Winter Knits: Our Style Panel takes a cold weather staple into trend territory with these 17 tips

Winter Knits

Winter knits may be most tried and tested way to ward against dropping temperatures, but this year, they became a trend in and of themselves. On Marc Jacobs’ Fall/Winter 2012 runway, thick and crafty knits were given a Dickensian twist when layered alongside large-than-life fur hats. On the other end of the spectrum, knits were given a graphic treatment at 3.1 Phillip Lim, when shown in black and white under crisp leather jackets. Chloé, Anna Sui and Chanel also showed knits varying in thickness, texture, colour and style, proving that they were more popular than ever.

For this week’s Style Panel, we challenged the ladies to a little winter knit shake-up. To Vogue or Bust’s Alexandra Grant showcased winter knits in form of another of the season’s biggest trends: oversized. Curvy Geekery’s Mo Handahu infused her look with a little burst of sunshine, by wearing her cropped knits in one of the most beautifully saturated hues of turquoise.

New panellists, Inherited Jeans’ Stephanie Koch and One Chic Mom’s Iva Grbesic show off winter knits in both dressed up and dressed down ways. Grbesic brings a new perspective to the Style Panel, as she is our first panellist in her 30s places importance on dressing chicly while taking care of her children.

Question 34: What are some new and creative wears to wear knits this winter? Read the answers now! »

Or jump to: ALEXANDRA GRANT, VANCOUVER | BARBARA ANN SOLOMON, TORONTO | CARA MCLEAY, VANCOUVER |CHRISTINA CRAVERO, TORONTO | DANIELLE ROCHE, TORONTO | IVA GRBESIC, TORONTO |JACQUELYN SON, VANCOUVER | KASSANDRA CAMPONI, EDMONTON |KAYLA SHORT, HALIFAX | KRISTIN MACDONALD, FREDRICTON | KRYSTIN LEE, TORONTO | MELANIE MORAIS, EDSON | MO HANDAHU, HALIFAX | SANDY JOE KARPETZ, EDMONTON | STEPHANIE STERJOVSKI, TORONTO | STEPHANIE KOCH, KELOWNA | WHITNEY COSGRAVE, LOS ANGELES

Winter Knits Danielle Roche

Danielle Roche, 20
Toronto | Kastor & Pollux

As soon as temperatures begin to drop, I joyfully bring out all the cozy sweaters hidden in the depths of my closet and prepare their seamless integration into my everyday life. Regardless of their nature/weight, winter begs for fun layering…and jazzing up my slouchy sweater with some faux fur and velvet heels demonstrates that regardless of their (inherent) shapelessness, knitwear can be fancy too!

Danielle’s wearing: Dress, H&M. Knit, H&M. Plaid shirt, Agyness Deyn x Dr. Martens. Shoes, Messeca.

Winter Knits Mo Handahu

Mo Handahu, 29
Halifax | Curvy Geekery

Admittedly most of my winter knits are reserved for those casual days as an added layer of warmth under my winter coat. However, once in a while I do love incorporating a knit into a more dressy outfit to add a varying texture to it. Being that this is a shorter knit I paired it with a high waisted pant leaving a bashful midriff on a mild winter day. Even though I mostly dress down my knits, my favourite way is dressing them up because it’s all about experimenting with other pieces until I find the right match.

Mo’s wearing: Pants, thrifted. Sweater, thrifted. Earrings, thrifted. Hat, thrifted. Shoes, Shoe Dazzle.

Winter Knits Stephanie Koch

Stephanie Koch, 27
Kelowna | Inherited Jeans

The nature of most knits, especially the chunkier varieties that were so favoured this season, is that they add volume to your outfit. Therefore, when I wear them I am very careful to balance the layers on my body to avoid going the way of the Michelin man. By layering a silk blouse underneath my sweater I keep the silhouette sleek, not sloppy while adding some interest with a print or complimentary colour. My final touch is usually a bold necklace (this one is my first attempt at incorporating emerald into my 2013!) which can act as a great contrast to a rustic texture like a knit!

Winter Knits Alexandra Grant

Alexandra Grant , 25
Vancouver | To Vogue or Bust

Around this time of year, I quite literally live in knits. Chunky cardigan, knit scarves, thinly ribbed V-necks, fishermen sweaters… you name it, I’ve got it. Though I love them, I can see why some people have trouble with knits – they can be bulky and cumbersome depending on which piece you opt for, and if you’re not used to playing with texture, it can be tricky to keep them from looking too schlumpy.

My main trick is to actually exaggerate the bulky proportions. If I’m going to do a big chunky knit, I figure I might as well go overboard and do a huge knit (i.e. this men’s XL cardigan from H&M). That way, I can add some visual interest via unique proportions and it also gives me a reason to add some femme contrast to the cardigan with a girly skirt and some wedges. It also doubles as outerwear, and because it’s so roomy, I can really throw on the thin layers underneath to stay cozy.

