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How Do You Not Look Bulky In A Sweater?

Last update: 2023-11-12

Oversized sweaters are super cozy and stylish for winter, but sometimes they can make you look shapeless and bulky if styled incorrectly. Here are some tips on how to wear oversized sweaters without looking frumpy or sloppy.

Wear Flattering Bottoms

I find that the key is to balance out an oversized top with a more fitted bottom. This helps create shape and keep you from getting lost in all that fabric. Here are some bottoms that work well:

Faux Leather Leggings

My go-to for winter are faux leather leggings. The sleek, shiny fabric provides contrast from the fuzzy sweater fabric. It also hugs your legs to help balance the oversize top. Plus faux leather traps heat, keeping you extra warm! I like wearing longer sweaters that cover my bottom with leggings.

Attractive young woman in a fashionable knitted sweater in stylish black leather pants posing near a modern white wall in the city.

Pleated Faux Leather Pants

If your sweater is more cropped, try pleated faux leather pants. The waistline helps cinch you in, while the pleated fabric adds shape and movement. Tuck sweaters into the pants to further define your figure. This creates a chic, feminine silhouette.

Narrow Leg Jeans

Narrow leg or straight leg jeans (not super skinny) also work well. They are a bit more relaxed through the ankle than skinny jeans, giving you room to layer if needed. I love pairing white jeans with an oversize sweater for a modern winter white look. The lighter jeans help elongate your legs versus darker denim.

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Wear Oversized Sweater with Summer Clothes

Perhaps counterintuitively, pairing oversize sweaters with more summery pieces helps reduce bulk. The lighter fabrics and exposed skin balances the bulky sweater. Some ideas:

Wear Them with Bias Skirt

A bias cut skirt flares out to offset a boxy sweater. Choose one that hits above the knee to elongate your legs. Add tights if needed for warmth.

Pair With Pleated Skirts

A pleated tennis skirt works similarly to add shape and show some leg. Keep proportions in mind and balance the lengths.

Smiling woman pulling hat

Oversize Sweater with Dresses

An oversize sweater over a dress slims the silhouette. Choose a dress in a lightweight fabric that you can belt at the waist. This creates definition under the sweater for a pulled-together layered look.

Add A Belt To Your Oversized Sweater Outfit

Putting a belt over your sweater helps nip you in a bit at the waist. Choose one in a contrasting color or metallic shade. Wear it slightly bloused over the belt so it doesn't look too tight and constricting. This trick works well with flared skirts or wide leg pants.

a girl dressed in sweater and jeans, belt

Wear Pointed Toe Boots With Oversized Sweater

Pointed toe ankle boots are elongating and slimming. The point helps continue the leg line visually. I like a block or stacked heel which is walkable but still gives you a bit of height. Wear skinny jeans tucked into the boots or pair with leggings. Pointed toe booties are a must for styling sweaters and keeping proportions balanced.

Layer with Structured Coats With Oversized Sweater

Topping an oversize sweater with a more tailored coat streamlines everything. Choose a coat in a heavy material like wool that holds its shape. Some ideas are a pea coat, trench coat or moto jacket. Let the collar of the sweater peak out for an interesting layered look.

Woman wearing fashionable outerwear with classic beige knitted sweater, stylish blue jeans and jacket near a wooden wall.

Mix and Match Colors To Create Distraction

Using colors strategically helps disguise any bulky areas. Pairing a sweater with bottoms in lighter, brighter shades draws the eye down. For example, an oversize cream sweater with sky blue jeans. Going monochromatic also slims, so an all black outfit tricks the eye. Adding patterns mixes things up as well. A bold fair isle sweater looks best with solid bottoms. Basically avoid pairing an oversize sweater with baggy bottoms in similar hues.


The key to avoiding looking sloppy in an oversize sweater is all about balance. Create definition with fitted bottoms in streamlined shapes. Sharp footwear like pointed toe boots keeps you looking slim and sleek. Add belts, mix colors and layers tailored coats to nip in the waist. With these tips, you can rock a cozy oversize sweater and still look chic! Let me know if you have any other tricks for styling oversize sweaters without looking bulky.

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