Winter Warmers - how to choose and wear your knits without the bulk

Winter is well and truly upon us, so it's time to rug up! Often style can go out the window in favour of warmth, however there is a way to choose pieces that will compliment and suit your proportions and style without compromising warmth and comfort... Fine merino tops are a perfect base layer that reduce bulk, but keep you nice and warm. They are also generally a good option for those of you with more sensitive skin. Many mid-market brands offer fine merino pieces. For best bang for your buck try Glassons. Despite cutting up to a size 16, I have found their merino pieces can often fit up to a size 20 and are also a great option for ladies in different stages of pregnancy as the wool stretches without over compromising the fabric or the fit. Do be aware some pieces can be slightly see-through in certain areas. All their merino pieces retail at less than $60 and come in a mix of colours and styles including, basic long sleeve tops, fitted and relaxed knits, cardigans & dresses.

Glassons merino

Other brands that offer great merino pieces include Portmans, who have created corporate inspired merino pieces and Jacqui E who cut up to a size 18 and offer good basic merino tops and ones with a slight stylish twist.


jacqui e

If you prefer a looser shape or cotton knit, ensure you get the cut right and don't wear it too long! Many knits this season have been cut oversized and long. Despite the finer weave and non-bulky shape, this extra length can still overwhelm you and shorten your legs as the balance of your torso to legs is lost. Half tuck the front of the knit into your pants or skirt, wear a long necklace or layer with a shorter jacket or vest to rebalance this.

jeanswest knit cotton

When choosing heavier knits, be aware of the shape and style of the knit and what it actually does for your body. You'd be amazing how the most subtle details can make a real difference!

Many knits this season have been cut with a raglan sleeve. This seam that cuts from your collar bone down to your armpit, can make you appear rounded and sloped in the shoulders, which in turn creates a softer shape and can add the illusion of additional bulk to your knit. For ladies that are less defined in the shoulders, make this style better work for you by selecting a less heavy knit or a style that is knitted vertically, or has a vertical pattern down the centre of the knit to bring the eye in. Darker colours also show up the raglan cut less.

cotton on

Also be careful when choosing oversized knits with drop shoulders or batwing sleeves. A drop shoulder can again make you look rounded through your upper body and make you appear heavier than you are. Like a raglan sleeve, a vertical pattern or style will bring back some definition to this cut, and more fitted sleeves will help you maintain waist definition. Use a scarf or a long necklace to to draw the eye back to the centre of your body.

cotton on cable

Batwing sleeves compromise waist definition and combined with the shape of a heavy knit, have the potential to add a lot of bulk to your upper body. Style these type of knits with slimmer bottoms and heavier boots for a balanced look and try three-quartering your sleeves to regain the appearance of your waist.

Target dolman sleeve

For those of you that prefer layers that are easily removable, try layering a cardi underneath a casual jacket for a stylish and well shaped look. One of my winter staple looks is a bulky, knitted cardi (that feels like I'm rugged up in my dressing gown!) layered underneath a shorter leather jacket, worn with skinny jeans and boots, compulsory bed socks hidden underneath for extra warmth.

trenery waffle knit

decjuba longline knie

The jacket returns shape to your body by defining your waist and shoulders, gives you an extra layer of warmth. If you're too warm and feel that your cardi is too casual or oversized by itself, you can remove the cardi and keep wearing the jacket by itself. It's a great way to get more wear out of your pieces and the jacket can dress up your knit to create a smarter look.


To better understand how to make pieces work for your proportions, click here to find out more about Jo's book 'Your Body, Your Style' and purchase your copy today.