While historically a menswear piece, cardigans are now a classic unisex garment that just about every woman will have in her wardrobe. Although many tend to shy away from wearing cardigans, due to fears of looking frumpy, there are many ways to style a cardigan to give your outfit a modern and contemporary edge.
Also known as boyfriend cardigans, oversized cardigans are a popular choice by many, and work especially well when they have been created with chunky knits. Deep v-necks and longer hemlines help to keep oversized cardigans looking modern, but they also need to be worn over a relatively fitting outfit so as not to look frumpy, such as a simple t-shirt and a pair of skinny jeans. Another option is to pair a long, oversized cardigan with a crop top and some fitted pants. This look is great for a mild winter climate, and enables you to wear your favorite summer crop tops in the winter too. Stay away from full skirts or dresses with a long, oversized cardigan, as these will only cut your body off at an unflattering place. Full dresses are best worn with shorter cardigans, which is explained further below.
Wrap cardigans have a similar shape to oversized cardigans, but they tend to be more streamlined and less bulky. Nevertheless, this is another style that makes use of draping, meaning that you need to be careful with what you pair it with, as this can often interfere with proportions. While it can be tempting to wear a wrap cardigan with a short skirt, you are best off wearing it with dark pants so that the cardigan will elongate your figure rather than breaking it up. If your wrap cardigan is extremely bulky, try cinching it in at the waist with a belt, and wearing it like a coat.
Short cardigans are often paired with a longer top, but this silhouette is never really flattering. Instead, try wearing a short cardigan buttoned up on its own as a top, or pair it with a flared dress, or a high waisted skirt. Keep in mind that your cardigan hemline should not fall more than a couple of inches below the waistband of your dress, otherwise you begin to venture into the frumpy zone.
The color of your cardigan can also make quite the difference in the overall look that you create. Shades such as beige and brown can instantly look matronly, whereas bright and bold shades will add a pop of color to your outfit. However, if you do opt for a bright shade, be sure to keep the rest of your outfit relatively simple, so as not to take your look over the top. Dark neutral colors, such as black and navy, are also good choices, as these can be styled in so many different ways.
Cardigans are a classic garment and are available in so many different styles. From a chunky oversized cardigan to a delicate short cardigan, the versatility of the classic cardigan is what has helped to carry this garment through into the modern day.