A friend of mine wanted to know if it was possible to find warm, non-frumpy stylish sweaters.  This question seemed easy enough with all the sweaters out there for the choosing.  However, if you think about it, how many of us own heaps and heaps of warm, comfortable yet “atrocious to look at”, never leave the house sweaters that we grab for comfort and not style?


First, let’s talk about the frumpy sweater.  I often say to my clients that everyone needs a pair of sick pants or a lounge-about sweater for those lazy nights on the couch.  In moderation, cozy ,yet not exactly stylish, pieces in your wardrobe are fine…again, IN MODERATION!  I often equate having these pieces in your closet as the same as the food you keep in your home while trying to lose weight.  If you don’t want to lose yourself in the frumpy sweater abyss, the key is to limit the amount you have accessible to yourself…just like you would sweet treats in your cupboard.    However, the key is not to deprive.  What happens when you eat so strictly and never give ourselves the occasional treat?   You wind up binging.  So, sure, have a comfy sweater or two in your wardrobe, and that is it!

Now, it is possible that a nice sweater often gets relegated to a cozy home sweater before it is bid farewell to the Salvation Army, for example.   If this is you, you need to be conscientious about the input/output of this practice.  Yes, it is fine to downgrade a sweater, however, for every sweater you downgrade from a good sweater to a comfy home sweater, one older sweater, that you already have doing that job, has to go.  If you don’t manage the flow, you can wake up one day with an accumulation of not-so-nice sweaters that you don’t feel great wearing.  Nobody needs this clogging up the closet.  Therefore, for every sweater you downgrade, one has to go buh-bye.

Let’s address another key point, why do you have frumpy sweaters in mass amounts in the first place?  How did they get there?  Didn’t you buy them?  I want you to think about whether or not you are welcoming too many frumpy sweaters into your life.    Again, one or two are fine, but if you have more than that you need to consider the source.  This is also where you can also implement the input/output rule.  For every new lounging around sweater you bring in one has to go.

Okay, now on to my friend’s question: Warm, non-frumpy stylish sweaters and if it is possible.  Well, of course it is.  There are tons of lovely cozy sweaters out there that will keep you warm and looking good.  The thing is this, however, a stylish warm sweater gets frumpy for a bunch of reasons.  First, overuse.  If you over-wear a sweater it will get frumpy over time.  Next, ask yourself if you are caring for your sweaters properly.  Are you throwing them in the wash when they say to dry clean or hand-wash?  Are you hanging them on a hanger instead of neatly folding them?  What are you doing to your sweaters that may be giving them a not-so-fresh look?  It may be nothing, but it is worth exploring.

Next assess where your needs lie with your sweaters.  If you are going to own them then make sure they are practical in your life.  If they don’t function well in the life you lead, they often get relegated to a frumpy home sweater pile quickly.

So, let’s take a look at some comfy yet stylish pieces and where they may work in your life.


The “work at home” sweater

Being someone who often works at home, I know how hard it can be to pull it together and how easy it is to look frumpy, if you let it happen.  To me, you don’t necessarily have to fight the urge to slum it a bit, but you can at least find downgraded items that don’t make you feel like a homeless lady, like this sweater by Free People.

The “weekend errand” sweater

While you’re out and about running errands or doing more casual things on the weekend, you don’t have to look like a schlump.  This sweater by Chico’s looks like a sweatshirt, but isn’t.  Also, you can always stick a turtleneck underneath to warm it up, if needed.


The “throw on with everything when you’re cold” sweater

I think everyone needs a big, loungy cardigan that can be easily thrown over everything for work or home; a piece that you can wrap around yourself like a blanket, like this one by LnA.


The “meeting up with friends for coffee” sweater

What I like about this sweater by Madewell is that it has darts in it which will create some shape in the waist.  The color is also interesting, yet it is versatile, so you can dress it up or down depending on what you are doing.  There isn’t an accessory color that wouldn’t work with this sweater and if your neck gets cold a colorful scarf will wind beautifully around it.