9 Ways to Wear a Knit Sweater

It never fails—I see a sweater I want to knit, and then I start daydreaming all the different ways that I can wear that sweater. What color yarn would best go with these outfits? How can I dress up this knitted sweater, or make that knitted cardigan feel more casual? Thankfully, there's a wonderful site called Polyvore that makes this daydream a little more real.

Polyvore allows you to "clip" images that you find on the web and save them to the Polyvore website, so you can play around with the images in different layouts and with other images to get a better idea of how they would look together—a virtual story board, if you will. Most people clip images of clothing to Polyvore, and the clipping tool pulls in information such as the original website and the price, so you can easily find the information again.

I decided to take a few garments from our Knitscene Fall 2011 issue and clip them into Polyvore, then play around with various looks for each garment. First up was Avril Lang's Lowry Pullover, a fitted pullover with an allover honeycomb stitch. In the magazine, Katie layered the pullover over a grey dress with black stockings for a grungy look befitting the junkyard location.

I don't spend too much of my time in junkyards, so I tried to figure out a few ways that I might wear this sweater. I'm a jeans-and-t-shirt kind of gal on the best of days, so that was my first Polyvore set.

Lang Pullover one


Slightly distressed jeans and ankle boots keep this casual but still appropriate for most venues. This had a slightly Western feel to the look, and to me, that meant feathery accessories. Sometimes I like to get fancy, though, so I pulled together a more business-y look.

Lowry Pullover two


All black accessories with a little bit of shine elevate this knitted sweater to office attire. The last look I went with for the Lowry Pullover was a little bit Carly Simon, as a friend said.

Lowry Pullover three


Super casual, this look would be great for a weekend spent relaxing on the porch with some friends (and of course, some knitting).

Next up was Cassie Miller's Morrison Cardigan, which has been the focus of many a covetous discussion around the office. In the Fall Knitscene, Katie styled this cardigan over an adorable green Swiss dot dress.

For my own personal sort of look, well, I went a different route.

Miller cardi 1


I'm having to work very hard to not buy that shirt. Converse sneakers make everything better, and how could I say no to a skully scarf? Okay, maybe that's just me.

Miller cardi 2


This second look is still totally something I would wear, layering a stripey cardigan over a simple dress. A red headband and gunmetal grey jewelry pick up the colors of the cardigan, while the blue flats complement the dress.

Miller cardi 3


And a slightly more dressy look sees the knit cardigan layered over a cream shell with burnt orange trousers. Keeping the rest of the palette to complementary neutrals allows you to pull on your favorite cardigan over anything.

Last, I tried my hand at styling our fantastic cover cardigan, Anne Kuo Lukito's Lepidoptera Cardigan. Katie choose an ethereal look for this laceweight cardi, putting it over a simple maxi dress.

This cardigan does have a sort of dream-like quality to it, and I sort of mimicked the look with this first set.

Lukito cardigan


A lacy (maybe crochet-inspired?) tank over a simple pair of jeans maintains that romantic element that Katie tapped into for the magazine. Coral ballet flats and cream-colored accessories complement the pink cardigan.

Lukito cardigan 2


I took a different route with this cardigan and thought about how I might wear it to a fancy holiday party (while working on the Knits Holiday Gifts issue, your mind invariably turns to holiday parties, even in July). A party dress and some sparkly accessories are all a girl really needs in life, right? (No, what I really need is that zombie t-shirt from earlier.)

Lukito cardigan 3


Finally, I took this cardigan to work with some black pants, a simple grey shell, a pair of cute black heels with wingtip detailing (gotta love the wingtips!) and quite possibly the cutest pair of earrings I have ever seen. When you have fantastic accessories like this, less is more.

I would love to see how you would style the garments from Knitscene Fall, so I made photo clippings of all of them. Polyvore is a free site, but you will need an account to save the images and build a set. Once you've got your account set up, click here to view the collection, and save your favorite garments to your items, and start playing around! I hope you'll have as much fun as I did; be sure to share links to completed sets!

Happy knitting and daydreaming,

Edited! Sharon Zientara, my Interweave Crochet counterpart, whipped up this amazing set featuring Ruth Garcia-Alcantud's Morrison Cardigan. Here's what Sharon has to say about using Polyvore to plan her knits:

Nothing is worse than putting a lot of knitting time and effort into making a garment and then never wearing it because it’s simply not right for you or your wardrobe. In the past, I made the rookie mistake of diving into a project that I loved simply for the way it was presented in a photoshoot, without considering how it would work into my own life. Inevitably, these garments began and ended their existence lying dormant in my closet, never to be shown off. I’ve learned to consider new projects carefully, asking myself with what and how will I wear this? Do I have anything that will remotely go with this color? That’s why I love the idea of using Polyvore for projects. You get a very tangible idea of the way that you would personally give life to a piece, and you can choose items that you already have to put together outfits.  Brilliant! And thanks to this program, I have now added what is probably the entire Fall issue to my queue. To the stash I go!

Knitscene Cardigan


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