Though most of us spent the last few weeks trudging through an epic heatwave, fall will be here before you know it — and with it comes chilly mornings and even cooler nights that call for cozy fall sweaters. And though it's never fun to pack away bathing suits, shorts, and other summer staples, there's no better feeling than finally layering up without sweating through your clothes immediately.
This season, as you start to configure your own arsenal of knits, know this: The bigger the better: Though paper-thin turtlenecks and lightweight merino sweaters have their place, if the fall runways have anything to do with it (and, uh, they definitely do), every fashion-girl is going to be reaching for sweaters of the slouchy and oversized variety in thicker fabrications. Yep: That means chunky sweaters — some that can even double as a blanket, should you be so inclined — are officially on-trend again.
But keeping shapeless, nubby sweaters from veering into schlub territory is an art, not a science. NYC-based Stylist Rachael Wang, who's worked with brands like Bergdorf Goodman, Bloomingdale's, Bottega Veneta, and Maybelline, says the trend is a evokes mainstays of decades past — and suggests modern styling reflect that.
“Knitwear came down the runway oversized with great voluminous sleeves — a clear nod to the '80s trend, which we also saw all over the runway,” she says via email. “Aalto and Faustine Steinmetz's versions felt simultaneously classic and new due to interesting proportions." The former, a Finnish womenswear brand based in Paris, styled a comically chunky turtleneck with a more streamlined, tailored pant. A body-skimming silk skirt would have been a good option, too.
"The oversized sweater vests at Maison Margiela were great, and I loved the quilted together patchwork fair isle sweaters at Preen," says Wang, commenting on the playful, deconstructed (read: slightly unwearable for the plebian) knits Preen designers Justin Thornton and Thea Bregazzi showed for the label's Fall 2018 collection.
And you can’t forget one of the kings of chic knitwear: “Michael Kors did a great turtleneck version, which will likely be at a more accessible price point," Wang says.
Shopbop's Fashion Director Caroline Maguire agrees: “This season knitwear is all about novelty knits, like chunky textures [and] '80s prints with bright bold colors.” Maguire gives a nod to NYC-based brand NOVIS, too: The label's bread and butter is usually elevated basics, but this season, designer Jordana Warmflash debuted an iteration of a sweater that's so bold, it almost qualifies as Insta-bait. “I’m obsessed with this amazing rainbow chunky hand knit sweater by Novis," says Maguire . "It’s the perfect fusion of fall trends — and it’s going to be my staple for the season.”
As for bringing the runway trends to real life, Wang likes the idea of pairing an oversized sweater or sweater vest with long boots, while Maguire's excited to complete her look with — what else? — a western boot.