Business Casual Outfit With Maxi Cardigan

wear it again, sam

Eileen Fisher maxi cardigan

sunglasses (similar) | cardigan | tank | bag | bracelet (similar) | bracelet | pants | shoes (similar)


When I purchased my first maxi cardigan last year, I assumed it would be novelty piece, something I’d pull out occasionally to add some drama to simple, casual outfits. But I’ve actually found this style to be quite easy to wear and incorporate into my everyday outfits. The linen and hemp blend versions especially are perfect for our summer climate. Yes, I wear them to the office too.

The pants are the J.Crew Sunday slim chinos I featured in Tuesday’s post, and I LOVE them! They are lightweight, soft, have a nice higher rise, a gorgeous color and are delightfully comfortable. They’re a nice jeans alternative when it’s just Too Darn Hot™.  I’ve worn them several times in the last couple of weeks and am thinking about picking up a pair in another color color (Golden Brandy, maybe?). They’re available in Misses, Petite and Tall lengths too.

Michael Michael Kors embossed python bag

Speaking of “lengths,” I’ve received a few comments and emails lately to the effect of, “if only I were taller I’d love to wear those long cardigans.” For the record, I’m only 5’1″ tall. A Short Stack. A Pipsqueak. Vertically Challenged. You can see a side-by-side comparison here with Greetje of No Fear of Fashion, who is 5’7″.

maxi cardigan, business casual

One of the reasons I so often feature clothing from Eileen Fisher, J.Crew and NYDJ is that they offer a wide range of styles in Petite sizes.

Were you ever surprised to find that certain styles you thought wouldn’t work for your body type actually do?


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  1. August 21, 2015 / 3:05 am

    Lovely outfit. I like all of it and am tempted by the maxi cardi and those J Crew chinos.

  2. nell
    August 21, 2015 / 4:01 am

    Unfortunately, I more often have the experience of thinking something will work for my body type, only to find that it doesn’t, ha.

    By contrast, you look terrific in many different styles. I believe you have said you are small (under 5’3, perhaps?), yet you have a wonderful eye for proportion and I’ve never seen you looking overwhelmed by your clothes. That’s my issue with myself– sometimes misjudging what shapes I can get away with.

  3. nell
    August 21, 2015 / 4:08 am

    Oh, I just saw a sentence of yours above which I had skipped over (don’t ask, my computer is behaving erratically, think I might have gotten water in it somehow) in which you indicate your height. You demonstrate that being “petite” doesn’t in the least preclude bold and sophisticated dressing!

  4. Tish
    August 21, 2015 / 4:20 am

    Can a long cardigan work on a curvy body like mine?

    • une femme
      August 21, 2015 / 7:16 am

      Hi Tish, what I’d suggest is to try some in lighter, “swingy” fabrics like linen that drape but don’t cling. I have some curves and find I do better to avoid anything stiff or bulky.

  5. August 21, 2015 / 4:31 am

    It’s a great outfit…worth a repeat. I have a couple of long cardis I am holding on to…I really like them. But having some height helps!

  6. Shelley
    August 21, 2015 / 4:35 am

    I am also ” vertically challenged ” (4′ 10″ and , on a good day, I might reach 4’11”). Proportion is everything. When I stand alone and look in the mirror, I’m 5’9″ tall and 30 years younger. I always ask someone who is a more ” average” height to stand beside me so I can judge how I look compared to others. It really does help.

  7. August 21, 2015 / 4:40 am

    That maxi cardigan looks so great. I’m with Shelley, proportion is everything. And you always are spot on with proportion…and everything else, of course:)

  8. August 21, 2015 / 5:00 am

    Lovely look – and thanks for pointing out that a maxi is not just for the tall girls. You do proportions beautifully. xo

  9. August 21, 2015 / 6:45 am

    I’m still loving the long cardigan…however, I climb 3 flights of stairs at work and have an image of stepping on and through the fabric! (No hills in my state so I climb stairs when I have the chance)

  10. Patti
    August 21, 2015 / 6:59 am

    Love your shoes. I got a pair by Kenneth Cole at Bloomingdales — on sale!

  11. amidprivilege
    August 21, 2015 / 7:07 am

    I think the light weight of that cardigan makes it work really well for the less tall among us.

    • une femme
      August 21, 2015 / 7:14 am

      Lisa, yes exactly! If it were bulky or stiff it wouldn’t work. And the linen has such nice drape and movement to it!

