Whether you live on the East Coast or the West Coast, in Florida or Minnesota, when fall rolls around, you’re ready to pack away the thin tank tops and the gauzy dresses and slip into something warmer. Cozier. Bigger.
After scrolling endlessly through Instagram, we’ve noticed fashion influencers and bloggers have collectively latched onto a sweater that satisfies all these requirements. From Free People, the oversized pullover is dubbed the Ottoman Slouchy Tunic, and it comes in a rainbow of hues, from a soft cream to a punchy bubblegum pink, that will easily transition with you as the temperatures drop.
First unveiled in 2015, the Ottoman has been rereleased each year in a slew of new colors that devotees then clamor to buy before they sell out. What’s actually so great about the sweater? Chief among its high points is its versatility. “The Ottoman Slouchy Tunic is a classic Free People piece that works with any style,” Free People senior managing director of creative Ana Hartl tells CNN Underscored. “The tunic can be paired in multiple ways, allowing for the customer to style it however she sees fit.”
Free People Ottoman Slouchy Tunic ($148; freepeople.com)
Among devotees, the Ottoman’s mock neck is one of several design details worth raving about. Roomy and flattering, the cut provides more coverage than a crewneck but in a way that isn’t as constraining as a standard turtleneck. Next up: It’s stretchy! Made of cotton, nylon and spandex, the tunic isn’t a limp noodle; instead, it hugs in the right places, despite its slouchy, oversized shape. Lastly, the heavy-knit ribbing lends texture, which goes a long way to camouflage any bulges you’re looking to keep under wraps, and it’s a great defense mechanism against spills and stains too.
Instagram influencers have hopped on the bandwagon too, with the likes of fashion blogger (and former Ralph Lauren buyer) Kate Brennan of The Chic Series recommending the cozy sweater to her 71,000 Instagram followers. “It’s suitable for any activity of my life,” she tells CNN Underscored, adding that she owns the tunic in six colors. “I wear it with leggings over my tank when I head to Pilates, I wear it with skinny jeans and sneakers on the sidelines of the soccer field, and if I want to dress it up I will pair it with Spanx faux leather leggings and over-the-knee boots. Also, I have sensitive skin and I’m allergic to wool, and this is one of the few winter sweaters that I have found that is cozy, comfortable and not itchy.”
Along with Brennan, fashionistas including former bachelorette and HGTV “Love It or List It Vancouver” star Jillian Harris, Texas-based blogger Bridget Barbier-Mueller and countless others have rocked the ottoman slouchy. If you want to get in on the trend, shop it at Free People for the most color options, or check it out at Nordstrom, Macy’s or Zappos. Oh, and be sure to size down, as the tunic runs big!