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How to style your sweaters for sweater weather

An illustration of three styles of sweaters.
Image Credit: Alissa Challis

When we look at significant pieces of clothing that we might use on a day to day basis, we might think of socks or underwear. Here in Canada though, sweaters could definitely fall into this category as well. Three students from Fanshawe’s fashion design program believe that wearing sweaters all year round is perfectly acceptable, but added that it all comes down to how you style your sweater.

“I think layering is the key when playing around with the style. You have the sweater but you have all the other pieces that go with it too,” second-year fashion design student Mayumi Brilhante said. 

Another second-year fashion design student Chloe Nguyen mentioned that there is a trend of wearing sweaters in the summertime.

“You can add see-through open knits with bikinis, crop tops or even a dress on top of it,” Nyguyen said.

This does depend on how the weather is outside as well as the type of season we are in. Ngyuen said that there are also some classic styles you can go with.

“The V-neck sweater is also cute and then you can layer with a shirt inside and that would help show the colour around the collar,” she said.

Brilhante is from Brazil and Ngyuen is from Vietnam. Since they both grew up in hotter countries, when the colder temperatures come around, they said that they tend to grab a thicker or warmer sweater.

Third-year student, Biz Clarkson, however, grew up in Canada.

“[So] I get warm very easily,” Clarkson said. “Personally, I would have a sweater versus a thicker hoodie and then I would layer on top of my sweater if needed.”

The group mentioned that they have been seeing a trend of more bright colours.

“It was really bright colours after the COVID lockdowns and more people were going out and being social,” Clarkson said.

Now, however, Clarkson said they’re noticing a move away from neon and bright colours.

“It’s now an icy pastel style coming in, it’s not as close to a baby duck colour but a slightly more elevated pastel,” Clarkson said.

There was a debate amongst the students for when you can state that we are officially in a sweater weather season.

 “Mine is not until October,” Clarkson said.

“I would say around September for me,” Brilhante said.

“For me it would be October,” Nguyen said.

Around the fall seems to be where the group said they see more people wearing sweaters around. With the style of brighter colours on trend, there is a style that they believe you can’t get away from in sweater weather season.

“You’re never going to get away from the rust or leaves colours in fall,” Clarkson said. “But I think that’s why it’s interesting when you can have more spring or vibrant colours but in the fall on sweaters.”

Even though bright colours might still be ‘in’ around sweater weather time, there is a key piece the group mentioned when styling your sweater.

“People are still using layers to style in sweater weather time,” Nguyen said.

“You can pair the sweater with a black coat or a leather jacket but then you still have a bright coloured sweater underneath it,” Clarkson said.

Nguyen said that this style is a nice way to wear your sweaters in the fall as it helps to “mute” the bright colour down.

“So when it’s raining and gross outside you’re not like, ‘Here I am in my bright pink sweater,’” Clarkson said.

The three of them believe that the rust-coloured look around sweater weather season is the classic style everyone goes for.

“I also feel that people think they have to,” Clarkson said.

“Almost as if it’s a code to follow like, you can’t wear a white sweater in the winter,” Brilhante said.

“I feel that this is kind of a stereotypical thing,” Nguyen said.

Rather than follow the agreed-upon standards, Clarkson pushed for spontaneity with your style.

“I really like to pair sweaters with do-it-yourself (DIY) vests,” they said. “I will put spikes on them kind of like what they do in the metal scene. You have your battle jackets I do but I make them in a nerdy style.”

Brilhante also suggested trying out the monochromatic look. This is when someone will only choose to wear one colour style for a look.

“Most people would do this style all in black but I would spice it up with some black leggings but it is a classic look,” Brilhante said.

There is a whole other extreme side to the spectrum too when styling your sweaters.

“This would be total pattern clashing, almost like you rolled around in your closet and said this is great, let’s go,” Clarkson said.

A lot comes into play when styling your sweater for sweater weather. These savvy fashion students also emphasized that accessorizing with your sweater can help the style. They also recommended checking out your local thrift stores if you are looking for some new sweaters.