There are some items in our closets that are nice-to-have but don’t necessarily bring us joy. For you, cardigans may fall under this category, but that is all about to change. When you learn how to style cardigans well, they can be so much more than “nice to have”; they can be the centerpiece of a casual outfit, or the layer that makes it fashionable.
Looking to know how to layer clothes for winter? Try a Cardigan. A humble cardigan sweater isn’t only for cool temperatures, either; they’re the perfect addition to any seasonal wardrobe. Reach for this light layering piece over and over again when you learn how to style cardigans year-round.
3 Cardigans to Have in Your Closet
Before we jump into our styling tips, let’s cover a few different types of cardigans you should make room for in your closet. These humble cardigan silhouettes will serve different purposes in your wardrobe, which is why it’s essential to have all three.
A Long Cozy Cardigan
The first cardigan every woman should have in her wardrobe is a cozy, preferably neutral, long cardigan that can be dressed up or down and add instant warmth to any long cardigan outfit. The fall and winter seasons are all about wrapping up in layers, and a long, chunky knit cardigan is perfect for just that.
Consider this grandpa cardigan, which comes in a creamy taupe color that doesn’t scream any season. It can be just as suitable for a chilly summer’s night at the beach as it is for a snowy Sunday in January. The super-soft knit fabric and oversized fit provide optimal comfort when lounging at home, but the mid-thigh length and sophisticated color ensure it’s wearable to the office as well.
A Lightweight Cardigan
Not all occasions call for a cozy knitted garment, so it’s smart to have a lightweight option on hand as well. Lightweight cardigans are ideal for layering over workwear, throwing in your carry-on to pull on during a flight, or simply adding a chic layer to your outfit. This drape-front cardigan can check all of those boxes and then some. The shape is both flattering and finished, and can easily dress-up any basic tee underneath.
A Button-up Cardigan
A button-up cardigan has a different purpose than the prior two pieces on this must-have list; it’s meant to serve as more of a sweater or shirt, rather than a layering piece. Although, of course, when the weather is cold, you can layer it over a long-sleeve tee or turtleneck. This also means there are different guidelines when shopping for this type of cardigan than there are with the others; while you want to collect neutral-colored layering pieces, you don’t have to worry about matching a button-up cardigan with the rest of your closet. Select a style that feels fun and suits your personality, whether that means it’s chunky and cropped or animal print.
10 Ways to Style Cardigans
If you’ve just added these staples to your wardrobe or you’re staring blankly at the ones you already own, you can quickly learn how to style cardigans in a variety of ways so that they make your outfit feel fresh and fun, not dated or dull. Without further adieu, here are ten ways to wear the cardigans in your closet all season and year long.
1. With a Midi Skirt
Midi skirts are here to stay, and if you’ve embraced the trend wholeheartedly, you may be looking for a new way to wear them. This is the time to reach for your cozy cardigan. We suggest pairing these pieces together in one of two ways: Pull-on your midi skirt and a fitted bodysuit layered underneath your cozy cardigan and step into some booties. Or, wear your midi skirt with a graphic tee, your cardigan, and sneakers.
2. Over a Matching Cami
This season, and the season before it, and the season before that are all about matching sets. To create this look with a cardigan, all you have to do is pair your cardigan of choice with a cami in the same color. If you can match the texture as well, you’ll master this look, but the color alone is enough to build a chic monochromatic outfit.
3. Over Workwear
A cardigan is essential to have on hand if you work in an office; it’s an effortless layering piece that adds warmth without looking messy. Our Molly cardigan is the easiest piece to wear over workwear. The streamlined silhouette always looks sophisticated, and the solid black color is the perfect match for black trousers and pencil skirts. Slip it on over your silk blouses and dress it up with bracelets, which the ¾ length sleeves will allow you to show off.
4. With Jeans and a White Tee
A casual fool-proof outfit in any season equals a classic pair of denim jeans plus a classic white t-shirt plus a classic cardigan. Wear it with boots or sneakers and accessorize it with jewelry and handbags however you please. This look is a blank canvas for you to paint with your individual style. To color it up, pick a cardigan in a pretty hue, such as this blue.
5. Over a Dress
Wearing dresses year-round is easy when you have the right pieces to layer them with.Want to know how to style a sweater dress? To layer over a midi or maxi dress, reach for a long cardigan, thin or thick, depending on the season. The chunkier the cardigan, the more bohemian the look. For example, layer this grandpa cardigan over this side-slit dress and complete the look with a hat. For a preppier aesthetic, take this plaid shirtdress and layer it underneath this charcoal sweater cardigan.
6. As a Shirt
Looking for ways on how to style a turtleneck? During the fall and winter months, chunky turtlenecks and colorful knits get all the love, but cardigans are cute sweaters too, and can be worn all on their own. If you only think of your cardigans as layering pieces, you’ll miss many opportunities to wear them. Make even more outfits out of these closet staples by making them the focal point.
This is the chance for your button-up cardigan to shine. Slip-on your favorite bottoms and button up your cardigan to wear it as your one and only top. You can always add a tank top or lacy camisole underneath if the cut is too low. Try it with this sweater cardigan.
7. With a Mini Skirt
When creating any outfit, one styling trick we turn to over and over again is pairing unexpected elements together. A sweater and jeans go together like a baseball hat and tee, but it’s fun to switch it up every once in a while, i.e. wearing sneakers with sundresses, or wearing cardigans with mini skirts.
Take a page out of Cher’s fashion book and wear your button-up cardigan with a plaid skirt, or your chunky knit cardigan with a denim skirt. This look isn’t limited to the back-to-school season, either. Wear it in the winter with tights and tall boots, or in the spring with sandals and sunglasses.
8. With Wide-Leg Jeans
For a casual, yet polished outfit you can put together quickly, reach for your favorite pair of wide-leg jeans to go with a cardigan. You can even find pants in the petite clothing collection that would go well under a longer cardigan. Styling an outfit is all about balancing proportions. So, pair the wide-leg jeans with a fitted tank and a lightweight draped cardigan for a well-balanced look. Step into boots or sandals to complete this outfit in the fall or summer.
9. With Faux Leather Pants
Reserve this look for the fall and winter months when you’ve grown tired of wearing jeans or leggings and are looking for fun, dressier pants to pull on. Faux leather pants are the answer, and they look great with a cardigan. Wear the pants with a cardigan with a longer silhouette and a silk cami or sparkly top underneath to feel fun and festive. For a more relaxed setting, pull on the faux leather pants and wear your animal print button-up cardigan on top. You can even complete this look with slippers or fur-lined boots for a family game night.
10. Over a Turtleneck
There’s something about wearing a cardigan with a turtleneck underneath that feels supremely polished. Of course, this is also one of the warmest ways to style a cardigan. For the best results, choose a fitted turtleneck. If you’re pairing it with a solid, neutral-colored cardigan, opt for a turtleneck in a fun print or texture. If you’re pairing it with a printed button-up cardigan, opt for a solid-colored turtleneck. On the bottom, you can step into jeans or a skirt and boots. After you try this look for the first time, you’ll want to wear it all winter long.
What cardigan are you most excited to wear, and how will you style it?