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The Popular Sweater Trend Taking Layers To Strange (Or Stylish?) Levels

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Jan 10 | By fashionoiam2 | Views: 62 | Comments: 0
Flash-fashion events are like lightning, only lasting a hot second before disappearing into the seasonal ether — but even such fleeting fads can leave a lasting mark. Welcome to Micro Trends, where we explore the latest and greatest of these blink-and-you’ll-miss-them style moments.

Throughout history, the scant upper-body garment covering the neck and arm region has taken on many forms and nomenclatures. In the early 20th century, designers like Schiaparelli and Balenciaga created romantic bolero jackets inspired by the shrunken chaquetilla jacket worn in traditional bullfighting. Almost a century later, the micro-top evolved into a Y2K style mainstay: the shrug, worn by countless style-minded teens to proms and bat mitzvahs throughout the late 90s and early 2000s. Now, a new iteration of the partial garment has arrived on the scene: the dramatically cut-out-and-cropped-up sweater.

We first spotted the sky-high-cropped top in 2019 via Aisling Camps, a mechanical engineer-turned-knitwear designer who created a marled knit crewneck version that she manufactured start to finish on a knitting machine. “I like to wear short-sleeve or strapless tops,” the Brooklyn-based designer told us, “and in the winter sometimes you just need instant sleeves — so voila! I made some dramatic ones.” Now, other trend-minded brands starting to catch on. When the cut-out style recently appeared on the racks at Zara, a diplomatic Twitter user called it the solution to “cold arms and hot tits”; while R29’s content strategist told us that “all my friends have been talking about is how strange it is.”

No matter where you fall on the spectrum of acceptance, it’s hard to deny that this mini-trend is experiencing a surge, with missing-piece sweaters popping up everywhere from indie-minded Etsy to high-falutin’ designer imprints like Loewe and Peter Do. Ahead, find some of the shortest, shruggiest sweaters the internet has to offer.

At Refinery29, we’re here to help you navigate this overwhelming world of stuff. All of our market picks are independently selected and curated by the editorial team. If you buy something we link to on our site, Refinery29 may earn commission.10245968.jpg?auto=webp&width=750&height=

Aisling Camps Zoom Shrug

The one-of-a-kind yarn that knitwear design Aisling Camps used to make the sold-out top is currently on hiatus, but the top may be back in stock next year. For now, we can admire the crewneck-creation that launched a thousand crops.

Aisling Camps Zoom Shrug, $, available at Aisling Camps10245392.jpg?auto=webp&width=653&height=

Eloquii Turtleneck Sweater Sleeve Scarf

Eloquii’s crossover take has a voluminous sleeve for plenty of drama and warmth.

Eloquii Turtleneck Sweater Sleeve Scarf, $, available at Eloquii10245563.png?auto=webp&width=412&height=

Zara Hoodie Knit Arm Warmers

The fast-fashion retailer has a few takes on the minimal style — a moody hoodie version pictured here, and a ribbed turtleneck iteration (currently sold out) that caused a stir on Twitter.

Zara Hooded Knit Arm Warmers, $, available at Zara10245400.jpg?auto=webp&width=794&height=

A Reverie Studio Super Cropped Sweater

This Etsy seller offers a cozy, high-collared take that’s available in a multitude of warm-weather neutrals.

A Reverie Studio Zahria Super Cropped Sweater, $, available at Etsy10245548.jpg?auto=webp&width=525&height=

Ourcomos Knit Bolero Vest Set

This vest set is available with a matching top, for seamless layering potential.

Ourcomos Knit Bolero Vest Set, $, available at W Concept10245554.jpeg?auto=webp&width=902&height

COS Cashmere Cropped Shrug

COS’s minimal take conjures up the Y2K staples that so many of us wore as part of our RENT Halloween costumes.

COS Cashmere Cropped Shrug, $, available at COS10245542.png?auto=webp&width=547&height=

Peter Do Oversize Boucle Knit Shrug

Rising star Peter Do offers a one-size-fits-all option in a loose, easy knit.

Peter Do Oversized Boucle Knit Shrug, $, available at Fivestory10245526.png?auto=webp&width=486&height=

Loewe Cropped Braided Wool Sweater

Loewe’s cream wool take comes complete with extra-long braided accents for maximum sleeve drama.

Loewe Cropped braided wool sweater, $, available at Net-A-Porter10245895.jpg?auto=webp&width=907&height=

SweatyRocks Crop Top Hoodie

If you’re going to rock this micro trend, you might as well go for it with an of-the-moment tie-dye print. (Cropped “BABE” camisole optional.)

SweatyRocks Crop Top Hoodie, $, available at Amazon

Like what you see? How about some more R29 goodness, right here?

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