Back to Basics: The Perfect Layering Sweater

Hello friend! Every winter season, I search for the perfect layering sweater. Now I can finally say that I have found it! Hooray! It’s the Merino Rib Knit Scalloped Crew from Banana Republic. I’ve been wearing it constantly (with my cape and under my cardigans). Let me tell you what makes it so perfect.

The perfect layering sweater for all of your fall and winter looks. Banana republic merino rib knit scalloped crew review

Key Points of a Perfect Layering Sweater

The perfect layering sweater for all of your fall and winter looks. Banana republic merino rib knit scalloped crew review.

  1. Thin: The sweater needs to be thin so that it can be layered! A bulky sweater just cannot work as an under-layer.
  2. Warm: We are still in winter, therefore the sweater has to serve to keep you warm.
  3. Stylish: While warmth is an important factor, we all still want to look stylish without freezing our butts off.The perfect layering sweater for all of your fall and winter looks. Banana republic merino rib knit scalloped crew review.
  4. Easy to clean: These days I am just too busy to go to the dry-cleaner. While this is the “perfect layering sweater” criteria that I am least strict about, I would still love it if my sweaters were hand or machine washable.
  5. Non-itchy: I don’t know about you, but if a sweater is touching my bare skin, it needs to be non-itchy! An itchy sweater will not work with my sensitive skin.

The perfect layering sweater for all of your fall and winter looks. Banana republic merino rib knit scalloped crew review.

Merino Rib Knit Scalloped Crew = The Perfect Layering Sweater?

So, does the merino rib knit scalloped crew qualify to be named the perfect layering sweater? Let’s check the criteria…

The perfect layering sweater for all of your fall and winter looks. Banana republic merino rib knit scalloped crew review.

  1. It is thin enough to layer. It is a tad on the sheer side though, so be aware. It’s nothing that deterred me from purchasing three of them. However, be careful about wearing a contrasting bra underneath it.
  2. Because it is made of 100% wool, it definitely keeps me warm.
  3. It is certainly a stylish sweater with its rib knit and scalloped neck details.
  4. Now this is the real reason I purchased so many of these sweaters: the are machine washable! Amazing right? That is so essential for busy stylish gals like us!The perfect layering sweater for all of your fall and winter looks. Banana republic merino rib knit scalloped crew review.
  5. Last but not least, I can wear the sweater without the need for a t-shirt underneath. It is soft and comfortable on my skin.
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I am thrilled with ending my search for the perfect layering sweater. Now I’m on to my next big mission. I am on the hunt for the perfect t-shirt, both long-sleeved and short-sleeved. I want something in between a crew neck and a scoop neck. Do you have a favorite you can recommend?

Try This: Winter Kimono

Hello friend! With some cooler weather upon us, I have been playing with layers. One of the newest layering pieces I found is a winter kimono or ruana. What makes them “winter” is that they are made out of thicker fabrics than their summery counterparts. I have been wearing my winter ruana, the Anthropologie Mixed Stripes Kimono, non-stop. Let me show you how I am styling it.

Two ways to style a kimono or ruana. Try a work appropriate day look as well as a casual fun look. Anthropologie mixed stripes kimono review | J Crew tissue turtleneck | leather leggings | leather skirt | pattern mixing outfit | work outfit | fall outfit | fall layers.

Ruana vs. Kimono vs. Poncho vs. Cape

First and foremost, let’s get some definitions out of the way. Because if you are a stickler for definitions like I am, you are confused and frustrated with these words being used interchangeably. That’s because they are not in fact interchangeable. Each one of those items is a different type of clothing. So let’s get the definitions down before we go any further.

Poncho: I’ll start with a poncho as I think it is the one we are most familiar with. A poncho is an outerwear garment that is essentially a large piece of fabric (either square or rectangular) with a hole in it. To wear it, one simply slips it over the head. It has no sleeves or other openings.

Cape: A cape is similar to a poncho but it has an opening down the front which is usually sealed with a button closure. A cape also has slits for the arms to come through but no formed sleeves.

Kimono: A kimono is a long, open front cardigan with true sleeves. The sleeves are usually lose, as is the overall fit.

Ruana: A ruana is a cross between a poncho and a kimono. It has an opening down the front like a kimono. However, it does not have full sleeves like a kimono does. It may just have a stich or button to give the appearance of sleeves.

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Mixed Stripes Kimono or Ruana?

If you’ve understood the definitions of a kimono and ruana, you will note that the mixed stripes kimono is actually a ruana! Gasp! It’s been named wrong! I will refrain from calling the fashion police on this grave error because whatever the name of this item, I simply adore it. I love the thick and nubby texture. It is so cozy and comforting on chilly days. But I especially love the bold stripes. It makes for a striking outfit every time!

