Womens Sweaters

"Fashion Advice on How to Buy & Wear Sweaters"

Grey casual womens cowl neck sweater
Courtesy of Nordstrom

Womens sweaters are perfect for layering your clothes - adding texture and interest to your outfit. And sometimes, they're just the icing on the cake for that cozy punch on a chilly Fall day :-)

Want to look for the latest sweater styles and shop instead?

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On this page you'll find shopping strategies on how to get the most out of your sweater closet and how to style your sweaters.

Get fashion advice & tips on:
So before shopping for new sweaters - let's go review the guidelines to selecting your best sweater styles:

What Womens Sweaters to Invest In?

Brown knit sweaters from Nordstrom
Courtesy of Macy's
My advice to you is to first secure the wardrobe sweater essentials - timeless and can't-live-without sweater styles in solid neutrals that cover your major daily activites, and then add the trendier (with prints and other fancy details) ones after that.

"Timeless" as in styles that you can wear season after season and that build the backbone of your closet.

I mean, what are you going to wear underneath your coat in the freezing cold weather? A blouse..? Yeah, layered with a cardigan!

Need to tone down a trendy dress? Throw on a pullover!

You get me point :-)

How to Build a Solid Sweater Closet

Simply put, you'll get the most out of your buck with versatile womens sweaters that can be easily transformed into different outfit combinations just by switching the belts, scarves, bags and jewelry!

Examples of versatile colors are: neutral, solid-colored black, greys, dark navy blue, dark brown and cream/white. These will blend in perfectly with all of your outfits. Click here to learn more about neutrals

Get two of each of the essential womens sweater styles:

Wardrobe sweater essentials

Fashion vests are not a must - but if you live in all-year cold and chilly climate, then I recommend sprucing up your closet with layering by adding one or two :-)

Express Your Personal Style

Striped fun womens cardigan sweater
Courtesy of Old Navy

As with fashion tops, it's easy to get carried away when we buy sweaters. Versatile sweaters are better at mixing & matching into various looks, helping you save money and make it less frustrating when putting together an outfit.

Again, make sure that you have a solid amount of basic sweater styles before building on your collection with the latest trends.

For example, if you have a Bohemian Clothing Style, buy ethnic print cardigans. If you're eccentric opt for bold colors, or if you're classy get a couple of shawl and belted cardigans!

Try various prints and details, necklines, lengths, fabrics and textures. You can never go wrong with classic Fall/Winter colors such as purple, blue, green and mustard yellow. And also fiery red for those last minute Christmas parties or when you just want to feel extra confident and spiffed up.

Show off your personal style with trendy womens sweaters
Courtesy of Madewell, TopShop, Target, Oasis

    fashion tip Tip: My tip is to invest in cardigans, because open sweaters are easier (and not least flexible) to throw on a basic dress or top.

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Best Sweater Styles for Your Body Shape

You should get a clear image of what body shape you have. It helps you decide what type of womens sweaters complement your silhouette as well as what styles conceal your figure flaws and accentuate your best assets. Think balanced hourglass shape.
    fashion tip Tip: V-neck sweaters and wrap sweaters are recommended as they're universally flattering.

Horizontal Body Shape

Here are my suggestions on what sweater styles complement your body shape:

Your focus is to show off your well-defined waist. Boxy sweaters tend tops tend to make you look square and wide.

Your best sweater styles:
    Best sweater styles for Hourglass Body Shape
    Courtesy of My-Wardrobe
  • Nipped and/or belted at the waist
  • Wrap sweaters creates a smooth silhouette on your hourglass body. That includes open cardigans which you can wrap with a waist belt
  • Low'ish necklines to bring attention to your waist
  • Sweaters with bust enhancing necklines such as scoop, sweetheart and bustier
  • Styles that extend just below the hipbone or past the thighs

Learn more on how to dress your Hourglass body shape

Your goal is to draw the eye away from your wide hips by adding interest and creating curves on top.

Your best sweater styles:
    Best sweater styles for Pear Body Shape
    Courtesy of TopShop
  • Wide or rounded necklines (eg. Boatneck, scoopneck, etc.)
  • Light colored
  • Sweater with shoulder, chest, neckline and sleeve details
  • Bust-enhancing necklines (sweetheart and bustier) to really lift up your chest and add volume
  • Printed and embellished womens sweaters
  • Bright colored
  • Sweaters that hit a few inches above your hipline draw the eye upwards
  • Sweaters with thicker or busy texture. Eg. lace, rib knit texture

Learn more on how to dress your Pear body shape

Inverted Triangle
Your goal is to soften and draw attention away from your wide shoulder line - sand make it look narrower.

