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Rewrite the Rules: The Power Casual Secret Weapon You May Have Overlooked
Don’t underestimate the sartorial potential of a great knit top.
Last month, we shared six wardrobe staples that form the basis of a Power Casual wardrobe. One of those staples was the knit top—and today, we’re diving deep on this unsung sartorial hero.
First things first: What is a knit, exactly? It all comes down to how the threads that form the textile are arranged. In a knit, yarns interlock in a continuous looping formation that creates flexibility. In a woven fabric, two sets of threads overlap in a grid formation, which offers less give and more structure. As a result, knit pieces tend to be stretchier and less prone to wrinkles than woven pieces. In other words, they’re comfortable and practical—a win win.
But comfort and practicality aren’t enough to elevate a piece to Power Casual heights. It has to look good, too. “Most people tend to think of tops in two categories: T-shirts and blouses,” says Sarah LaFleur, our founder and CEO. “You wear T-shirts for casual days and blouses on more formal occasions. But we hear from a lot of women who want something in between: something that’s comfortable and easy, but also has a bit more weight and structure than a T-shirt.”
The knit top is the answer—not only because it’s stretchy, hard to wrinkle, and adept at hiding stains—but also because, in Sarah’s words, “a knit top looks nice. It’s distinctly not a T-shirt.”
Below are seven knit tops to incorporate into your Power Casual looks.
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The Elevated Tank
The Peggy top proves that even the simplest styles can make a difference when done right. This bestseller features a V-neck that’s not too low and not too high, a tuckable-but-not-tight fit, and snaps to keep your bra straps in place. (Actually, I guess it’s not so simple after all.) Try it with stretchy pants and a blazer for a low-effort Power Casual look.
The Light-as-Air Sweater
The Chadwick is Sarah’s favorite sweater—and for good reason. Breezy, comfortable, and elegant, it’s perfect for busy days when you need to look polished but have zero time. It’s also ridiculously versatile: You can wear it with a pencil skirt and heels, but it looks just as good with leggings.
The Textured Tee
The Charli top combines the ease and versatility of a classic T-shirt with the personality of a patterned sweater. Use it to instantly add dimension to your outfit—whether that outfit consists of a travel-friendly suit or a leather miniskirt.
The Sheer Layer
A sheer top may not sound like the most practical piece, but hear me out. I have a few tops similar to the Brodie, and I consistently rely on them to make my outfits more dynamic and, in some cases, more casual. I may wear the Peggy top with the Yiyan blazer for work, but for dinner, that can feel a bit buttoned-up. Just swap the blazer for the Brodie, and voila! Better yet? Add the Brodie to your Peggy-and-Yiyan combo to make the outfit less business casual and more Power Casual.
The Elegant Turtleneck
Is there an adjective that means “like something Diane Keaton would wear to walk on the beach in March”? If so, that’s how we’d describe the Elizabeth turtleneck, made from the softest silk jersey. Layerable but also great on its own, the Elizabeth is ideal for those in-between months when it’s almost warm outside, but not quite.
The Bright Underpinning
Adding a bright-colored top is the easiest way to make your go-to neutral pieces feel fresh again. We love the new Liana top because it offers the pairing possibilities of a T-shirt, but its scoop neck and extended cap sleeves give it a bit more personality. Despite its playful Amalfi hue, the Liana gives off a polished vibe thanks to smooth but substantial 365Knit.
The Luxurious Long-Sleeve
The Malley top might just be the quintessential example of the difference a great knit can make. It may look like a simple long-sleeved tee, but once you try it on, you’ll realize it’s anything but. The Malley is made from an ultra-soft ribbed silk jersey that’s crafted on a special Japanese loom. The resulting knit has a gorgeous drape, a slight sheen, and a beautifully subtle texture. In practice, this means that you can simply throw it on with your favorite comfy pants, and you’ll automatically look put-together.