Maxi or knee-length cardigans, in black, grey or burgundy, are unexpected winners at the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale this year. The silhouettes are straight and simple, which means no fussy waterfall collars, A-line flares, ties around the waist, round-bottomed hems, or cocoon-shaped torsos. The maxi cardigans are fluid on the waist, and streamlined on the hips and legs.
Here are some good examples:
The item is popular among my clients because it’s a practical, versatile, slimming, camouflaging, comfortable and a fairly dramatic addition to an outfit. Here are the top four ways we have been styling them.
Over a Sleeveless Dress
The maxi cardigan became a fast favourite to wear over sleeveless dresses as a way to cover up arm exposure, AND add layering interest to an outfit. It’s also a great way to add warmth in cold air conditioning during the Summer months. Wearing a sleek long cardigan over a tailored or body-con sheath dress is a logical pairing because the silhouettes are similar. But the straight maxi cardigan looked as good worn over a flared dress. More unexpected and fashion-forward.
Over a Pencil Skirt
Layering a maxi cardigan over a pencil skirt and top has the same effect as layering it over a sheath dress. You can create a high contrast between the top and skirt like the picture shows, if that’s more to your taste.
With a Tunic & Leggings
The ease and comfort make this combination an instant hit with those who stay or work at home. The picture below doesn’t quite reflect the outfits I’ve been putting together with clients because the top is short and the footwear is dressy. Instead, combine an interesting asymmetrical tunic with the cardi, and think chunky loafers, slip-on sneakers, flat oxfords or pointy-toe flats for footwear.
With Flared Crops & Top
This was my favourite combination because it was the least expected and most fashionable. It’s counter-intuitive to wear a long top over flared/straight cropped pants or jeans, but it looks fresh and fun. As long as the lengths of the items are right, and the style of the footwear complements the bottoms — you’re in business. The top on the model below is short, but feel free to substitute it with a tunic, either with a straight or an asymmetrical hem.
Cardigans are not my thing, but I love these combinations on others. What I like most of all is how happy the outfit formulas have made my clients. The drape and swoosh of an unbuttoned, simple maxi cardigan has a graceful and soft integrity that is quite powerful.