Clothes vs. Outfits: Chunky Knits Conundrum

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Base: Cable Cambridge Sweater ($98 + 25%-off) and AG Stilt Cigarette Jeans ($164)

Upper Left: J.Crew Boy Shirt ($78) // Zara Checkered Scarf ($30) // AEO Pull-On Boot ($80) // Mango Saffiano-Effect Tote ($60)

Middle: Maison Scotch Boucle Gilet ($235) // Nicole Miller Stretch Bracelet ($30) // Riley Hobo Bag ($278) // Stitch Detail Gloves ($69) // Madison Harding Steven Boot ($298)

Lower Left: J.Crew Schoolboy Blazer ($198) // Horsebit Ring ($14) // Carnelian Cushion Cut Ring ($77) // Furla Arianna Shopper ($298) // Stuart Weitzman Platswoon Pump ($325)

A sweater and jeans, a classic combination.  But even with a sweater as cozy and chic as this one from J.Crew, the pairing is not an outfit.  So let’s jazz it up a bit, shall we?

Upper Left. This preppy look was inspired by this photo found on Pinterest.  You can wear the button-up with the collar down or the collar up, peeking out of the sweater.  Add the stylish plaid scarf, a pair of riding boots, and a coordinating red bag, and the outfit is complete.

If you want to take it even further, add this navy, quilted jacket or this duffle coat.  I’d also add this silver dot ring from John Hardy.

Middle. For a look that’s more glam than American sportswear, I chose a tweed, long vest from Maison Scotch.  If you are looking for a less expensive vest, try this Sonya waistcoat from Need Supply.

I added a sleek leather glove, a pair of burgundy booties and a bracelet in a similar collar.  Wear the bracelet over the glove, it’s stretchy, so it should fit.  Want a cheaper pair of colored ankle boots?  Try this burgundy suede pair from Sam Edelman or these fashion-forward Tripplee heels from Steve Madden.

Lower Left.  This look mixes a tailored blazer with simple accents to create a great look for Sunday brunch or a casual dinner.  The pine green in the blazer looks lovely with the tortoise-shell pumps.  Looking for a pair of heels for less?  Try the Corso Como Del heels.

The Furla tote is a great casual/business casual bag.  If you’re looking for something similar, try this $45 vegan leather tote from Gal.  To complete the look, I added an inexpensive horsebit ring and a Carnelian ring for a bit of color.

Some carefully chosen layers can spruce up a simple sweater and jeans.  So try adding some pieces to your basic attire this season.



  1. CTD says:

    I’m confused about how the upper left outfit works with the turtleneck sweater–the collar of the button-down is supposed to peek out of the top of the turtleneck? Sorry to be dense – thanks for the always inspiring posts!

    October 29, 2013/Reply
    • M says:

      I had the same question!!!

      October 29, 2013/Reply
      • ohraq says:

        I thought the same thing, I think all the above work better with a plain crewneck style most likely

        October 29, 2013/Reply
  2. JMW says:

    I love that sweater! Wish they had it in an oatmeal color too.

    October 29, 2013/Reply
  3. Liz says:

    Love the “clothes vs outfits” posts! But can a thick cable turtleneck sweater really fit under a blazer?

    October 29, 2013/Reply
  4. Chloe says:

    ^Yup, same question. My blazers fit pretty snugly… Rolling the sleeves on this also seems bizarre, right?

    October 29, 2013/Reply
  5. Sarah says:

    How would you tie the scarf? Could you post some fun and interesting ways to wear scarfs?

    October 29, 2013/Reply
  6. Colleen says:

    Belle and readers, I’m wondering your thoughts: I’m on the plus-size-side, and while I love the layered look I’m always weary of adding extra “bulk.” Any thoughts on how to layer a cable knit while still maintaining a shape?

    October 29, 2013/Reply
  7. Lindsay says:

    That tweed vest is fantastic. I love the length on it.

    October 29, 2013/Reply
  8. Diana says:

    Maybe I am dumb or something, but what would be the point of wearing a collared shirt under a turtleneck? That sounds incredibly odd.

    October 30, 2013/Reply
    • Belle says:

      If you pop the collar, you get a peek of fabric at the top. If not, you get extra coverage on the bottom from the shirt tails and a stylish layered look. This way, when you reach to grab something on a high shelf or bend over, even if your sweater rides up, it doesn’t matter.

      October 30, 2013/Reply
  9. Jordan Valdés says:

    Any alternatives to the sweater, which is now back ordered? Bonus points for petites

    October 30, 2013/Reply
  10. Capitol Hill SE says:

    Some great ideas! I have a similar sweater that I never feel like wearing because it seems too bulky to wear with anything else but pants. I’m really curious to see how the collared shirt ends up looking with it.

    November 4, 2013/Reply