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How to Wear Long Sweaters & Keep Them Looking Great

Comfortable knits are one of this season’s biggest fashion trends, whether over-sized or fitted, or made from cotton, cashmere or wool, women are loving the warm and cozy style. We especially think long sweaters are a must-have staple for your closet, thanks to their versatility and the warmth they offer. Here are five ways you can rock this piece in the months ahead and also keep reading for great care tips!

1. Embrace your cozy slouch over the weekend

While you can certainly wear a long sweater to work, these pieces are also perfect for casual weekend activities. For items that are a little more bulky, try a pair of women’s skinny jeans. This will make your bottom half look slimmer, while keeping things roomy from the waist up. If you’re looking to dress up big sweaters, cuff your pants and add a pair of heels. For a more cozy and approachable outfit, swap the pumps for a pair of sneakers that you can run errands in.

2. Add the best fall accessories

Long sweaters wear well with just about any shoe choice, but women’s boots are a fall favorite that can’t be overlooked. That’s not the only accessory you should add to outfits that incorporate this piece, however. Find an oversized purse or handbag as well as a felt, wide-brimmed hat to give your look a boho-chic vibe. Add gold or silver jewelry for a casual feel, or more chunky pieces for a fancier look.

3. Dress up your leggings

Need to run around town after your workout class? Don’t be afraid to pick up your dry cleaning or stop by the grocery store by wearing a long sweater over your leggings. While this relaxed look is an option, you can also pair the item over a dressier pair of leggings. Take a pair of non-exercise bottoms in a dark fabric and add a cardigan with a statement necklace. Leggings, like long cardigan sweaters, are extremely versatile making it easy to wear the items together.

4. Pair it with a summer dress

In the transition from summer to autumn, there will be plenty of days that are a toss-up between warm and chilly. It’s important to be prepared for these occasions, and long sweaters can help. Sundresses don’t have to be stored away once the first leaves begin to fall. Add a pair of dark tights and boots to make the look more appropriate for the season. For days that are particularly crisp, throw on a long cardigan. Finish the outfit with a chunky fashion scarf and a leather bag to store your outer garment if the temperature rises again.

5. Go preppy

There are few things more classic than white blouses, but you can take it a step further by adding a long sweater. Let the bottom of the shirt hang out for a more undone look, or tuck in the sweater and roll up the sleeves for a more professional option. Feel free to prop up your button-down collar or fold it over the neck of the sweater for added prep effect.

No matter what the occasion, long sweaters are a wardrobe staple that combine practicality with style. You have the option to dress them up or down, wearing these pieces as the season transitions into fall and all the way through winter. With so many styles available today, you can never have too many long sweaters. Grab one in every color, shape and fabric to round out your closet and keep yourself warm as you head into the chillier months. Make the style your own by pairing long sweaters with your favorite items, from heels and sneakers to skinny jeans and leggings.

Care Tips

Unlike jeans or basic tees, it’s easy for sweaters to stretch out, snag and otherwise become damaged, but appropriate care can help prevent these issues from happening. Take a look at some suggestions for keeping your sweaters in prime condition:

Limit Washes

Overwashing a knit can lead to shrinkage and fading, and most fashion experts agree washing after every wear just isn’t necessary. If you put sweaters on over a tank top, undershirt or other layering piece, wash every few wears. The exception? If a sweater becomes dirty, stained or is exposed to smoke (knits can easily pick up odors), it’s time for a wash. If a minor spill occurs, spot treat it if you can, and wash it if you can’t.

How to wash

Many women prefer to have their sweaters dry-cleaned, but that typically isn’t mandatory, unless you’ve splurged on an expensive cashmere or chunky wool piece that you don’t feel comfortable hand washing. The best way to wash sweaters is by hand, using cool water and a mild detergent. Treat any stains, then just leave the sweater submerged completely for half an hour and rinse clean. Squeeze the sweater gently to remove excess water before laying it flat to dry. For most sweaters, though, machine washing on a gentle cycle will be fine, especially if you put them in a lingerie bag first. Try to avoid machine drying, as it can cause shrinkage.

Damage control

If a sweater snags, pull gently on the surrounding fabric to loosen the snag as much as you can. Then, use a needle to push the snagged yarn through to the other side. If possible, weave the snagged piece of string through the knit a couple of times to keep it in place.

Get rid of pills

Though you shouldn’t wash sweaters after each wear, it’s a good idea to remove pills. You can buy depiller brushes, but there are some easy ways to get rid of them with items you have at home. Try lightly running a disposable razor over areas where pills form (they are commonly found in the underarms and sides of the sweater where your arms rub against your body frequently). Brushing them with pumice stones and using the sticky side of tape are also effective methods.

Storing properly matters

Hanging chunky and loose-knit sweaters can quickly and easily stretch them out, so it’s much better to fold or roll them, then keep them in a drawer, shelf or bin. If hanging is your best or only option, use shoulder pads on your hangers to keep the sweaters from stretching as much as possible. Before storing cardigans, whether you hang or fold them, button them up, as this can help the sweaters keep their shape.

Comment below with any other tricks you have for taking care of your sweaters!

Comments (7)

It was captivating when you explained that sweaters don’t require to be dry-cleaned. I am planning to buy a gray women Ashton sweater. Your post gave me helpful tips on how to wash it properly.

Great tips

Great article-thanks

I hang mine on skirt hangers

What a great idea!

We’re glad you enjoyed it!

Love this article!!! I have some sweaters that I love and I want to keep them looking new. Makes so much sense to wear a light layer under and not wash so often. I pull the snags through (with a tiny crochet hook) but didn’t think to try to weave them to protect them AND I didn’t know what to do about the dreaded pilling. Very valuable information. I am excited to know my favorite sweaters can now be saved! THANK YOU Monroe and Main!!

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