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Our Favorite Graphic Sweaters and Sweatshirts for Under $85

Jessica Alba in 3.1 Phillip Lim for Target

For a few seasons now, designers have given the humble sweatshirt a graphic makeover. Whether it’s the dobermans over at Givenchy courtesy Ricardo Tisci or the screaming gorillas at Christopher Kane, designers have been loud and proud in their adoration of huge, in-your-face graphics. Then, things quieted down for a bit and instead of animals or photoprints, designers decided to spell the trend out for us, giving us sweaters with knit-in slogans, clever phrases or culled-from-the-comics images like Phillip Lim offered up for his mega-hit collab with Target.

The statement sweater is a celeb fave and a trademark move for models off duty, so big brands are offering up their own versions, without designer price tags. Here are a few of our favorite slogan sweaters, snappy sweatshirts and graphic goods that are perfect for polar vortex layering and casual California looks alike.

Pim + Larkin Ciao! Sweater

Bold graphic? Check. Cheeky European phrase? Double check. The Pim + Larkin Ciao! Sweater ($79) takes all of our favorite sweater trends and throws them together into one piece. Graphic striped sleeves set this pick apart from the slew of Hello! Konichiwa! and other salutation sweaters, but you’ll be firmly in trend territory thanks to the fuzzy appliqu© “Ciao!” motif. Layer this under a heavy army-inspired parka to add a fun, feminine touch if you’re headed out in a blizzard or pair it with skinny jeans and boots if you’re facing fairer weather. Come spring and summer, it’ll look great with shorts, too, so don’t squirrel it away when the temps finally rise — you’ll want to wear it all year long.

Available at Piperlime.

Carhartt More Is Less Sweatshirt

American heritage label Carhartt isn’t just making workwear for the boys. Since 2007, the brand has been offering up Americana-tinged goods for girls, too. The brand’s More is Less Sweatshirt ($84.26) takes the slogan sweatshirt trend and turns it on its ear (or, upside down at least) by inverting its slogan and giving you a sweatshirt that’s sure to get second glances. The sweater’s dropped shoulders and relaxed fit give just enough borrowed-from-the-boys flavor without making you look like you threw on your boyfriend’s sweater, so wear it with feminine staples such as a pencil skirt or leather leggings and you’ll look like a street style photographer’s dream come true.

Available at ASOS.

Madwell Bien S»r Sweater

We’ve covered your basic Italian and intermediate English, so it’s time to move onto the French portion of our picks.

Here on out, it’s all about channeling your favorite Gallic gals with picks that bear the French tongue. The Madewell Bien S»r Sweater ($79.50) takes a common French phrase (it means “of course” in English) and combines it with a wear-everywhere sweater for an uncommon staple. You’ll get plenty of wear (and plenty of compliments) whenever you step out in this. Pair it with an oxford shirt for a look straight from the Jenna Lyons playbook or style it with distressed denim and a statement lip for Parisian chic that’s easy and effortless.

Available at Madewell.

French Moment Fuzzy Sweater

No translation is needed for the French Moment Fuzzy Sweater ($27.80) from Forever21. All you need to know is the fuzzy sweater’s made to fit a little baggier, a little looser and a little bit cooler than the other picks we’ve found. Embrace the slouch and wear it off the shoulder or with your go-to pair of jeans and you’ll be comfortable and stylish. It’s a cozier way to wear the trend, and we’re all for that if you’re battling bitter cold.

Available at Forever21.

Halogen Wool & Cashmere Intarsia Sweater

Bearing another French 101 go-to, the Halogen Wool & Cashmere Intarsia Sweater ($58.80) is a cute and fresh way to wear the trend without going too bold. The text is partially camouflaged by a few well-places stripes and the colorway lends itself to a little more discretion.  Wear it with your simpler staples and  you’re sure to look tr¨s chic, but if you want to up your fashion ante, we’d pair it with a patterned coat, a pair of bold colored jeans and heavy booties. Sometimes, less is more, but more? When it works, more isn’t so bad.

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OAK NYC Brings Downtown L.A. a Dose of NY Cool

Oak Los Angeles

There are venerable New York boutiques that we always make beeline too between Fashion Week appointments. On the list of “wish it was here in L.A.” is Anna Sui, always a stop for quirky boho frocks (and her makeup line), and the FTD editors always swing by Kirna Zabete for Jennifer Lopez sightings and veritable buffet of C©line bags sans tourists. Undoubtedly, there’s a visit to Oak, the New York institution that’s known for classics with a dash of goth — it’s just the thing for fans of Rick Owens designs but without the deep-pocketed means to acquire actual Rick Owens designs. But the trek to Oak is about to get a little less strenuous, because the boutique has opened up shop right in the heart of Downtown L.A.

Oak Los Angeles

Situated right across the street from the new Ace Hotel, Oak has prime ground floor real estate at Tarina Tarantino’s Sparkle Factory. The spot is also just short walk to the new Urban Outfitters’ Rialto Theater location, the new Aesop shop and the gleaming Acne Studios flagship. In other words, the shop is right in the heart of what’s happening in the Downtown L.A. shopping scene. It’s a perfect fit, too, because Oak has always been known for bringing together an eclectic mix of labels, both local and global, which is exactly what sets it apart from the Scoops, Kitsons and Planet Blues that Angelenos have become accustomed to shopping. And while we’ve been able to browse a little bit of Oak’s merchandise online at Net-a-Porter and Saks, it’s always amazing to see a fully realized Oak shopping experience right here on our side of the country.

Oak Los Angeles

Oak is known just as much for its in-house brand as the carefully curated brands it carries.

In fact, GQ editors are huge fans of the label as well as New York’s hipster crowd, which can be seen outfitted in Oak’s black hoodies, draped cardigans and more no matter the season. Black is the main color when you step into the store, since much of Oak’s merchandise leans towards the inky hue. But among the indigo jeans, slouchy tees and more, you’ll find a great selection from labels such as Costume National, BLK DNM and more throughout the 2,200 square foot store.

Guys and girls can shop together in the co-ed space, but girls will no doubt gravitate towards handbags from Kelsi Dagger and Vic Mati© alongside sky high shoes from Atalanta Weller and more sensible summer-ready strappy sandals the Last Company. And good news to those who don’t usually trek to Downtown L.A. (though we must say the sojourn to Downtown is easier than booking a flight to New York, just saying), Oak is already planning a Beverly Boulevard location — and there’s a new shop just open in Paris if you’re feeling a little transatlantic. You can credit this global expansion to American Apparel, who bought Oak late last year.

Oak is located at 910 South Broadway, in Downtown Los Angeles. For more information, visit www.oaknyc.com.

Shop our favorite Oak looks: