2020’s trends, like the year itself, were unexpected, to say the least. Leather harnesses and visible thongs, anyone? But, while we’ve at last waved farewell to 2020, the arrival of its successor doesn’t appear to mark the end of fashion trends we didn’t see coming (or making a comeback). Instead, the trends gaining traction this winter are equally as puzzling as those of yesteryear, most notably in the knitwear department.

This season, knits in the form of corsets, with hourglass fits and underwires galore, and cropped half-sweaters are reigning supreme on Instagram. Whereas choosing between turtlenecks, cardigans, and V-neck pullovers used to make up the choices involved in building a sweater wardrobe, options now extend even to the lingerie drawer, with knit bras and full knit garter sets currently available. Prairie collar sweaters are replacing your standard crewnecks, and scarves come attached to sweaters, rather than in addition to them.

But while the knitwear market this year is certainly unconventional, we aren’t mad about its daring new additions. Rather, we’re prepared to embrace these new-and-improved sweater options with open arms. 
Shop all of this season’s newest knitwear trends — from corset sweaters to too-small cardigans — ahead. 

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Knit Corsets

Thanks to Bridgerton, corsets are growing increasingly popular on the fashion scene. But while the rise of the strapless bustier tops and Regency-era bridal gowns makes sense, corset sweaters are an unusual take on the trend. And yet, fitted, ribbed, and hourglass knits, like the ones first introduced by New York-based fashion brand Khaite, are inescapable on Instagram-favorite shopping sites like Source Unknown and Pixie Market. 

Pixie Market Cass Strapless Knit Top, $, available at Pixie Market

Zara Knit Corset, $, available at Zara

Khaite Black Lucie Bustier, $, available at SSENSE

Bolero Sweaters

Next up on our list of WTF knitwear trends that we’re slowly becoming obsessed with are bolero sweaters. Unlike the cardigan-like styles from the ‘80s, 2021’s versions are uber-cropped turtlenecks with big cutouts that can add a layer of cool to even the most basic of outfits.

The Source Unknown Cable Knit Zip Sleeve Scarf, $, available at The Source Unknown

Eloquii Turtleneck Sweater Sleeve Scarf, $, available at Eloquii

Peter Do Green Rib Shrug, $, available at SSENSE

Knit Lingerie

Typically, bras are either designed to be sexy or utilitarian. And yet, the cozy knit bras trending right now are neither. Add knit high-waisted underwear and sweater-like garters, and you’ve got yourself a trend that makes little sense but has, nevertheless, become an epic success with fashion’s finest. 

The Frankie Shop Wool Knit Lace Up Bralette, $, available at The Frankie Shop

Zara Ribbed Bottoms, $, available at Zara

Khaite Eda Cashmere Soft Cup Bra, $, available at Net-A-Porter

Big Collars

Detachable collars, another comeback trend, have been the talk of the fashion industry ever since fall ‘20 fashion week in February when Ganni sent oversized collars down the runway in Copenhagen. Tory Burch, Sea NY, and more brands quickly followed suit. It wasn’t until 2021, though, that the collar trend knit its way into the sweater department. The result? Knitwear that’s both cozy and on-trend. 

Mango Openwork Knit Sweater, $, available at Mango

Pêche Aida Sweater, $, available at Pêche

H&M Collared Rib-Knit Sweater, $, available at H&M

Scarf Sweaters

Hybrid fashion lovers, rejoice! Like skorts and puffer coats with removable sleeves (that turn into vests), this season’s scarf sweaters take two items we love — sweaters and, yes, scarves — and combine them into one doubly satisfying winter staple.

The Source Unknown Cozy Scarf Turtleneck Sweater, $, available at The Source Unknown

Mohan TTW Cashmere Scarf Turtleneck Knit, $, available at W Concept

Pixie Market Button Front Ribbed Sweater, $, available at Pixie Market

Cutout Sweater

If Katie Holmes says wearing sweaters with cutouts is in, then it is. (The Dawson’s Creek alum wore one in October with white slouchy pants and glove shoes.) And while having a hole in the middle of your sweater would appear to defy the point of the winter layer, with the fashion-forward options on the market right now, we can’t help but say screw it to the cold and welcome the style. 

RtA Blue Beckett Off Shoulder Sweater, $, available at 11 Honore

Prices marked here are in USD, while the prices marked on gimaguas.com are in Euros.

Gimaguas Julieta Beige Jumper, $, available at Gimaguas

Ganni Alpaca Knit Blouse, $, available at Ganni

Snug Sweaters

Originating at Jacquemus’ fall ‘20 show, the extra snug sweater trend has grown significantly in the year since it debuted. For starters, Instagram brands like Rui Zhou, Giu Giu, and Noush have introduced their own takes on the cardigan that looks like its buttons are about to pop open. Meanwhile, Dua Lipa gave the too-tight sweater trend her stamp of approval when she wore a hot pink style in December. *Immediately adds to cart.*

Jacquemus Alzou Cropped Mohair-Blend Cardigan, $, available at Matches Fashion

The Source Unknown Fuzzy Mohair Cardigan, $, available at The Source Unknown

Giu Giu Nonna Cardigan, $, available at SSENSE

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