Cardigans are cozy clothing pieces to keep you warm and add a bit of style all in one. They can be a more lightweight alternative to a jacket on days when you need some extra warmth but a sweatshirt would be too casual and a puffy coat would be too heavy. They can dress up an outfit to go out or keep you comfortable at home. There are also more professional-style models that make a great addition to your office wardrobe. Cardigans come in various styles, lengths, colors, sizes, and fabrics, so there’s sure to be one—or four—that you’ll want to add to your closet. Here are some we recommend.
Why buy a cardigan?
Cardigans are one of the most versatile garments on the market. Depending on how they’re styled, they can be the finishing touch on a casual outfit or an elegant addition for a dressy occasion. Cardigans are often lightweight yet warm, so they’re useful during multiple seasons when you want to add another easy layer.
What should you look for in a cardigan?
- Fabric: Picking a cardigan’s material is essential for different climates and office/home atmospheres, whether you choose a lightweight knit or heavier-duty cardigan. Wool, cotton, and synthetic fabrics like polyester or acrylic are the most common fabrics that women’s cardigans will be made of. Wool provides a classic look, great for knitted patterns, and provides plenty of warmth, but it also can be high maintenance, harder to clean, and too heavy for all-year wear. Cotton isn’t as warm, though it’s very sturdy and much easier to take care of, an ideal choice for a more lightweight cardigan. Polyester can mimic the qualities of wool or cotton with a lower price tag, and it’s very low maintenance. Consider which fabric will best suit your needs. Acrylic is both warm and sturdy, a great choice for regular outdoor wear. There are quite a few blended fabric options available for purchase as well. Higher-end models are often made from cashmere. Most, but not all, cardigan fabrics will be machine washable, so be sure to double-check the washing instructions on a garment before you buy.
- Style: There are a variety of types of cardigan fits: slouchy, boyfriend, long, cropped, form-fitting, etc. It’s best to pick a cardigan that fits your ideal standards. They can have a raised knitted or textured pattern, a smoother and sleeker look, or even a fuzzy fluff to them. While all cardigans will have longer sleeves to some degree, there are models with elbow-length or three-quarter sleeves if you don’t want full-length sleeves. And the sleeves themselves can be oversized or tighter. There are also plenty of cardigans with tassels, pockets, and/or buttons if you want a touch of style as well as practicality in your garment.
- Color: As with many modern garments, the sky’s the limit when it comes to color choices. There are plenty of neutral shades (black, white, cream, navy, and gray), which are ideal for your work wardrobe. There are jewel tones, pastels, earth tones, mid-tones, and more that may be more suitable for special events or casual wear. No matter what color or hue you’re after, the odds are good that you’ll be able to find a cardigan in the shade that you want. Don’t think you’re limited to solid colors, either. There are plenty of multicolored, striped, and patterned cardigans out there, too.
How much should you spend on a cardigan?
Luckily, cardigans are not as much of an investment as a thick coat. Most cardigans are priced between $25 and $40, although it’s not uncommon to find one for as low as $15. On the higher end, designer cardigans made from materials like cashmere are often priced in the hundreds.
MEROKEETY Women's Cable Knit Sweater
This chunky open-front cardigan comes in 28 shades and has a relaxed fit.
Pros: This relaxed cardigan falls below the hips and comes in nearly every pretty color imaginable. Sizing ranges from small to extra-large. Its buttons add lovely detailing and versatility since you can wear it buttoned or open. Its stretchy fabric and not-too-long and not-too-short length mean it will look good on most body types, too.
Cons: Acrylic fabric won’t do well in the dryer, so this product is best air-dried. There will likely be some difference in colors between the pictures and real life.
Bottom Line: This buttoned cardigan pairs well with jeans, boots, skirts, and leggings and is excellent for casual wear and even the office. It’s truly an item for almost everyone!
MEROKEETY Women's Soft Chunky Knit Open Front Cardigan
This relaxed cardigan is super soft and comes in more than 30 colors.
Pros: This cardigan is made with soft and stretchy fabric. It’s a casual cardigan in the oversized boyfriend style with long sleeves, below-the-hip length, and two big pockets. It’s made from popcorn yarn material, which gives the cardigan a textured and super cozy look with a smooth feel.
Cons: Because this product is made of popcorn yarn material, extra precautions must be taken when cleaning it. Machine washing must be done in cold water, air-drying is recommended, and bleach and irons are discouraged. You’ll also want to be careful not to snag it on things.
Bottom Line: This long and open cardigan pairs well with jeans, basic tees, and booties and is excellent for school, work, shopping, and parties. As long as you take care of it well, you’ll feel like you’re wearing a cloud when you throw it on!
YIBOCK Womens Waffle Outwear
A chunky waffle-knit cardigan with long sleeves and side pockets.
Pros: This chic, open-front cocoon cardigan is made with a chunky waffle knit. It is long-sleeved with two side pockets and a ribbed trim closure. The loose fit is great for casual and stylish wear. It comes in 31 color options and is available in sizes small through XX-large. The cardigan’s curved front hem hits below the hip.
Cons: This garment is fragile, and the waffle knit can be undone if washed improperly. Hand washing in cold water is best to protect the integrity of the cardigan.
Bottom Line: This cute cardigan pairs well with skinny jeans, pants, or leggings and boots for a trendy outfit. Its waffle knit will give a fantastic texture and look. Just make sure to take precautions when washing it.
ECOWISH Women's Cardigan Color Block Striped Cardigan
This multicolored garment comes with 40 pattern choices to allow you to express yourself!
Pros: If you’re in the market for a multicolored or patterned cardigan, this model fits the bill. There are 25 different color block or striped patterns and color combinations from which you can choose, each one made of lightweight acrylic and reaching past knee length (actual length may vary depending on your height). Despite the fabric’s lightweight feel, this cardigan is suitable to wear throughout most of the year. The brushed knit pattern is subtle but chic, with some ribbing along the hem and long-sleeved cuffs for a unique look. The open front and v-neck provide extra touches of modern style that you can wear almost anywhere. It’s available in sizes small to extra-large.
Cons: Some patterns come with pockets, and some don’t. Pay attention to your selection if pockets are important to you. This cardigan should be hand washed and hung to dry, ironed only on low heat, so you’ll need to be careful with it on laundry day. There are also variations in fit depending on the one you pick.
Bottom Line: Options are at your fingertips with this cardigan! It pairs especially well with jeans, leggings, heels, booties, and sneakers. Have fun picking your favorite combination of colors.
SweatyRocks Women's Knit Cardigan Sweaters
This trendy cardigan comes in 20 colors and buttons up the front. It's just like the one your favorite influencer wears!
Pros: This soft cardigan is cropped above the hips and provides the ideal casual look for lounging around your home or as daily wear. There are 20 color options, so you should be able to find one to complement the rest of your look!
Cons: Sizes range from an extra-small to a large, resulting in a limited offering for women who wear larger sizes. Not everyone will like the cropped length, and it won’t be as warm as longer options.
Bottom Line: This cardigan pairs nicely with high-waisted jeans, shorts, leggings, dresses, and skirts. Wear it on a date, to the beach, concerts, festivals, or while running daily errands. The possibilities are almost endless!
During the chilly months, it pays off to have several cardigans in your closet. They’re cute, timeless, and provide extra protection from the elements. Because of their versatility and affordability, you’ll see almost everyone rocking a cardigan when it gets chilly out.