It’s one of the major staples of our wardrobe. Warm, versatile and comfortable, the cardigan is a knitted version of a dressing gown and a practical layering piece. However, if we don’t jazz it up or figure out what style and length of cardigan look best on our body type, chances are it will make us frumpy after a certain age.
To elevate our fashion game, we can either learn a creative way to wear it over an attire or swap it with an alternative topper.
The Cardigan Lady
For those midlife women who don’t want to give up on their classic look, the easiest way to revamp their style is to wear a long cardigan over straight-leg jeans and a T-shirt or tuck a colourful button-up cardigan into high-waisted trousers for a slimmer silhouette.
For an evening out, consider instead putting a unique spin on your look by investing in a fine knit version with a shawl collar and belt it over a midi skirt. In case you feel more flirtatious, you can also snug in a wrap cardigan for a touch of ballerina vibe.
There is a way of making the cardigan look sexy – says Ella Alexander, Harper’s Bazaar’s Deputy Digital Editor- pulls yours back over your shoulders like fashion influencer Alexandra Lapp to reveal your clavicle. Alternatively, consider styling a slim-fitting cardigan with high-waisted cropped denim and kitten heels.
Do experiment with patterns and colours like leopard, blues, stripes, but choose monochrome for a more chic looking outfit. And when in doubt, do as french women do: opt for a cropped model, discreetly embroidered with flowers and combined with a white top, cropped jeans and a pair of ankle boots.
Above all, avoid slouchy oversized cardigans because unless you are tall and skinny, they tend to add bulk.
The Alternative Rocker
If you are bored of cardigans you can always swap them with a cashmere sweater. If you choose wisely, it can be as versatile, durable and seasonless as your favourite cardigan. Sleek and flattering, thanks to its non-bulky design and lightweight, cashmere can turn an average outfit into a glamorous ensemble.
Amongst other bold options to consider, the lightweight leather jacket might be a good one. It exudes confidence as it seems the epitome of attractiveness and class. No other clothing items have the same timeless appeal that inspires trust and suggests competence and toughness. With so many stylish pieces on the market (including vegan alternatives), it won’t be difficult to find the perfect one to wear over dresses or to pair with trousers or skirts. What’s more, investing in one doesn’t have to leave you staring blankly at your credit bill the next month, either—there are plenty of affordable faux ones that look completely real.
Blazers with texture and design elements might be a good alternative to cardigans, too. Look for those ones threaded with rayon for a bit of stretchability, so you won’t get that restrictive feeling. Wear it unbuttoned over a sheath or couple it with a turtleneck and loafers for the ultimate winter look. To revamp your style, try wool, herringbone, plaid or something with elbow patches.
Finally, when the temperatures drop, a poncho (or blanket cape) may be a good answer to your style dilemma, too. Warm and cosy, it’ll be easy to pick one that’ll get plenty of wear. It makes for an easy, relaxed look when it’s layered over a casual sweater but can also be dressed up with a statement belt.
If you are not sure about it, know that Maria Grazia Chiuri, creative director of Dior, was the harbinger of the blanket trend, layering check versions over tulle dresses and topped off with coordinating bucket hats. More delicate versions of Chirui’s check incarnations were seen at Burberry, with pea coats updated with silky cape backs. At Etro, blankets came calf-length and adorned with fringe.
Of course, you don’t have to go so far, a sleek simple cape would do the job. Also, you don’t have to spend too much: on the high-street blanket capes and coats can be seen everywhere. Often made from wool, cashmere and other plush fabrics, the poncho offers an easy alternative to structured blazers whilst smoothing our curves.