Baby, It’s Cold Outside: The Chunky Knit Is a Winter Classic


As the clocks get turned back for another winter, getting dressed in the morning can be a chore. Now is the time you can be forgiven for not wanting to trade your nice warm blanket for clothes. Luckily, fashion has cozied up to the idea of chunky knits this season, so you can keep your blanket and wear it too.

Cable-knit sweaters, floor-scraping hand-knitted scarves, thickly woven skirts and woolly tights. Before telling you how to put this unlikely lot together, think back to the last time you wore any of these things. Unless you grew up in Greenland, you were probably in pre-school. Thus hinting at both fashion’s emerging nostalgia for all things seventies, and the synonymous bohemian, gypsy attitude you’ll need to channel to pull the look off. Referencing the relaxed, folksy style that emerged from the disco and hippie era is the best route to styling this season’s handcrafted and patterned knits.

You can get on board with this look easily from low-impact sources such as thrift and vintage. Look for anything that looks graphic and hand-knitted. If you’re looking online, include the search terms Fair Isle, Peruvian or Aran to find traditional patterns and motifs. A pair of rosy cheeks is all you’ll need to accessorize.

Prints and heavier knits can be tricky, because they make such a bold statement. If you’re afraid of looking too wild and woolly, there are some tips to keep the look modern and streamlined. While the models at Prada showed chunky-knit sweaters paired with woolly skirts and tights, it’s one of those many runway examples that miss the mark with regular bodies. I think it’s nice to contrast the bohemian style of your chunky knit with something that has structure – a tailored pant, classic blazer or crisp denim – no fading, holes or fraying. Pair your knit with neutral basics in shades of black, winter white, gray or brown. A turtleneck is the perfect retro underpinning. Wear a substantial shoe to balance the bulk of the wool. If you are confused about what shoe color show to wear, pick any color that is in the print and it will probably work. Adding a narrow belt to give you a waist defines a too loose silhouette.

I don’t need to tell you to steer away from anything that looks like it belongs on a Christmas card, but if you don’t have the time to rummage and want to buy new – here are some good eco options.


Opening Ceremony Pendleton Military Coat in Red from Creatures of Comfort.


Granted Knit Cardigan in Blue from Beklina.


Julie Park Batwing from Beklina.

Image: Neiman Marcus

Rowena Ritchie

Rowena is EcoSalon’s West Coast Fashion Editor and currently resides in San Francisco, CA.