How to wear a sweater and not look like a whale: an autobiography.
We've all been there.
You're trying on this gorgeous, lush, WARM sweater that your heart yearns for. You've been full-on heart eye emoji-ing it in the store, but when you get to the fitting room—wait a minute—am I fat?
I personally don't like the "f" word, but in this context, I feel like it's necessary because that's a really relatable feeling.
Sweaters are THE best. They're cute, on trend, and—dare I say—comfortable. Comfort isn't number one on my list when I make a clothing purchase, and if you want me to roll my eyes at you, use the term "comfy" to defend something hideous. It's a no from me. HOWEVER, I am all for things that are chic and comfortable. Now that's something I can get behind.
"How To Wear A Sweater And Not Look Fat" is one of THE most Googled phrases. Can you believe that? I totally can because when I asked you guys what were some fashion problems you struggled with, I got this question at least five times.
I want you to know that I HEAR you, and I feel you! Especially since becoming a blogger, I am acutely aware of all angles and proportions—not only of myself but of my clothing as well.
Some things that look good on the store rack or even in the mirror don't translate well into blog photos. I can't tell you how many times I've sabotaged my own shoot because I felt 600 pounds and pregnant in the sweater I chose to wear. I'm only nice when I like my outfit. Just ask my boyfriend :)
Because of this, though, I've kind of (inadvertently) been a human guinea pig for you guys. I know what works and what definitely doesn't when it comes to styling sweaters. So here's what you've all been waiting for: How to wear a sweater and not look OR FEEL "fat."
Know Your Proportions
Know. Your. Proportions. —of your body and of your clothes. I'm not 5'10, 115 pounds, so I can't wear or "pull off" things that a model could. That sucks, but it's a reality.
I am a f*cking feminist, and I believe you can wear anything and everything you damn well please. But that doesn't mean that when you wear ill-fitting clothes, other people and I aren't wondering if you have a mirror at your house. Fit matters. I'm guilty of this myself. Either it's laundry day, I'm running late to work, or I just flat out have a fashion mishap, but more often than I'd like to admit, I make proportion mistakes. I'm 5'3/5'4, so this is easy for me to do. I have to make sure my outfits (especially my sweaters) do justice to my shape and my height.
Some sweaters I see shouldn't have even been made. I look at them, and I'm like, "literally who would look good in this?!" I say that to say: Just because a sweater exists, doesn't mean that it's the sweater for you.
As I said, you can wear whatever you want, but why wouldn't you want to wear something that makes you look and feel your best? When I look like sh*t, I feel like sh*t. It's just a fact. So I think we should all make an effort to familiarize ourselves with our bodies and honor them by dressing them in a flattering way.
Ex 1: If you want to wear an oversized cardigan, pair it with a body suit or a tight-fitting dress or top. This balances out the extreme fit of the cardigan and gives your look some much-needed proportion.
Ex 2: Want to wear a huge, bulky sweater? GREAT! Just make sure you're toning down the Grandma vibes with some sex appeal. Women hear the term "sex appeal" and get nervous, but don't be! I'm a total prude, so I'm not asking you to do anything I wouldn't do ;) You need to make sure your bulky sweater has some sexxxiness. Either opt for a cropped version of the sweater (no need to show your midriff—unless you want to—if you wear high-waisted jeans, the sweater should hit right at the top of your jeans with minimal or no skin show). You could also opt for a sweater that is off-the-shoulder, twist-backed, or asymmetrical. Sweaters don't have to be boring, y'all! Show a little skin!
Ex 3: Pair your oversized sweater with a slimming bottom. Boyfriend jeans and sweaters can work, but it ain't easy, so for an easier outfit formula, I would opt for mid-rise or high-waisted skinny jeans, leggings, jeggings, or well-fitted flares. If you're tiny height-wise, just make sure you wear these options with heels! See below.
Elongate Your Legs
I want to see those legssssss, girl! Yes, yours! I already told you I wanted you to show some skin, so if you want to keep your top completely covered, the legs are a great place to do it!
Ex 1: You can balance out a chunky knit with a short skirt and OTK boots. I know that sounds a little Pretty Woman-esque, but trust me, it works.
Ex 2: You could also wear your sweater and skinny jeans with some stunning heeled booties. If you're short like I am, you want to make yourself look longer with added heel height. All about those proportions, guys!
Ex 3: If you are wearing a tunic sweater or a sweater dress, you could absolutely pair your top with tights (or leggings!) and heels, heeled boots, or booties. Insta-chic and very Gossip Girl! Queen B would approve.
Control Your Visual Waistline
The easiest way to feel sloppy in a sweater is to lose your waistline. You don't have to be a double zero to have a bangin' bod and that includes your precious waistline! Accentuate it, babes!
Even if you think you "don't" have a waist (lol I'm sure you do but ok), you can create one with strategic dressing.
Ex 1: Tuck. Tuck. Tuck. Tuck. Tuck. I am obsessed with tucks. A "tuck" simply means you tuck in the front of your sweater to your bottoms. I love it. It's easy, chic, and makes you look at least 10 pounds skinnier. Want to wear a sweater, eat Moe's, and still not feel slouchy? TUCK. Tucking draws attention to the smallest part of your waistline and visually cinches you in. It's magic. I call it 5 second lipo. You're welcome.
Ex 2: Belt it. Now, let me caution you; this will not usually work with THICK sweaters. If your sweater is on the thinner side but still baggy, a belt draws attention to your waist in a good way. If you try this with a thick sweater, you're just going to look thick everywhere. Don't say I didn't warn you.
Ex 3: Layer it. Wait—you want me to add MORE layers to look slimmer?! Yes. I do. I'm not telling you to add more bulk to your lewk. I'm just suggesting that you pair your chunky knit with a long button-up for an instantly pulled-together vibe that will visually break up the heaviness of your fabric at your waistline.
What do you think about these sweater tips? Have you had any sweater styling successes? Want some one-on-one styling advice? Email me at email@example.com!