Layer up in style: long cardigans to wear now & later

A cardigan can be one of the most practical pieces in our wardrobes, and one of the most stylish. Cardigans are a great way to incorporate layering and add color or textural interest to everyday outfits. Many of you have requested some options that aren’t cropped, so today I’m sharing some long cardigans and tips to style them.

Polished casual outfit in pink and burgundy with a long cardigan.
(Lipstick color is “Gypsy Rose”)

Valentine’s, Galentine’s, or just for fun, here’s a pink and burgundy look with silver-toned accessories. (I’d ordered those corduroy pants hoping they might lean more brownish, but nope, they’re a true Burgundy, so great for you Winters and Summers. They seem to have mostly sold out in the last 24 hours; here’s a pair with a similar look.)

Budget-friendly options:

Style tip: long cardigans often work best over slimmer bottoms (leggings, slim pants, pencil skirts). But they can also work with many fuller-leg styles.

Try these tips to help balance proportions:

  • Wear your sweater open over a shorter or tucked top.
  • If you want to wear your cardigan closed, try leaving the bottom few buttons undone.
  • Choose pieces that are the same or close in color to create the “column of color” effect.
Susan B. wears an ivory cashmere cardigan, green sweater, gold pendant necklace, leopard print belt,
(My sizes: cardigan – XS, jeans – 27. Yes, I’m wearing socks with those loafers! They run a little large, suggest going down 1/2 size.)

Great lengths…

Here’s a sleek, classic style in navy. (Also available in black and grey.) It’s marked down a little, and most sizes XXS-3X still available.

This cotton cardigan with contrast trim comes with a matching shell. Several colors available in sizes XS-XL.

These polka dots are anything BUT demure…in sizes 00(0/2) to 4(20/22).

This cotton-cashmere blend sweater is available in four neutrals, and rings in well under $100. Sizes XX-Small to 3X.

A collar adds structure to this oversized cashmere style. Available in 4 neutral colors. Sizes X-Small to X-Large.

With the latest micro-trend, “eclectic grandpa,” (Vogue) I think we’ll be seeing more longer cardigan options in the coming season. What do you think of this look?

More styles to wear now and into spring…

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  1. Thank you for the “longer cardigan” posting! I love the “lady jacket” trend coming around again, have had several of these in a distant past, but have been thwarted in buying one because many of those shown barely reach the navels of the models (who are presumably tall). I also enjoyed your comment about the socks with loafers, which brings up a dilemma for those in more northern climates: what does one wear to keep their ankles warm when not wearing boots, since it seems no one models pants and shoes with socks?

    1. Hi Christine, I’m going to be doing a post soon on socks and hosiery soon, but yes, it’s fine to wear socks with your loafers, sneakers, oxfords!

  2. I don’t mind the longer cardigan look, but I just haven’t been able to embrace the dropped shoulder fad. I have found so many sweaters I like until I see that they have a dropped shoulder. I just don’t find it flattering.

    1. I like the longer sweater lengths with slimmer trousers / jeans. I don’t like really long sleeves that hang over my hands. I find them a nuisance, and they don’t stay turned back. To me, having properly-fitted sleeve length makes a huge difference, even when you push your sleeves up. (Barb, you made me laugh out loud.)

  3. Being over 70, the “grandpa” look can easily become the “grandma” look! lol. Need to style it with other current jean silhouettes and cute shoes.

  4. The Vogue article really puts it straight up. Especially about buying quality that lasts. Finding the styles that look great on your figure. Purchasing in your color zone. And some of us are really tired of the cropped sweaters and tops that hit us at the least flattering point on our bodies but finding few choices in what does work for us. The algorithms are making it difficult to purchase what we need and I wonder how much of it lands up in the landfills. Thanks for the long cardigan post and the suggestion of tucking in a top underneath.

    1. Yes, not every style is for everyone. It’s about finding what works for us and sticking with it. I prefer the shorter styles, as they work best for my petite frame.

  5. I looked at the Talbot’s cardigan in pink, and the picture is really misleading. The actual measurement for a Petite is 21.5, which puts it on the short side. There were quite a few complaints from folks who didn’t read the measurements.

  6. Thanks for a great compendium of longer sweaters!

    The Vogue article and previous Atlantic article entitled Your Sweaters Are Garbage (on the decline of quality sweaters, with Billy Crystal’s before and after photos) make me sad. Both just take it as a given that social media does and always will rule our lives. The eclectic grandpa we want to emulate does not sit around perusing IG for inspiration!

  7. Thanks for showing us this style of sweater. These are nice choices. I’m 5’8, slim, long waisted with a bit of a tummy. The cropped just doesn’t work for me.
    Thanks Susan.