How to Wear a Cowl-Neck Sweater

Cowl-necks are all about the drape.

Photo: Thinkstock/Comstock/Getty Images

If you think sweaters are too bulky or shapeless to be stylish, you've probably never been introduced to a sexy cowl-neck. Cowl-neck sweaters are a must-have for a fashion-savvy girl who wants to keep her look stylish and practical. Cowl-neck sweaters are flattering for nearly all body types, but if you can't figure out how to wear that draping neckline the right way, you'll look like you're swimming in fabric. Nailing down the fit and choosing the right accessories is the key to pulling off this fabulous look.


Choose the right length. A cowl-neck that bunches around your face will pull you into the realm of the cowl-neck's less-cool cousin, the turtleneck. Stick to a drape that hits around the middle of your bust. You'll also want a bit of extra length on the hem of the sweater to balance out the fabric up top, so think tunic-length instead of baby-doll-length: hit at the hips or lower.


Control that cowl-neck. Cowl-necks are intended to drape, or slouch, over your chest, so pull the fabric forward so that it's gathered in the front. You might have to do a little fluffing to get the position you like, but in the end you should have a U-shaped drape in the front.


Skip bulk on your lower half. Slim pencil skirts, skinny jeans or fitted slacks create a clean line on the bottom so that the detail of the sweater gets all the attention and you don't look too wide.


Keep your jewelry simple. Cowl-necks are their own necklace, so if you want to add some sparkle up top, opt for earrings, but careful of the dangle: they'll pull and tug at sweater fibers, not to mention hurt your little lobes. If the sleeves are shorter, opt for a stack of bangles or a charm bracelet. For something a little more playful, go for bold color with a gemstone cocktail ring.


Accentuate your waist with a delicate belt. Large belts will compete with a cowl-neck, but a glossy, thin belt around your waist adds extra shape to the sweater and thins you out.


Punch it up with a slender heel. Cowl-necks can make a short torso seem stockier, but a few extra inches on the bottom give you the illusion of a longer torso and legs so you won't get lost in fabric.

Things You'll Need




2.Thin belt


Tips & Tricks


Cowl-neck sweaters are a flattering option for most body types, but they are especially well-suited if you are curvy or fuller-figured: the vertical shape of the neck drape creates a slimming visual line down your middle and evens out your proportions.

Cowl-necks get extra-cozy with layering. To avoid looking too bulky up top, stick to tailored jackets that outline your waist.

Be mindful of fabrics. Cowl-neck sweaters in heavy cable knit can add extra bulk to your silhouette, so make sure that the fit hugs your body. Lighter fabrics like ribbed cotton are naturally more form-fitting.

Read the tag when it comes time for washing. Heavy knit fabrics can stretch or shrink if they aren't washed with care, so follow the cleaning instructions listed on the label.


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