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Frank: I can knit a sweater!

Annie: I can fill it better!
—"Anything You Can Do", Annie Get Your Gun

Tight sweaters tend to wrap quite well around a lady's figure. Yet they just outline the figure (there's a reason shapely breasts are called "sweater puppies") while barely actually showing anything. That makes wearing a tight sweater some of the most tasteful Fetish Fuel around (not to mention one of the few actually acknowledged in mainstream fiction).

Not that this can never be tacky. It's just if ladies want to look sexy, and the choice is between a halter top or an angora sweater, the latter is far less likely to have the wearer say, "Just because I'm wearing these clothes doesn't make me a prostitute!" It's more the "I'm way out of your league," kind of sexy. (Particularly fuzzy sweaters emphasize this by subtly echoing glamorous fur.)

In the days of the Hays Code, once those sweaters caught on, they were almost up there with the heart-shaped neckline as a way of Getting Crap Past the Radar. Actresses who embraced this look were known as sweater girls. There was even a precursor to padded/underwire brassieres known as the "bullet bra" which had distinctly conical cups, designed to make sure your sweater could (ahem) get its point across.

Also commonly worn by the Seemingly-Wholesome Fifties Girl.

Compare Fur Bikini, "Happy Holidays" Dress, Sexy Santa Dress, Homemade Sweater From Hell, Form-Fitting Wardrobe.

Advertising

  • Used quite often in ads, as a milder form of Sex Sells.

Anime and Manga

Comic Books

  • The girls of Archie Comics are prone to wearing the occasional tight sweater, especially Veronica.

Film

  • At the end of Tron, Lora wore a white angora sweater, seen in the picture above.
  • In Lord Love A Duck, Barbara Ann (Tuesday Weld) takes her father shopping for cashmere sweaters. It's much less wholesome than it sounds.
    • You have to see it to believe it. Barbara wants sweaters so that she'll fit in with the 'in' crowd. Her male friend (played by Roddy Mc Dowall) tells her to use her father's guilt over her parents' divorce so that he'll buy for her. The actual scene is rather disturbing. (And then the movie gets really weird.)
  • Kristen Bell's character in Fanboys refers to her breasts as "Sweater yams".
  • As Corey in Empire Records, Liv Tyler wears a tight blue cropped sweater, which is featured prominently on the poster.
  • Explicitly pointed out to Goldie Hawn in Housesitter.
  • Lana Turner in a bunch of movies starting with They Won't Forget. She was even called the Sweater Girl, which makes her the Trope Namer.
  • In Walk the Line, Johnny Cash is quickly seduced backstage by a Sweater Girl Groupie.
  • Jennifer, played by Reese Witherspoon, of Pleasantville once she gets Trapped in TV Land as "Mary Sue". She even comments on the effect of one such sweater in one scene.
  • Tracy Flick in Election again played by Reese Witherspoon.
  • Ed Wood pulls off a Wholesome Crossdresser version in his film Glen or Glenda, which is cheerfully reprised by Johnny Depp in the Biopic Ed Wood.
  • One of the first uses of the new powers gained in Zapped was to make a girl's pink sweater pop open to reveal her (also pink) bra underneath.
  • Susan Abbott wears a purple fuzzy sweater in Anchors Aweigh.

Literature

  • In Are You There God Its Me Margaret, Laura Danker, the most physically mature girl in Margaret's class, wears a sweater and gets harassed. Freddie Barnett a.k.a. the Lobster asks Margaret why she doesn't look like that in a sweater, which Margaret does not think is funny.
  • Neighbor girl Lisa Hoober in Then Again, Maybe I Won't, Judy Blume's subsequent novel.
  • In William Goldman's Magic, the narrator flashbacks about seeing his love interest in a sweater and being aroused for the first time in his life.
  • The original book How to Succeed In Business Without Really Trying reads:

 "It must be remembered that the well-bred girl is always fully clothed in the office. The broken shoulder strap, the deeply split skirt, and the bare midriff are de trop in most businesses. The bright girl soon learns that these devices are not only in bad taste, but are not necessary.

"It is not skin area but contour that counts.

"A few simple experiments with sweaters, jerseys, and a slightly smaller dress size will bring pleasing and surprising results. One young lady who made a careful study of contour planning found that results were little short of breath-taking."

Live Action TV

 FEZ: Oh, good God, man, what a marvelous set of kittens. Remember that sweater?

KELSO: Oh. Remember the other sweater?

ERIC: Yeah. Remember that time she ran up to us in a sweater?

