So You Bought A Knit Set — Here's How to Maximize It Into Multiple Outfits

Going beyond coordinates.

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Knit set outfits
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Knit sets have seen a meteoric rise, going from percolating microtrend to the unanimous choice in the soft-clothing realm. The evolution makes sense. It’s an effortless way to look polished in an instant with the same comfortability as your pajamas and sweats. To wit, knitted coordinate options are endless, ranging from silhouette-skimming ribbing to plush cashmere and eye-catching jacquard — spanning neutral and boldly saturated tones.

Popular silhouettes include cardigan sets of all kinds, a show-of-skin-top or bralette teamed with a skirt, and tanks or long sleeves matched to flared split-hem or yoga-style pants. Plus, shrugs with a complementary thin-strap top or dress to capitalize on a Y2K-meets-twee aesthetic. When steering your look in a bolder direction, patchwork patterns, checkerboard prints, and embellishments level up the impact. At the same time, timeless crewneck, scoop, and high-neck tops paired with cropped, jogger, or wide-leg pants appeal to classic sensibilities.

“Knit sets really came into the spotlight when Katie Holmes wore the original trend-setting Khaite bra-and-cardigan two-piece [in the fall of 2019],” says stylist Rebecca Dennett. Ever since, the popularity of these soft coordinates grew from a seasonal trend, evolving to closet-staple status. Dennett adds, “It’s the perfect winter day-to-night set; it’s subtly sexy but also cozy.”

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Bloomingdale’s Ready-To-Wear Fashion Director Arielle Siboni says shoppers still crave that sense of comfort, noting that silhouettes, like a crop top and skirt combos, are taking center stage. “Knit sets embody this mindset in a stylish and easy-to-wear way,” she tells TZR. “[They] also give you the flexibility of wearing the complete look, or you can break up the pieces for a completely new vibe.”

That versatility is what you undoubtedly crave now that you’ve purchased no less than one knitted set or, most likely, three or more. So, it’s time to get creative with your styling acumen. As stylist Dione Davis puts it, styling knit sets in new ways is “a great starter kit for those looking to branch out from their usual style.” She adds: “I don’t think matching separates are as much a trend as they are an incredibly functional life hack to set yourself up for a new season of dressing.”

Of course, like other matching sets, the genius lies within the fact that these two pieces pair effortlessly together, effectively requiring no thought at all. But don’t discount the fact that one knitted set amounts to three easy outfits at a minimum — the coordinates paired together, the woven top with another bottom, and vice versa with a different shirt, blouse, or blazer to transcend that knitted pant, short, or skirt.

Dennett advocates for knitted neutral coordinates if you’re for timeless designs. “I own a Naadam two-piece set in an oatmeal color, which looks great with white and cream denim,” she tells TZR. Spun from cashmere, the stylist says the “unbelievably soft and high quality” top and bottom was an investment — something she always recommends in a versatile colorway. Echoing Dennett, Davis says black is a fail-safe choice but also loves the look of lightweight brown or navy knitwear. “You can break up all of the black you have and mix all the neutrals,” she tells TZR.

Whether you’re adding a new knit set to your collection or rethinking the ones already in your wardrobe, keep scrolling to see how Dennett, Siboni, and Davis suggest styling knitted coordinates in new ways to maximize your comfy outfit options this year — and next.

A Polo + Pants

A black knit set is one of the most versatile you’ll own. When worn together, keep things easy with a minimal white sneaker and baseball cap.

Styling The Knit Polo Top

“Because the polo has more of a minimal look, I would pick a handbag with a fun pop of color like this cute Brandon Blackwood tote,” Siboni tells TZR. Round out the look with slide sandals, denim shorts, and hoop earrings for a casual dinner or night out.

Styling The Knit Flare Pants

“With the knit pants, I would pair them with a classic white shirt, chain-link necklace, and slip-on sandals for a polished and comfortable look suitable for a business meeting,” says Siboni.

A Shrug + Tank Top

The shrug and tank top combo is a more wearable version of Katie Holmes’ knitted cardigan-and-bra set. The most effortless pairing is undoubtedly with jeans — go tonal with off-white denim and finish with black ankle boots for contrast. While it’s still cold, layer with a creamy quilted and shearling jacket.

