On more than one occasion, we’ve talked about the benefits of sweater dressing. There is something very comforting in wrapping oneself — cocooning oneself — in soft warm wool clothes.
If you subscribe to the view that one cannot have too much of a good thing — knits — than it logically follows that you love sweater coats.
Here things get tricky.
During the cold months, you cannot top a sweater-coat for warmth and comfort. Can Not. But sweater-coats can be overwhelming, shapeless or, in the worst-case scenario, overwhelming and shapeless.
A few winters ago, I bought several sweater-coats in my search for a flattering one, which is pictured opposite. Allow me to share my empirical knowledge.
- The sweater-coat needs to be snug. This may seem counter-intuitive, because a sweater-coat is a giant sweater . . . but it’s not actually. An over-sized crewneck can be stylish; an over-sized sweater-coat looks like a hotel bathrobe.
- If your figure is fairly straight up and down, you can wear a sweater-coat that is essentially an extended (i.e., very long) cardigan.
- If your figure is an hourglass or pear-shape, you need a sweater-coat that has been shaped by seams (because the coat is made of several pieces sewn together, like mine) or by dropping/increasing stitches (where the front or back of the coat is a single piece).
- The heavier the gauge of the yarn, the more rigorously these prescriptions apply.
I’ve buttoned my coat so that you can see its shape better.
The shape is sort of Empire; there is a seam under the bust and the coat’s skirt is gathered in a few places. As a result, It fits snugly through the bust and waist, but then bells out over the hips and bottom for ease. The finishing touch is a ribbed trim at the bottom of the skirt that creates a little flared hem.
Here is the seam at the waist.
The Photographer thought you might want to see the banded collar, too . . . although he did not call it that.
So what to wear under your sweater coat?
I recommend a knit top (sweater or jersey) and long straight leg or slightly boot-cut pants.
I strongly discourage you from wearing a sweater-coat with cropped pants. I actually tried on a pair (thinking to vary my usual combination) and I looked horrible. The proportions were all wrong. I acknowledge, however, that the facts always make a difference and depending on your height, shape, sweater-coat, and cropped pants, that combination may work. But I am very dubious.
If you have experimented with sweater-coats, or can recommend a current season sweater-coat, please chime in!
Sweater-coat: Theory; Striped jersey: Ann Taylor; Pants: JCrew; Boots: 8; Bag: Orla Kiely