I love sweaters for a variety of reasons: they can be warm, comfy, nice and loose. You don’t have to worry about layering sweaters.
A good sweater has an air of sophistication that can’t be matched by any old T-shirt. However, wearing a sweater can run the risk of looking sloppy rather than sophisticated.
Putting some consideration into the material, design, neckline and pattern will help you avoid any poor sweater choices.
Check out the tag on your shirt. If the fabric is made from 60 percent or more of polyester, acrylic, acetate or triacetate, odds are that shirt won’t last you two months. Those fabrics have undergone more chemical abuse than Charlie Sheen.
Stick to natural fabrics like wool, cotton and cashmere. These fabrics are warm, quality and best of all, don’t release cancer-causing fumes when you put them in the dryer.
In the world of sweater patterns, we have cardigans, pullovers, sweater vests and sweater dresses.
Extended-shoulder seam sweaters are my favorite right now. I bought one at American Eagle and it’s flattering for my form that seems to lack any broadness in the shoulders.
Choosing a flared waist or gathered waist is up to you depending on your preference. I prefer a flared waist with skinny, dark-wash jeans and boots. It’s an easy go-to for any type of chilly day.
Cardigans also open up a world of opportunity. Unbutton them to show off a shirt, button up with a scarf on top or tuck them into a high-waist skirt for something a little more progressive.
A maxi-cardigan with a dress and boots is a simple way to look well put-together.
The three basic types of collars are flat, stand-up and turnover.
Flat collars include V-neck and crew-necks.
V-necks can be easily dressed up with a button up shirt underneath. Crew necks leave an opportunity for a flattering short-chain necklace.
Stand-up collars like mock turtlenecks demand additional accessories like a scarf or necklace. Turnover collars like turtlenecks, classic Y-collars or cowls are the warmest and make for the nicest sweaters.
Stay away from over-the-shoulder necklines. Whatever you wear under the sweater also has to leave your shoulders bare. Half-covered shoulders stopped being trendy in the ‘80s, it’s a tacky cry for attention and the large area left exposed makes your sweater ineffective for warmth. Save yourself the shoulder shame and don’t do it.
Sweaters are elaborately knitted into human-shaped articles of clothing.
A sure give-away of a cheap sweater is if the design has been printed, rather than knitted into the sweater. We’ve made wonderful progress with looming technology, but sometimes it’s best to stick to the tried and true designs like cable-knit and criss-cross. Argyle still holds its own in the fashion world after decades. Suede elbow pads on sweaters are something I can’t find enough of.
I recently saw a girl take a man’s sweater, layer an oxford underneath, place a skinny belt at the middle and pair the combination with a pencil skirt and fantastic tights.
I assume the sweater was her boyfriend’s, but I’m sure he never wore it that way before. It was a mature take on the boyfriend hoodie that walked the line between sloppy and sophisticated. It’s no secret that wearing your boyfriend’s big, baggy hoodie is no fashion statement, but what she did worked.
It takes skill to find a nice sweater. Use these guidelines for shaping up your sweater selection and challenge yourself to make sophisticated choices.