Try-On Haul: Winter Sweaters & Holiday Dresses

Happy Monday, friends! I have a winter fashion try-on haul for you today, with a bunch of cozy sweaters and holiday dresses. There are also a couple pairs of pants in here, and those Dolce Vita Petya Boots came in, and they’re really good!

SIZING NOTES: I’m 5’5″ and I usually wear a small in tops and dresses, a 28 or 29 in jeans, and a size 8 shoe.

Holiday Dresses

I placed a big LOFT order on Cyber Monday, with a bunch of dresses and sweaters and a random pair of pants. Let’s start with the dresses. Also, LOFT is doing a Mystery Deal promo right now, and mine came up 50% off! Hopefully that will happen for you too.

LOFT Star Tie Waist Dress

dress (S) // pumps (8)

I’m not sure why I ordered this dress; this style never works for me, but it would be cute on someone… Maybe a pear body type? I’m not really sure, but it doesn’t really do much for my hourglass shape because it obscures my waist. I think you can see what I mean in the shot below.

The quality is also a little lacking, but that’s my personal hangup. I do like the concept of the sheer overlay with velvety stars and the attached spaghetti strap slip lining.

Shoe Styling Note: While booties are the most trendy shoe pairing for dresses this season, I opted for suede pumps. I just like this more traditional styling better, at least for me.

VERDICT: I’m returning, but it’s definitely worth considering if you like this style!

LOFT Cardigan Midi Dress

dress (8) // booties (8)

I love the concept of this cardigan-inspired midi length sweater dress, but it’s kind of bulky and shapeless. Maybe I should size down, but I wouldn’t want it to be too clingy. The fabric (47% Nylon, 29% Acrylic, 20% Cotton, 4% Spandex) isn’t super soft, but it isn’t itchy either. I don’t hate it, but I also don’t love it, so I sent it back.

Shoe Styling Note: This time I did wear ankle boots because this dress is a little more modern than the one above, and ankle boots are in line with that. And also, the longer dress doesn’t expose so much bare leg as the shorter styles do, so I don’t feel so out of balance.

LOFT Fair Isle Sweater Dress

dress (S) // boots c/o (8) // tights (M)

This sweater dress is much more my style! I’ve always preferred my dresses to hit just above the knee, and I love the bold black and white pattern. Plus, the fair isle style is classic for winter and also very much on trend right now.

The fabric is a soft and spongy knit (55% Cotton, 22% Polyester, 19% Acrylic, 4% Spandex) that feels soft and cozy against the skin. There’s no wool content, so it isn’t itchy at all, and it feels and looks like nice quality.

I like how it’s not too form-fitting, but not oversized either. Even though they describe it as a shift style, it seems to be cut with some shape through the waist.

Shoe Styling Note: Again, booties are the trendy shoe pairing for dresses this season, but I prefer a knee boot on me. While my body type is more of an hourglass, I’m almost an inverted triangle because my shoulders are slightly wider than my hips, so I generally prefer a bulkier shoe on the bottom to create a more pleasing balance.

I guess I should have tried both types of boots to compare for you, but I just know this by now, so I went right to these suede wedge knee boots from Talbots.

VERDICT: I was going to keep it, but I may return it. Keep reading to find out why…

LOFT Jeweled Button Neck Sweater Dress

dress (S) // boots c/o (8) // tights (M)

Here’s another sweater dress option, and I actually wore this one on Saturday to a women’s Christmas event with our church. This one is also a soft and spongy knit (48% Acrylic 30% Nylon 8%Polyester 6% Spandex 5% Metallic 3% Wool) but I did notice a slight itch factor that wasn’t there in the black and white one above.

I also don’t feel like it looks or feels as high quality. This one is primarily acrylic, and the one above is primarily cotton, so that is important to note for those who are particular about fabric composition.

In spite of that, I love the jeweled shoulder buttons and the way it’s designed on top with the lines in the fabric. And in this case, I much prefer the dress with tights. It’s something about the way the black boots, bare legs, and green dress chops up the look.

Whereas with the black dress, the black boots bookend the look, so even without the tights, it looks somewhat cohesive. With that one, I could go either way.

VERDICT: Keeping, already wore it! I will say, though, you can probably size down if you tend to run in between sizes.

