Thursday 21 February 2019

How to wear...the jumper dress

You may have ditched the sparkly partywear, but January doesn’t have to mean a boring wardrobe. Meadhbh McGrath advises on the most stylish way to stay snug this winter

Jumper dress: street style
Jumper dress: street style
Bella Hadid
Black, €49.99 from Mango
Burgundy, €60 from River Island
Tan, €89 from & Other Stories
Green, €99 from COS
Pale grey, €39.99 from H&M
Navy, €125 from COS
Charcoal, €238 from All Saints
Belt, €70 from Karen Millen at Brown Thomas
Earrings, €12 from Miss Selfridge
Bag, €99 from & Other Stories
Coat, €78 from Next
Shoes, €96 from Office

Meadhbh McGrath

There are many facets to the post-Christmas hangover. There's the return to work, the pressure to detox, the spine-chilling bank statements... and the comedown after a month of fabulous fashion.

Now that we're in the thick of January misery, all those sequins, the velvet and the red lipstick, seem like a distant memory as our 2019 wardrobes to date have largely consisted of half-hearted gym gear, reluctant workwear and pyjamas.

But January doesn't have to be a sartorial snooze, and with the coldest weeks ahead of us, you'll want something that's cosy without sacrificing on style.

Enter the jumper dress. It's comfortable yet cool, and practical while still being suitably 'fashion'. Of course, any old knitted dress won't do. If you're going to wear a big jumper, you want it to be impeccable: crisp and clean, not some great slobby, slouchy thing off a teenager's floor.

The jumper dress has proven a favourite with off-duty supermodels, from Gigi Hadid to Gisele Bundchen, who wear theirs with everything from combat boots to barely-there sandals. Amal Clooney made the case for the knitted dress as a modern workwear hero at a conference in October, and Meghan Markle even opted for one for her Christmas day outing in Sandringham.

When it comes to hemlines, you can go long or short, but stick to full-length sleeves and a high neck. There are fitted, ribbed styles, similar to Emily Blunt's co-ordinating knitted top and skirt, but ensure you size up, as they can be unflatteringly snug around areas you may prefer to conceal.

Emily Blunt
Emily Blunt

Blunt's rich caramel shade is very 2019: neutrals are the palette of the season and you'll find knitted dresses in every shade of beige on the high street in the coming weeks.

These earthy tones look best when complemented with similar shades - a camel dress, for example, with chocolate-coloured knee boots, or a stone grey knit with a deep red bag. Add some gold jewellery or freshwater pearls for a point of interest.

If you're not on board with the beige brigade, there are moodier options, too. You can't go wrong with classic black, but offset the darkness with a pair of patterned boots, statement earrings or a vibrant bag.

COS and All Saints offer a range of knitted dresses in inoffensive shades of charcoal and navy, and they avoid looking staid with unusual design details like asymmetric necklines, draping and cinched waists.

A defined waist is key if you prefer the cocoon shapes beloved by Bella Hadid. The model has been leading the charge on the chic jumper dress, stepping out in a variety of off-whites, blacks and greys in recent months, as well as a bold orange version with clunky hiker boots.

You don't need to go thigh-skimmingly short - try River Island's burgundy dress, which falls above the knee. Make the oversized fit work for you by adding a belt, like Karen Millen's ring buckle style, which will help to sculpt the silhouette while allowing the knit to skirt over your hips and thighs.

Bella Hadid
Bella Hadid

We love Bella's two-tone snakeskin boots, which give depth to the look. Smart boots with a bit of a heel, whether in animal print, vivid red or simple black, help to elevate the jumper dress and bring a grown-up polish to your outfit.

But leave the bare legs to Bella and the Insta models. The jumper dress, in just about any colour, works well with sheer black tights and knee boots, especially the shorter styles.

Midi-length versions, particularly those with a relaxed, looser fit, sit comfortably over slouchy boots - to the knee and higher - or choose neat shoe boots for a refined finish.

Irish Independent

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