The Sweater Trend I Never Saw Coming

harling ross tight sweater cardigan

Leandra recently wrote about how “the fashion gaze is such that one man’s trash often becomes that same man’s treasure,” a proclamation that simultaneously delighted and devastated by virtue of its inescapable-to-me truth. To have strong opinions about fashion while also eagerly participating in its whims is to be, at some point or another, a hypocrite. I’ve been the self-inflicted victim of openly declaring my distaste for a particular stylistic choice only to eventually find myself loving it more times that I can count, but one example stands out quite memorably. Not only because it happened recently, but also because I am literally wearing the fruits of it as I type these very words: a tight sweater.

If your arm hairs just stood straight up in eery protest, I wouldn’t blame them. I have long maligned the indignity of form-fitting sweaters, mentally shaking my fists in the air with outrage at the all-too-frequent reality that women’s knits are often constructed with the intention of highlighting curves while the menswear equivalents are content to hang loosely off the body in what many (myself included) would consider an objectively appealing manner. I’ve refused to buy women’s sweaters on numerous occasions for this very reason, opting instead to abscond with castaways from my boyfriend and dad.

But over the past few months, I’ve started coming around — to tight sweaters, that is. Per usual, Instagram, the world’s powerful mechanism for seeing things in a new light, is responsible for this shift in perspective. As soon as I began observing people whose taste I admire wearing sweaters that adhered to their figures like chunky wetsuits, the notion of test-driving one myself sounded more and more appealing.

The ones I was seeing seemed less akin to shrunken sweaters and more like knit “going out” tops — or something along those lines. They had an air of sex appeal thanks to their form-fitting silhouettes and — oftentimes — deep V-necks or shoulder-baring scoops, but this element was always counterbalanced nicely with a dose of contrast given that there’s only so much sexiness a knit can muster.

I eventually caved and got one myself, from a small French brand called Musier that has a bunch of viable options in this elusive tight-sweater-but-also-kind-of-a-daytime-going-out-top category. I’ve worn it incessantly since — to work, on dates, on planes. It is, in fact, pretty much all I want to wear ever these days, which is both ironic and amusing. (I’m actually trying to pace myself).

What’s more, instead of sating my craving, the acquisition has simply egged it on. I’m already eyeing other tight sweaters I want, like this one and this one. As a newly-minted owner, I can attest to their appeal. In addition to providing non-obvious fodder for “going out” attire (in my experience, the less obvious, the more satisfying), my tight sweater makes me feel like a combination of Mary Tyler Moore, Sophia Loren and my mom in the 90s. It’s a strange amalgam of stylistic inspiration I never knew I wanted to channel, but now that I have, I can’t imagine living without it.

How do you feel about tight sweaters? Yea or nay?

Harling Ross

Harling is a writer and was most recently the Brand Director at Man Repeller.

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