Alex’s wearing: Sweater and shirt, H&M. Cardigan, scarf and skirt, Club Monaco. Wedges, Rebecca Minkoff. Bag, stolen from Jen Tam.

Winter Knits Iva Grbesic

Iva Grbesic, 37
Toronto | One Chic Mom

I think every Canadian woman owns a knit sweater. It gets cold here and the easiest way to stay warm and comfortable is a knit sweater. Warmth and comfort doesn’t mean sloppy and baggy. The beauty of knits is how they are created and can become two-dimensional allowing for texture and intricate design. I enjoy wearing beautiful knit sweaters during the winter months and tend to keep everything else simple so the design of the knit becomes the focus of the outfit.

My sweater is oversized, and has a beautiful pattern around my neck, which draws attention to my face.  I’ve worn dark wash skinny jeans to keep the look sleek and slimming and this keeps bulk off my thighs and mid-section. Accessories have been kept to a minimum, however, given the bulk of the sweater I’ve worn a chunky watch and bracelet for some balance. Running around with kids doesn’t mean your outfit has to be boring – texture and design add the visual interest. That’s why I love knits.

Iva’s wearing: Sweater, Vince. Jeans, Yoga Jeans. Boots, Gap. Watch, Michael Kors. Bracelets, Stella & Dot, J Crew, Ann Taylor.

Winter Knits Kassandra Camponi

Kassandra Camponi, 26
Edmonton | Kastles

Thick knits and I have a love/hate relationship. Don’t get me wrong, I adore all the chunky knits that I have been seeing everywhere. The problem is I have a hard time finding a thicker knit sweater that I love and feel confident in. I have to be careful when picking one to make sure it isn’t too thick and doesn’t overtake my petite frame. I was super happy when I found this one at Joe Fresh. I think that most people tend to think of knitted pieces as a more casual piece. I like mixing it up by dressing up knitted sweaters. This can be super easy by adding a skirt, some sparkly accessories & a pair of heels. Oh, and it is always fun to add a pop of colour in the mix too!

Kassandra’s wearing: Sweater, Joe Fresh. Vest, Forever 21. Heels, Joe Fresh. Skirt, J.Crew. Necklace, Forever 21. Bracelets, Betsey Johnson & Joe Fresh.

Winter Knits Christina Cravero

Christina Cravero, 27
Toronto | The Style Mogul

Knits have become my favourite go to sweater for those comfy nights in, but also for ways to take a dressed up bottom and make it more casual.  A few years back none of us would have thought that a sequin or beaded skirt would be day time appropriate, well times have sure changed! Pairing a knit sweater has made my beaded skirt look more relaxed and casual, allowing me to wear it for lunch with friends, a day at the office and even transition it into a night out for casual drinks.

Christina’s wearing: Skirt, Zara. Sweater, Hurley. Shoes, Marc Fisher. Purse, Mimi Boutique. Bracelet, vintage. Ring, vintage. Sunglasses, House of Harlow 1960.

Winter Knits Krystin Lee

Krystin Lee, 26
Toronto | Suburban Faux-Pas

Despite my eager attitude to begin stocking my wardrobe full of spring essentials, I’m reminded every morning that the cold weather is still very much a reality. With the highs and lows in weather we’ve been experiencing, I’ve found the perfect knit solution – this Joe Fresh cape! Paired with camo pants, motorcycle boots and a chain-link necklace, I’ve taken this potentially ‘blah’ item and it turned it into something fabulous with rocker-chic accents.

Krystin’s wearing: Sweater/Blouse, Joe Fresh. Pants, Zara. Boots, Target. Handbag, Prada. Necklace, See Jewelry. Watch, Michael Kors. Bracelets, J Crew.

Winter Knits Whitney Cosgrave

Whitney Cosgrave, 25
Los Angeles | See Shop Eat Do

I absolutely love knits and am so happy that they’ve become an actual trend this season. I’ve had this Gap sweater for years; it’s such a classic knit and goes with just about anything. Knits can sometimes look a little stuffy or old so I like to pair mine with elements that are more trendy or edgy, like my army jacket and oversized vintage statement earrings.

Winter Knits Kayla Short

Kayla Short, 26
Halifax | Short Presents

Cozy, soft, and warm, knitted items are certainly welcomed when bracing the elements of winter. Despite knits being a major trend on and off the runway, they can look a little sloppy if not styled properly. Knitted items can be dressed up, as much as they can be dressed down, it just depends on what you pair them with. I love pairing my knitted head scarfs with some lovely chandelier earrings, and my big cat eye sunnies. One simply cannot go ice skating without her giant sunnies and chandelier earrings darling.

Knits have a tendency to be bulky (hence their ability to keep you warm), so make sure to balance out the rest of your outfit. Opt for sleeker silhouettes when sporting a big chunky scarf and/or sweater on top, like skinny cigarette pants and/or skirts and tights. Choose shoes or boots that elongate your legs, so you don’t look like a puffy marshmallow.