HYDE: Remember the week she took up jump rope? In a sweater?

This is followed by a montage of said sweaters.

      • Later in the same episode, after deciding they want to want to chase older women, Fez and Kelso decide that Kitty is hot and maybe they should buy her a sweater.
  • Jennifer Marlowe of WKRP in Cincinnati wore a few sweaters, including a pink sweater dress.
  • Joanna Loudon in Newhart (played by Mary Frann) wore sweaters all the time, to the point where in the All Just a Dream finale, Bob tells Emily she should wear more sweaters.
  • Sara Rush (played by Lydia Cornell) in Too Close for Comfort was the mistress of the tight sweater.
  • In The Drew Carey Show, Oswald's mom remembers how when she used to hug other boys, they tended to breathe faster. Drew admits it was her tight angora sweater, with the plunging neckline.
  • Millennium. A female friend of Katherine Black mentions that she was the "favourite student" of (male lecturer at college). Katherine replies: "I wore tight sweaters."
  • Christina Hendricks' character Joan Holloway on Mad Men deploys sweaters coupled with a variety of form-fitting but tasteful business skirts to devastating effect.
    • Once she tells a cleavage-flaunting new secretary to button up, saying that less is more if you know what you're doing. Said secretary ends up getting company partner Roger Sterling, Joan's former lover, to leave his wife for her, which says something about Roger's tastes.
  • Rachel Berry (played by Lea Michele) tends to wear these a lot on Glee. The show even Lampshades it.

 Jacob: Get those sweater puppies out of their cashmere cage!

  • The girls of Charmed like wearing sweaters.
  • Jack was often distracted by sweater girls on Three's Company, resulting in Freudian Slips on several occasions: "You need to separate the yolk from the sweater." "I just came to button up my coffee."
  • Spooks "Wear a tight sweater tomorrow."
  • In an episode of Happy Days Richie, Potsie, and Ralph break into another student's college dorm to get back an incriminating photo he took of Richie; they discover a nudist camp magazine and get Distracted by the Sexy. Potsie: "Wow. How'd you like to see a sweater on that!"
  • Annie in Community has a wardrobe that appears to mostly consist of cardigans.
  • One episode of Growing Pains had teenage horndog Ben excited for his class field trip to the planetarium, which he intended to spend "picking fuzzballs off of Sasha Sorecki's sweater."

Music

 Those soft and fuzzy sweaters

Too magical to touch

To see her in that negligee is really just too much.

  • The electro/pop duo Moloko's debut album is called Do You Like My Tight Sweater after a supposedly real-life pickup line used by singer Roisin Murphy.
  • Dale Evans (third wife of Roy Rogers and a singer/songwriter in her own right)

Other

  • The Onion had a headline in its faux-historical archive Our Dumb Century about the "Growing Bombshell gap between the US and Russia." The picture was Jayne Mansfield in a tight sweater.


Theater

  • The number "Anything You Can Do" from the musical Annie Get Your Gun:

 Frank: I can knit a sweater.

Annie: I can fill it better.

  • One song in The Full Monty has the men objectifying women before realizing to their horror that they will soon be on the receiving end, and Jerry has this kind of girl in mind.

 Jerry: They gotta be C or D or better / they got to pose a threat to the sweater!

Video Games

Web Comics

Western Animation

  • Arguably Velma Dinkley in Scooby Doo, at least after her subtle redesign in What's New, Scooby-Doo? and the more recent animated features.

Real Life

  • Annette Funicello. She promised Walt Disney not to wear a bikini, but for sweater fans, this was just as good.
  • There is a famous quote attributed to Marilyn Monroe (on a USO-type visit). She was asked, "What do you think of sweater girls?" Her reply: "Not much, I mean take away their sweaters and what have they got?" The troops went so wild she couldn't get off the stage (this was likely just to excite the guys, as she also was a sweater girl early in her career).
  • Lana Turner
  • Jane Russell
  • Sonja Henie was one of the earliest.
  • Yoko Ono liked to wear sweaters, especially combined with big sunglasses.
  • Barbara Windsor reportedly used to be one long before she got into acting. In interviews she has described breaking up couples as a shoe shop assistant while reaching for high shelves and wearing a tight sweater.
  • After Prince William and Kate Middleton finished their wedding, they went to a private party, and Kate changed out of her Fairytale Wedding Dress to another white dress with a white angora cardigan.
  • Victoria Beckham is apparently portrayed as one in her Twitter icon.
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