Style + Ask The Edit

Ask Belle: Sweaters for the Office

Dear Belle,

My business casual office frowns upon employees who dress up too much for work.  It’s hard because I came from the NYSE and wore a jacket every day for 10 years.  My winter ‘uniform’ tends to be a pair of dress pants and a nice sweater (cashmere or not).  Can you help me find some professional looking sweaters?  I want something other than basics.  

Best, DD

I love a great sweater, but so many winter knits are as boring as could be.  Whether you choose a bold color, a cool shape, a dramatic neckline, or unique weaving pattern, selecting a sweater with a little something extra can give your outfit a punch of style.  These kind of sweaters jazz up simple trousers, jeans or skirts and are perfect for a business casual environment or spicing up casual attire.


Neiman Marcus Cashmere Sweater ($185)

I posted this sweater once already, but I love the faux wrap.  The fitted bottom keeps it from looking too blousy.  Comes in four colors.


Free People Boho Wrap Sweater ($88)

I love the bottom of this sweater; it’s very unique.  The neckline and the chunky knit are also nice.  Also comes in burgundy.


Marina Rinaldi Plus-size Embellished Sweater ($112)

The geometric embellishment is really fun.  For something in misses size, try this triangle embellished top in all black from Cynthia Vincent.


Ted Baker Peplum Sweater ($185)

I love a peplum sweater.  If they hit you in the right place, they can give you the look of a smaller waist and some femininity.  This berry-colored one from CeCe and this affordable v-neck one from Hadley also caught my eye.


Old Navy Cowl Neck Tunic ($33)

  Old Navy has a gorgeous cowl sweater in several fall colors, also in plus-size.  I love the relaxed shape and chunky knit of this Need Supply sweater and this textured shell pink sweater from ASOS is sublime.


Alice + Olivia Rosalind Sweater ($396)

The embellished collar is an interesting idea.  With a fun updo, a pencil skirt, and a pair of t-strap heels, it could be really fun.  For something more affordable, try this Oasis sweater in navy.



  1. Kate says:

    Thank you for showing a plus piece as part of a regular roundup! #itsthelittlethings

    September 15, 2015/Reply
  2. SN says:

    Growing up, we knitted our own sweaters, and there was a lot more variety to be found in patterns, shapes, and colors than there is today. You could find very sophisticated patterns: it might be worth revisiting-Vogue Knitting for example. And not in a “hipster” way, either.

    September 15, 2015/Reply
    • C says:

      I love knitting (scarves, hats, the occasional pair of gloves) but I can’t imagine knitting a sweater that actually fit and didn’t look ridiculously bulky. Do you have any tips on where to find a good tutorial, especially for the fit? I imagine that fine yarn and small needles would cut the bulk.

      September 16, 2015/Reply
      • KateL says:

        To mimic a store bought sweater you do need to use fingering weight yarn/small needles. Amy Hertzog wrote a book called Fit to Flatter and has a custom pattern software called Custom Fit (no affiliation)

        September 17, 2015/Reply
  3. CC says:

    How about knit blazers? Still casual + pockets!

    September 19, 2015/Reply
  4. Sarah says:

    I had the same problem. I went from a job where I wore suits and panty hose to a very casual office unless we’re meeting with customers. I often found that wearing a nice jean with heels or boots is a great transition to a more casual work style.

    I love Ann Taylor (does that make me a DC stereotype) and there are some great sweaters including: and .

    September 29, 2015/Reply