There’s no better feeling than cozying up in your favorite vintage sweater on a cool fall day. Staying warm without having to compromise style -- that’s every woman’s dream!
But sometimes, vintage sweaters can be tough to crack. Maybe you can’t figure out how to mix and match modern pieces with classic pieces. Or maybe you’re not sure what style is best for you. If you consider yourself to be a struggling sweater stylist, keep reading on for the definitive guide to all things vintage sweaters.
For the Love of Layers
Nothing screams fall more than layers. There’s just something about autumn that makes us want to mix textures and create depth in an outfit. It could be the fallen crisp leaves against the smooth green grass, or it could just be the sudden drop in temperature.
Either way, fall fashion thrives on layering, so don’t shy away from using it to your advantage. Give your best work button-down a refresh by layering it underneath a beloved vintage cashmere V-neck. Don’t want to mix work with pleasure on the weekends? Opt for a snug flannel and a chunky cable knit instead.
If staying warm is the most important thing to you, a simple sweater and turtleneck pairing will definitely do the trick. And let’s not forget the most overlooked layering piece of all time: the vest.
Vests do so much for an outfit with so little material; they provide you with the opportunity to stay warm without ever having to cover up your favorite vintage sweater. As you can see, layering has brought function back into fashion, and it feels safe to say that it’s here to stay.
You probably get the most use out of your leather jackets in the fall, right? Well, there’s a good reason for that. Not only are leather jackets extremely warm and comfortable, but they are incredibly chic and can be easily incorporated into any outfit, too. Sometimes a whole look can revolve around a leather jacket.
No one has ever worn a leather jacket and not felt sexy, even when wrapped up in half a dozen layers. So if you’re struggling to make your vintage sweater the centerpiece of an outfit, maybe it wasn’t meant to be the centerpiece to begin with.
Try throwing on your most attention-grabbing leather jacket, and see for yourself just how big a part a vintage sweater can play in completing a look.
Skirts are the perfect piece to help make the transition from summer to fall a smooth and painless one. Mini and midi skirts are definitely the best length for autumn and offer a unique styling opportunity from one another.
An oversized sweater tucked into a plaid mini is one of the most standard yet timeless fall looks out there, and it gives you an excuse to pull out those over-the-knee boots you never seem to wear, as well. Suede mini skirts will never go out of style, and neither will an A-line denim button-down.
When picking out a mini skirt, remember to think about proportions; a large sweater on top paired with a tight mini on bottom allows for a proper amount of coverage while also giving you shape.
As for midi skirts, keep it snug yet stylish with a chunky knit and a silk midi for contrast. You could even layer your sweater over a midi dress, and no one would be the wiser.
Lastly, a form-fitting sweater, a pleated calf-length skirt, and thigh-high boots make for an unstoppable fall office uniform that is equal parts comfortable and fashionable.
Keep it Casual
There are a lot of reasons to love sweaters, but the biggest reason will always be the comfort they provide. If you’re looking for a casual, comfy way to transition from the dog days of summer to the brisk, windy days of autumn, then there’s no reason why you can’t keep it simple and match a good old vintage sweater with a tried and true pair of jeans.
Skinny jeans and boots will permanently be a staple of fall fashion, but you can never go wrong with your most dynamic mom jean and sneaker duo, either. A classic denim jacket will forever be in style and can help make an outfit as intricate or as basic as you’d like.
And we know what you’re thinking: a jogger or legging is more than acceptable. Fashion would be nothing without the essentials. They are staples for a reason, and sometimes it’s best not to mess with the formula and cater your style to your own personal necessities.
Wrapped Up in Comfort
Admit it: we’ve all waited until the last minute to think about what accessories we’re going to wear. Luckily, we don’t have to endure the same problems with fall accessories because they are so crucial to staying warm that they just naturally become a part of an outfit.
That’s why we suggest starting your own little scarf collection so that styling your vintage sweater can become that much more effortless. Scarves are an automatic bonus to any outfit and can come in a variety of different shapes, sizes, and designs.
Take infinity scarves, for example. Infinity scarves are great for trapping in the heat and can be wrapped around as many times as you’d like. Scarves with fringe are also a must-have, as well as a cable knit scarf so big you could get lost in it.
We recommend taking your obsession with fall accessories a step further and matching your scarf with a toasty beanie, so you can always look put together, even when you’re in a rush to get out the door.
Why try to fix something that isn’t broken? Cardigans are a beloved fixture in fall fashion for a reason, and though we may associate them with stuffy private school uniforms, there is still a chance to rehabilitate their image.
In fact, there are no rules that say you can’t channel a private school uniform to make a great autumn ensemble. A crisp button-down underneath a tight cardi and a pleated mini with knee-high socks will make you feel so young you’ll be tempted to look up your high school crush on Facebook all day.
Or, if you’d like to keep high school in the past where it belongs, a layered dual cardi combo can be a great way to mix boho with business casual. By pairing an open-front longline sweater over a buttoned-up cardi, you can still have that playful, youthful look without having to be transported back to the dark ages of teenagehood.
Find the Fun
When we think of vintage sweaters, we tend to think of large, slouchy pullovers that can take on just about any snowstorm. But vintage sweaters can be so much more than that. So if you’re looking to make a statement with your sweaters this fall, first, you need to expand your idea of what a sweater can look like.
A chic over-the-shoulder sweater, for example, can afford you that coziness you so desire while still showing off your sex appeal. Puffy sleeve sweaters are a playful twist on a fundamental classic. Collared sweaters are visually interesting, and believe it or not, a sweater with intentional holes is considered to be very trendy. Even a colorful cropped sweater can help you stand out.
So next time you’re perusing the vintage sweater aisle, don’t be afraid to push yourself out of your comfort zone and embrace a new sweater silhouette.
No matter what season it is, a monochromatic outfit (or an outfit that sticks to one hue family) will always be a winner. For fall, try sticking to the colors we most associate with autumn: reds, oranges, browns, tans, yellows, and creams.
A cream corduroy and crocheted sweater combo will make you look easy and breezy while also giving you a loophole around the sacred “no wearing white after Labor Day” rule. Pull the whole look together by adding some depth with a camel-colored longline coat on top, and you’re good to go.
Business on the Top, Party on the Bottom
Too often, patterned pants are neglected and forgotten about, but switching out traditional denim jeans for a pair of patterned bottoms is one of the easiest ways to make any outfit look ten times more chic before leaving the house.
Patterned pants are a wonderful styling hack for making the possibilities feel endless because they are! Between plaid, animal print, striped, polka-dotted, checkered, paisley, floral, and more, there’s a whole realm of fashion waiting to be explored.
So if you’re looking to get more use out of your most unique pants, use a basic vintage sweater as the perfect neutral to ground the rest of your ensemble. You could even use this as an opportunity to modernize your oldest sweater by blending the styles of yesterday with the styles of today.
Or, if your extra espresso shot has you feeling extra bold, you could go so far as to mix and match a patterned sweater with a print pant. It’s not as hard to mix prints as you’d think, so don’t let the fear of an outfit being “too busy” hold you back any longer. For a comprehensive breakdown of which patterns pair best, check here.
Fun, Function, and Fashion
Every vintage sweater has a story to tell. While the amount of fall seasons your pullover has seen is unknown, you can make every future fall unforgettable by reimagining what it means to style a vintage sweater.