I was never a cardigan gal before and often found the style and shapes of many cardigans to be too boxy, unflattering and not something I felt I would get a lot of use out of in my wardrobe. However, over the years I have managed to find a bunch of various cardigan styles that look great, can be styled various ways and are the perfect item to have especially when the cold weather hits. Especially if you live somewhere that doesn’t get super cold, cardigans are a great option as outerwear. They can instantly elevate a look while still keeping you warm and comfortable. I thought I would share different cardigan styles and outfit ideas with examples of how I have worn them in my own life. Some are classic staples while others have a bit of an updated twist to make them more modern and chic.
There are tons of ways to wear a cardigan but it’s important to decide on a fit and length first. I personally have come to love the more modern cardigans that I’ve seen over the past few years and gravitate towards them because a v-neck neckline is most flattering for me. I have a larger bust and crewneck or turtleneck sweaters can sometimes make it look bigger but a v-neck draws the eyes down and can create a longer line and ultimately slightly smaller appearance of the bust. Cardigans can be great layering pieces over something or wear them alone, dress them up or down and find styles that will be timeless in your wardrobe.
How To Style a Cardigan
Cropped Cardigan Outfit
Cropped cardigans are trending right now but they are still a classic style that you can wear for years to come. A simple straight leg jean or wide leg jean pairs so well with a cropped cardigan and even more so if the jeans are high waisted. A pointy toe shoe or ballet flat works though when it gets cold you could easily style this look with boots. If it gets cold, layer a camisole underneath or leave the cardigan open and style with a turtleneck as your first layer. The boxy fit of cropped cardigan sweaters look great with a sleek straight leg jean (or even skinny jeans) but you could also push the envelope a bit and wear them with wide leg jeans or trousers.
Chunky Cardigan Outfit
I love the look of a chunky cardigan and how cozy they can be. For a bit of contrast, wear it with a slim slip skirt as I have shown above. The difference in texture and fit balances out nicely and looks relaxed yet still elevated. A cardigan with jeans will always be a classic look and a simple cream chunky cardigan is a great wardrobe staple. It can be worn year after year regardless of current trends. Right now looser fitting straight leg jeans are very popular and would look great styled with a chunky cardigan. If you want to make the above look suitable for the workplace, swap out the jeans for some trousers and the look is perfect for the office.
Printed Cardigan Outfit
I don’t have too many printed cardigans in my closet but I do LOVE all things leopard print. When styling a printed cardigan, I like to keep the rest of the look monochromatic. It’s easy to put together and allows the print to stand out.
Long Cardigan Outfit
This Mango cardigan has been trending for the past few years and I wasn’t sure such a long cardigan would work on my shorter frame (5’4″), but I finally decided to try it and LOVE IT!!! It’s one of my most worn items in my closet now and am debating getting another color next year. Ha! I did an entire video on Instagram styling it a few different ways but one of my favorite ways to wear it is with a monochromatic outfit like I did with my printed cardigan. Since the cardigan is already long, wearing all one color underneath also creates the illusion of length and it pairs nicely together. The cardigan is nice and heavy so it has been my outerwear of choice recently before the really cold weather hits.
Casual Cardigan Outfit
This is the same cardigan from the last outfit but styled in a more casual way. Wearing a cardigan with sneakers and leggings can often look dated or frumpy but the heavy weight of this particular one drapes nicely. It looks casual and comfy yet still chic and put together.
Striped Cardigan Outfit
Frankly, anything with stripes is a YES for me but especially a striped cardigan. As with my other printed cardigan, I like to the keep the rest of the outfit simple. Leave it open which gives the look of a cardigan jacket and is a great alternative to a blazer.
Oversized Cardigan Outfit
This cardigan isn’t terribly oversized but definitely longer than most of the styles I reach for. For this look, I opted for a slimmer style of denim and went with a longer length which helps to balance out the slightly more oversized fit of the cardigan.