How to Style & Wear a Difficult Piece

This post may contain affiliate links, which means we may receive a commission if you purchase through our links. Please read our full disclosure here.

I’m sure you all have that piece of clothing that you like very much, but can’t seem to be able to pair with anything. I know I have several, so in this article (and perhaps, future ones, too), I am going to try and find ways to style and wear“difficult” items: helping you by helping myself!

Below, I’ll be focusing on styling a sweater that I got as a Christmas present two years ago and have probably worn three times since.

As you can see, it’s a rather chunky sweater, with a nice pattern on the front and a neutral color which should make things easier. The giant problem I’ve had with it is that it is very short! Even as I try to pull it down, it’s still not as long as I’d be comfortable wearing:

Too-short sweater

(And now my bare stomach is on the internet – awesome.) Anyway, my main concern was finding a way to cover my midsection and also to maintain a balance between the bottom and the chunkier top, so read on to see how I did that.

1. Start with the simplest solution.

For my first outfit, I went with the most obvious choice, and mixed the cropped sweater with some high-waisted pants. Even though I wore some high platform shoes, by rolling up my sleeves and adding a masculine belt, I managed to keep the whole look casual enough to wear to class on a chilly day.

How to style a too-short sweater

The key thing to remember here is this: if the top is too short, compensate with high-waisted bottoms! We learned this from the crop tops trend (see: how to wear a crop top): the easiest way to wear them is with high-waisted shorts, skirts, or pants.

2. Go short and sweet!

A short sweater like this is perfect for layering! Here, I wanted to create a more feminine outfit but couldn’t decide between a dress or a skirt. I chose the latter – because this skirt is the kind that sits high on the waist, instead of resting on the hips, I wasn’t worried that I’d be showing too much skin. Of course, you could opt to wear a dress underneath and no one would be able to tell the difference!

How to style a too-short sweater with a skirt

The reason I chose the chunky sandals is that I needed to wear something to compensate for the “heavy” top – small, delicate shoes wouldn’t have worked. Also, in this combination, the sweater works as outerwear: imagine wearing it on a spring day, ready to take it off once the sun begins to shine. And in case you thought such a sweater couldn’t complement a more delicate piece of jewellery, I believe I managed to somewhat disprove that theory.

3. Wear something underneath.

But don’t wear something that you hope will go unnoticed – be bold! Wear a crazy fuchsia t-shirt! Or maybe a neon green tank top! I chose a striped bodysuit and I unintentionally matched its colors to the scarf I put on. But who cares, as long as I can comfortably lift my arms without showing my stomach.

How to style a short sweater over a bright tee

Also, notice that I didn’t go too crazy with the accessories and in this case, I actually forgot to put on a belt. (But I think the digital replacement will do for the time being.) My favorite thing about this look is that it looks pretty basic if I sit still, but once I start moving, you can see the bright colors peeking from underneath – I love that!

4. If all else fails, cover up!

Of course, with any tough piece, there is always a chance that nothing will seem to work and if that is the case, you need to find a work-around. My idea was to wear a denim jacket on top of everything, with only the sleeves of the sweater being still visible – denim on denim will always look good in my opinion. (Just be sure you don’t match the denim washes – you always want to mis-match in this case!)

Denim on denim

Another alternative might be a faux-fur vest or  – why not? – a blazer. If you’re struggling to fight the cold these days (as I am) no number of layers will seem too high.

Finally, the green boots add a much-needed splash of color to the whole look and all I need to do now is grab a cheerful bag on my way out and the outfit is complete!

Success! Your turn now.

In the end, I’ve come up with four different outfits but, most importantly, I realized that this piece may not be as difficult to wear as I initially thought. I want to hear from you now: opinions, suggestions? What’s your “impossible” piece? Leave a comment and maybe I’ll write a post about it.

25 thoughts on “How to Style & Wear a Difficult Piece”

  1. my favorite way to wear cropped sweaters is with a dress, as a skirt. That’s often to hard to pull off with a longer shirt as it tends to make the “skirt” part awkwardly small, but with a cropped sweater it usually works out perfectly.

  2. My impossible piece is a bright orange sweater my mom got me for Christmas. So far, i’ve worn it in exactly one way — with jeggings and a white scarf.

  3. Wow, I think the people commenting about how you are negative about your body need to chill out. Not everyone feels comfortable showing skin, doesn’t matter if they are skinny or not. I personally like your style. Keep it up

  4. Thanks for this post, it’s perfect timing because I just got a sweater that’s short and I don’t like showing too much skin either.

  5. I was super excited about this post but all these outfits missed the mark for me. The skirt outfit especially seemed way off base. The skirt, the shoes, just none of it worked. It did come across a little body negative tbh. Also can you maybe take your pictures in better light? It was hard to pick up on details.

  6. Great ideas! There’s been a sudden cold snap in Georgia, and I’ve been freezing! I will definately be using these ideas to layer up!


Leave a Comment