Do Knit Jackets Make Me Look Fat?

From the list of 100 Ways to Look Fat: Baloney Concept #9 – Knit Jackets make you look fat.  What does that even mean??

There are so many different knit fabrics and so many different jackets made from them that you can’t make any general statement that includes all of them.  So let’s explore the two components separately.

First the “knit” issue:  

  • One of my favorite fabrics for structured jackets is rayon/spandex blend ponte knit. At first glance, this smooth, stable fabric looks like a fine woven wool.  But it has enough firm stretch to be incredibly comfortable, especially across the back of the shoulders where a woven fabric can make a jacket feel constraining.  No pounds-on effect here.
  • Softer jacket styles are often made from drapable jersey knits or lightweight sweatering.  Their gentle flow lets these fabrics skim the body without hugging – nothing pounds-on about that either.

Now the “jacket” issue:

  • An over-layer top can be figure magic if you want to camouflaging excess soft tissue.  Wear it slightly open at center front and the bit of the under-layer color forms an eye-catching  vertical emphasis.

To be optimally flattering, of course, any jacket style needs to relate to the wearer’s body shape:

  • A woman with a curved shape (hourglass or triangle) looks trimmest in a style that follows the curve of her body outline. Structured jackets with vertical darts or princess seaming are usually the most pleasing styles for her.

shaped jackets Collage

  • She can also wear a cascade style fairly well if it is soft fabric that shapes to her figure or has darted or knit-in shaping through the waistline.

cascade jacket Collage

  • A woman with a straighter figure (rectangle, inverted triangle or oval) needs jacket silhouettes without inward shape at the waist.  Cascade jackets (above)  and sleek cardigan styles are her best friends.

straight jacket Collage

And every body shape (except extreme inverted triangles) looks most balanced in jackets with subtle shoulder enhancement.   If shoulder shaping is built into your jacket – GREAT – and if not, insert a pair of the removable textured foam ones and see the amazing improvement in the look.


About Nancy Nix Rice

I help other women feel confident about how they look every day - regardless of their age, budget, lifestyle or the size tag in their pants - so they put wardrobe concerns on the back burner and go share their gifts with the world.


  1. Elaine Earnshaw on October 18, 2015 at 5:52 pm

    A stable knit such as a wool or rayon double-knit that is referred to as a ponte knit looks beautiful made up as a structured jacket and definitely doesn’t make you look fat. In Palmer/Pletch’s recent book on knits designer for McCalls Patterns, Melissa Watson, is wearing a knit jacket that she designed, that looks wonderful on her.

    • Nancy Nix Rice on October 18, 2015 at 6:30 pm

      Ponte is my absolute favorite fabric for separates – whether I’m sewing or buying ready-to-wear. Especially the rayon/poly/spandex or rayon/nylon/span blends. The rayon keeps it breathable and all-season and eliminates the “plastic” look of an all-poly knit. Super-comfy and especially great for travel.

  2. Elaine Earnshaw on October 20, 2015 at 1:46 am

    I haven’t tried the rayon/poly/spandex ponte yet but since I live in Florida it may be a good idea to sew a suit in this fabric especially as you pointed out, it’s breathable.

    • Nancy Nix Rice on October 20, 2015 at 3:17 pm

      I’ve just started carrying ponte knit fabric (and coordinating prints and accessories) because so many of my sewing clients can’t find a good color range in their local stores. It isn’t on the web site yet, but if you let me know the color range you work in, I’ll be happy to mail you some samples.

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