As the colder seasons approach, it is time to start thinking about stocking up on sweaters. Find the perfect sweater styles for your body shape.
The first thing to note about sweater material is that the gauge of the material matters as well. Fine gauge sweaters are thinner, lighter, and are generally better for layering on top of other shirts. Heavy gauge sweaters are significantly more substantial and are generally worn on their own.
Cashmere is the most luxurious of sweater materials, and often the most expensive. It is fine, strong, light, and extremely soft and warm. While it is sometimes called “cashmere wool,” this material is not actually wool; it is made from the hair of a goat. Cashmere is ranked according to the thickness of the fiber hairs, with Grade A being of the highest quality.
A more affordable cashmere option is to look for cashmere-wool blends, which are often at a much lower price point and can be more durable than 100% pure cashmere sweaters.
There are many variations of wool sweaters, but the most commonly seen ones are:
- Merino: extremely soft and excellent at regulating body temperature, especially when worn against the skin. Merino wool also wicks moisture away from the skin.
- Alpaca: soft and silky natural fiber. It is similar to sheep’s wool but is warmer, not prickly, and hypoallergenic as it does not contain lanolin.
- Lambswool: usually used in heavier gauge knit sweaters. It can be a little scratchy, depending on the weave.
- Angora wool: produced by Angora rabbits, angora is known for its softness, fluffiness, and silky texture. Angora is often blended with wool in sweaters to reduce pilling.
Cotton (or cotton blended with nylon) sweaters are a convenient choice for busy ladies, as most of them are machine washable. However, cotton sweaters tend to be significantly less warm than wool or cashmere sweaters.
Retailers frequently blend two or more different materials together in sweaters, usually a natural and a synthetic material. Wool and nylon is one such commonly-available blend; other synthetic materials usually blended include polyester and acrylic. Synthetic blends tend to be cheaper, more durable, and can be machine-washed.
Best Sweater Styles for Your Body Shape
Sweaters for Apple Figures
Apple-shaped figures lack waist definition and often carry weight around the middle. Consider:
- Sweaters that are tighter on the arms and are looser around the torso – think empire style sweaters and waterfall-style cardigans.
- V-necks and U-necks that draw the eye away from the waist.
- Cropped sweaters can be cute with high-waisted bottoms for younger women. In general, look for sweaters that hit at the hip bone. Sweaters in these cuts tend to be lighter and thinner; stay away from chunkier knits as they might emphasize bulk around the waist.
Pear Flattering Sweaters
With weight carried primarily in the hips and butt, a Pear-shaped figure should consider:
- Sweaters with interesting necklines, like embellishment or detailing by the shoulders, to balance out the figure and draw attention upwards.
- Wide or rounded necklines, like boat-neck and scoop-neck sweaters, and even chunkier knits with emphasized necks like turtlenecks or cowls.
- Look for sweaters that hit at the hipbone or a slightly longer tunic length in a thinner knit.
Hourglass-shaped women are all curves with tiny waists. They should look out for:
- Light sweaters that skim the body. Styles like wrap sweaters and belted cardigans are great options to show off a petite waist.
- Lower-scooped necklines, like v-necks and scoop-necks. Stay away from crew neck sweaters as they can emphasize your chest.
Rectangle or Straight Body Types
Women with rectangle figures have similar measurements between their bust, waist, and hips. They should keep an eye out for:
- Consider chunkier knits and sweaters with pattern and embellishment as they add interest to your upper body.
- The crew neck style also works well with narrow rectangle figures, but women with broader shoulders should consider v-neck sweaters instead.
Finding the Best Fit
The best sweaters for your body type are the ones that fit you the best. Some touchpoints to be aware of:
- Shoulders: The sweater should fit perfectly at the shoulders, with the start of the sleeve right at the edge of shoulder.
- Wrists: Sweaters should also end slightly beyond the wrist bone for the best fit. If it’s a three-quarter length sleeve sweater, make sure that it doesn’t catch at the elbow. The opening of the sweater sleeve should also be snug but not overly tight.
- Tightness around the arm and torso: Consider if this is a sweater that you’ll be wearing on top of different layers – if so, it’s best to purchase a size up or to try your sweaters on with tops under before you purchase.
- Length: The most flattering length for a sweater is to hit you right at your hip bone.
Everyone Can – and Should – Wear Sweaters
It’s hard to go very wrong with sweaters – they are an evergreen staple that should be in any woman’s closet. Sweaters also have fewer style trends than other types of women’s apparel, with most brands limiting their selection to material, neckline, and length.