Sweater Dress Comparison

So I thought this was an interesting comparison…

See how the lines at the top of the green dress are designed to point up and in? That makes my shoulders appear narrower than they are, which is a good thing for those of us with broader shoulders. If you’re a pear, that might not be ideal for you.

Now, let’s compare to the black and white fair isle pattern. See how the white yoke extending out makes my shoulders look more broad?

Here’s a side-by-side comparison. I like both, and I actually prefer the black and white color palette, but I decided to return the black and keep the green because it’s more flattering.

The green is also a little more festive for the holidays — both due to the color, but also the hint of metallic thread throughout and the jeweled buttons.

Of course, I could keep both, but I don’t have a lot of opportunities to wear dresses, and I still have the Talbots one I haven’t worn yet.

Anyway, I thought that little comparison might be helpful… At least I found it interesting!

Winter Sweaters & Pants

Alrighty, moving on to sweaters and pants…. some of these are from LOFT, and then I have a few random Nordstrom finds at the end as well.

LOFT Riviera Slim Pants in Brushed Ponte

pants (6) // sweater (S) // pumps (8)

These pants are a mid-rise, ankle length slim pant, and the fabric is a brushed ponte. It feels like a heavy knit or a sort of flannel. They’re very soft against the skin and have a good bit of stretch, which makes them very comfortable.

I thought this Heather Camel color would be nice for winter, but I had trouble finding tops to pair with them. This sweater was the best I could come up with from my order, but I think they would work better with a blouse of some sort. I feel like this outfit is pretty frumpalicious.

VERDICT: Returning. These are a nice option if you need work wear, but I don’t really see myself reaching for them, and I don’t have a lot to go with them at the moment.

Now watch how I take the same sweater and throw it on with a great pair of jeans and boots, and it suddenly looks so much more stylish and fun…

LOFT Striped Fair Isle Turtleneck Sweater

sweater (S) // jeans (29) // boots (8)

Suddenly, this is like a whole different sweater! I love the striped fair isle pattern for a change from the typical fair isle yoke, and these colors are such pretty winter neutrals.

The contrasting ribbed turtleneck is soft and comfortable, and the contrasting ribbed cuffs and hem are nice details as well. What I don’t love about the sweater is the length; I wish it were shorter. I tried a front tuck, and it works, but you lose the contrasting hem of the sweater.

This sweater is a great option for those who can’t do wool. The fabric is 51% Nylon 29% Acrylic 16% Cotton 4% Spandex, and it’s very comfortable and soft and cozy.

I like the muted tones with the light wash jeans, but there are some deeper shades of grey and black throughout, so I tried pairing it with washed black denim for another styling option.

I like this too, but I struggled with footwear. The classic, somewhat preppy fair isle sweater didn’t quite seem to jibe with the Western boots, so I went back to my closet and found these lug sole boots from last season.

I feel like these styles work together better, although there’s probably nothing wrong with the Western boots either.

These boots are super cute with the buckle detail, but these jeans don’t really stay down over top the boots when I sit down and stand up again. Longer jeans would be better, but I’d still wear this outfit as-is.

VERDICT: Keeping this sweater for sure! I’ll keep playing with other styling options.

LOFT Striped Relaxed V-Neck Sweater

sweater (S) // jeans (29) // boots (8)

I’ve had my eye on this sweater for a while, although I meant to order the pink version. It’s just okay to me; I like the shape of the v-neck, but the wide stripes and drop shoulders seem to make me look bigger on top, and it’s longer than I prefer.

VERDICT: Returning. I didn’t even try the front-tuck or any other denim options. I don’t think the color palette does much for me, and there are other sweaters in this shipment that I prefer.

Dolce Vita Petya Boots (8)

at Nordstrom // at Zappos // at Anthro

Let’s take a break from sweaters to discuss these boots! I love them, that heel is so fun, and the slightly squared off toe looks modern and also makes them slightly less dressy than the pointy toe booties in my closet.

They’re very comfortable, and they have a high, soft, slim shaft that’s easy to slip under any style of denim. It would even work with most skinnies.

Unfortunately, they run smaller than my other Dolce Vita boots, so I ordered the 8.5 to compare. They’re also pretty snug, so they’re probably best for ladies with slimmer ankles and narrower feet.

LOFT Geo Mock Neck Sweater

sweater (S) // jeans (29) // boots (8)

I love the colors in this sweater, and the traditional set-in sleeves. (Drop shoulder sleeves add extra bulk through the shoulders that I don’t need.)

