In Pursuit of Inspiration: 7 Creative Ways to Wear a Cardigan

words Alexa Wang

Cardigans are making a big comeback in fashion now, what with the current trend of loose-fitting clothing. But cardigans are so much more than just accents to a cute outfit, and a lot of fashion icons and celebrities have started dressing them up in different ways.

Here are a few new, creative ways to spice up your old cardigan and breathe some new life into your wardrobe. Sometimes you just want to look fresh with your wardrobe, what can I say?

Adding shape:

As cute as they are, one of the definite downsides to cardigans is that they’re a little shapeless. They tend to give your body more of a straight look and aren’t the most flattering. The styles below will help if you’re looking to fix that. Also, consider wearing cardigans that are more like sweaters and just for the top of your body. That, or pair a loose cardigan with a tight top and bottom to emphasize your curves while looking modest. Some see-through cardigans, like the cardigans at Filly Flair, circumvent this problem completely.


This only really works for shorter cardigans, but try tucking it into a pair of high wasted jeans or a skirt. It almost becomes like wearing a blouse, and it helps to accentuate your curves. Bonus points if it’s windy– you won’t have it blowing all over the place! On the other hand, it’s still loose up top if you want to draw attention away from your midriff. This is perfect for an outfit with a casual feel.

Pair it With a Belt

Use any belt with a long cardigan to make for a dress like style. Not only does this help emphasize your figure, but it also completely changes up your outfit! Add in some tights and you have some really cute fall wear. You can even try a scarf instead of a belt, or anything else that can cinch the cardigan together– it’s up to you and your imagination. This way of styling can even turn a cardigan into a warm fall dress completely.

By itself as top

If you don’t wear anything under the cardigan, more of your natural body shape will show through. At the same time though, it still looks casual and modest. This only works with short cardigans (for your top only) of course! But it’s a simple and effective way of wearing a cardigan.

Crop that top!

Cropped cardigans exist! They’re cute and help you show a little skin if you’re feeling like it. Try pairing it with some high wasted pants or shorts for a more summery look. This is an outfit that emphasizes and extends your midriff.

Cropped cardigans also look good when paired with shirts or dresses. They add a little color and texture to an otherwise plain outfit.

Making a mood:

While we usually think of cardigans as more of a day to day outfit, cardigans are pretty versatile, as they straddle a line between casual and business casual. A good cardigan can set the tone for your entire outfit, and change the feel of it completely. Depending on what mood you’re in and what look you’re going for, try some of the tips below.

Over-sized and loose

If you’re looking for a casual, relaxed vibe, try going for over-sized cardigans. They go well with jeans or dresses (or skirts!) and the extra space makes for an outfit that is both warm when it’s cold and a little breezier when it’s windy or cool. In other words, it’s perfect for those fall days that can’t decide if they’re warm or cold. And nothing says cozy like an over-sized outfit! If you’re going for a bookworm, chill weekend vibes, this is perfect for you. Add in a large scarf to complete the feel.

Buttoned up

Button up a short cardigan and you’ll get a slightly more formal looking sweater, which is perfect if you’re looking for a more business-oriented look. Consider a formal skirt and blouse underneath, and you’ll have a business casual style that’s suitable for work but still lets you stay warm and look fashionable. Patterned cardigans are especially good for this look, so that old patterned cardigan that your mother handed down that you haven’t been sure what to do with? Here it is!

Off the shoulder

Cardigans aren’t just for casual or formal looks– they can be sexy too. Yes, it’s possible to include a cardigan in a night out outfit. Try going for that tucked look I mentioned earlier and wear the cardigan off your shoulder. Again, this is great if you want to show a little skin. It also draws attention to your shoulder and neck, giving the appearance of lengthening your neck and accentuating your collar bone. Add some booties to complete the look! You can also use that cropped cardigan mentioned above for a night out. Again, consider booties and tights! And having a darker, monochromatic outfit with a bright cardigan gives off club or concert vibes.

Also, pairing a long cardigan with some shorts and booties gives a sexy summer look that’ll help keep you cool as well.

The possibilities are limitless

There are so many other styles that I didn’t include in this, such as the usual style of open and loose as a layer (Don’t forget that of course! It never hurts to go with a classic) because cardigans are so versatile. Tie it around your waist, pair it with a dress, make it a dress– you’re limited only by your imagination! And try combining some of the styles listed here, such as the tucked cardigan with a belt, or over-sized cardigans off the shoulder.

I hope that reading through this was helpful and will inspire you guys for some new things to try out this fall (I can feel the leaves crunching beneath my feet already…) And of course, keep an eye on fashion instas and celebrities for even more ideas!


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