The ultimate guide to knits: 15 Style Panel tips for fashionable sweater-wear all winter long
As closet staples go, the sweater is one of the hardest working items in our wardrobe. From form-fitting statement sweaters to light cardigans and chunky cable knits, we’ve all relied on this piece of wooly goodness to warm up our looks come the cooler months.
Given its cool factor of late, the sweater’s versatility has grown leaps and bounds. This season, we’ve seen a revival of quirky vintage prints, quirky embellishments and intricate texture mixes. Case and point: Kenzo’s bejeweled treatment and Saint Laurent’s highly-coveted star prints.
And since there’s still a risk of looking a little too cottage apropos in your cozy knit, we reached out to our Style Panel to share their favourite sweaters and styling tips. New to the gang is The Little Dandy’s Joanne Kim who is dripping with natural cool in a gray oversized cardigan. Branding her slouchy shawl cardigan as a socially acceptable blanket to wear in public is Born Lippy blogger Melanie Morais. Going for the dazzle treatment is Over My Styled Body’s Lyndsey Forest who shows off her favourite fall trend: embellishment.
Question 79: Sweaters are so essential this time of year. What is your go-to type and styling tips? Read the answers now! »
Or jump to: ALEX GRANT, VANCOUVER | AMBER DESILETS, LONDON | BARBARA ANN SOLOMON, TORONTO | BECKY KUNG, CALGARY | CEE FARDOE, PARIS VIA VANCOUVER | JILL LANSKY, VANCOUVER | JOANNE KIM, TORONTO | KAYLA SHORT, HALIFAX | KD FAUSTINO, CALGARY | LYNDSEY FOREST, EDMONTON | MELANIE MORAIS, EDSON | MO HANDAHU, HALIFAX | NICHOLE ALABI, TORONTO | NICOLE WILSON, TORONTO | SANDY JOE KARPETZ, EDMONTON
Joanne Kim, 26
Toronto | The Little Dandy
I love the look of an over-sized sweater or cardigan. In neutral textures and colours, they’re so easy to pair with outfits to complete a warm look. An over-sized sweater can create an effortless way for you to make a basic skinny jean + tee combo look very put together and balanced. And we can’t forget the warmth it provides! I suggest always pairing an over-sized sweater with a skinny bottom. Either warm leggings or skinny jeans will do just fine, but you could even go as far as pairing your over-sized sweater with a body-hugging skirt. Ooh la la
KD Faustino, 28
Calgary | The Girl With The Messy Hair
The winter cold can instantly make someone lazy and dress frumpy. My winter style is “lazy pretty” which means wearing cute sweaters that are not only warm but also comfortable! I like all kinds from chunky to oversized to thin knit. Accessorize with the right statement necklace and leather bottoms (pants when it is colder or, skirt when you want it to be dressier/girly) to spice up the go-to winter staple.
KD’s wearing: Sweater, Old Navy. Skirt, Zara. Necklace, HOB Bazaar.
Mo Handahu, 29
Halifax | Lion Hunter
I appreciate a good sweater. When I go thrifting I always make sure I take a quick browse of the women’s sweater section. Truth be told, my best finds have all been from the men’s section. I’m drawn to prints (shocker there!) quirky textures and soft wools. There’s nothing more irritating than a good-looking sweater that’s itchy as heck!
When it comes to styling my sweaters I love pairing then with shirts with a tucked out collar and a pair of jeans for a casual look.
Mo’s wearing: Jeans, The Bay. Men’s Shirt, Walmart. Sweater, Value Village. Shoes, Lacoste. Earrings, Old Navy.
Alex Grant, 25
Vancouver | To Vogue or Bust
I’m all about killing two birds with one stone so naturally, I’m all for this oversized men’s cardigan that doubles as a sweater jacket. Found on sale in H&M’s men’s section in a size XXL, it serves as the perfect outer layer for throwing on thin tops and pullovers underneath, providing tons of warmth while also offering a little break from all of my heavily used winter coats!
