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Hello sweater weather: October brings 5 cozy trends

Distressed styles, including torn and tattered patterns, are popular in sweaters this season. Photo courtesy Kindred People / Special to The Forum1 / 6
Lace-up sleeves have carried over from last year’s sweater trends. Photo by Tawny Irwin / Special to The Forum2 / 6
Bold textures like loop pile (left) and chenille (right) are popular this season. Alexandra Floersch / The Forum3 / 6
Sleeve details – such as ruffles, embroidery and bell shapes – add feminine details to otherwise simple sweaters. Alexandra Floersch / The Forum4 / 6
Rust orange, maroon and mustard are among a few trending sweater colors for fall 2017. Alexandra Floersch / The Forum5 / 6
Floor-length duster sweaters make a statement and add warmth. Alexandra Floersch / The Forum6 / 6

FARGO — Sept. 22 may have marked the first day of autumn, but some fashionistas recognize the season differently. It's not only a time for pumpkin spice lattes, vibrant foliage and college football — it's also sweater weather.

"Fall opens up a whole new level to get creative with fashion and your outfits," says Kelly Falk, owner of Kindred People boutique. "This is the biggest season we've seen with new trends in sweaters."

While fashion trends turn as quickly as the autumn leaves, sweater fashion isn't usually all that innovative. After all, what more can you do with knits?

"I wouldn't say it's a dramatic change (this year), but there are slight changes in fabric and material types," says Abby Krusemark, store manager at Onyx & Pearl boutique.

Here are five new sweater trends help you have the coziest autumn possible.

1. Trend-setting textures

"Chenille fabric is super popular. It has kind of that metallic tone to it and it's a little thicker," Krusemark says. "That's kind of the up-and-coming newest thing."

Aside from various patterns of thin and wide ribbing, a popcorn texture — which has a fuzzy, plush look like a stuffed animal — has also infiltrated the market.

"We can't even keep it in stock because people have been so crazy about it," Falk says. "I think (softness) is a part of it, too. People touch things as they're looking, and they just have to have it. They know it's going to be incredibly soft and comfortable."

More dramatic texture, such as loose loop piles and fringe have also made an appearance in sweaters this year.

2. Best when distressed

While many textures have been present in past years, Falk says the distressed look is brand new this year and very popular in stores.

"I've seen distressing everywhere from the hemline or trim on the bottom to the sleeves to the neckline of the sweater or even all over where you would definitely need to wear something under it like a bodysuit," she says.

Distressing gives the sweater a tattered, ripped or torn appearance, but sometimes holes are visible.

"Designers have gotten really creative with it," Falk says. "It's kind of playing off that '90s grunge style which is coming back."

Though distressing creates a more casual look, Falk says there are ways to style for different occasions.

"If you have rules for work and what you can wear, I would go a little more on the lighter distressing side and maybe layer it with some other pieces so you still get that trend but it's not so glaring," she says. "If you're in college or have a job that gives you more freedom in terms of wardrobe, then I would go all for it. Try a pullover sweater with distressing all over it and wear a bodysuit under it."

3. The long and short of it

Trending sweater lengths run from one end of the spectrum to the other.

"I would say (sweaters) are a little shorter than last year," Krusemark says. "I think the bottom line has shortened up a little bit."

Falk says cropped sweaters are also trickling in amongst long, open front floor-length cardigans.

4. Sexy sleeves

When it comes to sweater flare, you can find it on the sleeve.

"If there's any special detail — whether it's embroidery or lace-up, texture or some sort of pretty detail — it's always on the sleeve this season," Falk says.

Crossing over from last year, lace-up sleeves have been popular.

"Almost every designer has some sort of lace-up sleeve whether it was that traditional lace-up look or larger grommets with different types of lace patterns," Falk says.

Sleeve shapes must also be noted.

"There's definitely a ton of bell sleeves carrying over from a summer trend of chiffon tops," Falk says.

Ruffles have also given simple sweaters more body and flare.

"Some will attach all the way across the chest. Some are just on the sleeve to add a little extra detail," Falk says.

While it's not exclusive to sweaters, floral embroidery has exploded since spring and summer.

"Now it's everywhere," Falk says. "It's on our sweaters, our denim, T-shirts, leather jackets. To see that on sweaters now is really fun, too."

5. Subdued hues

Surprisingly enough — when looking to trending colors — the most powerful is lacking just that.

"Neutrals are really in right now — moreso even than last year," Krusemark says. "Creams, grays, beige, even a champagne color."

Krusemark says neutrals are popular because they look good on everyone.

"You can dress them up or can dress them down. You can layer with them. They're just great colors for pairing with anything in your closet."

For those who appreciate more vibrant hues, Falk says there are plenty.

"In terms of a color wave, definitely the forest and olive greens, mustards, maroons are in. I've actually been really surprised, but the color of mauve has really carried over from spring and summer into fall."


Styling sweaters

With the latest trends in mind, Falk and Krusemark offer tips for styling outfits centered around sweaters.

• Layer the look. "I always recommend throwing on a denim or leather jacket," Krusemark says. "You could even do a scarf." Layering short and long necklaces over a sweater add some interest as well. For the distressed-style sweaters, Falk says bodysuits and high-neck bralettes are a good way to cover bare skin underneath.

• Mix feminine with edgy. "I like to have some contrast and a mix of textures — kind of the hard and soft example," Krusemark says. "Do something more frilly and feminine with something a little more edgy." Falk says it's a fun look to create. "It's cool because everyone feels like they can wear it," she says. "It's not too edgy or too feminine so it works for a lot of people."

• Knot your sweater. "The knotted sweater trend is huge," Falk says. "A lot of people are putting dresses on, throwing a (pullover) sweater over and knotting it to the side. It's pretty cute." Pairing a knotted sweater with leggings and a longer tunic top is another option, Falk says.

Alexandra Floersch

Alexandra Floersch has worked for Forum Communications since February 2015. She is a content producer and photographer who enjoys writing about finance, fashion and home.

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