It’s that time of year: The nights are long, the days are short, and stepping outside means being met with a gush of crisp air. For those of us who have spent the summer comfortably lounging in t-shirts and sundresses, it’s time to swap out the summer attire with our winter wardrobe. While it seemed so easy to be trendy in the summertime, we might now be looking at our favorite cozy clothes and asking if it’s time to sacrifice style for comfort. But put away your worries and grab a sweatshirt, because we can do both.
A sweatshirt is a garment that is as comfortable as it is adaptable. There’s nothing wrong with rocking sweatpants or your favorite pajama bottoms. But if you’re wondering how you can dress up that sweatshirt and make the most out of a cozy look, we’re here to help. Here are some outfits to try to elevate your sweatshirt style.
Show Off Some Leg
Your sweatshirt will have most of your top half coated and covered, but if you’re still interested in showing some skin, you’ve got a whole lower half to work with. Wear a mini dress underneath to let your legs really shine. Some denim or khaki shorts will work just as well, but if you’re going for something a bit more elevated, a skirt or dress is the way to go. Feel free to show off the shape of your legs with some high boots as well.
Go With an Elegant Off-White
Especially in winter, a simple way to make any piece look more sophisticated is to keep it sleek and coordinated. Here’s one way to do this: Opt for an off-white or cream-colored pullover and matching slacks––if you can’t find a color that’s close enough, go for black instead. Throw on some cream or black shoes, and voila––you look instantly put together. A nice way to add a bit of warmth to this ensemble is with a delicate gold necklace, or, alternatively, pearl earrings.
Add a Bit of Sparkle
Even the heaviest sweater can become light when paired with the right glam. A gold sequined skirt, for example, will really stand out against your pullover. A flashy clutch or some statement jewelry is a fun way to grab the eye and immediately make the look seem more high-end. A shiny, sleek holographic dress underneath the sweater is also a great look, and will be fun to reveal to a party if you shed the layer later.
Just remember: It’s all about contrast and making the sparkle shine, so don’t overwhelm the outfit with too many accessories.
Make it Monochrome
Let’s say you’re not satisfied with just a comfortable top. You want to be just as cozy on the bottom, too. In that case, why not get a matching sweatshirt and sweatpants combo?
Here’s how to make it polished: Stray away from gray to avoid looking like you’re out for a jog. Instead, go for bold, aesthetically pleasing colors like yellow, sky blue, cherry red, or lavender. Add platform white sneakers or hike up the hem of the pants a bit and go with black heels and a black purse to match. Throw on hoop earrings and a sleek updo to make it really chic.
Look Effortlessly Classy with Jeans and Heels
You can’t really go wrong with this combo. Simply wear your favorite sweater with jeans––there’s no hard and fast rule about what kind of denim to go for, but try to play with contrasts by going with a dark sweater and light jeans or vice versa––and a solid pair of heels. Roll or scrunch up the bottom of the jeans to show a bit of ankle and make the look more intentional. Distressed jeans are an alternative for a bit of extra edge.
Wear a Color Block Sweatshirt
The thing that you’d like to avoid with a sweatshirt is making it look too plain or dull. In that case, make the sweatshirt itself the focus of the outfit by choosing a trendy, color block sweatshirt. This will not only look interesting but also cohesive. Wear it with bottoms that are either a simple shade––like white or black––or a color that provides a solid contrast; for example, pair a blue top with red bottoms.
Add Another Layer
It might seem excessive, but we all know that on the chilliest days, even a solid sweatshirt doesn’t always provide all the warmth we want. In that case, feel free to add a jacket on top to create a bit more form and drape the hood (if there is one) over the back. A motorcycle jacket amps the coolness factor. A blazer will make the look more professional and also provide some silhouette. A long plaid coat with the sleeves of the sweatshirt poking through will make you look like a model on coffee break.
Pair It with Something Form-Fitting
A general feature of the sweatshirt is that it often hides the torso in a wash of fabric. But you can wear one and still show off your figure. Contrasting “big” and “small” is a solid formula for crafting an outfit. Wearing a body-con dress underneath a sweatshirt has the effect of highlighting your hips and thighs. Make it a chic black for an extra sculpting effect. A cropped sweatshirt is ideal for showing off some extra curves.
Pair a Zip-Up with a Revealing Layer
If you’re wearing a zip-up sweater, you have even more opportunity to play around with shape and style. For a bit of elegance and allure, wear a satin camisole and jeans underneath. The camisole allows for some femininity and a flattering glimpse of the decollete area. If the zip-up is oversized, you can even drop the neckline and wear it in an effortless off-the-shoulder look, showing some extra skin and creating a unique silhouette. For an even dressier look, opt for a satin slip dress instead of the camisole.
Bring Jewelry Into the Mix
Often, all it takes to upscale an outfit is a bit of jewelry. Although you can play around and go as daring as you like, with a sweatshirt, simplicity is generally key. A gold bangle and hoop earrings to match are a nice choice for a light sweater; silver rings and a charm necklace will stand out beautifully with darker fabric. If jewelry isn’t quite your thing, try a nice watch instead. Who doesn’t like a little glitz?
Add Texture and Patterns
To spruce up a plain sweatshirt, combine it with fabrics that will add extra life to the outfit. A gray pullover can become sweet and feminine with a flowy, floral print skirt. On the other hand, a pleated tennis skirt will still be monochrome, but it adds texture that was missing in the sweatshirt alone. What’s more, it will add a sense of movement and fun. You can even wear a top underneath the sweatshirt that has a bit of lace or silk detailing on it. Just let it peek out at the sleeves, neckline, or hemline.
Use Accessories for Extra Shape
If you want to make your sweatshirt look less bulky, there are several ways to do this. Grab a dark, swanky purse with a long strap and swing it across your torso to reveal a bit of shape and break up the bulk. Another option is to wear slim-fitting pants with a mid-size belt and tuck the front of the sweater into the belt––French-tuck style. This allows for a bit of waist cinching and for the length of your legs to show.
Try a Sweatshirt Dress Instead
There are cropped hoodies, long hoodies, and, longest of all, hoodie dresses. These combine the length and femininity of a skirt with the practicality of a hoodie––and they happen to be universally cute. There are several different ways to pull this look off: combat boots and tights; converse and white socks; or, for pop-star level impact, thigh-high boots.
There are lots of ways to make a sweatshirt more dapper, dazzling, or dressy. Getting an eye for mixing and matching may take some time, but it’s always fun to experiment with new looks and see what sticks. This chilly season, don’t miss out on keeping nice and snug with a sweatshirt that looks as great as it feels.