Cardigans are certainly nothing new — most of us have probably been wearing them since we were schoolchildren, if not earlier. But what is new is the longer silhouettes I’ve noticed more and more over the last couple of years; the transformation of cardigan from waist-length sweater alternative to combination sweater-coat-cocoon.
For Fall 2015 cardigans are getting even longer in some cases and I am totally ready to embrace this look. Let’s talk about some of my favorites out there in shopping paradise, and how I’ll be styling them, and how you’ll be styling them!
THE COCOON CARDIGAN.
The basic giveaways for a cocoon cardigan are its oversized and somewhat oval shape. A year or two ago designers were playing around with the idea of the cocoon coat but the results were often too exaggerated to be wearable. Very few people want to wear something so huge it makes them look three times bigger!
This year’s cocoon cardigan is much less exaggerated. It’s still oversized yes but not to such an extreme degree. Cocoon cardis often have a ruching effect around the rear to keep them from seeming too huge, a detail I very much appreciate. I’ve seen lots of great lightweight seasonal transition options like the Cirro Cardigan ($138) topping this post as heavier options like the Apheta Cocoon Cardi ($118) above.
Cocoon cardis in a thicker material like wool can lend a true dramatic flair to an outfit — great if you work in a creative field or for a night out. Thinner materials like jersey, rayon, and so forth are fantastic for casual looks or even to throw on over your workout gear to and from the studio.
Beyond these two Anthropologie options, I’m also loving this striped version from Madewell, this beautiful thick wool cocoon with contrast stitching, this jersey option and this one, and this lightweight tencil wool cardigan that would be great for the office.
THE EXTRA LONG CARDIGAN.
Admittedly, I didn’t “get” the extra long cardigan until recently. I saw them as something you could only wear over jeans or pants; I felt like they would not flatter my hourglass shape; I didn’t understand how to balance them out in my outfit.
This year’s myriad of super-long options has changed my tune! I now see that with how long they are, I can wear skirts and dresses underneath them. I don’t have to wear them closed or even partially closed (when that’s an option). And I’m now seriously in love! A few retailers have showcased mini skirt and sweater options under these cardigan which is another styling idea that’s really selling me.
From Anthropologie, the Mitte Long Cardi ($88) above is a great slimming option and I love how they’ve put a simple shirtdress underneath it. I’m also digging their more dramatic Upstate Cardigan ($147) and the thick Apothecary Cardigan ($128) which can be dressed up or down.
From other retailers, you know how obsessed I am with garnet so of course I love this long option; I purchased this striped delight in both colors and showed one styling option in this post; here’s a cotton blend option that just went on super-sale; I love this beautiful cashmere option. And of course super-long cardigans are Free People’s game so they have several awesome selections.
THE SLEEVELESS CARDIGAN.
Yes I know this sounds nuts. When I first saw this styling I scoffed. But the more I see it, the more I like it…it’s a way to add layers (and I love layering!) as the temps drop slowly but are still too high for anything thick or warm.
Oftentimes this cardigan is actually a sleeveless dress masquerading as a cardi, or a it’s a vest. And come late fall/winter, you could easily pull off this look with a short or long-sleeve shirtdress.
Free People’s got us covered with a bunch of options: this swingy shirtdress would look perfect over a more sleek dress underneath; the stripes on this version would be a playful way to dress for work; you could take out the slip that this dress comes with and swap something else underneath; this chambray take is exactly the kind of boho luxe I love.
If none of those do it for you, I’m also digging this military-inspired option from Madewell as well as this beautiful merino wool with pockets sleeveless cardi from Nordstrom.
One really fun thing about all of these longer cardis is that you have a myriad of styling options for them!
I tend to use the following guidelines:
– For cardigans that are fingertip length or shorter, at least one inch of a skirt/dress hemline should be visible below the hemline of the cardigan. (Otherwise it looks like you’re wearing nothing underneath.)
– For cardigans that come to my knees or below, it’s not necessary to wear a longer piece underneath them, but I usually wear the cardigan open.
– For sleeker cardigans, I wear skinny jeans.
– For oversized or long cardigans, you can wear any type of jeans, though flares are making a comeback this season and they’d certainly look great!
How do you style your longer cardigans? These three styles are my favorites right now but I also love waterfall cardigans (longer in back than in front) and cardigan coats (coatigans?). What about you?