Styling The Knitted Shrug Set With A Skirt

“I would wear this set with a printed skirt and tall heeled boot,” says Dennett. “It’s a great winter option and feels very day-to-night — you could dress it up with a red lip for dinner or cocktails.” A gold necklace and small tote bag with clean lines lend a timeless yet modern touch to the look.

Styling The Knitted Shrug Set With Pants

For a ‘90s-inspired tailoring moment, Dennett suggests the set with menswear-inspired trousers, a leather blazer, and sandals during in-between springtime weather — bonus points for a logo-printed pair.

A Long-Sleeve Top + Flared Pants

“Brown can ground prints and colors with ease, while black can appear too harsh with pastels and neons,” says Davis. “It’s also interesting enough to be worn under a blazer and thin enough to wear well into spring. The matching wrap skirt has so much potential for chic pairings.” While it’s still cold, pair your set with lug-sole boots and finish with a silver chain-link necklace.

Styling The Long-Sleeve Top

“I love this long and lean top with sculpted jeans and a statement shoe,” Davis tells TZR. “A great look for at-home drinks or for grabbing an impromptu dinner around the corner.” When stepping out in spring, accent the look with a lightweight quilted jacket and top-handle bag.

Styling The Wrap Skirt

In a Y2K vein, Davis suggests styling the wrap skirt with a colorful fitted bodysuit and tall, statement boots for an effortless but elegant outfit. “This Tibi bodysuit looks great with brown,” she says. “I personally struggle with bright blue, and brown feels quiet but interesting.” Finish with an oversize coat while it’s still cool, and gold jewelry.

A Crochet Crop Top + Skirt

Hop aboard the crochet knit set trend for spring with this crop-top and skirt set. Minimal sandals and a small woven bag are perfect in warm weather, particularly waterside.

Styling The Crochet Crop Top

“I would style the crochet top around the idea of an outfit that can take you from ‘beach to bar.’ The top goes well with wide-leg FRAME jeans, along with Gucci square sunglasses for a ’70s bohemian vibe.” Finally, complete the look with mule sandals and a woven cross-body bag.

Styling The Crochet Skirt

“The skirt would pair nicely with a loosely tucked [muscle] shirt and espadrille sandals for a casual weekend look,” says Siboni. The fashion director suggests a pair of earrings with movement and a knit tote to elevate the outfit with a summer tone, like Chloe’s Woody tote. “[The bag has] various neutral shades like the other pieces, adding a nice pop of color with the stripes.”

A Halter Top + Maxi Skirt

Looking for more of a statement set? Wales Bonner’s striped look has you covered. Keep things simple with delicate white sandals and a clutch when wearing the whole outfit for dinner or an event.

Styling The Knit Halter Top

Davis suggests layering a knit top underneath a relaxed suit with flats. “It feels really chic and elevated,” she says. “I also don’t fear a menswear shoe with this look since the top is fitted and bare.”

Styling The Knit Maxi Skirt

Pair your knitted maxi with an oversize sweater and fisherman sandals for early spring when you no longer need a coat and are ready for an ankle reveal. “This look works year-round if you’re part Italian greyhound and get cold indoors,” says Davis. Alternatively, it’s ideal for those who live in climates where you can get away with cashmere and sandals on the same day. If you’re not ready to bare those toes, the stylist suggests adding socks or sticking to tall boots.

A Cardigan + Cropped Tank

Go sweet in a pastel cardigan and tank top set. A darling look to try on WFH days with sweats and shearling shoes.

Styling The Knit Cardigan Set With Jeans

“I would wear this knit set with white wide-leg jeans for a spring feel with a sneaker, or a loafer would be charming,” says Dennett. Steer things in a trendier direction with colorful beads and a bucket hat as the finishing touch.

Styling The Knit Cardigan Set With A Slip Dress

Embrace unexpected layering for dressier moments by styling this set over a slip dress with heels. Dennett suggests a midi length to elongate your line, along with a kitten heel or flat to temper the overall mood.

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