The mock neck is cozy and also soft and not restricting, and the fabric (48% Acrylic 28% Nylon 10% Polyester 10% Wool 4%) is fairly soft and comfortable, but there is that 4% wool, so it might not be the best choice for those who are sensitive.

But why is it so long???? I am surprised at how long all of these sweaters are, actually. I guess they’re only 24″, and they used to run 25″ and 26″ a few year ago when we were all wearing lower rises, but still…

The answer, of course, is a front tuck… I just don’t always like the front tuck with sweaters that fit this close to the body.

It’s not a deal breaker, but just something to be aware of. And if you’re someone who does like the longer lengths, you may love these options!

I like the way this sweater looks with the light wash bootcut jeans, but it also looks great with white. Take a look!

These are the white Mother Dazzlers, and I switched into grey boots to coordinate better with the sweater.

VERDICT: Keeping. Even though it’s a little longer than I prefer, I love everything else about this sweater, and it was a great price.

LOFT Fair Isle Yoke Sweater

sweater (S) // jeans (29) // boots (8)

As soon as I pulled this sweater on, it felt smaller and more constricting than the ones before. I also don’t love this mint color in person; it looks kind of garish to me, and the neck is kind of high and tight.

You also might want to know, the fabric is 67% Acrylic 30% Nylon 3% Wool, so word of warning to those who can’t wear wool.

VERDICT: Returning, not my favorite.

Nordstrom Zigzag Crewneck Sweater

sweater (S) // jeans (29) // boots (8)

So many fair isle sweaters, so little time… ha! This one is the Halogen brand from Nordstrom, and when I pulled it on, I immediately liked the more relaxed fit and slightly shorter length. Even though it says 24″ like all the LOFT ones, it’s about an inch shorter, and that inch makes a big difference.

The colors on this are really pretty too, and I felt like it was begging to be paired with white denim.

I also tried it with black jeans and black boots, to repeat the black from the fair isle design, and this works too, but they look really heavy to me. I definitely prefer it with the white, and I think I’ll like it with blue jeans as well.

VERDICT: Keeping! This one is really cute, and I think I’ll reach for it a lot

LOFT Champagne Sweater

sweater (S) // jeans (28) // pumps (8)

Okay, last one from LOFT… This is a fun one for a NYE event when you want to be cozy but still look festive, but you probably wouldn’t get a lot of wear out of it.

I like it with the straight ankle jeans and pumps, but for another styling option, here’s how it looks with darker black ankle flares and booties.

VERDICT: I know I would only wear it once, plus I want to wear sequins on NYE, so I’m returning this sweater. Still, it’s a cute one if it’s something you need!

Jenni Kayne Cashmere Cocoon Cardigan

sweater (S) // jeans (28) // sneakers (39)

Well, this was a bust… I told you all I caved and ordered the coveted Jenni Kayne cashmere cocoon cardigan during their Cyber Monday promo. It finally came in, and it is HUGE! I probably should have ordered the XS to compare, I knew it ran big, but this is crazy oversized.

I would want to be able to wear it as a pullover, front tucked like this… but it ‘s just way too much fabric, and it’s also too low cut. So yeah…

VERDICT: Returning. I’m actually kind of relieved I don’t like it because it’s a chunk of change, even on sale. I’ll stick with my two Jenni Kayne fisherman sweaters and call it a day!

Paige Claudine High Waist Ankle Flare Velvet Pants (29)

at Nordstrom // at Zappos // top (S) // shoes (8)

This is random, but I ordered these ankle flare velvet pants, thinking they would be a nice alternative to coated denim for holiday looks.

These are the Paige Claudine, which I have and love in the off-black Slater wash, and they’re super cute. I just don’t know how much I’d wear them.

I also tried them with this CeCe tie sleeve top and leather booties with a pointy toe and flared angular heel.

With some accessories, this could be a really fun holiday look. I feel like it’s both classic and modern at the same time.

VERDICT: Still deciding on these… I’ll probably keep the tags and see if I reach for them or not. Since I got them at Nordstrom, I have a few months to decide, but I’ll make a decision before Christmas. If I do keep them, they would also be nice for Valentine’s Day diner out.

Stay In Touch

If you liked this post, be sure you’re signed up for my email newsletter. In addition to my most recent blog posts, you’ll receive exclusive newsletter content like special sales, my newest favorite finds, and an occasional peek behind the scenes — all delivered right to your inbox.

