Casual Dinner Outfit: Split Back Boyfriend Sweater + OTK Boots

Casual Holiday Style

When I saw this sweater on a mannequin at  Nordstrom a few weeks ago, I was immediately drawn to it. It’s hard to say why. I mean, in one respect, it’s just another v-neck sweater. But something about the earthy red, the soft ribbed trim, and the flattering cut drew me to it. When I finally found it on a nearby rack, I noticed that it also has a sassy split-back hem. I wasn’t sure how I felt about that, but I knew I had to try it on.

Casual Holiday Style

I was shopping with friends, and they encouraged me to get it. I love the earthy red. It didn’t photograph quite true to color. It has some brown and orange undertones in person. My friends assured me that it looked cute from the back, so I brought it home with me, and a few days later I styled it with my super skinny jeans and over the knee boots for a casual yet sassy holiday outfit.

I felt great wearing it, but when I look at these pictures, I’m not so sure.

Casual Holiday Style

I tried on both the medium and the small, and I ended up buying the small because I felt it was more flattering, but when I look at the pictures on the website, it is supposed to fit quite loosely, and I’m thinking it shouldn’t be splitting so much in the back when I’m standing up straight. I can’t help but think that it’s not doing any favors to my middle-age spread.

But it is so cozy, I love the extra long sleeves, the color, and the fit from the front. What’s a girl to do???

Casual Holiday Style

While I’m deciding what to do about the sweater, let’s discuss the bag. How cute is this leopard foldover clutch!?! I picked it up at Nordstrom the same night I bought the sweater. It is perfect with my boots. These boots, by the way, are very limited in sizes, but the inventory keeps changing, so if you are wanting them, check back often — like a few times a day, seriously. Every time I look, they have different colors and sizes available. The same is true for the clutch. Sometimes they have the brown in stock, and sometimes they don’t.



What say you, oh wise internets? Keep the sweater or return and hold out for something better??


Split Back Boyfriend Sweater $49 | similar crop skinnies (budget option) | exact OTK boots $199 (limited sizes); these are similar $127, and here’s another option $199 | leopard clutch $40 | necklace (super old) | my Stella & Dot Pauline Ring $41

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For more Fashion Over 40, feel free to peruse my fashion archives.

And be sure to visit Cyndi at Grace + Beauty to see the winter outfit she’s styling today!

Join The Conversation

69 Responses

  1. Because I know how you like to look in your clothes (after years of reading you) – I think you need to hold out for something better. Sizing up will just be….. not. It’s such a pretty color tho.

  2. My honest opinion – I think you could find something that drapes a bit better. It seems like you’re saying you would be a bit uncomfortable wearing it so I say return it. I do love the outfit but I agree that the fit could be better.

  3. I think the fit is a little off and because you look gorgeous in all your other clothes, I would say return it. It might be one of those trends that doesn’t really flatter the figure. LOVE THE BAG, the boots and the jeans!

  4. I love the sweater on you and the split in the back. I don’t think you should upsize. If you love the feel of the sweater and the way it fits, it is a keeper. But, if you won’t find yourself wearing it, then keep your eye out for something you will want to constantly reach for.

    1. Thanks, yeah, I DID feel good wearing it, so… I think I need to try it all on again and then decide. I did order the medium too, but I expect it will just confirm for me that the small is the right size. Ahhh… first world problems! HA!

  5. I think it looks great, but if you’re having second thoughts, you need to return it. I’ve made purchases like this, but instead of returning, I wear it a few times and never wear it again.
    Keep the clutch though, I love it! Of course, the boots are killer on you!

  6. Hi! I’m a cabi stylist, I advise my clients if you don’t love a piece don’t keep it! The color really pretty on you and looks great from the front. I agree there’s something about the split in the back . I think med would look big on your frame. Happy holidays! You always look gorgeous!

  7. I love the boots and the purse, but I say return the red sweater. Cute red sweaters are a dime a dozen, so if you don’t absolutely love it, return it.

  8. I think it looks great on you! But you’re the one who knows if you’ll wear it or not. Love the entire outfit. Have a blessed day 🙂

  9. Hmm, I actually like the sweater on you, but I know it’s a comfort level thing. If you don’t love it, you probably won’t wear it much. I have a split back tank that I rarely ever wear because I’m self conscious in it…even with a cami under.
    And that clutch!! I actually put it in my cart when it was marked down to $15..I blinked and it was sold out in brown.

    1. OH NO! I really did hate to pay full price, but I loved it so much, I knew I had to grab it while it was there. I saw it in the store. The split doesn’t really show any skin, so I thought a cami might be more distracting than just seeing the jeans. I did try it both ways.

  10. I love the sweater on you! If you look closely, you’re holding your clutch to your side and pulling the sweater forward a bit in the photo of your backside. Your friends saw the whole look and I’d trust their opinions!

