With the cold weather here (and here to stay), it’s time to consider the sweater. In case you missed it, my advice was referenced in an excellent Wall Street Journal article about how to incorporate sweaters into your look. Even if you’re not typically a sweater-wearer, don’t click away just yet. I’m not talking about the basic sweater-over-a-dress-shirt look — anyone can do that. It’s the non-typical ways to wear knits that I’m interested in. Below are 5 ways to use sweaters to add a fresh spin to your look:
1) Jacket alternative with a casual outfit a.k.a. swacket (sweater-jacket combo) – Leave the North Face in the closet and put on a a chunky sweater instead. As I’ve mentioned before, outerwear is key to pulling together an effective outfit, as it sets the tone for your look. And wearing a sweater as outerwear is a great way to mix things up. The cardigan above from J. Crew is an excellent option (similar here) is an excellent option, as is this one from Billy Reid, which is lined the same way a regular jacket is and therefore provides good protection from the elements.
2) Cardigan worn as a sport coat – In lieu of a sportcoat, wear a shawl collar cardigan like the one above from Suit Supply with a dress shirt and tie. This is a smart look for a cozy evening holiday party. You can also add a tailored menswear vest for further visual interest and warmth.
3) Vest worn over shirt and tie – This is a nice choice when it’s not cool enough for a full-sleeved sweater like in #2. Above is another option from Suit Supply which shows how to do this. The teal blue sweater paired with the rust orange pants is a solid Fall color combo. Leave the bottom button undone as you would with a regular menswear vest.
4) Sweater in place of dress shirt – This is a very sophisticated look, especially when done tone-on-tone as in the runway image above from Valentino (the model also has a grey scarf tucked into the sweater).
5) Thin cardigan under suit or sportcoat – On days where it’s not quite cold enough for an overcoat over your suit/sportcoat, throw on a cardigan as an in-between layer. If you want to try this look, make sure that the cardigan is thin and try leaving the top and bottom buttons open for a less “done” look as in the above image.
Two additional notes…
-Because wearing sweaters can get hot indoors, it’s key to dress in layers which can be easily removed and replaced. The above looks work well in this way, as they each have pieces that can be removed and added back as needed.
-Bear in mind that because knitwear has texture, it’s inherently going to impart a casual feel to your look. The less textured the sweater is, the more dressy it will be. So if you’re wearing one of these looks for work but don’t want to be too dressed down, make sure it’s a fine knit with a smooth surface to it.
Sweaters can often feel stuffy and “old,” but if you try them in new and unconventional ways as above, you’ll breathe new life into your look.
How are you wearing sweaters this season?
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