What is the best way to style a cardigan as a top?

In recent years, the cardigan has made a triumphant return to the fashion scene. It’s not just your grandmother’s cozy wrap anymore. Cardigans have become a versatile piece that can be styled in various ways. Whether you prefer to wear it open over a shirt, buttoned up as a top, or draped over your shoulders, the ways to incorporate a cardigan into your outfit are endless. We are seeing cardigans paired with everything from jeans to skirts, bringing a chic and sophisticated feel to the ensemble.

You may ask, what is the best way to style a cardigan as a top? Well, the answer lies in understanding the different options available, and then selecting the one that best suits your personal style and the occasion.

How to Wear a Cardigan as a Top with Jeans

Jeans are a staple in almost every wardrobe. They are versatile, comfortable, and can be dressed up or down depending on the occasion. When pairing a cardigan with jeans, it’s all about balance.

If you opt for a long, open cardigan, consider pairing it with skinny or straight-leg jeans. The slim silhouette of these jeans will balance out the volume of the cardigan, creating a cohesive look. Tuck in a simple white shirt underneath the cardigan, and you have a casual yet chic outfit perfect for a day out shopping or a relaxed dinner with friends.

For those who prefer a fitted cardigan, consider pairing it with wide-leg or boyfriend jeans. The contrast between the fitted top and loose jeans creates interest and adds a contemporary touch to your outfit. When wearing a fitted cardigan as a top, consider buttoning it all the way up to the neck for a more polished look.

Styling a Cardigan as a Top with a Skirt

A cardigan paired with a skirt can create a feminine and sophisticated look. The key lies in finding the right balance between the length of your cardigan and skirt.

If you have a long, open cardigan, consider pairing it with a midi or maxi skirt. The flowing lines of both pieces will create an elegant and timeless look. A simple, fitted shirt underneath your cardigan will keep the outfit balanced and ensure that the cardigan remains the focal point.

If you have a fitted cardigan, try pairing it with a mini or A-line skirt. This combination will highlight your waist and create a flattering silhouette. You can even consider tucking your cardigan into your skirt to create the illusion of a seamless dress.

Outfit Ideas for Cardigans

The beauty of cardigans is their versatility. They can be styled in a multitude of ways to create a variety of outfits.

A white cardigan makes a stylish alternative to a traditional white shirt. Pair it with tailored trousers or a pencil skirt for a sophisticated office look. Accessorize with a statement necklace to add a pop of color and interest to your outfit.

For a casual weekend outfit, consider pairing a long, open cardigan with denim shorts and a simple tee. This creates a laid-back, bohemian look perfect for brunch or a casual get-together with friends.

Shopping for the Perfect Cardigan

When shopping for a cardigan, consider the material, length, and style that will best suit your needs.

Cashmere and wool cardigans are perfect for colder months while cotton and linen cardigans are ideal for warmer weather. The length of the cardigan will also impact how it can be styled. Long cardigans are great for creating layered looks while shorter, fitted cardigans make excellent tops when paired with high-waisted trousers or skirts.

Lastly, consider the style of the cardigan. Do you prefer a classic V-neck cardigan, a contemporary open-front cardigan, or a trendy button-up cardigan? Each style has its own unique charm and can be styled in different ways to create a myriad of outfits.

Dressing Up a Cardigan

Even though cardigans are often associated with casual wear, they can be dressed up for more formal occasions.

A fine-knit cardigan can replace a traditional blouse or shirt when paired with a tailored skirt or trousers. Add a statement necklace or a silk scarf for a touch of elegance.

For a cocktail party or a dinner date, consider a sequin or beaded cardigan paired with a satin skirt or velvet trousers. The contrast between the textures will create a stylish and sophisticated outfit that is sure to turn heads.

Remember, the key to successfully styling a cardigan as a top lies in balance and proportion. Whether you choose to wear it with jeans or a skirt, dressing it up or down, remember to have fun with it and let your personal style shine through. After all, fashion is all about expressing yourself and feeling comfortable in what you wear.

How to Layer a Long Cardigan

Layering a long cardigan can be a stylish and comfortable option. Typically, long cardigans offer a relaxed and casual look. Given their length, they can be worn as a cover-up over your outfit, almost like a coat or a jacket. However, there are ways to amp up this look and make it chic.

A cable knit cardigan can be paired with a slinky camisole or a lace bralette peeking out, which gives a hint of femininity to the otherwise cozy and comfortable cardigan. You could opt to pair this with high-waisted jeans or trousers, making sure the cardigan doesn’t completely overpower your lower half.

Another option is to layer your long cardigan over a mini dress. The contrast of lengths adds a unique touch to your outfit without taking away from the elegance of the dress. This is a great way to wear a summer dress in colder months, keeping you warm yet stylish.

A crew neck cardigan, unbuttoned and worn over a white shirt and jeans, is a classic, timeless look. The white shirt peeking through the crew neck cardigan adds a crispness to the outfit, making it suitable for a casual meeting or a day out.

Trending Cardigan Outfits

Cardigan outfits are not just limited to being paired with jeans or skirts. You can experiment and mix match to create a look that is unique to your personal style.

A front cardigan with large buttons can be worn as a top with high-waisted shorts and strappy sandals, perfect for a day at the beach or a picnic. On the other hand, a button cardigan paired with a long, flowing skirt and boots creates a boho-chic look that is casual yet classy.

A knit cardigan in bright colors like red, blue, or yellow can be paired with a monochrome outfit to add a pop of color. This can make your outfit stand out and is sure to turn heads.

A crew neck cardigan can also be worn as a dress. Just button it up, add a belt around the waist to create definition, and voila! You have a chic and trendy dress. Pair it with knee-high boots for an edgier look.


Cardigans are a versatile piece that can be styled in countless ways. Whether you choose to wear a long cardigan as a layering piece or a button cardigan as a top, there are numerous ways to style this wardrobe staple. With a little creativity, you can create cardigan outfits that are unique to your personal style and suitable for various occasions. Remember, the key to a successful cardigan look is balancing the proportions and not being afraid to experiment. Most importantly, whatever you choose to wear, make sure it makes you feel comfortable and confident. After all, the best way to wear a cardigan is the way that makes you feel most like yourself.