printed athletic sweater (or 10!), now's the time to snap some up.
Click through to shop our favorite graphic sweatshirts on the market.