The upscale silk sweatshirt is what I call the modern pull-on blouse. The mixed media darling marries the Sporty Luxe trend with the bumper Knitwear trend, creating an elegantly relaxed look. It’s an interesting hybrid of dressy and casual and is as comfy as can be in a fashionably fluid or oversized fit. In true sweatshirt style, it’s frequently designed with magical raglan sleeves that can make wider shoulders seem more narrow and narrow shoulders seem more wide. 

We saw it come through last year and it’s gaining momentum as variations of the concept hit stores in an assortment of colours, patterns, and sleeve lengths. In some cases the sleeves and rib trim on the neck and hemline are knitted, with a silky woven front panel. The back can also be knitted like the sleeves. Sometimes the sleeves are made of a silky woven fabric like the body. Or the sleeves are silky and the body is knitted. Although raglan sleeves are the norm, set-in sleeves and dropped shoulder seams are other options.

The woven parts of the sweatshirt are usually made of silk, silk blends, or polyester. This provides a soft, breezy and luxurious integrity. It also makes the item drape well, which creates a flattering effect. A knitted fleece sweatshirt tends to look boxier and does not collapse back onto the body in the same way. 

I’ve been encouraging my clients to try the upscale silk sweatshirt because the silhouette can work across all body types and sizes, and has its advantages: 

  • Trendy: It’s one way to refresh your career wear, giving regular shirts and blouses a break. The upscale sweatshirt is fantastic worn over pencil skirts and trousers. It’s sufficiently covered when you don’t want to bare your arms, and does not require a jacket for layering. It’s an interesting piece that can stand on its own. 
  • Versatile: Upscale silk sweatshirts look just as good worn casually with jeans and shorts. They are just flattering enough over flared skirts. 
  • Comfortable: A roomy fit in a soft fabric is a good recipe for comfort. No need to fully tuck the top into bottoms. Faux tucking the front works well too. 
  • Forgiving: The boxy fit around the midriff is camouflaging of muffin top, yet the welt on the waist and tapered sleeves provide ample structure. 
  • Easy: Pull-on-and-go styles are the easiest of all. 

Choose a wider neckline if you have a larger bust and/or shorter neck. Choose your fit. Size down if your regular size is too boxy, or size up if you prefer lots of slouch. Pair it with slim-fit bottoms and tailored footwear if you’re after more structure. 

I love this trend and I’ll be adding a few upscale silk sweatshirts to my Spring and Summer tops capsule. The dressier vibe of the woven silk appeals more to me than the knitted fleece sweatshirt, and I appreciate the insulating sleeve coverage for always cold me. I’ll be wearing mine with flared jeans, boyfriend jeans, cigarette pants, bootcut trousers and pencil skirts.

What’s your take on the upscale silk sweatshirt? Will you be wearing them?

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Rebecca Taylor Womens Long Sleeve Tiger Silk Sweatshirt

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Reiss Rover Print