Fashion Friday: Wearing Hand-Knits

This week in Fashion Friday, I wanted to focus on the hand-knit. And specifically, on how we wear our hand-knit sweaters.

Oftentimes, we tend to wear our handiwork as art. And there’s some truth to that! It takes skill, and perseverance, and love to make the things we make. We should be proud of them. And there are some sweaters that truly are objects of art, first and foremost. This post isn’t about them.

It’s about the other sweaters, the ones we want to wear every day “as clothes”. For a long time, when I’d wear a hand-knit it would be the center focus of the outfit (no matter the color). I was wearing a knit! It fit great! So I’d style everything else around it very subdued.


I see this around me, too. I think we’re maybe a little confounded by our sweaters. We are proud of them, we want to show them off–and sometimes I think that blinds us to what the sweaters truly are. It’s not that there’s anything wrong with this outfit, exactly. I like the lines it’s painting on my body, I like the way everything fits and looks… it’s just a little bit too much about the sweater.

And here’s the thing: The sweaters aren’t the art.

We are the art. You and me. The sweaters? Frames done by a master craftsman. And when I think of the sweater as a showpiece in and of itself, I (personally speaking) lose that perspective. My outfit becomes about the sweater, not about me.

When I try to focus myself on using the sweater to frame me, I find an outfit that makes me feel much more sparkly.


Interestingly, I feel like the sweater actually shines brighter here, too. The colors and layers and jewelry all bring the sweater into a coherent outfit, rather than placing it on top of my neutral layers. In Fit to Flatter terms, these outfits are very similar. Of course the pants lengthen my legs more than the skirt, but the overall silhouettes being painted on my body are almost identical.

What’s magic to me about the second picture is that it really feels like I’ve made the sweater about my own style, rather than making my outfit and style about the sweater.

How about you? How do you wear your hand-knits? What makes you feel best in them?

(And yes, I know, I chose dark yarn. I wear deep purple like this all the time in my daily life, so when I was choosing yarn to knit my own version of Draper (from the book
naturally) I chose the lovely Grand Street Ink for the Lorna’s Laces Sportmate. I am wearing the heck out of this one.)

5 thoughts on “Fashion Friday: Wearing Hand-Knits

  1. Thanks Amy for a new look at sweaters and how to wear them. I tend to wear a lot of dark muted colours and found that I feel better when I also wear something bright. It’s even better with a piece of jewellery.

  2. What an insight. Now I know why there are things I’ve knit that I don’t wear. Not because the fit is bad, but because it’s all about the garment and I feel like I’m calling too much attention to it. As in, “Oh, look. I knit a shawl!”
    Case in point – my Impasto Shawl. (
    I’m going to spend some time figuring out an outfit that will incorporate it, not just provide a background for it. Thanks!

  3. I love this example, the sweater really does pop even more in that second photo.

  4. Thank you for this series of posts!

    My reaction to this post was “Eek, I’m the person in the first photo…hand-knit, dark colored cardigan with the solid colored T-shirt/tank top underneath.” Which I feel comfortable in, but the shirt looks so much better than the tank. Thanks for changing my perspective!

  5. […] accessorize your handmades as clothes rather than as finished projects or artwork. (Amy Herzog has a great post about that last topic, definitely check it […]

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