This suggestion came from Eternal*Voyageur:
I would love suggestions for finding warm winter tops / knits. Most of the stuff is sooo boring: either simple figure-hugging long-sleeved blouses, or knits that are either shapeless or again body-hugging.
When I graduated from college, I had a vast collection of long-sleeved t-shirts. I was so self-conscious about my body’s shape that I shied away from layering, assuming that adding more garments to my outfits would automatically add more bulk to my frame. Since then, I’ve learned to layer without lumps and also discovered that my own favorite cold-weather looks are generally layered: Jacket or cardigan, inner layer, scarf, skirt, tights, boots. Most of my winter tops aren’t terribly exciting on their own because they’re meant to be part of a group! But I do have some ideas and tips for finding eye-catching, cozy winter tops.
Prints and patterns
There are loads of beautifully constructed, cleverly designed, solid colored winter tops out there. But if your aim is to be fun, funky, and unusual, going for prints and patterns can be a fabulous shortcut. Simple spots and stripes have more movement and interest than many solids, and the more varied or quirky the pattern the more fun it may be to wear. This skull-print sweater – a generous gift from gorgeous Sheila – is a definite conversation starter, and ever so warm and cozy.
You can TRY the Gap for fun, warm winter tops. And sometimes you’ll totally score. But if you’re looking for something a bit more inspired, steer clear of vendors who focus on solids, basics, and classics. Desigual, Anthropologie, Sundance, Prairie Underground, Boden, and of course Etsy, Fab.com, and your own local artisans are all good bets for interesting and unusual clothing, including winter tops. The top pictured above was bought in San Francisco from local designer Gr.dano.
Many of the world’s tops are made from cotton. I love cotton. It’s soft, washable, and easy to wear. But it’s NOT the warmest of fibers. When scouting out winter tops, keep an eye on fiber content. Silk – especially in knits – does a marvelous job of trapping body heat. Wool – the fiber from which the blue sweater above is made – is a winter standby. Cashmere is heavenly if you can afford it. Relying on cotton or flimsy manmade fibers can bite you in the butt, warmth-wise.
If part of what bores you is the prospect of wearing the same Target sweater that half your friends are wearing, consider thrifting. First off, older goods are often heavier, better constructed, and sturdier than newer, and that goes especially for blazers, coats, and sweaters. So thrifting for wintry garments is a good bet. And, of course, by buying used you have a better chance of snapping up a unique item, like this past-season argyle sweater I nabbed for $3.
What other tips would you offer for finding fun and warm winter tops? Any other brands to recommend? Fibers you love? Thrift tips? Tell us!
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