From luxe cashmere sweaters (opens in new tab) with thousands of rave reviews to turtlenecks that tend to go viral on TikTok (did your For You page also show you that one high-neck number from Zara?), there's no shortage of top-tier knitwear on the internet. And sorting through the seemingly never-ending stock to find a sweater that's best (opens in new tab) for you every winter is a challenging feat. But it's an ordeal that's all the more difficult for plus-size shoppers, who, despite making up the majority of U.S. shoppers, still often find themselves excluded from the greater fashion narrative. This space, however, honors those particular folks and spotlights the best plus-size sweaters on the market.
Marie Claire tapped Alissa Wilson (opens in new tab), Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Stylish Curves (opens in new tab), an online plus-size fashion destination, and Katie Murphy (opens in new tab), Head of Fashion at 11 Honoré at Dia & Co, the luxury division of the leading marketplace for inclusive fashion, for their insight. Here, the experts shout out the best plus-size brands (opens in new tab) for knitwear, what to consider when shopping for women's plus-size sweaters, and the styles on their personal wishlists. Scroll on, and happy shopping!
What to Look For
- Shape Retention
"Make sure your sweaters have a balance of structure and stretch," says Wilson. "Some sweaters can be over-stretchy and lose their shape after one wear or wash, so you'll want to look for styles with shape retention."
"Sweaters are a no-brainer for the colder months and heading into spring," Murphy states. "But you will get more life out of your sweater purchases if you can wear them throughout the year, too." She invites you to seek out options made of lighter-weight wools and yarns, so you don't overheat when it's no longer winter and you don't need your clothing to double as cozy armor.
- Quality Materials
In a similar vein to year-round wearability, Wilson says you want to ensure your sweaters are designed for optimal longevity, which means knitwear made of top-quality materials. "Look for natural fibers like cotton and cashmere when it comes to sweaters because they'll last longer and feel amazing on your skin," she explains.
The Best Plus-Size Sweaters
- Best Overall: Treasure & Bond Off the Shoulder Pullover (opens in new tab)
- Best Oversized Sweater: Vince Camuto Freya Cozy Sweater (opens in new tab)
- Best Graphic Sweater: WRAY Expressionist Sweater
- Best Embellished Sweater: ASOS Design Curve Ribbed Turtleneck Sweater (opens in new tab)
- Best Cropped Cardigan: GANNI Soft Wool Cardigan (opens in new tab)
"Be sure to show some skin," advises Murphy. "An off-the-shoulder silhouette, cut-out detail, or slouch shoulder is a great way to stay cozy but keep your look high-style." Nordstrom's Treasure & Bond sweater is the epitome of what Murphy describes. Subtly sensual, this is a top you can reach for when needing a sure-fire confidence boost. "I love how this sweater fits and feels," raves a Nordstrom customer. "It can be dressed up or down and [holds] its shape well throughout the day."
Best Oversized Sweater
It's critical to note that an oversized sweater (opens in new tab) is not synonymous with a sweater explicitly designed for plus-size folks. The former is a trendy silhouette, while the latter is a product niche that caters to the majority of female shoppers. But if you're hoping to find a sweater that's both, Murphy shouts out this Vince Camuto option in trendy hot pink (opens in new tab). "Slouchy, yet charming, this dropped shoulder V-neck sweater has a loose and chic fit with its center seam and ribbed trim," offers Murphy. As for how to style this oversized sweater (opens in new tab), "wear it solo, or layer it over a long-sleeve top."
Best Graphic Sweater
"Don't shy away from a print, either," advises Murphy. "Keep it chic and go for a classic graphic so that you get more versatility with your styling options." The Stylish Curves founder seconds the Dia & Co style insider, explicitly inviting you to shop from Wray if you're on the hunt for sweaters in timeless silhouettes but done in eye-catching patterns. "The NYC-based brand offers classic styles with fun prints. In particular, I love this black swirl sweater because of its bold print."
Best Loungewear Sweater
If you're hoping to inject a touch of sensuality into your comfy clothing collection (hey, you deserve to feel sexy when lounging around the house and doing absolutely nothing but burning brain cells!), this keyhole knit top by 1.State is the one to add to your cart. "This sweater lends a super soft and sultry piece to your loungewear lineup," describes Dia & Co's Murphy. "Wear this plus-size sweater at home or on the weekends for an extra-cozy brunch date."