Mixed Stripes Kimono for Play

The first time I wore the ruana was for my weekend getaway trip to San Francisco. With the weather there being cooler than in Los Angeles, I wanted a chic outer layer. The mixed stripes kimono was just the right item. I paired it with a black sweater and jeans. The result was exactly what I was looking for: chic, comfortable, and warm.

Two ways to style a kimono or ruana. Try a work appropriate day look as well as a casual fun look. Anthropologie mixed stripes kimono review | J Crew tissue turtleneck | leather leggings | leather skirt | pattern mixing outfit | work outfit | fall outfit | fall layers.

To add another layer of warmth I wore my favorite quilted over the knee boots (get this year’s version on sale here) and of course cozy socks underneath.

Two ways to style a kimono or ruana. Try a work appropriate day look as well as a casual fun look. Anthropologie mixed stripes kimono review | J Crew tissue turtleneck | leather leggings | leather skirt | pattern mixing outfit | work outfit | fall outfit | fall layers. Two ways to style a kimono or ruana. Try a work appropriate day look as well as a casual fun look. Anthropologie mixed stripes kimono review | J Crew tissue turtleneck | leather leggings | leather skirt | pattern mixing outfit | work outfit | fall outfit | fall layers.

I then finished the look with my favorite necklace of the moment, the Brielle Statement Necklace. To top it all off I threw on a pair of sunnies. I thought the High Key in black fade added just the right amount of cool to the outfit.

Two ways to style a kimono or ruana. Try a work appropriate day look as well as a casual fun look. Anthropologie mixed stripes kimono review | J Crew tissue turtleneck | leather leggings | leather skirt | pattern mixing outfit | work outfit | fall outfit | fall layers. Two ways to style a kimono or ruana. Try a work appropriate day look as well as a casual fun look. Anthropologie mixed stripes kimono review | J Crew tissue turtleneck | leather leggings | leather skirt | pattern mixing outfit | work outfit | fall outfit | fall layers.

Mixed Stripes Kimono for Day

To change up the look for  day, I decided to wear the mixed stripes kimono with a skirt. I chose a pencil skirt because I feel they look best with longer cardigans. You can read more about what I pair with long cardigans in my duster cardigans post and cardigan sweater outfits post. For this particular look, I decided to be a little risque and pair the ruana with a leather pencil skirt.

Two ways to style a kimono or ruana. Try a work appropriate day look as well as a casual fun look. Anthropologie mixed stripes kimono review | J Crew tissue turtleneck | leather leggings | leather skirt | pattern mixing outfit | work outfit | fall outfit | fall layers. Two ways to style a kimono or ruana. Try a work appropriate day look as well as a casual fun look. Anthropologie mixed stripes kimono review | J Crew tissue turtleneck | leather leggings | leather skirt | pattern mixing outfit | work outfit | fall outfit | fall layers.

To keep it appropriate for day, I chose a light turtleneck for my top. However because I was ready to have some fun with patterns, I chose a striped turtleneck. I was excited to see how the two stripes paired together. I love a double stripe look, (remember this post?) Therefore I was looking forward to the result. Luckily, it did not disappoint. The stripes worked perfectly together. Check out my pattern mixing 101 post to learn more about that!

Two ways to style a kimono or ruana. Try a work appropriate day look as well as a casual fun look. Anthropologie mixed stripes kimono review | J Crew tissue turtleneck | leather leggings | leather skirt | pattern mixing outfit | work outfit | fall outfit | fall layers. Two ways to style a kimono or ruana. Try a work appropriate day look as well as a casual fun look. Anthropologie mixed stripes kimono review | J Crew tissue turtleneck | leather leggings | leather skirt | pattern mixing outfit | work outfit | fall outfit | fall layers.

For accessories I opted for a sharp looking high heeled bootie. With the length of the skirt and the ruana, I wanted to create some height for myself. As for the necklace, I chose the Brielle pendant. Because I wore these outfits on different days, I hadn’t noticed I had worn different versions of the same necklace. What can I say, I like filigree!

Two ways to style a kimono or ruana. Try a work appropriate day look as well as a casual fun look. Anthropologie mixed stripes kimono review | J Crew tissue turtleneck | leather leggings | leather skirt | pattern mixing outfit | work outfit | fall outfit | fall layers. Two ways to style a kimono or ruana. Try a work appropriate day look as well as a casual fun look. Anthropologie mixed stripes kimono review | J Crew tissue turtleneck | leather leggings | leather skirt | pattern mixing outfit | work outfit | fall outfit | fall layers.

In conclusion, whether we are calling it a kimono or a ruana, the mixed stripes kimono is going to be a major player in my wardrobe this season. I love how versatile it is. How would you wear it?

