The short boxy chunky cardigan has gone mainstream, and takes me back to the ’90s. It’s a Spring and Summery item because although some versions are fairly chunky, silhouettes are generally lightweight, loosely knitted, and made of cotton, linen, or blends of these fibres. 

It’s in true ‘90s style when the boxy cardigan is worn over a cutaway or racerback tank top, or something else fitted and skin-revealing like a camisole, tight tee, cropped top, or sleeveless top that matches the cardigan for a twinset effect. The idea is to wear the cardigan open to showcase a form-fitting top. The combination of baggy cardigan worn over an alluring top creates a fun juxtaposition. Of course, you can wear a more covered and fluid top underneath a boxy cardigan if that’s more to your taste. And do up the buttons. Most versions are V-neck, thereby showcasing skin.

Here are some examples.

Striped V-neck Cardigan
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Button Knit Cardigan
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The cropped length of the cardigan tempers its boxiness. Scrunching the sleeves showcases skin, which creates some structure too. You can wear the cardigan as a top by buttoning it up. Many of the cardigans have a welt, which adds structure at the waist. The sleeves of these types of cardigans can be wide, baggy, and intentionally long. In some cases that’s part of the look, and you might like the oversized and very relaxed effect. If you don’t, choose a version with a more tailored sleeve.

The short, boxy chunky Summer cardigan can be worn in transitional weather, in the cooler mornings and evenings, at the beach over shorts when the wind picks up, or as an additional layer in air conditioning. If you’re going to take the cardigan off as it warms up, make sure you like the top you’re wearing with it unlayered too. This type of short boxy chunky Spring and Summer cardigan is hard to layer under a jacket or coat, so it’s best to keep it as the only topper.

You can combine the top and boxy cardigan with all sorts of jeans, pants, shorts and skirts. It’s cute over a form-fitting sheath, slip dress, or fit-and-flare strappy dress too. Don’t be put off by the shorter length of the cardigan. In my experience, the shorter versions that finish on or a little above your hip bone can be easier to style and create flattering proportions. My clients who are into this look have definitely found the shorter ones easier to style with bottoms and dresses.

I don’t wear cardigans that often, but I do like the short boxy chunky cardigan. I have two new modern classic fine gauge cropped cardigans that I button up and wear as tops, and I’ve enjoyed that silhouette a lot as a way to change up my knitwear style. They are crew necked, which is better suited to my body type than a V-neck. I can also layer them under jackets and coats, which is practical for a Seattle climate. That said, I’d wear one of these with a top that created a twinset effect, and keep the top underneath high in the neck to offset the V-neck of the cardigan. I’d also keep the sleeves quite tailored. It makes a nice Summery change to a denim jacket.

Over to you. What do you think of the short boxy chunky cardigan? Would you wear the silhouette?

Madewell Plus Tie Dye Broadway Cardigan Sweater