Oversized sweaters offer cozy, comfortable option for cold

via zara.com

When it’s cold and gray outside, there’s nothing better than lazing around in a soft, warm sweater. Thanks to some covetable pieces from the fall and winter 2013 ready-to-wear collections — like Saint Laurent’s popular, celebrity-approved oversized star sweater and Chanel’s colorful, woven separates — oversized knits are quickly becoming a wardrobe staple. Sweaters are one of the most comfortable and effortless garments, but the chunky, fluffy, textured sweaters that are so trendy at the moment can be hard to style. But with a few tips, you can incorporate daring knits into your wardrobe and compose fashion-forward outfits just in time for the coldest weeks of the year.

Finding the perfect sweater can be tough due to the sheer variety retailers offer, but deciding what look you’re going for first is key. For a more relaxed, grunge-inspired look, go for oversized cable knits with dropped shoulders and longer sleeves, like a simple Urban Outfitters pullover ($59), or an oversized textured cardigan (Forever 21, $29.80).

For a softer, lighter look, choose a fuzzy pastel-colored sweater in a cropped silhouette, like the Topshop Knitted fluffy crop jumper ($60). For a quirkier look, opt for a multi-textured sweater, like the Anthropologie confetti striped pullover ($138), or if you’re really daring, an oversized sweater with a bold print like the Urban Outfitters “Crazy Kitty” sweater ($110).

Finally, to maintain a classic look while still being comfortable, opt for a more structured knit with a dramatic turtleneck, like one sold at Zara ($80). Vintage and thrift stores also generally carry a good supply of chunky sweaters. For a great selection of vintage or gently worn sweaters, check out Stella Dallas Vintage or Beacon’s Closet.

As for styling, the best way to create an outfit around an oversized sweater is to balance proportions. Pair an oversized cardigan with a tea-length slip dress and ankle boots, or during colder weather, skinny jeans, a long-sleeved tee, and tall leather boots. For pullovers, relaxed boyfriend jeans and ballet flats make a perfect casual outfit, while layering a textured pullover over a crisp, white, collared shirt gives an outfit a more proper, put-together feel.

Pairing an edgy oversized sweater with dark skinny jeans, tailored trousers or a fun skirt and heels is also a great option for a dinner or a night out when it starts to get chilly. Be wary of layering too many accessories, like necklaces, over a sweater that makes a statement on its own. Sometimes, however, adding volume with a colorful scarf gives an outfit an unexpected edge.

When in doubt, let the sweater take the stage and keep hair, makeup, and accessories minimal. Don’t be afraid to break the rules of dressing, but make sure to balance both exaggerated and simple silhouettes to create an outfit that’s as comfy as it is chic.

A version of this article appeared in the Wednesday, Nov. 6 print edition. Deeksha Mehta is a contributing writer. Email her at [email protected]