As the weather turns chilly, the chance to wrap ourselves up in our favorite sweaters again is a bright spot. But not all sweaters are created equal, especially when it comes to choosing a style that best fits your body type. Fabric, shape, sleeve length and even neckline matters when it comes to finding the most flattering fit. That’s why we consulted Katie Collins, a wardrobe stylist who has dressed everyone from Nicole Kidman to Kerry Washington. Here, she shares how to select the style that’s best suited for your shape. (But first, an important note: These are simply suggestions from a pro for folks in search of the most flattering options; you can—and should—wear whatever sweater makes you happy.)
What Sweater Is Best for Your Body Type? We Asked a Stylist
PureWow editors select every item that appears on this page, and the company may earn compensation through affiliate links within the story. All prices are accurate upon date of publish. You can learn more about the affiliate process here.
Meet the Expert
Katie Collins is a wardrobe stylist based in Los Angeles who has worked with Nicole Kidman, Kerry Washington and other celebrities. Inspired by street fashion in New York, Paris and London, as well as on runways in other major cities around the world, Collins has honed her eye and developed a hybrid, high-low aesthetic.
1. If You Want to Minimize Your Belly, Stick to Classic Silhouettes
Trends like big shoulders or bell sleeves are tempting, but for those looking to draw attention away from their midsection, it can be better to keep things simple and steer clear of details that add additional bulk, Collins explains. But that doesn’t mean you don’t have options: Timeless silhouettes, like a cardigan or a crewneck, can be flattering either oversize or fitted, especially when French tucked into high-waist bottoms.
2. If You’re Self-Conscious About Your Hips, Prioritize a Pretty Neckline
Necklines can be a huge asset because they draw attention upward to your shoulders, your neck and your beautiful face, says Collins. If you’re pear-shaped, Collins recommends a V-neck or a boatneck sweater. From there, you can either opt for an untucked sweater (if you’re more comfortable covering up) or tuck your top into high-waist pants to highlight your narrowest part.
3. If You’re Tall, Play with Length
With stature comes more variety. Case in point: sweater length. “A lot of my clients are 5’11 or 6’ and they can pull off some pretty dramatic shapes and lengths,” Collins says. “A long sweater is so chic, especially one that hits right above the ankle. Pair it with a cropped jean and a boot and it’s almost like a coat, but in sweater form.” Or you could also go short. Collins says that cropped sweaters that hit right above the belly button also work if you’re tall. “At the end of the day, it all comes down to balance,” she says. (If you are a tall gal rocking a cropped sweater, you can create said balance by pairing it with high-waist, wide-leg pants.)
4. If You’re Petite, Experiment with Embellishments
A nipped-in waist, a big shoulder—these are the details that can make the sweater you choose feel much more tailored to you, explains Collins. Skip the bigger, longer cardigans—which can drown your frame in too much fabric—and instead opt for designs that have a bit of detailing or design. “I think it’s nice to draw attention to the shoulders or your waist,” she says.
5. If You Want to Minimize Your Boobs, Try a Fitted Silhouette
It may seem counterintuitive, but a fitted sweater can be one of the prettiest ways to play up your shape if you’ve got a larger bust. Collins says again that the neckline is where you want to mix things up. “A mock turtleneck would be a beautiful shape to try, or you could do a really classic neckline, like a crewneck, that lifts the eyes up and gives a little bit more space.” (For reference, Collins is a fan of slouching or rolling the neck just once, 80s-style.)
6. But If You Want to Show Them Off, Choose a Sweater That Elongates Your Neckline
V-necks, FTW. But that’s not your only option: A wrap sweater is another elegant way to draw more attention to your décolletage. In fact, showing a little skin can help reduce the bulk a sweater adds. And lengthening the neckline not only highlights your chest, but can also have an overall slimming effect.
7. If You’re Small-Chested: Try an Off-the-Shoulder Moment
The fact that you can get away with not wearing a bra is kind of a gift, Collins says. That’s where an off-the-shoulder style—or other asymmetrical necklines—could be fun to try. “That’s super sexy and chic,” she adds.
3 Universal Sweater Styling Tips to Keep in Mind:
• Consider the fabric type. At the need of the day, it’s all about what makes you feel good and comfortable, Collins explains, but staying away from bulkier wools never hurts when seeking a more figure-flattering style. “I’m partial to a cashmere or a cashmere blend since it’s really well-suited to every body type and feels like a second skin,” she adds.
• Layer like the French. The French Instagrammers really nail it—they wear sweaters over a tucked-in turtleneck or collared shirt, or underneath a coat. Those details matter, says Collins. “Take a white dress shirt: You can push up the sweater sleeves so the shirt sleeves peek out. It’s very chic,” she says.
• Keep the color palette neutral. Collins is a huge fan of the capsule wardrobe—the idea that everything in your closet can be mixed and matched. “Trends pass pretty quickly, then you’ve got all this extra stuff in your closet that you probably aren’t going to use,” she says. Her color preference? Black, gray, cream, navy and a neutral beige—that way, you can pair those with almost any other thing you own.