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Sweater Girl

by Hollie Moat

Sophia Loren modelling the Sweater Girl look

Sweaters have a bad rap these days, embarrassing Bridget Jones moments and a global propensity to wear them whilst slobbing out on the sofa adding to their ever dwindling reputation. But it wasn’t always that way, once upon a time they were considered a weapon of seduction. And this season designers have revisited this concept, putting out the kind of knitwear that can get anyone hot under the collar – and not just because it’s made of wool.
The Sweater Girl look was synonymous with the bombshell Hollywood actresses of the Forties and Fifties, kick-started by The Postman Always Rings Twice’s Lana Turner, who was given the moniker after wearing a particularly form-fitting sweater in her first film role in They Won’t Forget.

A classic Sweater Girl and Lana Turner who popularised the piece

The style was then taken up by a host of other sexy female stars, who wore them both on-screen and off.  Jane Russell, the foxy brunette in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes led the charge in sporting a curve-hugging jumper, with her co-star Marilyn Monroe following suite, as well as others like Italian actress Sophia Loren and even the wholesome seeming Sandra Dee.

Valentino A/W 12 and Jil Sander A/W 12

Dee was able to wear it without scandal because although this kind of sweater clung to the figure, it didn’t actually leave anything inappropriate on show, the girls might have been bursting out of their knits, but they were still covered up. It’s that lead that designers like Valentino, and Raf Simons in his last collection at Jil Sander have taken, sending out simple and elegant sweaters in luxurious materials, but with an un-expected dimension of sexiness, either through a super skinny fit, or a sheer fabric that gives a glimpse of everything beneath it.

Jane Russell and Marilyn Monroe sporting the Sweater Girl look

And its simplicity mixed with edge that makes the sweater a perfect piece to integrate into your working wardrobe, the original Sweater Girls teamed it with pencil skirts for extra feminine oomph, or ankle grazing slacks for an off-duty look that still exuded a certain allure. This season has seen labels like Balmain add another option to that list – matching their fitted jumpers with embellished and bejewelled trousers for a balance of striking and chic. The possibilities are endless with this piece, since there’s only one rule – keep it fitted and tight!


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