As they say, it’s sweater weather, or, if we’re quoting Saturday Night Live, “sweatah weathah.” After a long, hot summer, the crisp, cool sweater-requiring climate is a welcome change. I love breaking out my drawer of cashmere. The colder it gets, the heavier in rotation my sweaters become to the point by the time the first sign of spring rolls around, I find my desire to wear my sweaters has started to wane. It’s not that I fall out of love with them, it’s more the equivalent of eating the same cereal every day.


The good and bad thing about sweaters, particularly, is that they’re one-and-done pieces. You throw on a sweater, a pair of pants or jeans, usually boots if it’s cold, and you’re dressed. While the appeal is obvious—the brain work involved in cobbling these looks together is completely undemanding, it’s a look that can quickly get repetitive, hence my cereal daily analogy. It’s hard to layer with sweaters, a dressy scarf worn with a sweater can be the enemy of anyone menopausal, and there is little more that can be done to a large, comfy sweater. Sweaters usually just are, and that’s it.

As strange as it may sound, I liken this to people who live in hot climates where layers are seldom worn, it’s just too warm. When I work with clients in hot climates, I have to be mindful to create looks that can stand on their own without the help of layers of lots of accessories. This is why people in warmer climates tend to wear more novelty that can stand alone and less basic pieces.

For similar reasons, I think this is why some of the sweaters we own should be standalone novelty styles. Don’t get me wrong, I love my good basic sweaters and think they are important, yet, to balance things out, it’s also important that I have novelty styles that look done with minimal effort, just as you probably own great workhorse basic tops as well as more novel ones. I have put some novelty sweater looks together below to give you some examples of how these styles can create effortlessly finished outfits for the fall and winter.


novelty sweaters

This color block sweater from Elie Tahari that I styled with the matching pants, creates a sophisticated work look. Using the red-orange shade in the sweater, I finished the look with these pumps from Ralph Lauren and garnet drop earrings from Bloomingdales.


novelty sweaters

I call pieces like this sweater from Nic Zoe (which also comes in petite) novelty basics because they function like a basic but have a little something extra to them that they also function as a novelty. It’s the best of both worlds because these pieces are novelty items you can get the maximum use from. I styled this sweater with a pair of faux leather jogger pants from LOFT, and finished the look with burgundy 3D knit booties from MM. Lafleur, and silver hoop earrings from Jenny Bird.


novelty sweaters

I’ve become completely obsessed with Lisa Todd sweaters lately. They’re so tastefully fun with great color combinations and silhouettes. I love this colorblocked style that has neon green on the trim of the sleeves. I styled this sweater with slouchy straight-leg jeans from L’agence, a pair of navy driving loafers from M.Gemi, and a blood-orange suede belt from Etsy.


novelty sweaters

While you could definitely call this sweater from Brochu Walker a basic, what gives it its novelty appeal is the attached layering piece that creates an effortless finished look. I styled this sweater with mink-colored pants from MM. Lafleur, slate blue flats from M.Gemi and gold hoops from Merjuri.


novelty sweaters

This stunning intarsia sweater from Vince is the equivalent of a printed blouse. Even with a basic pair of jeans, this sweater would definitely make a statement. Instead, in this look, I worked with the stunning shades in the sweater and added this ash-colored pair of faux leather pants from Commando, teal booties from Bernardo, and mint erinite studs from Lauren Ralph Lauren.


Basics are the critical glue that holds a wardrobe together. Without good, solid basics, you are limiting the effectiveness of your wardrobe. Yet, a closet full of basics without any excitement can quickly get dull. If you feel like your basic sweaters are starting to feel like you are living in a rerun, try adding a few showstopper styles to brighten things up.


Still shopping for more? Check out these additional styles.