This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

Which plus-size sweaters are best?

‘Tis the season to get cozy, and nothing is cozier than a sweater, since a quality sweater will keep you warm as temperatures drop. For plus-size figures, you want to find a sweater that fits well without adding too much bulk. 

Fortunately, there are plenty of flattering and stylish plus-size options for the cold season. Many popular brands offer extended sizing. For a cable-knit sweater, Lands’ End Women’s Cotton Cable Drifter Crewneck Sweater is the top choice. 

What to know before you buy a plus-size sweater


Plus-size sweaters come in a range of materials. Cotton, wool and cashmere are all natural fibers and a classic choice of fabric for sweaters. Synthetic blends, including polyester and acrylic, are a more affordable option and easier to care for but may not keep you as warm as wool or cashmere. Whatever material you choose, be sure to read the care instructions before tossing your sweater in the wash — many need to be hand washed or dry cleaned. 


The style of sweater often determines whether it’s dressy or more casual. For instance, an open-front cardigan is typically more casual than a button-down cardigan. Plus-size sweaters come in all styles, including pullovers, turtlenecks, tunics, cardigans, chunky knits, dusters and oversized sweaters. You can also find short-sleeve styles for warmer seasons. 


Plus-size sweaters come in a variety of lengths. A sweater that falls at the hip or just above is a highly versatile length and can be worn with dress pants, skirts or jeans. Longer sweaters, like tunic styles, that fall below the hip look good with skinny jeans or plus-size leggings. Very long sweaters such as dusters that fall below the knee work with dresses, longer skirts and skinny jeans or leggings. 


Choose a sweater with a neckline that you feel comfortable in and that’s flattering for your shape. Crewneck sweaters offer a smart, classic look and are universally flattering. V-necks are a bit dressier than crewnecks. A higher, more modest V-neck is flattering for larger-chested wearers, while a deeper V-neck may be more flattering on smaller-chested wearers. If you’re pear-shaped, try a scoop neck to balance your proportions. Turtlenecks and cowl necks offer more coverage but can feel uncomfortable and unflattering on some wearers. 


You can find plenty of fitted plus-size sweaters, like cardigans and pullovers, that work well over fitted blouses and show off curves. Loose-fitting styles like long button-down sweaters and tunics offer a comfortable, casual look. However, you don’t want a sweater that’s too oversized and baggy and can add unnecessary bulk to your figure. 

What to look for in a quality plus-size sweater 


Plus-size sweaters come in a variety of colors, from basic white or black to brighter hues. Some fashion experts recommend that plus-size figures wear solid colors over patterns for a “slimming effect,” but wear whatever you find attractive and stylish. Jewel tones can add some vibrancy to your cold-weather outfit without being overwhelming. Neutral tones like gray are classic and go with anything, while brighter tones like red offer more of a statement. 


Plus-size sweaters also come in patterns. Stripes or color blocks are popular. Animal prints offer a more contemporary look and added pizzazz. Some patterns can enhance curves, while others can bulk up your shape. Choose a pattern that flatters your body type and expresses your particular style. 


Cable knit is a popular and classic weave for sweaters. While warm, it can be on the bulky side. Cashmere sweaters are thin with a soft, fuzzy texture and offer elegance to any outfit. Wool sweaters can be itchy, so many wearers opt for synthetic yarns that mimic chunky woolen knits.   


Most sweaters are designed for layering. Crewnecks sweaters are ideal for wearing over collared shirts. Cardigans work well over camisoles or fitted dresses. Looser or open-front styles of sweaters work best over T-shirts. Wearing a long-sleeve shirt under your sweater can add an extra layer of warmth.  

How much you can expect to spend on a plus-size sweater 

Plus-size sweaters range in price from $25-$150, largely determined by the material and make of the sweater. Wool or cashmere sweaters typically start at $90. 

Plus-size sweater FAQ

What sizes do plus-size sweaters come in? 

A. You can easily find plus-size sweaters from sizes 1X-5X. However, some name brands that offer extended sizing may offer a narrower size range, from 1X-3X. 

How do I clean a wool sweater? 

A. Some wool sweaters can be hand washed in cold water and laid flat to dry. Others, especially cashmere, can only be dry cleaned. Some washing machines offer a wool setting, but it’s always best to follow the care instructions on your particular sweater. 

What are the best plus-size sweaters to buy?

Top plus-size sweater 

Lands’ End Women’s Cotton Cable Drifter Crewneck Sweater

Lands’ End Women’s Cotton Cable Drifter Crewneck Sweater

What you need to know: This iconic Drifter sweater offers a versatile style and a midweight cable knit. 

What you’ll love: The cotton weave is perfect for transitional weather and can be worn in the workplace or around the house. The form-fitting cut is snug but not too tight. The crew neckline is universally flattering. 

What you should consider: The extended sizing is somewhat limited, and the sweater can shrink in the wash. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top plus-size sweater for the money

Shiaili Classic Women’s Plus-Size Long Cardigan Sweater

Shiaili Classic Women’s Plus-Size Long Cardigan Sweater

What you need to know: An open-front, oversized cardigan that feels like snuggling up in your favorite blanket. 

What you’ll love: Made for plus-size figures, the sizing ranges from 1X-5X. The acrylic cable knit is very comfy and cozy. The mid-thigh length covers your entire backside and the sleeves are roomy. 

What you should consider: The sleeves can run short, so some buyers may need to size up. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

Renee C. Women’s Open-Front Long Duster Cardigan 

Renee C. Women’s Open-Front Long Duster Cardigan 

What you need to know: A stylish duster made from eco-friendly bamboo that’ll elevate any outfit. 

What you’ll love: With nearly two dozen solid colors to choose from, this versatile open-front style can work with multiple outfits. The silhouette is long and flattering. The material is stretchy, soft and breathable. This universally flattering duster comes in sizes 1X-5X. 

What you should consider: The sleeves are on the long side, though this is a boon for taller wearers. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon


Sign up here to receive the BestReviews weekly newsletter for useful advice on new products and noteworthy deals.

Ana Sanchez writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

Copyright 2021 BestReviews, a Nexstar company. All rights reserved.