  11. The website shows that sweater with a button up shirt underneath and it’s very cute! (Gray sweater with a red shirt) That would fill in the space in the split, too! Maybe try it that way before you decide?

  12. I think you look amazing in this sweater, and much better than the starving Nordstrom models do on the website! The back adds so much interest as opposed to a plain v neck tunic, and you’ve got a great figure to show it off.
    Those boots and bag!! Love. Keep the sweater and stay sassy, my friend.

  13. I think the sweater is too big for you in the front. I love the look and fit of the back – the slit is a fun surprise and I see no evidence of middle-age spread 🙂

    1. See, I was feeling it was too small b/c of the way it fits over the chest. I think it should hang straight, not well, get hung on things, haha! It could also be a situation were it does look better in person, and the pictures don’t do it justice. I just can’t tell.

  14. I think I would try the bigger size, however that just might get too frumpy too. If you don’t think you’ll be happy with it, just return it and something better will come along!

  15. It seems like you do really like it — so perhaps you should try the medium to get maybe the looser fit you want — and the more flowy (that’s a fashion word !!) back where the split is…………….and if then you still are not sure, I’d return it.

    It’s a very chic look with the boots and clutch.

  16. I think I saw a sneak peek of this outfit on Instagram and thought the boots/jeans/red color combo was so flattering on you! I love a good red sweater and live in the cold where I would wear that thing to death. But if you don’t feel fab in it– it’s not right.

  17. I would try the medium. The small appears a bit off on you. I really think the med. will look great on you the. Color looks great and boots as well. If yo u like the sweater enough I would get med. i. Am still waiting for mine. Thanks for your blog I really get a lot out of it. Blessings – elizabeth

  18. if you’re doubting your purchase, then return it. I find those pieces that some part bothers me, end up just hanging in my closet. It is very flattering from the front so sizing up might even fix that gap problem.

  19. I really like the outfit but the back split has me in limbo. I’m uncomfortable showing my back as I’m older and would end up with a tank underneath. The color and fit are great tho! Thanks for all the great ideas!:)

  20. Jo-Lynne, The sweater is a beautiful color on you and it is a SMALL. I say try it on once more! You may be surprise, because it looks wonderful on you.

  21. Love the whole outfit! You look really cute in it! However you are the one who has to wear it so please yourself. You got lots of good suggestions from your “fans” do here’s to YOUR choice, whatever it might be. Please let us know the final verdict.

  22. I really love the sweater the colour and the split back are just beautiful on you. Maybe try pairing it with a black pair of skinny jeans – I love how well black and red go together.

  23. I love the color of the sweater, but not the fit. I say return it and replace with something that looks Great on you. You still look beautiful !

  24. While I like the sweater, I think you could find one for the same price that you’d be happier with. It seems to hike up in the front a little bit. Good luck with your decision!

  25. That clutch!!!!!! I ordered it about a week or so ago when I happened to see it online. It is a great dupe for the Clara V leopard foldover clutch that I have been eyeing for so long but is sooooo expensive ($275). I was impressed with the quality and for $40! So happy with myself that I used restraint and found a bargain 🙂

  26. I think the sweater is made to be worn a bit looser and that the medium will probably be more in line with that. That being said, I think your style preference might not like the baggier look and that it might not be the best sweater for you. You still look great and I do love the color. Just a matter of weather you will really wear it and feel good in it.

  27. My first thought is that I truly love you for posting an outfit you’re not sure about and asking for opinions. That humility and openness and realness is refreshing, and I appreciate it. My second thought is that it looks gorgeous on you, and I agree 100% with the friends who saw it in person. That being said, if you don’t love it how it looks on you, you won’t wear it, and with THAT being said, if you need permission to love how it looks on you, I hereby grant it. 🙂

  28. Soooooo, did you keep the red top??? The more I looked at the pics, the more I loved it on you, and that little peek-a-boo slit in the back!!

    On another subject: I’m buying some BOGS and wanted to know if you had to go up a size or ? I’m a size 7 in shoes, but typically buy a 7.5 in boots because of my high arch. I f I go to an 8 I’m afraid they’ll be too big and bulky. I love the tall olive green ones you have.

    Thanks! Cyndi

    1. I ordered the medium, and I”m waiting for it to come in to see how they compare. 🙂

      I felt like my Bogs were really big. I think I sized up to a 9. I am usually an 8 or 8.5. So I’m not sure what to tell you, but maybe try the 7???

  29. Thanks! I ordered the 7 but they feel a bit tight (around my arch) even without the insert. Maybe Hunter boots are a better choice? I need a good rain boot that i can walk a couple miles in.

    1. Interesting. Well, then, I’d say try an 8. Both my BOGS and my Hunters are a little large, but when I walk around for a while, they always feel good. So maybe sizing up IS the way to go????

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