  12. August 21, 2015 / 8:36 am

    Love all the comments. I still struggle with certain styles now that I am not thin. I am a 12 to 14 and I find challenges. Short or tall or average works fine so long as one is on the small or even medium side of sizes but no matter how high end clothes are, I feel they don’t look as polished and fun as when I see these photos of you!

  13. August 21, 2015 / 8:57 am

    Isn’t it surprising how something we think won’t get worn very much suddenly become our go-to pieces? I love this cardigan and am glad you’re enjoying it so much. The light colour really works with your darker under layer.

  14. Ann
    August 21, 2015 / 9:43 am

    The headline of this post make me smile. The post is a wonderful example of what I love about your blog, which is that I find tips a real woman can use. I would never even have considered the long cardigans it I hadn’t seen how you style them so nicely. Ditto for the French Kande necklaces, which are winging (or trucking) their way to me as I type. Thanks for brightening this day and many more!

  15. canadiancp
    August 21, 2015 / 9:44 am

    I love the maxi cardigans on you. And on me (because I’m blessed to be 5’10” so proportions are fine). The only hesitation I have is whether I can get enough wear from them – in the summer, I normally take vacation for about 5 or 6 weeks, so casual clothing is best – and in spring/fall, maxi cardigans are very tricky to put with a coat when needed in our northwest climate – any suggestions for how to deal with this? (not about to buy a maxi coat).

  16. Cathy D.
    August 21, 2015 / 10:09 am

    What a gorgeous outfit! You are so good at showing us how to combine the simplest of pieces with a few outstanding accessories. I love it when you repeat pieces from older posts. I’m 5’2″ and haven’t had the nerve yet to wear a really long cardigan, but I have two that are mid-thigh length. Their purchase was inspired by you, and I love them. Your hair looks great… shiny and soft, and just right for your face.

  17. Linda
    August 21, 2015 / 10:28 am

    I just bought those pants! Haven’t worn them yet, but I’ll be going to Paris in September and thought they would be a nice change from jeans! I too am “vertically challenged” and often if not always shop petites. I love the closer cropped arm holes and smaller details in addition to the shorter hemlines. The long cardigan looks great on you!

  18. Marg
    August 21, 2015 / 10:47 am

    The most beautiful “things” come in small packages! Thanks, Femme.

  19. August 21, 2015 / 2:09 pm

    I really like the combo of olive, black and eggshell–and it’s all balanced with the snakeskin bag in brown, and the leather bracelet. This is an outfit that I can wear for many occasions. Super cute Susan!!

  20. KJ
    August 21, 2015 / 5:04 pm

    Great outfit. My go-to pants are Gap “slim cropped” but they rarely have new colors or my size and so I may try these. I’m very curvy in the hips, small waist, and on the shorter side, and these “slim” (not skinny!!!!) pants have turned out to be surprisingly flattering and versatile. Fingers crossed on the JCrew…. love the green!

  21. August 22, 2015 / 6:48 am

    I love those green trousers. One of the favourite pairs I ever had (long worn out) was exactly that colour. On the other hand, no long cardigans on my bicycle! I’d also be afraid of tripping on it walking up and down my outdoor staircase!

    • une femme
      August 22, 2015 / 6:59 am

      lagatta, yes the color of these pants is exceptional, bound to become one of my favorites. I’d probably agree with you about (not) bicycling in this cardigan, but I’ve had no issue going up or down stairs as it seems to float behind me a bit when I’m moving.

  22. Kelly
    August 22, 2015 / 11:45 am

    Have been wanting one of these maxi cardigans for Fall. How does the EF version run – true to size? Love your blog.

    • une femme
      August 22, 2015 / 1:35 pm

      Hi Kelly, thanks! My experience with these cardigans is that they run true to size.

  23. karen
    August 23, 2015 / 7:16 pm

    It’s all a matter of proportion, Pip. You look fab in long!

  24. glendakstyle
    August 24, 2015 / 4:06 pm

    Such a great cardigan. I could imagine it being the perfect layering piece. I can see it belted with a wide chocolate belt.

  25. Jeanne
    September 17, 2015 / 10:22 am

    I am encouraged to see that these long cardigans look so good on you. In so many cases you serve as a looking glass – only showing someone who wears her clothes well. Also interesting to see that you, like me, generally keep your elbows covered, but this doesn’t prevent you from looking cool in hot weather.

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