Current Obsession: Cardigan Sweater Outfits

Hello friend! With the arrival of cooler temps, I am turning to layers to keep me warm and stylish. A look I’ve been wearing a lot lately involves cozy cardigan sweaters. I am loving layering them over both casual and work outfits. Let me show you my cardigan sweater outfits.

How to wear cardigan sweater outfits: casual cardigan sweater outfit, pattern mixing with J crew striped turtleneck, Target mossimo, camo print cardigan, chunky cardigan, studded boots, J crew ivory pencil skirt, Vionic Rory booties, leopard print cardigan

The obsession started last year when I purchased a burgundy cardigan sweater from Target. I wore that all fall and winter. You can see it in my mustard and burgundy post. Because I loved the sweater so much, when I saw similar ones this year at Target, I had to get a couple more. This time I decided to venture out of the solids and purchase patterned cardigan sweaters.

My Picks for Cardigan Sweater Outfits

This year the cardigan sweaters abound, so you should have no trouble finding one. However, because I’ve been so into them, I keep finding amazing ones. Therefore I will list my favorites below in case you want to snag one too! The ones I recently picked up are a camo print cardigan and a leopard print cardigan. I am also highly considering picking up this red gingham one. It’ll be lovely for the holiday season!

How to Style Cardigan Sweater Outfits

Wearing cardigan sweater outfits is easy. Many of the rules of duster cardigan outfits also apply here. I think cardigan sweaters are perfect to wear to work as well as on days off.

Cardigan Sweater Outfits for Work

The first two times I wore this cardigan to work, I wore it on the weekends with jeans and a tee. But I wanted to challenge myself and wear it on a weekday when I have to look more professional. It turns out it was quite easy to do. I simply changed out the jeans for a skirt and voila! I had a picture perfect work outfit!

Cardigan sweater outfits for work, J crew ivory pencil skirt, Vionic Rory booties, leopard print cardigan, chunky cardigan

The key to making this look work is keeping the other pieces professional. A pencil skirt is therefore essential. Not only is it the epitome of professional work wear, it’s also sleek and streamlined. It’s the perfect match for a bulkier sweater cardigan.

Cardigan sweater outfits for work, J crew ivory pencil skirt, Vionic Rory booties, leopard print cardigan, chunky cardigan Cardigan sweater outfits for work, J crew ivory pencil skirt, Vionic Rory booties, leopard print cardigan, chunky cardigan

For accessories I chose to play off of the colors in the sweater. Therefore I wore my brown Vionic Rory booties. I love how it has so many interesting details but without the bulk. A streamlined bootie like this helps to elongate the leg and to keep the outfit professional looking.

Cardigan sweater outfits for work, J crew ivory pencil skirt, Vionic Rory booties, leopard print cardigan, chunky cardigan Cardigan sweater outfits for work, J crew ivory pencil skirt, Vionic Rory booties, leopard print cardigan, chunky cardigan

One of the details I liked best about this particular cardigan is that there is pink in the leopard spots. Therefore I played off of that in my necklace.

Cardigan sweater outfits for work, J crew ivory pencil skirt, Vionic Rory booties, leopard print cardigan, chunky cardigan Cardigan sweater outfits for work, J crew ivory pencil skirt, Vionic Rory booties, leopard print cardigan, chunky cardigan

Cardigan Sweater Outfits for Casual Wear

For my casual take on cardigan sweater outfits, I chose to layer with leather leggings and a striped turtleneck. The stripes add a fun pattern mixing opportunity (you know I couldn’t resist!).

Casual cardigan sweater outfits, pattern mixing with J crew striped turtleneck, Target mossimo, camo print cardigan, chunky cardigan, studded boots Casual cardigan sweater outfits, pattern mixing with J crew striped turtleneck, Target mossimo, camo print cardigan, chunky cardigan, studded boots

A longer length cardigan such as this one is perfect to layer with a turtleneck. It elongates the body and produces such a regal silhouette.

Casual cardigan sweater outfits, pattern mixing with J crew striped turtleneck, Target mossimo, camo print cardigan, chunky cardigan, studded boots Casual cardigan sweater outfits, pattern mixing with J crew striped turtleneck, Target mossimo, camo print cardigan, chunky cardigan, studded boots

While this is the more casual look of the two, this outfit can easily be made work appropriate by changing out the leather leggings for a leather (or other fabric) pencil skirt.

Casual cardigan sweater outfits, pattern mixing with J crew striped turtleneck, Target mossimo, camo print cardigan, chunky cardigan, studded boots Casual cardigan sweater outfits, pattern mixing with J crew striped turtleneck, Target mossimo, camo print cardigan, chunky cardigan, studded boots

I hope you can see how easy it is to style cardigan sweater outfits. I am just loving them and will be wearing them throughout the colder months. Will you be wearing them too? Let me know how you are styling yours! Details from both outfits are linked below for your perusal!