Kayla’s wearing: Headscarf, Kayla’s Mother. Sunglasses, Joe Fresh. Earrings, Dynamite. Gloves, Ralph Lauren. Top, H&M. Sweater, George. Pants, Gap. Boots, Charleston Riding Boots.

Winter Knits Jacquelyn Son

Jacquelyn Son, 20
Vancouver | Style Worthwhile

There’s a reason why animals hibernate in the winter. People are not exactly jumping out of their beds excited to bear all the rain and snow during this Canadian season. I know we all want the best of both worlds, but it’s kinda hard to pick an outfit that’s cute AND warm. But have no fear, cozy knits are here! They are the next best thing to being naked….or sweats. Especially oversized ones. So go on and throw one on without worrying about not being ‘fashionable enough.’ Whenever I wear something heavier and looser on top, I usually opt for something lighter and more fitted on the bottom to balance out the outfit. Opposites attract, right?

Jacquelyn’s wearing: Jacket, Mackage. Sweater, H&M. Shorts, Aritzia. Boots, Aldo.

Winter Knits Stephanie Sterjovski

Stephanie Sterjovski, 22
Toronto | Stephanie Sterjovski

I love taking knits and dressing them up, but it can be a challenge to do this without looking juvenile. I think neutral pumps, boyfriend jeans and a statement necklace are the best way to achieve this look. I love that this comfortable piece is being reinvented in more glam ways.

Stephanie’s wearing: Sweater, Forever 21. Jeans, American Eagle Outfitters. Pumps, Steve Madden. Necklace, J. Crew. Watch, Michael Kors.

Winter Knits Kristin Macdonald

Kristin MacDonald, 27
Fredricton | Doll Parada

It is no secret that I will reliably love a good knit pretty darn hard. Living in a cold climate (during winter months), it’s not only fun & visually appealing to outfit myself in layers, but absolutely necessary. I went with a mix this time around, pairing one of my most favourite basic turtlenecks with a (ultra) oversized scarf. Varying colours & textures allow this portion of the outfit stand on its own, making it strategic versus sloppy. 

Winter Knits Melanie Morais

Melanie Morais, 24
Edson, AB| BornLippy

When you live somewhere where it is winter almost the entire year you tend to make knits your best friend. It is also a challenge to not want to curl into a ball in your warmest comfy clothing 100% of the time. In my opinion, I refuse to let winter take the best of me so I love to find knits that make a statement on their own. Whether it be a bright fun colour, a crazy texture or a unique print. I instantly fell in love with this metallic sweater and a fun way to dress it up is to pair it with an equally as fun skirt and necklace. The key is to have fun with mixing it up and take chances so we can all make winter a little less dreary!

Melanie’s wearing: Sweater, Forever 21. Skirt, Free People. Tights, Joe Fresh. Necklace, Urban Outfitters. Shoes, Jeffrey Campbell. Bracelets, Tiffany & Co.

Winter Knits Sandy Joe Karpetz

Sandy Jo Karpetz, 25
Edmonton | The Pretty Secrets

Living in Edmonton I have grown increasingly dependant on knits to see me through the long frigid winters. The necessity of warm garments poses a challenge even to the well-seasoned stylist; I opt to layer and pair with zany accessories: zig zag tights, tasseled loafers, and velvet turbans. Functional doesn’t have to mean dowdy.

Sandy’s wearing: Turban, Oh Dina! Sweater, vintage. Blouse, vintage. Dress, vintage. Tights, House of Holland. Loafers, Stuart Weitzman. Locket, Sandy’s Mom’s.

Winter Knits Cara McLeay

Cara McLeay, 28
Vancouver | A Fashion Love Affair

I live in knits during the winter, they are so cozy! I particularly love oversized knitwear, but to keep it from looking sloppy I make sure to pair them with skinny pants and a blazer or jacket that nips in at the waist.

Cara’s wearing: Sweater, BB Dakota. Jacket, Muubaa. Necklace, Alexa Leigh. Handbag, Marc by Marc Jacobs. Pants, Club Monaco. Boots, Zara.

Winter Knits Barbara Ann Solomon

Barbara Ann Solomon, 25
Toronto | Barbara Ann’s Style Blog

Knits are a necessary to survive winters in Toronto. This season we are fortunate to have such a great selection of textured and patterned sweaters. Layering them is a simple way to style them differently. In this outfit, I layered an olive button-down shirt over an oversized knit to create some contrast in texture, and paired with a silk pleated mini to really play with the materials in this look. Winter is a time when we often dress down, and rather sloppy, so use this sweater trend to ensure you have fun and get creative with your style.

Barbara Ann’s wearing: Button down, Topshop. Sweater, Roots. Skirt, Central Park West. Tights, American Apparel. Necklace, Zara. Shoes, Jeffrey Campbell.