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How To Wear Oversize Sweaters Without Looking Bulky


Its sweater weather finally in California and I am taking out all of my cozy oversize sweaters to style and wanted to share some ways you can style them for your everyday looks. While oversized sweaters look so chic and effortless, sometimes they can be a little bit tricky specially if you have a short torso and somehow look petite in everything oversized like I do even if you are 5 ft 6 inchish. 

Oversized sweaters also seem perfect these days given that we all are working from home and want to feel a bit cozier. I always tend to go for them instead of other sweaters. You can also blame my inexperience with layering being born in tropical climate. I always associate winter weather with sweaters and the chunkier they are, the cozier I feel.

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But over the years, I realized that if not styled a proper way, they tend to look sloppy or frumpy at times. I have eventually found my happy medium where I don’t complete loose myself in them.

And wanted to share some tips on how I do it. 

Wear Flattering Bottoms

I always like to use this rule while pairing something oversize or loose fitted, to pair it with something fitted and the other way round as well. Specially with oversized sweaters, you don’t want to wear loose fit pants that would make you look frumpy and bulky. 

Faux Leather Leggings

My favorite way is to pair them is with my Spanx faux leather leggings, but I only pair them with longer oversized sweaters that will fall below below my bottom. This looks flattering specially with my straight figure and the leggings anyways cinches everything and makes me look taller than I am. 

You can also try this with regular leggings like your activewear, the only thing I will caution is the material of the leggings. The reason I love Spanx faux leather leggings is because of the shiny nature of the fabric, it compliments the wool matte texture and creates a luxurious look. 

But if you have a metallic finish sweater, try it with normal skinny jeans.

But, if I am wearing shorter oversized knitwear, then I love pairing them with leather pleated pants or slouchy jeans which can cinch the waist. This would easily work with sweaters that are not too chunky as I tuck them in the slouchy jeans, to create a was it line making the outfit look feminine and chic. 

I have also worn them with white Straight leg jeans that look so chic and create a winter white look.

Pleated Faux Leather Pants with cropped oversize sweater

If I am wearing shorter oversized knitwear, then I love pairing them with leather pleated pants which cinches my waist. This would easily work with sweaters that are not too chunky as I tuck them in the pants, to create a waist line making the outfit look feminine and chic. 

Faux Leather pants are my absolute go to in winter. Since I don’t feel as cozy in denim in winter, I switch to them to feel warm and they look so stylish as well. 

You can create casual look with them with a causal footwear like sneakers.

This look I created with an oversized cardigan and some matching pumps which was perfect for holidays or even for any parties. 

I could easily swap the pumps with boots and wear this outfit for everyday looks as well.

If you want to get some more ideas of styling faux leather pants, checkout this post where not only I have special occasion style, but I also have everyday styles.

Narrow Leg Pants or Jeans

I also love pairing them with straight narrow leg jeans. These jeans have a not as fitted around your ankle compared to skinny jeans that hug your ankles. They are also more relaxed so, if you want to layer tights underneath to keep yourself warm, it would be easily possible in them.

I love wearing my white narrow leg jeans with an oversize sweater. I love creating all white look as well. It just looks so much nicer compared to darker tones of outfits. 

Wear Oversized Sweater with Summer Clothes

This year, I have kind of experimented with them even more. I was not ready to part ways with my summer clothes, so I decided to pair them with chunky oversized sweaters. 

Wear Them with Bias Skirt

I wore my yellow chunky knit that I bought from Free people and paired it with a printed bias skirt. Though this outfit seemed perfect for spring, but when I paired it with boots, I was able to wear it in the winter. Now, if you are in even cooler place than California, then adding a base layer like tights and fitted sweater on top and coat to add in more warmth. And when you take off the coat, yo still have something cute underneath instead of the same jeans.

Also wore a tunic style oversized sweater with a pleated skirt, and thanks to the belt, my waist is not drowning in the sweater. It also makes my waist look slimmer than it actually is honestly.

I loved it so much that I also tried it with a printed maxi dress creating a boho chic look. This is a great way to maximize your closet and also create a variety of outfit with just one pair of oversized sweater. 

Bias skirt (similar) // Cropped Sweater (similar) // Tall Boots

Pair With Pleated Skirts

Also wore a tunic style oversized sweater with a pleated skirt, and thanks to the belt, my waist was not drowning in the sweater. It also makes my waist look slimmer than it actually is honestly. Paired with booties this is also a great work outfit alternative.

Pleated skirts are kind of an essential in my closet. Skirts in general are for me. I love midi skirts, they look fantastic and you can dress them up or dress down depending on the occasion. This pleated skirt I wore in summer while working from home, and even now, with tall boots, I am wearing it in winter.

