sweater dogAKA – Not Your Mister Rogers Cardigan

If you are a frequent reader you probably have heard me mention Mister Rogers’ cardigans more than once.

So let me set the record straight. I loved Mister Rogers…many a quiet day was spent curled up in a comfy chair with my two beautiful little girls (not so little anymore) watching Mister Rogers Neighborhood on PBS.

He was a kind, gentle man who behaved ‘authentic’ on camera often alluding to being your ‘honest’ self. After he strolled into his studio house while singing Won’t You Be My Neighbor, he would hang his coat in a closet and put on his cardigan zip sweater. One of those sweaters now lives in the Smithsonian, a testament to his cultural influence.

FYI – I am not saying that your cardigans are NOT Smithsonian worthy, but I may be saying they are hand-me-down worthy!

Just like his cardigan became his trademark, so might one of your articles of clothing, and it may not be for all the right reasons!

  • Oh, I know Jane – the crew-neck sweater girl.
  • Julie’s desk is at the end of the office, the chair with 12 cardigans lopped over the back.
  • Jennifer is the woman over there with the oversized sweater.

I find my least stylish clients are repeat shoppers. They shop in the same stores, going down the same aisles, buying the same v-neck sweaters year after year. Even their family photos are pete and repeat! Oftentimes while working with a client performing a closet cleanse, the pile of sweaters that all look exactly alike are a mile high. That’s as a result of not thinking outside the box and shopping in a new store, walking down a different aisle, realizing that they have been wearing the same look for decades, or ever considering outsourcing their style.

Let’s step back a bit and take a look at what’s in your closet, your drawers, your bins, your attic and your kid’s room when it comes to sweaters! Start by hunting and gathering. I will leave the assessing and purging to you as there is a limited amount of space on this page, but there is a deep-dive available in the ‘closet edit’ section, of my new book if you require a bit of therapy along the way.

Let’s forge ahead, one knit one purl at a time.

A key piece (or five) that you can add to your Fall wardrobe is a sassy knit. It will make your dreary neutral basics sing, your weekend jeans pop, and your silent observers wonder if in fact you have hired a stylist (aka me)!

Your new knits can have shawl collars, textured tweeds, chunky yarns, long silhouettes, short sweater jackets and styling details like zippers, leather buttons and grommets. The options are endless!

One good example for us New Englanders is Nic and Zoe; a local company that has launched nationwide big time entirely because of their novelty knits! Even the most conservative clients are now donning a textured, colorful cardigan from this designer. The same sweater could be office-wear with your dress pants and silk blouses or weekend-wear with your skinny jeans and boots. Pop a chunky cardigan on with a leather skirt or pant and you are once and done, dressed to the nines.

Shop wisely and use a few of these tips:

Pay attention to the labels, avoiding fabrics that make your skin crawl. Many women hate even the slightest hint of wool due to skin irritation or hot flash irritation! Read the fine print before you purchase so you don’t have to tell me years from now when we edit and revise your sweater piles, that you never wore that one pricey sweater after the first time!

Be careful of proportions. Don’t opt for the chunky shawl collar belted cable-knit knee-length sweater coat if you are 4’5” tall. It would be a challenge just walking around in that thing! Be sure the sweater isn’t taking over your frame by opting for finer knits, vertical patterns and asymmetrical bottoms.

Be conscious of the patterns and their affect on you. Avoid horizontal stripes or color blocking in all the wrong places if you are bigger on the top – meaning the girls of course. Use a discerning eye when you stand in front of the mirror by walking towards it and seeing where your eyes are landing. If they are landing on the largest portion of your top, which could be the shoulders, the girls, or the extra-in-the middle, then put it back on the rack. Shop for sweaters that accentuate your assets and disguise your liabilities.

Think of the sweater category as more than just a sweater!

Here are a few options:

The Asymmetric Sweater Tunic

Simply perfect for layering over slim pants or long pencil skirts. The asymmetric cut is ultra flattering for any figure, whether angled side-to-side or front-to-back. This silhouette ads fluid movement to your look and eliminates the cutting-your-body-in-half with the horizontal line syndrome!


The Comfy Casual Sweater

You need weekend-wear, true weekend-wear. Something that says, I am relaxed, ready to be dressed comfortably, stylishly and am up for anything. A statement sw
eater like this is memorable and bound to have your girlfriends asking if they can borrow it, because really, who doesn’t love a cozy sweater?


The Sweater Jacket
The perfect piece when you don’t want a structured jacket or an outer jacket and you want the option of keeping it on once inside the building, because it ‘completes’ you!


The Sweater Dress

Once known as the weather girl dress (sorry ladies), for it’s form fitting, hip hugging proportions that stretched in all the right (wrong) places. The knits of today have a bit of Lycra for memory and are styled with structure in place, so the sweater dress itself has it’s own shape, allowing you to use it to your advantage. Some even have swing skirt bottoms adding a bit of sashaying to your strut.


The Sweater Coat

Long gone are the days when the only one wearing a sweater coat was the cat lady down the street. Again the new coats have form, shape, styling details like piping, pockets, belts, leather trim, great buttons or zippers. They are truly a style statement for the Fall, deserving of velvet hangers as opposed to hooks on coat racks. They have shape, showing that you too have shape! They are the perfect Autumn companion, filling the gap in between our linens and our wool fleece.


All items above can be bought at all price points so I have offered prices from H&M to Eileen Fisher. Again, look online for what you like, define it in Google by style, color, fabric and price-point and no doubt you will have choices from A to Z!

And of course add your comments below because we love your feedback!

Doreen Dove empowers women to use style as a tool to take strategic control of their image. She is an image consultant, personal stylist and professional speaker. Her extensive background in all aspects of retail has uniquely qualified her to work with women of all ages and professions, coaching them to personal style success.  www.DoreenDove.com

Book a complimentary Boost Your Image Breakthrough Session with me. We’ll chat about your sweaters! Then we’ll move on to your shopping habits, your image and whatever else comes up! I look forward to ‘meeting’ you on the phone!

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