I would also love for you to join my JLS Fashion Insiders Facebook Group! This is a friendly place to discuss all matters of fashion and style with other women, share your outfits, get advice, and stay up to date on all the happenings in our community.

This post contains affiliate links. When you shop through my links, it helps support my business (at no additional cost to you) so thank you!

Join The Conversation

35 Responses

  1. Thank you for including Loft in your try-on haul! I haven’t seen a lot of Loft on your blog for a while, so it was good to see for a change. I think Loft has some cute tops, but the sweaters do seem very long in the sleeves and body lately. I have started buying tops and sweaters in petite lately. I’m 5’3″ but I usually don’t buy petite tops because the sleeves aren’t long enough. I bought the Petya boots a while ago and they are cute but they were tight so I returned instead of getting the next size up. I realized I have enough booties and didn’t need them that badly. I’d rather spend money on knee high boots but they’re so hard to find for some reason. Dolce Vita had some but they sold out quick. I bought the Claudine black velvet flares and love them. I plan to keep them as I feel they’re a classic cut and will get a lot of wear over the years. I also don’t think they’re just for holiday. They would look great all throughout winter and I’m just a big fan of velvet anyway. I still have velvet skinnies from years past.

  2. I believe Savannah approved of the Fair Isle sweater dress noticing her appearance, wish I could squeeze her! These Fair Isle sweaters are a blast from the past to me, had one back in high school many many moons ago. I also like argyle pattern sweaters, hard to find just the right one though. Love the last two outfits on you with the black sparkly top and the red blouse and black pants. Hope Becca is feeling better today.

    1. Ha, yes, Savannah likes to be wherever I am when my girls aren’t home. Becca has a long road to recovery, but she’s able to go to school for a half day and take some makeup tests, so that’s progress. Thanks for thinking of her!

  3. Thanks for posting these looks. I find I have really been struggling this season to find things I like. I find lots of tops are just too much, to ruffly , to floral to oversized, or to cropped!! I wonder if it is me!

    1. Janet…..You are not alone. I use to want to order everything especially from LOFT, but this year fashion has been frustrating to me, from denim styles with finding the right shoe/boot to go with them, to tops and sweaters not fitting right. I’m just not loving anything, so return. Right now I feel my closet is full with nothing to wear.

  4. I have noticed the longer length with LOFT sweaters too! I have started wearing petite sizes because of that (plus I’m narrowed shouldered with shorter arms). The petite used to be too small but fits me perfectly now. And I have had my eye on a couple of those sweaters, so thank you for the post!

  5. What a fun post! I really like when you show side by side comparisons. They are very helpful, so Thank You! Good luck with the guest bath renovation and with poor Becca. My heart aches for her.

  6. Ooo this was fun! I like that you showed the two sweater dresses side by side. I wouldn’t have noticed the differences you pointed out because all in all they are both cute and flattering. Then the cream fair isle sweater “frumpalicious”😂 (love that word) What a difference it makes depending on what you put it with. The sweater clearly doesn’t work with the slacks but looks great with the jeans and boots. Totally different. I also like the geo mock sweater. It’s something I probably wouldn’t gravitate to but looks great with everything you paired it with; especially the white jeans. Now I want it. Thanks for doing all the work so we don’t have to.

    1. I agree, think the “frumpalicious” outfit just needs to be broken up. Those bland colors just need more contrast. The sweater definitely looks better with jeans or black pants. I think the pants would look better with a darker or more colorful sweater or blouse.

  7. Always enjoy your try ons! Thanks for including the dresses with different boots / shoes! I’ve struggled with that very thing this year… I know the booties are trendy but sometimes with the dress or skirt I’m wearing it just looks off and I feel better with a knee high boot… I feel if the dress or skirt is longer the bootie is ok but other than that it doesn’t always look right 🤷‍♀️especially now that it’s cold and tights are needed.. I did buy a pair of loafers with a higher block heel that I’m going to try with some skirts or dresses instead of pumps( I find the pumps better with dressier dresses) will you be doing a more in depth post on this? Thanks and hope Becca is feeling better.. I remember mono from my high school years! Crummy and very tired!

    1. I don’t usually wear loafers with dresses, I think b/c my legs are kind of spindly, the clunky loafer looks awkward, but they can work on some women. It really does require a lot of trial and error to find what works for each of us, since we are all built differently.

