An anonymous reader threw this bad boy into the suggestion box:
All the women in my family are knitters and so I have a lot of hand-made sweaters and cardigans. The problem with these are they tend to be not very well fitting and also they somehow don’t look very polished. I would never give them away, but at the same time I feel bad for not wearing them enough. I know belting is one option, but it doesn’t always work with all kinds of sweaters. Mostly I end up wearing them when I’m going for the relaxed, slouchy look. Any suggestions on how to incorporate them more into my daily rotation?
Although I’ve never been gifted a hand-knit sweater, I’ve certainly owned ones that sound similar to the ones the reader has described: A big bit, possibly boxy and thick, don’t take kindly to belting. And the fact is that an ill-fitting sweater is always going to look like an ill-fitting sweater because … well, it doesn’t FIT you. A hand-knit sweater that fits your bod, flatters your curves, and sits happily in place can look as pretty and posh as a designer one. But floppy and loose are tough, especially when combined with bulky. So here’s what I’d suggest if you’re in possession of a few loose, boxy sweaters.
- Skinny pants or jeans: If you’re comfortable in this style of pant and your figure is such that wearing them with a loose sweater on top will create the boxy-top, sleek bottom dichotomy, go for it. Throw a contrasting color tank top under the sweater if it’s too short on its own.
- Balance with boots: A biggish top calls out for biggish shoes, in my opinion. Tinker with a few boot-based ensembles.
- Long skirt: If you can find a floor-length skirt that both flares at the hem AND hugs a little at the hip, it can work with these loose sweaters. Scrutinize in the mirror first, though, as you may get overwhelmed by the sheer amount of fabric you’re wearing.
- Mini skirt: And on the opposite end of the spectrum, a fitted mini can look super cute with bulky, boxy knits. Pair with tights and boots for a funky fall or winter look.
- Add jewelry: An oversized sweater in a solid color can be made sassy and chic simply by donning a long necklace. Or roll up your sleeves and slap on a chunky cuff bracelet for a modern look.
For some examples of oversized knits done well, poke around Pinterest.
The reader request was for ways to make these items look more polished, but most of these tips still skew casual. I think it can be truly tough to style this kind of knit for a semi-conservative office environment, but hopefully some of these ideas will work for business creative or business casual!
Image courtesy madelinetosh. (Not that this sweater is undesirable, you understand. I actually think it’s quite cute.)