Pleated Skirt // Sweater // Tall boots // Handbag (discounted preowned)

Oversize Sweater with Dresses

I just didn’t stop there, I wanted to also try all my dresses with them. The oversized nature of the sweater helps to pull that off is you have balloon sleeves on the dress.

I paired my neon oversized tunic style sweater that I bought from Sweaty Betty a few years ago with my printed mesh maxi dress from H&M that I bought this fall and it looks so chic. even though the sweater looks more sporty, in this outfit, it totally looks boho chic, Don’t you think?

This is a great way to maximize your closet and also create a variety of outfits with just one pair of oversized sweater. 

Add A Belt To Your Oversized Sweater Outfit

I realized the importance of accessorizing when I just could not make the outfit look stylish by itself. I have always been a minimal accessory kind of a person. But I noticed that when I added a belt around my waist, it really made a difference to the look. It not only accentuates my waist, it makes the whole outfit look more put together as if you have put an effort into getting ready. 

And that is something I wanted my looks to feel but without a lot of effort. You can also add a necklace to layer up the sweater. Adding gold jewelry always makes an outfit look luxurious. 

Now, if you are going out, oversized sunglasses would also be a great accessory to compliment the look. Last year, I really experimented with how I create my outfits than just buying new pieces and wearing them. This helped me maximize my closet.

Wear Pointed Toe Boots With Oversized Sweater

Oversized clothes in general tend to add more volume to our body, and if we are not super skinny, that kind of terrifies us. A good fit of oversize sweater definitely won’t do that. But if you like to still look leaner in them, try wearing pointed toe footwear. 

I love adding pointy toe boots to any of my oversized outfits, it looks chic and gives me a taller appearance by elongating my legs. You don’t have to wear just darker tone of shoes, you can also wear white boots or neutral colors in that style. I love wearing white boots in winter, they look refreshing and chic and also expensive.

Layer with Structured Coats With Oversized Sweater

This is specially important for your outerwear. I find that if I am wearing a chunky oversize sweater, adding a oversized or bulky coat, makes me look kind of fat. The proportions just don’t look good, and most of the time we tend to look frumpy. I generally switch my coats to more of structured ones that add a tailored touch to my entire outfit. 

The structured silhouette is a contrast in proportion to the oversized nature of the sweater and balances it out. 

If you are not is a super cold weather, you can always layer your sweater with a fitted base layer to keep your outfit cozy and you might not even need a coat in that case. 

Mix and Match Colors To Create Distraction

This is my most favorite thing anyways. Even if you just love neutrals, try looking for subtle colors like pastel colors that would liven up your outfit. You can also add an accessory that have colors if you don’t like wearing a lot of colors. 

Winter always feels gloomy to me, and wearing colors is my way of still hanging on to some spring summer mood in the dead winter. I know, most of California still feels like spring in winter, but for someone like me who was used to tropics, winter always looks like ton of coats and blankets, Hahaha while my daughter runs around with t shirt and shorts. 

Wear Right Size Oversized Sweater

Don't size up

This is my first rule for any clothing piece, dont size up on buying a fitted sweater thinking that it will look oversized. Trust me it will show that you are wearing the wrong size of sweater and will definitely look frumpy.

Sweaters that are designed to look oversized have a certain way where the shoulder seams fall or the length of the sleeves, and the silhouette of the sweater making them look flattering even when they are oversized. 

So, if you are really looking to wear oversize sweaters then just buy an oversized sweater. The sweater should still sit on your body properly to look flattering.

Best Oversized Sweater Shops

H&M is my go to shop in terms of budget friendly options for oversized sweater. I have realized that their sizing chart for regular women like us has improved tremendously and with the Conscious collection, they are doing much better in terms of the quality of sweater. I have had some H&M sweaters last me for years.

I own this sweater in a green shade. It’s soft and really high quality and looks great with leggings. 

H&M oversized sweater

H&M oversized sweater - $34.99

Express oversized sweaters have a good style about them even if they are oversized. I like that they have a different style and design that makes them look chic and fun to wear. They don’t look like a sac when you wear them basically. 

Express V-Neck Dolman Sleeve Sweater

Express V-Neck Dolman Sleeve Sweater - $88

I also love Mango, one of my go to shops for high quality pieces on a good budget. Most of their pieces would last you for ages if you take good care of them. And they actually make clothes adult women. 

Mango Knitted braided sweater

Mango Knitted braided sweater - $59.99

PS. I know you probably sensed a color theme. Purely accidental.

For more on sweater styling for women, please read:


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About Suchi

A Techie turned Fashion blogger, I have been in your shoes. I have gone from looking like I was trying to fit into my teen clothes, to now a stylist and blogger known to be classy and elevated style. I can help you look your best without spending too much time, effort and money into your wardrobe. 

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