  8. I agree about the long sweaters, I have stopped myself from ordering so many Loft sweaters because they appear to be just too long !! Last year they got away from that a bit, but this year, they all appear way too long. I think Ann Taylor’s run a bit shorter.

    1. Yeah, I don’t get why they’re doing that; even Talbots is making their sweaters shorter these days. Then again, 24″ isn’t really long. Traditional length sweaters were running 25″ and 26″ long for quite a while, but these 24″ still feel a bit awkward to me. It might also be the way they are cut so straight. The Halogen one is a similar length, but it’s a bit more roomy of a cut, and it seems to hang better. As an aside, I did hold it up to the LOFT ones, and it is definitely an inch shorter, that is not my imagination. So someone’s measurements are off.

  9. I really like the brushed ponte pants on you! I think an ivory sweater– maybe a cropped cardi or a polo?– would work super well with them, maybe paired with a chunky loafer. That said, I’ve been steering clear of Loft for a while now because nothing seemed to work for me. The quality is definitely not what it used to be, and sizing is inconsistent. And THANK YOU for your analysis of why things work or don’t work on you. It’s really helpful to understand the WHY of fit 🙂

  10. My favorites from this haul are the green dress (so pretty!) and the Nordstrom zigzag sweater (perfect length, and the touch of blue appeals to me).
    I mostly buy petite sizes at Loft these days. I hate tops and sweaters that are too long. And I’m not into tucking things in, as my waist is my least flattering spot.

  11. Question—Would you wear a black sweater dress with black tights and black suede booties? You didn’t try either of the sweater dresses that way so wondering if that’s not as up-to-date. I’m in a cold climate like you. Thanks

  12. I love seeing your try ons. Fun. I just can’t get into white jeans in the Fall/Winter. I put mine away and they don’t come out until Spring. Actually to be truthful, I really don’t grab for them much in the Spring and Summer either. I don’t know why, but prefer regular denim or shorts or Summer dresses. I also for some reason never buy a Fair Isles sweater, as I know me and won’t grab it often, as to me it stands out that you are wearing it and I would get tired of it. I have only owned 1 in my lifetime. I like them on others though. 🙂 It was nice to see the side by side on the two sweater dresses. I’m like you, I like the black and white one, but the green one is more flattering on you, making your shoulder area appear smaller.

  13. Oooh, the black Fair Isle sweater dress is gorgeous! And no wool! 🎉🎉 Will have to order one. The Nordstrom blue Fair Isle sweater is the winner for me. Thank you for the try on hauls. We have similar body silhouettes, albeit I’m 10 lbs heavier than you. If it looks good on you, it likely will good on me. Thank you for helping me stay current and less frumpalicious.

  14. That black and white dress is great on you Jo-Lynne. I also like the sweaters with the white jeans. Great try-on haul. Thank you! 🙂

  15. As always, I love the try-on haul, and I think all your opinions are right. I do like both of those sweater dresses on you.

  16. Frumpalicious – Lol. Thanks for the laugh. I will probably be using that word from now. I agree the first dress does nothing for you. I like the green dress best with the black tights and boots. I like the short black sweater dress except for the detail at the bottom. Since you have long legs, it’s not a problem but on a short woman it would draw the eye down to her legs. I also like the red velvet top and black velvet flare crops. I agree with you on the sweaters. Some are too long even in petite sizes. If I see a crop sweater I like, I buy it because on my short height, they are the perfect length. I like all the jeans you showed and boots.

  17. Lots of cuteness! I really like that Loft sweater (grey with “checks”) and really like it untucked…seems nice, super flattering. It’s definitely a hard length to find and would be good for us short waisted gals.

    I bought those Paige velvet pants and loved them but I’m trying to buy lighter colored pants these days, and already have pants that color, LOL! The CeCe blouse is FAB on you!!!

  18. Sweater dresses, in my opinion, are the best option this time of year for an easy-to-wear/yet-semi-formal looking enough holiday outfit (not constrictive like pants and a separate sweater can often feel: after eating a lot in a crowded, stuffy room!). I think the tights pull the whole look together more “polished” and don’t make it seem as if you’re wearing boots with just a “blah” and shapeless housecoat lol (but bare-legged would probably work better with normal high heels instead).

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Close this search box.