A cardigan (cardi for short) is a piece of knitwear that buttons or ties in the front as opposed to a pullover which is “pulled over” the head. There is more to this item than the traditional V-neck button-through style that forms the outer layer of twinsets (these types of cardis can look shapeless and matronly). Cardis with hip and interesting design details are in abundance this season. They can be smart or casual, classic or funky, plain or patterned, fine or chunky and long or short.

The right shape cardi adds the perfect Autumn dimension to an existing Summer outfit…

  • With dresses: Match a cropped cardi with a fit-and-flare dress, and a long A-line cardi with minis and sack dress styles.
  • With blouses or shirts: Pop a cardi over a sleeveless or narrow-sleeved romantic blouse or streamlined shirt. Blouses and shirts with billowing sleeves bunch up underneath cardis with fitted sleeves and this looks unsightly. If you have a traditional cardi style in your closet, try cinching it in at the waist with a wide belt for an updated look for the office.
  • With knitted tops or camisoles: Layer just about any cardi style over a knitted top or camisole, and enjoy the versatility of this extra layer.

I personally prefer finely knitted styles to chunky versions because they’re the more adaptable choice. Fine knit cardis can be dressed either up and down, or layered underneath jackets. They’re also slimming because they’re not as bulky. Choose your cardigans wisely and they shall give you great joy. My wardrobe does not function without them.

French Connection Henley-Style CardiganMerino Wool Tie-front CardiganLambswool-Blend Cardigan

These fine knit cardigans look smarter and are therefore more office appropriate.

Free People Big Button Hoody SweaterDrapey V-neck CardiganEyeshadow Striped Cardigan

Cardigans with Chunkier knit stitches are more casual and super with jeans or casual dresses.

Sutton Studio Exclusive 2-Ply Cashmere CardiganCalvin Klein Jeans Crocheted CardiganNanette Lepore 'Concerto' Cable Knit Sweater

A traditional cardigan style (left) is instantly updated with a wide waist belt. Long A-line cardigan silhouettes are great with A-line dresses or pants.