Alex’s wearing: Cardigan and skirt, H&M. Blouse and booties, Zara. Scarf, Joe Fresh. Bag, Mary Nichols.
Barbara Ann Solomon, 25
Toronto | Barbara Ann’s Style Blog
Being someone who is always cold, cozy sweaters are essential for the fall and winter. Chunky and oversized or thin and bejewelled, it seems this season I’ve been collecting these knitted numbers. One thing all the newest additions have in common are that they are solid colours. I find myself looking for quick outfits during the dark mornings, so adding a bold coloured sweater to the assortment printed and textured bottoms, makes for easy morning styling. You can easily layer a buttoned-up collared shirt under for a more preppy or polished look.
Barbara Ann’s wearing: Blazer, T. Babaton. Sweater, Zara. Pants, Proenza Schouler. Platforms, Vagabond.
Melanie Morais, 25
Edson, AB | BornLippy
When it comes to sweaters I’ve always gone for a similar silhouette and I don’t really stray from there. I’m all for the classic cable knits but sometimes you find a special number that takes you out of your comfort zone. I fell in love with this slouchy shawl cardigan since it’s basically a socially acceptable blanket to wear in public (amazing right?). When wearing a slouchy not to mention super long cardigan, I’d go with neutral colours and wear something a tad tighter than the cardigan so you don’t drown in it. Let the cardigan be the showstopper and go from there!”
Melanie’s wearing: Cardigan, American Apparel. Blouse, Joe Fresh. Jeans, Gap. Boots, Jeffrey Campbell. Bag, 3.1 Phillip Lim x Target.
Lyndsey Forest, 23
Edmonton | Over My Styled Body
Whether its a nice fall day or 30 below, a sweater is always a good idea! From chunky knits, to turtlenecks; even the highly coveted ugly Christmas sweater there is a plethora of options for every fashionista to choose from. Although I love them all, one of my favourite trends this season is embellished sweaters. They are the perfect piece you can dress up or down this holiday season. For a casual lunch date with your girls I suggest throwing on a pair of your favourite boyfriend jeans and a pair of booties. And if you’re already attending those holiday parties try throwing on a leather skirt and some of your favourite pumps to celebrate!
Lyndsey’s wearing: Sweater, Zara. Skirt, SheInside. Heels, Kate & Mel via Townshoes. Bag, Townshoes. Sunglasses, Ray-Ban. Earrings, J.Crew.
Jill Lansky, 26
Vancouver | The August Diaries
Now that we have fully transitioned into winter, sweaters are everywhere. Fuzzy, cable knit, oversized, shrunken, or paper-thin, they basically fit every need whether it’s as a layering piece or as the main attraction. The most important styling aspect of a sweater is the shape and fit. If the shoulder seams fit correctly, this ensures that even your most oversized of sweaters look chic and purposeful. My favourite sweaters are of the crewneck nature and usually hit at or below the hipbone. I find this to be the most flattering place for the hem to end and it looks great when layered over a blouse, tee or with another paper-thin knit underneath.
Sandy Joe Karpetz, 25
Edmonton | The Pretty Secrets
Northern weather calls for big and chunky sweaters. I like to wear them as dresses with leggings and my rubber boots as it’s both comfortable and functional. This paired with a sock bun and blinged out vintage clip on earrings adds a bit of glamour to an otherwise standard outfit.
Sandy Joe’s wearing: Boots, Hunter. Leggings, Target. Sweater, earrings and coat, Vintage. Scarf, Burberry. Sunglasses, Ray-Ban.
Nichole Alabi, 27
Toronto | Nichole Alabi
Sweaters are essential for a winter in the great white north and my favourite thing to do with them is accessorize with them. Beyond wearing a sweater as a top, I love layering with chunky sweater knit accessories like a snood scarf and knee high socks. It’s a great way to pull off a cozy look in a cool way.