Best Embellished Sweater
"When I'm looking for trendy sweaters, ASOS Curve always has a sea of options," says Wilson. Case in point, this turtleneck that's knit from a metallic silver thread and is a quintessential example of the embellished sweater (opens in new tab) trend. One happy ASOS customer raves particularly about its high-shine look. This sweater is so comfortable and warm with a hint of glam," they write. [I] can't wait to style it, but I hate that I got it after Christmas—it would have been perfect for the holidays." But, alas, there's always next year!
Best Maximalist Plus-Size Sweater
"I have my eye on this Farm Rio multi-colored leopard print cardigan," admits Wilson. "It's just so bright and beautiful," she describes, gushing about the label's signature mastery of scene-stealing patterns. Obviously, though, this is not a silhouette that neutral dressers will reach for; This vibrant knit number is about as maximalist as you can get. So, if you're building your collection of eclectic wares, consider pressing 'buy.' And bonus: This oversized sweater is a guaranteed dopamine booster for which you'll be grateful on bleary and gray winter mornings.
Best Cropped Cardigan
"Cropped sweaters are also great options for plus-size women," says Murphy. "They're easy to pair with high-rise denim or trouser or layer on top of a simple dress," she explains, pointing to the style's endless outfit combinations. The fashion expert directs you to consider this cropped cardigan (opens in new tab) from GANNI, as it "has been cut to a flattering cropped silhouette, boasts a relaxed fit, and features patch pockets to the front. As for how she'd style this baby blue number, Muprhy advises you pair this plus-size cardigan "with your favorite tank top or slip dress."
Best Sultry Sweater
"The trick is to keep your sweaters simple and sexy to avoid looking too covered up," explains Murphy on striking the perfect balance of flirty yet casual with your knitwear. Wilson of Stylish Curves concurs and shouts out Eloquii for its "chic, sultry, and sophisticated" knitwear options. Specifically, she gushes about this particular cut-out number in vibrant crimson. "I love this slinky sweater with an open neckline," she shares of the top that's high up on her personal to-buy list.
Best Going-Out Sweater
One of the issues with going out during winter is that all the itty-bitty, fun, and flirty tops in your after-hours rotation just don't cut it when the temperature is close to freezing. Here's where going-out sweaters come into play, as the knit fabrications will keep you cozy, and the look-at-me designs will put you in the party mood (that and one or two mood-boosting cocktails, of course). One ASOS reviewer writes that they receive compliments every time they wear it, while another happy shopper says, "It's rare to find something like this when you're plus size, so I'm very happy!"
Best Cozy Cardigan
When you want to wear a blanket as clothing but can't (curse you, society, and all your rules on what's appropriate to wear and what's not!), this is the sweater to shroud yourself in. It is called the Cocoon Cardigan, after all. Take it from one more-than-satisfied Norstrom shopper. "It feels soft inside and hugs your body in comfort!" Another reviewer shares that "this cardigan is well-constructed and definitely keeps the chill out. The inside is very soft and plush, and the outer surface is like a sweatshirt material."
Meet the Experts
Alissa Wilson is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Stylish Curves, an online fashion destination that offers the latest news in plus-size fashion, celebrity style, and beauty.
As a New York native and fashion lover, Alissa is passionate about advancing the plus-size fashion industry and creating a space for plus-size women to discover new plus-size designers, retailers, style tips, and celebrating the body positive movement.
Katie Murphy is the Head of Fashion at 11 Honoré at Dia & Co, the luxury division of the leading marketplace for inclusive fashion, providing style for sizes 10-32. As a founding member of 11 Honoré, she understands the nuance of size, shape, and helping each person discover their individual style. In addition to her role as Head of Fashion, Murphy also serves as Dia & Co’s VP of Sales, working to onboard new brands to the marketplace, allowing them to offer the largest style count in plus specialty retail.
Emma Childs is the Style Editor at Marie Claire, where she researches up-and-coming trends, curates shopping guides, and gushes about the must-buy items she can't stop thinking about. She previously wrote for TZR, Editorialist, Elite Daily, and Mission Magazine and studied Fashion Studies and New Media at Fordham University. When she's not writing up fashion deep-dives or finding the season's best pieces, you'll find her fiddling around in Photoshop and perusing HBO Max for the next show to base her personality on (currently, it's "Succession").
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