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How to wear cable knitwear in 2021, according to stylists

No matter how chilly it gets, you'll remain cozy and chic.
Four images of stylish woman wearing cable knit sweaters and cardigans
Jeremy Moeller / Contributor / Getty Images / Christian Vierig / Contributor / Getty Images / Edward Berthelot / Contributor / Getty Images

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Fall is officially back in full swing, which means a few things: pumpkin spice lattes are back, football is constantly on TV and every outfit is an opportunity to flaunt our layering skills. While there are plenty of sweater trends to navigate this season, there's one that stands out among the rest: cable knit.

"Cable knit is — we think of giant, chunky sweaters and it's obviously meant to keep us warm. I have a lot of clients right now that are wanting to wear this style but they're really not sure how to do it because it adds so much bulk," Pittsburgh-based personal stylist Christina Stein told Shop TODAY.

Fashion stylist and personal shopper Ali Mullin is excited to see this trend at the forefront of autumn style. "This is literally probably one of my favorite [fall sweater] trends that has hit in a long time. I love the whole concept of layering, especially with like crew neck-style cable knits and that type of stuff," she said.

Mullin also loves the versatility of cable knitwear. "I just think that there’s such a realm of possibility with that type of style that it really can fit anybody’s aesthetic depending on what it’s styled with," she told us.

Stein and Mullin shared their tips for styling cable knitwear for every occasion from heading into the office to plans for a night out.

How to style oversized cable knitwear

Both stylists called out the oversized trend in combination with cable knitwear.

"The very oversized boyfriend style is very in right now, so if you're trying to go with a trendy knit piece, that's a good one to do with a pair of boots," Stein said. She also suggested wearing an oversized cable knit top with a pair of leggings and animal print flats to create a classic on-the-go look.

When it comes to the oversized look, Mullin suggested pairing your cable knit top with jeans and a sneaker or loafer. If you want to go even more casual, opt for a cable knit cardigan with a vintage t-shirt and bike shorts; an outfit that will keep you cozy and looking chic while running errands.

How to dress up cable knitwear with a button-up

Mullin and Stein both suggested wearing a cable knit piece over a button-up with the collar pulled out for a sleek and preppy look. It can be dressed up with a pair of trousers or kept casual for an end-of-week look with denim jeans.

How to style cable knitwear with boots

Stein's recommended pairing of a cable knit sweater dress and a pair of knee-high boots is perfect for a night out.

"That's pretty big right now," she told us of the style. Depending on your personal style, you can opt for a crew neck, V-neck or off-the-shoulder sweater dress. Mullin also suggested wearing an oversized cable knit sweater as a dress with a button-up underneath and boots to achieve the same look Stein recommended.

If you want to take it one step further, Stein likes to style a chunky cable knit and a silk skirt with a pair of boots around the holiday season. "You don't always have to do jeans and a pair of booties and flats or something. You can definitely dress up a chunky sweater," she said.

Additional tips for styling cable knitwear

When it comes to tips for styling cable knitwear, Stein has a plethora of them.

Her first tip is to be aware of your proportions. "[For] more petite women or curvy women, I definitely like to say have the sweaters hitting at their bellybuttons."

For curvier women who may be unsure of their proportions, Stein recommends opting for a cardigan. "Those usually still give that chunky, relaxed feel but it'll probably sit better on them, especially if you have a larger chest," she explained.

Another tip is to take note of the fabric the sweater is made out of. Cable knit sweaters don't always come in a wool blend, which can be a good thing for both people who have skin allergies or sensitivities and people who tend to get overly hot. "You can get a cotton knit and it still will give you the same effect and have more breathing room for you," she said.

When buying cable knitwear, Stein recommends purchasing one or two in a neutral color, but loves encouraging people to try brighter colors. "[Experiment] with some neon greens and some fuchsias and some purples and just having some fun with it," she said.

Her final tip? Don't be afraid to make an investment. "I usually say the most you should be spending if you have the budget for it is $200. Anything more is kind of outlandish, but also anything less could start to come apart. This is going to be an investment piece for people for colder weather," she said.

Cable knitwear for fall

J.Crew Relaxed-Fit Cable Knit Crew Neck Sweater

"J.Crew, hands down, usually has the best sweaters for this. It hits every budget [and] I haven't had any issue with their quality control," Stein said. This clay-colored cable knit sweater is a bestseller that also comes in white, blue and black.

L.L. Bean Double L Mixed-Cable Sweater

Stein also recommends L.L. Bean for your cable knit sweater needs. This funnel neck style is made with 100% cotton and comes in seven other colors for your choosing.

Lea & Viola Cable Knit Sweater Vest

"Vests are back in style like cable knit," Mullin said. If you want a more oversized look, try this sweater vest from Anthropologie. It can be paired with anything from a skirt to jeans over a button-up shirt.

Ted Baker Taliiey Chunky Cable Button Detail Sweater

Ted Baker is another suggestion from Stein for quality cable knits. This cozy sweater features asymmetric button detailing on the shoulder that give the style a little something extra.

Gap Cable Knit Cardigan

Stein also likes Gap for cable knits. This long-sleeved, open-front cardigan is a new arrival, but it already has glowing reviews. "This is my new favorite cardigan. It's 100% cotton and it's a chunky knit. I absolutely love it," one five-star reviewer wrote.

Lulus In The Cards Beige Cable Knit Two-Piece Sweater Dress

Two-piece sets are all the rage right now, so tackle two trends at once with the cable knit sweater dress from Lulus. Pair with boots for an easy and chic fall look that will have you turning heads.

Universal Thread Button-Front Cable Stitch Cardigan

Mullin called herself "very much a cardigan person," adding that she likes to pair them with vintage T-shirts. This option from Target comes in six different colors and has a 4.5-star average rating on the site. One five-star reviewer called it "a bargain at this price!"

Dearlove Cable Knit Long Sleeve Sweater Dress

This top-rated sweater dress is an easy way to master the cable knit style for fall. It can easily be dressed up with a pair of tights and booties or thigh-high boots, or it can be worn casually with a pair of riding boots.

A New Day Crew Neck Cable Knit Sweater Vest

If you're looking for a crew neck-style sweater vest, this affordable option from Target is a great place to start. It comes in cream and black colors, as well as plus sizes.

LaSuiveur Slim Fit Cable Knit Long-Sleeve Sweater Dress

Available in crew neck and turtleneck styles, this long-sleeved sweater dress is an easy way to embrace the cable knit trend with a bold pop of color. It has a 4.5-star average and over 1,400 verified five-star ratings on Amazon.

iets frans... Cable Knit Cropped Sweater Vest

"Urban Outfitters...loves to do ‘90s/early 2000s vibes, so they have vests [and] cable knit cardigans right now," Mullin told us. This cropped sweater vest can be worn alone or used as a layering piece over a button-up or collared shirt.

Merokeety Long Sleeve Cable Knit Cardigan

This bestseller in women's cardigans is ideal for an everyday look. Pair it with your favorite T-shirt, jeans and booties to create your new go-to outfit for fall.

Azokoe Slim Fit Cable Knit Mini Sweater Dress

For a dressier option, you can't go wrong with this off-the-shoulder sweater dress. Paired easily with a pair of high boots and your favorite clutch, you'll be ready for a night out in minutes.

Astylish Long-Sleeve Chunky Cable Knit Cardigan

If you want to go a little bigger, try this chunky cable knit cardigan. It has a 4.3-star average and over 6,700 verified five-star ratings. "It was a winner from the moment I put it on!" one five-star reviewer wrote.

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