Nichole’s wearing: Snood, Urban Outfitters. Sweatshirt, Nichole Alabi. Vest, Forever 21. Socks, H&M. Shorts, Levis.
Amber Desilets, 30
London, ON | Canadian Fashionista
I don’t think you can live in Canada without having at least a handful of sweaters. Although I like to switch it up between oversized, cardigans and thin knit sweaters, my go-to this season has been the statement sweater. From embellishments to prints to logos, the more detail the better. Take this Smart Set beaded sweater for example, it acts as jewellery and a fashion statement all in one, but when paired with these H&M printed pants, it takes it to a whole other level…. I love mixing prints and textures. I always like to pair my sweaters, no matter the style, with a collared shirt underneath, just to give it that chic, preppy look that I love.
Amber’s wearing: Shirt, Forever 21. Sweater, Smart Set. Pants, H&M. Purse, Coach. Booties, Aldo.
Nicole Wilson, 29
Toronto | Dainty Girl
I love cozy sweaters as the weather gets cooler, but I still love my dresses. It’s all about layering this time of year to allow items from your fall wardrobe to work with your Canadian winter necessities! I layered an oversized cardigan over a simple jersey dress with leggings and wedge booties for a casual-chic look that’s warm yet stylish. Open front sweaters are my favourite because they’re so versatile – I can layer them over pretty much anything if I need to!
I finished off this look with gold jewellery, a leather shoulder bag, a slouchy beanie and red lips – cozy and chic for the season!
Nicole’s wearing: Dress, sweater and boots, Zara. Tights, Forever 21. Bag, Danier. Beanie, Aldo. Necklace, Fredrick Prince. Bracelet, Ann Taylor. Watch, Caravelle New York. Ring, H&M.
Kayla Short, 26
Halifax | Short Presents
When it comes to the winter months I’ll take just about any type of knitted sweater I can get my hands on, and the cozier the better. But I don’t abandon thin knits all together; I just layer them. I love thin knit sweaters especially when you are going for a more dressed up look. The trick with these sweaters is to find wool blends because then they won’t be itchy, but they will still be warm without all the bulk. For work I tend to layer thin knit sweaters over t-shirts and/or silk blouses to add a little extra protection from the cold (especially for walks to work in the morning).
Kayla’s wearing; Puffer Coat, Old Navy. Jumper, Tommy Hilfiger. Scarf, Gap. Boots. Very Volatile (via Biscuit). Jeans, Gap.
Becky Kung, 30
Calgary | Velvet & Vino
Lately I’ve been obsessing with my cat animal-graphic sweater, not only for its fun-loving print but also for the loose fit. The chunkiness in the fit is what I look for when I’m in need of a universal sweater, one that’s perfectly matched with a short flowy skirt, cut-off shorts and tights, or a pencil skirt for the contrast.
Depending on what you’re hoping to achieve with your sweater, opt for this shape and style when you’re looking for a sweater that’s multidimensional in outfit pairings.
Becky’s wearing: Sweater, Plenty. Shorts, Forever 21. Booties, Me Too Shoes. Leggings, Target. Satchel, Accessorize. Vest, Mountain Equipment Co-op.
Cee Fardoe, 27
Paris via Vancouver | Coco and Vera
I live for sweater weather, the same way many people live for summertime and beach days. When the first leaves begin to fall from the trees and a chill fills the air, I always reach for sweaters. There is no style that you can real go wrong with, but personally I love the cosy comfort of boyfriend sweaters. A good oversized sweater is the perfect piece to just throw-on-and-go, no matter what the occasion; they always look chic and keep you warm, too! I pair mine with jeans and ankle boots for weekend brunch with friends.
Cee’s wearing: Sweater, Sheinside. Jeans, Gina Tricot. Boots and bag, Sezane. Necklace, Keltie Leanne Designs.