I have avoided chunky knitwear for the last 20 years for three reasons. First, the garments generally felt too casual. Second, I felt far from streamlined in them. To wear a waist surrendering blouse or shirt in a delicate fabrication that drapes back onto the body is quite different to wearing a thick chunky knit that does not drape at all. And third, chunky knits are often itchy. But when I saw the outfit below at Brandon Sun’s Fashion Week presentation earlier this year, I was unexpectedly smitten, and wanted to emulate the outfit right away. It looked relaxed yet dressy, very flattering, and I love the colour combination. I’ve got the trousers, so all I need is the chunky knit pullover. I might throw in a more punk hairdo too. 

Oooh, how one’s thoughts about an item can change. I believe that we reserve the right to change our opinions, likes and dislikes about all things fashion and style. This keeps our fashion feet moving and our style journeys interesting. 

It just so happens that chunky pullovers, not cardigans or sweater coats, are particularly on trend at the moment. They come in a variety of lengths, weights, silhouettes, neckline styles, colours and types of stitch interest. Some pullovers are more chunky than others. Some are boxy, while others are fitted. Some are tunic length, others are regular length or cropped. Some have heavy stitch interest like cables and some are plain. 

There is no getting away from the fact that chunky knitwear adds bulk. Fine gauge knitwear is definitely the way to go if feeling svelte and sleek is a priority. Fine gauge knitwear is also dressier, more versatile, and easier to layer under a coat or jacket. 

That said, if you fancy giving chunky pullovers a whirl because you had a change of heart like I did, here are six tips to help streamline the silhouette: 

  1. Go semi-chunky: Avoid styles with large areas of stitch interest and keep things plain. Choose a weight that is not as heavy. This is why I purchased the Vince style below in ink blue before I ventured into an ultra chunky cabled style. Baby steps!
  2. Avoid cable stiches: This type of stitch interest in a chunky knit looks EXTRA chunky.
  3. Keep the silhouette tailored: Opt for a fitted style instead of an oversized cut. 
  4. Don’t go too long: Keep the pullover short to wear over a skirt, cropped or regular length for trousers. Things feel extra chunky at tunic length. 
  5. Keep it solid: Stripes, for example, will add on bulk. 
  6. Scrunch the sleeves: I’ve found this to work wonders. Showing a little forearm skin keeps things alluring.

Last but not least, scoop necks and boat necklines are good options for those with a larger bust. 

You can wear chunky knit pullovers with a wide range of skirts, trousers, shorts and jeans. They look especially good with leather bottoms, but I will be wearing mine with wide black wool trousers, jeans, tartan skinnies and possibly a flared midi skirt. 

How do you feel about wearing chunky knit pullovers? Still too chunky and unflattering, or are you going to dip your toes?

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