Your best sweaters feature:

    Best sweater styles for Inverted Triangle Body Shape
    Courtesy of Net-a-Porter
  • Soft and drapey fabric. Thick and rigid fabric only add bulk.
  • Soft sleeves and shoulders - so avoid straight lines
  • No or minimal interest (eg. Collar less shirts)
  • Vertical details that draw the eye up and down
  • A nipped waist and flares from the waist and down - it helps fake hips

Learn more on how to dress your Inverted Triangle body shape

Your goal is to slim down your mid-section and draw the eye upwards.

Your best sweaters:

    Best sweater styles for Apple Body Shape
    Courtesy of Republic.co.uk
  • Skim over your midsection (empire waist)
  • Low'ish necklines that slim your upper body and draw the eye up and down
  • Have shoulder, neckline and sleeve details (not all together)
  • Have structured shoulders to keep the eye on your upper body and away from midriff
  • Float away from your waist. Basically, they don't taper

Learn more on how to dress your Apple body shape

Your focus is to break up your silhouette to create curves from waist and waist down.

Your best sweater styles feature:

    Best sweater styles for Rectangle Body Shape
    Courtesy of Quiksilver
  • A nipped waist and flaring from the waist and down
  • Various prints, textures and details from the bust and up. Just keep the details of the waist, or add a black belt to nip your waist. The goal here is to make your midriff look smaller
  • Bright and light colors

Learn more on how to dress your Rectangle body shape

Vertical Body Shape

This is the proportion of the bottom half of your body compared to your top half.

Short waist
Long legs are appreciated because they make you taller than you are.

However if you're not happy about your short waist, here are some top styles recommendations and styling tips to help elongate it:

    Best sweaters and styling tricks for a short waist
  • Sweaters with interest above the bust – it draw the eye up and down
  • Medium to long in length
  • Dark colored top and light colored bottom. Dark colors elongates and light colors expand

Learn more on how to style your short waist

Long waist
A long waist looks very elegant but your short legs might draw the attention.

If you're self-conscious about your long waist or short legs, here are my sweater styles and styling recommendations that will help shorten your waist and make your legs longer:

    Best sweaters and styling tricks for a long waist
  • Print sweaters and sweater styles that have interest, especially horizontal details
  • Light colored top and dark bottom. Light colors expand
  • Sweaters that end at hipbone or above hipbone

Learn more on how to style your long waist

Long sweaters visually shorten your lower body and can make you look stumpy. So if you are curvy (Pear or Hourglass) or short, or carry most of the weight around your hips and thighs, then I suggest working on elongating your legs because this can make you look taller and trimmer.

Kim Kardashian wearing a camel grandpa oversized cardigan sweater
Courtesy of Celebutopia

But a pair of heels will always fix this problem! :-)

Learn more on how to style your balanced vertical body shape

Choose a Flattering Neckline

V-neck cardigan sweater form Nordstrom
V-neck cardigan/Courtesy of Nordstrom
I have always believed in a good neckline. It can either widen or slim down a chest.

The most universally flattering neckline is the V-neck because it slims and balances out your shape, and it "opens" up your face.

However, V-necks might not work as well on women with:

  • Long necks
  • Oblong and gaunt face
  • A pointy and prominent chin which they're self-conscious about

But it can be adjusted with a not so low V-neckline.

Your Best Necklines

Your best necklines depends on how your upper body (bust and up) is in proportion with your lower half (hips and down). Usually, narrow and slim chest need rounded and bust enhancing necklines. Wider and fuller chests benefit from slim and vertically shaped necklines.

The straighter and rounder the neckline is, the more volume it gives.

Crewnecks... Ew

Crewneck pullover sweater from JCrew
Crew neck sweater/Courtesy of J Crew

Crew necks are in my opinion the worst necklines average-built women can wear. They make most chests look like thick bricks and it chops off your face. Oh and if you have a full bust.. they'll give you uni-boobs!

