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Best fall sweater trends of 2021, according to a stylist

With the right sweater, you won't have to sacrifice style for comfort!
Illustration of three Women walking outside wearing stylish sweaters for fall
Christian Vierig / Contributor / Getty Images

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Now that fall is here, it's about that time to start breaking out the layers. One layer, in particular, is most important: sweaters! The cozy staple is perfect for layering and can be styled so that you still look trendy and chic while remaining comfortable.

"There's a greater emphasis on sweaters this fashion season because, even though the world is opening up and there's a renewed interest in getting dressed and people are getting out of their athleisure wear, we still, to some extent...live on Zoom calls," personal shopper and image consultant Lucia Gulbransen told Shop TODAY.

With so many different styles on the market at the moment, how do you know which sweater styles to add to your wardrobe? We asked Gulbransen about the hottest fall sweater trends you'll want in your closet.

Sweater vests

"If I had to pick one of the hottest trends, it's a sweater vest this season, hands down," Gulbransen said. "We've been seeing [it] for a couple of seasons now, but this season, it's a real thing. I think — no, I know — there's a lot of different iterations on the sweater vest."

Some styles she shared that you'll see this season (if you haven't already) include oversized, cropped, collared and crocheted sweater vests.

Rag & Bone x Disney Cruella Wool Blend Knit Vest

Gulbransen likes the sweater vests from Rag & Bone. This varsity-style vest is from the brand's Disney Cruella collection, which puts a "rough-around-the-edge spin" on some of their classic pieces. Knit from a merino wool and Tencel blend, this sweater is lightweight enough to wear alone or layer.

H&M Ribbed Sweater Vest

This well-rated sweater vest is made with a rib-knit cotton blend, so you can look trendy and stylish in comfort.

H&M Crop Sweater Vest

Embrace the traditional sweater vest style with this classic argyle print. It also comes in an earthier brown patterned option.

Colorblocked sweaters

"Another really hot trend I'm seeing as a stylist is these contrast cardi[gans], these two-toned knitwear," Gulbransen said.

Staud Shoko Cargo Colorblock Cardigan

She called out this colorblocked cardigan from Staud. It comes in a dozen different color combinations including yellow and white, orange and pink and ivory and sage. "It's the whole two-toned knitwewar coming in exciting colors that's trending," she said.

Forever 21 Colorblock Cardigan Sweater

If you want something a little shorter, try this cropped take on the two-toned take Gulbransen mentioned. It also comes in a camel and beige combination.

Mango Bicolor Knit Sweater

When temperatures start dropping and you need something a bit warmer, this pullover sweater features a cable knit finish and a ribbed hem. It also comes in black and white.

Collared sweaters

"The collared sweater is huge this season," Gulbransen told us. "As a stylist, I love them because they're a great way to layer over long-sleeve T-shirts for some extra warmth and layering always gives you a cool vibe."

A New Day Collared Split Neck Pullover Sweater

Whether you're hanging out at a home or stepping out for a casual day, this midweight sweater is cozy and cute enough to take you through the day.

Madewell Sunbury Open-Stitch Polo Sweater

This polo-style sweater has a chunkier look because of the open-stitch knit, but it's made with cotton so you don't have to worry about battling scratchy material all day.

Everlane Cashmere Collared Sweater

Pair this cashmere sweater with slacks and your favorite pumps for an easy and quick office-ready look, or keep it casual with jeans and flats for an everyday staple.

Cable knit sweaters

"Cable knit is usually a seasonal staple, but this year, they're chunkier and they're just hotter than ever," Gulbransen said. "It's a classic for fall/winter, but it's definitely a standout when it comes to sweaters."

Zesica Chunky Knit Oversized Sweater

Nothing says fall like an oversized chunky knit sweater. Keep it seasonal with this colorblocked trio of fall colors or choose from one of over a dozen other options.

Astylish Off Shoulder Loose Cable Knit Pullover Sweater

Who says casual can't be cute? This off-shoulder pullover sweater will keep you comfy and in style all day long.

Naadam Cable Knit Crewneck Sweater

This is probably what comes to mind when you think of a cable knit sweater. It's made from a cashmere-wool blend to provide you maximum comfort through the coldest of days.

Half-zip sweaters

Gulbransen said she's starting to see this sweater style making a comeback and even notes seeing it several times on the runway this season. "The half-zip is a very preppy statement but a lot of the trends — plaid and houndstooth — there's a preppy flair," she said.

J.Crew Half-Zip Sweater

"Even J.Crew has done a really great job in the half-zip sweaters," she said. She noted that the style is great for lightweight layers and can be worn in several ways. This option comes in five different colors and in sizes ranging from XXS to 3X.

Good American Half-Zip Pullover Top

Made from 100% cotton, this half-zip pullover is soft to the touch and is perfect for a casual autumnal outing.

Venus Half-Zip Sweater

This sweater features cable knit material and even zips up into a turtleneck if you're looking for extra warmth.

Thin ribbed-knit sweaters

If you don't want to go for the chunky sweater look, Gulbransen also mentioned that thin ribbed-knit sweaters are trendy this season. "The thin ribbed [knit] sweater is a sleeker, longer knitwear," she said.

This style of sweater is typically worn with ribbed-knit trousers as a set, but they can just as easily be paired with jeans for a work-ready outfit.

Zara Ribbed Knit Sweater

Embrace fall with this orange ribbed knit sweater. It also comes in pastel pink, white and black.

The Drop Amy Fitted Turtleneck Ribbed Sweater

Similar to the sweater from Zara, this ribbed sweater also comes in several colors. The actual turtleneck isn't as high and looks a bit more relaxed around the neck.

Wild Fable V-Neck Rib Knit Pullover Sweater

This loose-fitting pullover sweater is perfect for layering. Wear it with a T-shirt under and pair with jeans or a skirt!

Knit top and cardigan sets

"We can't talk about sweater trends without talking about the sweater bra sets," Gulbransen said. "That's a returning trend we've been seeing a lot. It's been going on for seasons, but I would say this season it's still very popular."

She notes that these trendy sets speak to the intersection between cozy and comfortable that sweaters aim to hit this season. For those who live in cooler climates, these sets feature other top styles that provide a little more coverage.

Sweater-Knit Crop Top & Cardigan Set

This cardigan is a little looser for a relaxed and comfortable fit. It has a ribbed hem, which perfectly complements the style of the crop top.

Romwe Button Front Cable Knit Cardigan with Tube Top

This Romwe pick combines the throwback tube top style with the cable knit trend Gulbransen mentioned. It comes in black, gray and pink.

Abercrombie & Fitch Ribbed Tank and Cardigan Set

For a bit more coverage, try this tank top and button-up cardigan duo. You can wear it together or style as individual pieces as many ways as you want.

Cutout turtleneck sweaters

"I think turtlenecks are having a revival because...of the cutout," she said. "The cutout adds another dynamic to the style."

Turtlenecks with cutouts on the shoulder or above the breast line make the style appear more chic, according to Gulbransen.

New York & Company High-Neck Cutout Sweater

Stand out in this red turtleneck sweater from New York & Company. The cutout above the breast line gives it an edgy and trendy look.

Venus One Shoulder Turtleneck

This take on a classic turtleneck style is easy to dress up or down with jeans, leggings, heels or boots.

Venus Cold Shoulder Turtleneck

Don't just give one cold shoulder — give two! Aside from the shoulder cutouts, this turtleneck also features a pattern and fringe hem on the sleeve to make it stand out.

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