How to Actually Wear Cardigan Without Feeling Frumpy

Over the years, cardigans have been used as a way to show an onlooker how frumpy someone is. However, these versatile layering pieces have a lot of stunning styles to offer if one knows how to wear them the right way. With the right finesse, cardigans can transform an outfit from drab to fabulous.

There are numerous cardigan styles, all of which have their own perfect way to wear them. Individuals can click here to browse looks for fashion inspiration. Otherwise, read on below to find out how to actually wear a cardigan without feeling frumpy.

Belted Cardigan
Belted cardigans have been a fall-fashion hit for several seasons, and it is easy to see why that is. They are typically longer, with the bottom hem resting loosely below the hips and a belt cinching the waist. These cardigans pair perfectly with knee-high boots and tight-legged pants like stockings, jeans, or leggings.

Styling a finely knit belted cardigan over a pleated skirt accentuates the waist and turns an otherwise casual sweater into a perfect office piece. Try throwing it over a linen sheath dress to upgrade to a professional vibe. Pair it with low-heel ankle boots to complete the look.

Cropped Cardigan
Cropped cardigans are a hot item lately. Stopping at the waist, these garments draw the eye into a woman’s natural curves. Style these statement pieces with a pair of high-waisted jeans or skirts. Leave it buttoned up and throw on a neck scarf to channel this season’s bougie girl trend or pop one shoulder out to show off a devil-may-care attitude.

For chunky knit cropped cardigans, try going grunge-casual with a pair of boyfriend cut jeans with thoughtfully placed distress tears in them. Put on a pair of army-style boots and top it off with a matching wide-brimmed hat for a flirtatious touch. Leave the top buttons open and let it slouch, showing off a little shoulder and a color-coordinated tank strap.

Oversized Cardigan
Oversized cardigans are the perfect cold-weather layer. Often a chunky-knit piece like above, this style cardigan looks chic when paired with skinny jeans and knee-high boots. Put a twist on a classic and pair it with a pencil skirt and booties to get a fetching date-night look.
These warm, roomy cardigans are versatile enough to cross over into office attire. Elevate the outfit to a professional feel by leaving it open and wearing a blouse tucked into high waisted slacks. Add a long necklace to accentuate the frame and round it out with patent leather flats.

Wrap Cardigan
Wrap cardigans are long with flowing front panels and no buttons or zippers. These drapey cardigans are incredibly flattering and can be worn in an on-trend animal print as a statement piece or in a nice neutral with a pop of color underneath. The waterfall lapels combined with a pair of dark skinny jeans elongate the figure, giving the wearer a slender look.

Dress these cardigans up by wearing them over a form-fitting dress and cinching the waist with a belt. Pair it with bright color heels to make a statement worthy of a night out or go professional with matching pumps. Accessorize with extra-long necklaces that hang past the chest line to elongate the figure.

Boyfriend Cardigan
Boyfriend cardigans are the quintessential button-up sweater. Sitting just above the hips, these cardigans can have a crew, boat, or v-neck, making them one of the most versatile layering options out there. They can be worn open at the top and bottom, stressing the natural hourglass figure, left open to show off its mighty layering power, or buttoned all the way up to be featured as the outfit’s focal point.
Pairing the boyfriend cardigan with a dress or loose bottoms can make a person look awkward and wide, so try to avoid it at all costs. Instead, pair it with a loose blouse tucked into low-waisted pants. Adding a silk scarf around the neck creates a preppy look. Pairing it with flats makes a person look casually chic or opting for professional pumps to make the outfit suitable for the office.

Cable-Knit Cardigan
Knitwear is all the rage on the runway right now, and that goes double for the cable-knit cardigan. A classic look, cabled sweaters feature twirling stockinette-stitch accents juxtaposed with a garter stitch background. Vertical cables outline the figure, giving the wearer a flattering and elongated figure.

Classic cable-knit cardigans often sit the hips, feature large buttons, and deep pockets. Pair these cardigans with a flowing, tucked-in blouse, tight pants, and midi boots to create a charming, low-key outfit that is as fashion-forward as it is practical. Mix it up by closing the buttons from the bottom to just below the chest and wearing it over leggings like a sweater dress. The deep v-neck draws the eye down the frame, giving a person a lissome look.

Sleeveless Cardigans
Cardigan-lovers in warmer climates don’t have to stash away their favorite open-front fashion piece. Sleeveless cardigans offer the same versatility of their longer-sleeved counterparts while giving the wearer a little more room to breathe. They are typically extra-long, sitting below the hips, which helps to slim the frame.

Wear it over a baseball tee and jeans for a low-key weekend look. Pair it with casual boots or high-top sneakers for a more fashion-forward twist. For a business-worthy outfit, try wearing one over a sheath dress with a pair of dynamic heels.

Wear It Well
Cardigans are a wardrobe staple that is here to stay. Still, some may feel like they are sloppy and uncomfortable when wearing them. Finding the right way to style the sweater can transform any frumpy looking outfit into an eye-catching ensemble fit for the office or a night out on the town.

There are so many styles of cardigans and different ways to wear them. Women should never feel like they have to settle for less than making a stunning statement. Use the fashion inspiration above and get the perfect cardigan look now.


  1. Debbie White-Beattie says

    I had no idea that there was so many ways to wear a cardigan but a belt is my favorite

  2. I love mt cardigans and own many of them but because I am severely overweight they all look frumpy on me no fixing it!

  3. nicolthepickle (Nicole Graham) says

    I agree with the belted cardigan look, especially when you use a belt that’s a different material than the actual cardigan.

  4. My cardigans keep me warm. That’s the most important thing to me.

  5. Kristi Friesen says

    I think that’s why I’m been afraid to wear cardigans. I like the idea of a wrap cardigan though!

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