To be honest, this kind of neckline looks better on a body figure with long and lean limbs, small chest along with a slim neck shape.

If you have to widen your chest then I would rather go for a boatneck because of its elegant drape and it shows more of your neck and shoulder. Looks so much chic'er.

Crewnecks are practical when worn underneath a sweater for layering and for staying warm in the cold - or just don't care about the stumpy effect it gives - but other than that.. No.

So consider a V-neck or deep scoop-necks when shopping for womens sweaters.

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Buying High Quality Womens Sweaters

If you want your sweaters to last then it doesn't hurt to put more money on the quality of the fabric.

You don't have to buy all of your fashion sweaters in cashmere and other fancy fabrics - just make sure that the basic turtleneck, v-neck and simple cardigan sweater is of high quality because they are the ones you'll be wearing daily in during Fall/Winter and hopefully, next season as well.

In addition, silk, nylon and other fibers are often blended with wool and cotton to give sweaters softness and a bit of elasticity, which is a must if you appreciate comfort. Each of these fibers will affect how you care for the sweater, so pay attention to the care instructions.

    fashion tip Tip: Invest more money and quality on your neutrals and wardrobe essentials such as cardigans and v-neck sweaters.

Luxurious, great for special occasions and work

Cashmere cardigan sweater from Nordstrom
Courtesy of Nordstrom
One of the most widely-spoken fabrics has to be cashmere. A cashmere sweater is the best in softness and and if you value luxury.

Cashmere is available in a wide array of price points, qualities and styles. The weight of the garment is often described in two groups of "plys":

  • Two-ply having a finer hand - soft, light and comfortable. Said to be fragile though.
  • Three-ply and up - has a chunkier or heavier knit but it's still comfy and soft
In general, cashmere can be handwashed with a very mild soap and laid flat to dry (which is recommended after six or seven times of wear). But be sure to still check the care label or item description.

Price range: $50 and up depending on brand.

Note: If you want to save money buy cashmere/wool blend sweaters. They hold up well and remain soft than pure cashmere. 20% cashmere blend adds a soft and luxurious feel to the wool which is less itchy.

Best for colder months

Wool is divided into different groups/types:

    Merino wool sweater from JCrew
    Courtesy of JCrew

  • Merino - a finer fiber if you don't like itchy wool. Is said to offer near the softness of cashmere but with substantially more durability.
  • Alpaca - stronger than other wool types, but it's soft
  • Lambswool - fine and soft
  • Shetland - made from coarser fibers
  • Mohair - lustrous and long-wearing

Merino and lambswool are cost-effective and regular wear (3-4x a week). Both are durable, stretchy and breathable.

However Merino is thinner and won't give you the same warmth as lambswool. Lambswool tend to be slightly itchy though. It's up to your personal preferences.

Price range: Below $100 depending on brand.

Note: Wool is soft and comfortable. It works as an excellent insulator, which is perfect to wear on cold winter days. However the majority of wools and wool blends need to be dry cleaned or hand washed to stay at their tip-top shape. Make sure to follow the washing label.

Affordable, hasslefree and versatile

Cotton sweater from JCrew
Courtesy of JCrew
Compared to Merino and Cashmere sweaters, cotton is seasonless and very simple to care for.

The majority of sweaters are machine or hand washable, which is a an appealing feature if you live a hectic (or lazy!) lifestyle.

Cotton sweaters are soft and comfortable, but they won't keep you as warm as a wool sweater. So they are nice to wear when it's slightly chilly. However you can layer them with tees and scarves to keep yourself warm.

Price range: Under $75

Note: Cotton/synthetic fabric usually gets washed in machine, however, you need to be extra careful (read the care label ) when it comes to cotton mixed with cashmere or wool.

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How to Style Your Sweaters

Now let's check out the styling guides for the various types of sweaters:

How to wear fashion vests, stylish vest outfits

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Time to Shop for the Latest Womens Sweaters

Now that you've gone through my fashion tips and shopping advice on sweaters, it's time to shop!

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Related Content:

Guide to Plus Size Fashion and Clothing How to Buy and Wear Jackets and Coats Guide to Womens Body Shapers and Shapewear Guide to Fashion Tops
Guide to Womens Jackets Guide to Fashion Costume Jewelry Guide to Womens Jeans Guide to Womens Fashion Belts

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