How to Wear Winter's Coolest Sweater Shape Without Looking Schlumpy

These oversized turtlenecks are the closet things we can find to wearing actual blankets outside. But much more flattering and stylish, if you play it right.
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These oversized turtlenecks are the closet things we can find to wearing actual blankets outside. But much more flattering and stylish, if you play it right.
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Right about now, during the darkest hours of this sub-freezing winter, wearing a Snuggie seems like an inspired -- and extremely practical -- winter wardrobe solution. But cute? Hardly. Luckily, the next best thing is here, and it looks mighty chic: oversized turtleneck sweaters.

The knits have a surprisingly quiet sex appeal. There's something sensual about being cocooned in all that fabric -- it kind of makes you want to pull and tug at it, just like Linda Evangelista in George Michael's "Freedom! '90" video (she gets especially frisky with hers around the 5:38 mark).

But how to keep things looking less outdoor catalog addict and more Phoebe Philo as seen in Paris Vogue? It's all about the element of surprise. While proportion is a concern -- if you're going to wear something baggy up top it's best to keep things narrow on the bottom -- this is more about a game of distraction.

As the sweaters themselves typically come in low-key solids, this means playing with texture, color-clashing and adding a lot of extras that are so eye-catching, people walk away with the general impression that, while it may be 10 degrees outside, you're trying, you're really trying!

Some more styling notes: Words cannot express how far a Uniqlo HeatTech scoop-neck goes in this chill. Ditto, a pair of wool-blend tights.

So click through to see our five must-have cozy turtlenecks, along with the key pieces to go with them.

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With Cropped Trousers Since this knit is so chunky, let the texture be the highlight of the outfit -- just keep the rest of your fabrics smooth and don't mix in things like mohair unless you want things to get really crazy, really fast. A classic fisherman style like this also needs some direction, since it really is the blank slate of sweaters. Subtly tapping into its New England vibe works, such as adding preppy plaid pants and neat loafers. It's slightly boarding school, but not boring school. 1. Carin Wester Ruby sweater, approximately $125.32, available at Carin Wester. 2. Sheriff & Cherry sunglasses, $84, available at Matches Fashion. 3. Baggu drawstring purse, $140, available at Need Supply. 4. Toga Pulla embossed loafers, $178, available at Matches Fashion. 5. Aritzia Elton pant, $82.50, available at Aritzia.

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With a Statement Slip So many people, when asked to describe their personal style, almost undoubtedly answer with something like "girly with an edge" or "a mix of feminine and tough." Well, consider this a dedication. This wisp of a skirt, featuring a dainty floral, gets grungy in a good way when paired with a slouchy, ribbed sweater. Things get even more teen spirited with a tough boot and a straight-out-of-Seattle beanie. And, just in case prints aren't your thing, this outfit works just as well with any old basic black slip, found in the lingerie section of your local department store. Or try this one from ASOS.

1. Paul Smith beanie, $69, available at Barneys New York. 2. Slip skirt, $29.99, available at Zara. 3. Helmut Lang turtleneck, $360, available at La Garconne. 4. La Canadienne Palmina boots, $235, available at Harrys Shoes. 5. Christopher Kane camouflage clutch, $258, available at Matches Fashion.

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With Leather Leggings This is the outfit equivalent a good movie makeover -- the buttoned-up, quiet girl gets kidnapped by her friends and taken to the mall, only to emerge from the sliding glass doors a few minutes later looking utterly stylish. Take any turtleneck and give it an up-to-the-minute feel by pairing it with any number of things that have become shorthand for "cool": second-skin pants, Nike sneakers, colored sunglasses...so many options.

1. Zara turtleneck, $29.99, available at Zara. 2. Acne sunglasses, $119, available at Barneys New York. 3. J.Crew Collection leather leggings, $625, available at J.Crew. 4. Isabel Marant Yeva socks, $65, available at La Garconne. 5. Nike Blazer High Vintage sneakers, $117.97, available at ASOS.

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With a Pencil Midi Skirt Since this turtleneck is so simple, you'll want to go flashy. A textured jacquard sets off the fine-gauge of this knit quite nicely, not to mention the color (that amazing green color!) livens up the gray. And the sweater should hit right at the sweet spot, exactly where the skirt starts tapering in for a super flattering effect. Add a fancy bright bag and sleek ankle boots for a dinner or night out. This whole look is basically snatched straight from the Lazy Dresser's Guide on How to Look Nice.

1. Equipment Oscar turtleneck, $318, available at Equipment and Nordstrom. 2. Topshop jacquard tube skirt, $56, available at Nordstrom. 3. Saint Laurent mini Y-Ligne pochette, $1,095, available at Saks Fifth Avenue. 4. Notch boots, $375, available at Emerson Fry.

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With Boyfriend Jeans These nothing chicer right now than looking normal. But not too normal. That is, if you're going to wear a basic turtleneck and jeans, throwing on some stylish extras, like a polished blazer and leather slip-on sneakers, really makes things look more pulled-together. Bonus points for offbeat accessories, like clear-framed sunglasses and a sky-blue bag (which looks quite fetching against the eggplant). These tiny things can make all the difference between a person going for coffee and a fashion person going for coffee.

1. FDN blazer, $129, available at Yoox. 2. Malene Birger Silvano sweater, $119.63, available at Farfetch and, $158.12, at My Wardrobe. 3. Karen Walker Deep Freeze sunglasses, $149, available at Matches Fashion. 4. Common Projects sneakers, $455, available at Net-a-Porter. 5. 3.1 Phillip Lim Ryder cross body bag, $695, available at Shopbop. 6. Cropped Aiden jeans, $218, available at J Brand.