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If you're lucky enough to get a brand-new cashmere sweater, don't be surprised if you find yourself looking for more excuses to wear it. It makes a lot of sense, after all. Cashmere's a coveted fabric that feels absolutely fantastic when you have it on because it's softer, lighter, and often much warmer than sheep's wool.
Cashmere is also a surprisingly versatile knit that can be used when you want to create looks running the gamut from classic, preppy, and conservative to funky, cutting-edge, and cool.
If you're not sure how to get all of these looks using your cashmere sweater, these strategies will give you ideas you should consider.
Start by taking a look at the scale of the sweater you're building your new outfit around: is it a loose and flowing piece, or does it have a more sleek and form-fitting style? Once you've defined the look of your sweater, start thinking about ways to pair it with clothes constructed in different proportions. Mixing the two will result in an outfit that's visually interesting and flatters your shape.
Try these ideas to get started: pair fitted pants, such as skinny jeans or leggings, with a looser and more relaxed cashmere tunic and ballet flats. Or you can flip the script by matching your slouchy trousers with a more form-fitting cashmere turtleneck or a cashmere crewneck sweater. You might even opt to combine a short garment like a cropped cashmere sweater with a pair of high-waisted pants.
When you mix loose and tight or short and long pieces, the resulting outfit feels balanced and looks great.
Although cashmere feels rich and luxurious, it's also an incredibly versatile material that can take on the vibe of almost any look. An outfit with a cashmere sweater can be traditional and preppy (think sweater sets and skirts), buttoned-up and formal (picture a pretty blouse, a cardigan, and dress pants), sporty and energetic (like a cashmere tunic with your favorite leggings, or funky and hip (such as a patterned sweater with a leather skirt).
But a cashmere sweater shines in a special way when you mix it with clothing in other styles for an eclectic look. Here are some examples for inspiration: match a conservative cashmere pullover with faux leather leggings or an animal-print miniskirt for a funky night-out look; wear a flowing cashmere cardigan over your chic little black dress for a bohemian vibe; or combine a clean-cut cashmere t-shirt with leather pants and heels for an ensemble that's hip enough to face the paparazzi in.
When you play with expectations by mixing contrasting styles, you create an outfit that matches your personality and shows a bit of flair, too.
Another way to mix things up with cashmere sweaters is to use them as a layer. By doing this, you extend the life of your summer clothing deeper into the fall or winter. Although it's a warm fabric, cashmere is also a natural textile that's breathable, which means it can keep you cozy without making you swelter when the heat kicks on.
For example, you can pair a sleeveless summer dress with a warmer sweater and a pair of knee-high boots for an outfit that's comfortable during the transition from summer to fall. As the temperatures drop further, you can wear cashmere in a thicker, chunky knit under a light fall jacket for a little extra warmth.
Color makes a big impact on outfits featuring cashmere sweaters. Monochrome combinations in neutral hues like black, white, gray, or beige look elegant and sophisticated. Outfits that mix colors in a bold way, like all-black clothing with a bright-pink cashmere t-shirt, offer a high-energy look that grabs and holds attention.
Try out classic color pairings in your outfit, like red with blue, tan with red, pink with gray, or orange with black, to find a combo you love. Or skip the expected and create a new mix all your own.
Cashmere sweaters with funky patterns are making a big splash on runways, and you can use your patterned sweater to do the same for your wardrobe.
Start with the basics: mix a solid skirt with a patterned cashmere crewneck sweater or a Fair Isle sweater with solid black pants for a classic look. You can also get funky and mix-and-match your patterns: combine a striped cashmere sweater with plaid pants or a floral cashmere tunic with leggings in a bold print for a fresh style.
When you are styling any outfit, the goal is to draw out something beautiful in each garment that might not be obvious at first glance. So don't be afraid to experiment with your sweater and try it out with items you aren't sure will work. It's the best way to build an outfit that's truly one-of-a-kind.