10 Style Tips on How to Wear a Long Cardigan

by Freya Wilcox
A rainbow of knitted long cardigans in white, green, yellow, peach, lilac, grey and blue

Owning a long cardigan or two doesn’t mean that you’re emulating Grandma or heading back in time to the days of school uniform (ah, memories). From slouchy to statement, you can find styles to suit all occasions and times of year. We’ve got the lowdown on how it’s done and what to wear with cardigans (with the help of some of our favourite A-listers, of course).

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Long Cardigan Outfits: Spring/Summer

As the weather gets warmer, pretty waterfall cardigans or a long sleeveless cardigan are a great addition to any wardrobe. Floaty fabrics really suit the time of year and can completely change an outfit, particularly if you go for an extra long cardigan to add some ‘drama’.

In terms of how to style a long cardigan during Spring and Summer, if you’re feeling brave, pair it with some high waisted shorts and a simple tee for a boho-inspired look. Colourful and patterned styles are sure to be more readily available on the high street at this time, so a combination of denim and light grey or white underneath will really let a floor length cardigan do the talking.

When it comes to what to wear with long cardigans, try not to overwhelm your frame with lots of fabric underneath it. Fitted midi dresses or a skirt that cinches you in at the waist are perfect for this time of year, and we also love high-waisted fitted trousers if you’re going for something slightly smarter.

Celebrities wear long cardigans in spring/summer: Alexa Chung, Taylor Swift, Selena Gomez, Victoria Beckham

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Long Cardigan Outfits: Autumn/Winter

We can’t get enough of layering during the colder months, and therefore baggy cardigans are a must have for any winter wardrobe. They add a real sense of style to an autumn outfit and look great with mom jeans, ripped at the knee, and high tops. Go for a knitted fabric to add some texture and, most importantly, warmth!

But that’s not all – from a wintery dark grey cardigan to an autumnal camel cardigan, you can replace that go-to light jacket with something that could almost act like a floor length sweater coat. Pair it with a chunky scarf, skinny jeans, a long sleeve top and chelsea boots and you’ll be more than ready to take on the chilly outdoors.

Three women show off their long cardigan outfits for autumn/winter

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Long Cardigan Outfits: Casual

An off-the-shoulder, oversized cardigan is the perfect look for the weekend. Go for a relaxed tee with fitted jeans for a cosy, home day or put on your favourite chunky trainers if you’re venturing out. If it’s cold, add your favourite beanie hat and a huge scarf to complete the look.

Block colours or patterns are a must have if you want your outfit to stand out from the crowd during the day. From single stripes to aztec prints, there are so many available right now so be brave!

Celebrities wear long cardigans casually: Gigi Hadid, Reese Witherspoon

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Long Cardigan Outfits: Dressy

A more fitted, long black cardigan is a great transitional piece from day to night. Put it together with tights, a dress and heels, or skip the tights and go for over-the-knee boots instead. These boots look great with a dress but also a crop top and your favourite pair of jeans. Again, combining fitted clothes underneath a more floaty cardigan is definitely a winner and will balance out your frame perfectly.

If you’re wanting something a bit different, shopping for a long cardigan to go with your evening outfit is definitely the time to find more delicate fabrics such as lace – make your cardigan part of your look, rather than something that is there to be ‘thrown on’ if it gets chilly. Michelle Keegan does it beautifully below.

Michelle Keegan dresses up a long cardigan for the evening

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Long Cardigan Outfits: Work

Long cardigan styles can work really well for the 9-5, too. Fitted, knee length cardigans look great with a pencil skirt and shirt, or try a dress with long cardigan, belted at the waist. Cardigan dusters are also relaxed and yet smart, particularly when paired with court shoes or boots.

Try belting your long cardigan coat and rolling up your skinnies slightly to draw attention to those killer heels. If your cardigan is more plain, reach for a pair of statement shoes such as leopard print, a floppy hat or a patterned bag to go with it. You’ll instantly feel more chic and stylish.

If your workplace is more relaxed, long cardigan outfits which include skinny jeans, a tucked in denim shirt and brogues or loafers look amazing. Or how about a buttoned up, slightly shorter cardigan with a pair of 70s inspired flares? We love!

Long cardigan outfits for work

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Top 15 Long Cardigans

Whilst there will always be a place in the wardrobe for a ‘go to’ long navy cardigan or beige cardigan, there are plenty more long cardigan styles with gorgeous detailing that you will love. We’re obsessed with frills right now, particularly on sleeves. The likes of Topshop and Boohoo (amongst others) have incorporated them into their latest collections, and the style feels that little bit more special.

Flared (or bell) sleeves in lighter fabrics are also perfect during the transitional seasons. We’ve seen some pretty pastel shades from Miss Selfridge and Mango, which should definitely be on any clothing haul list for Spring.

Pleats are also very much in and are sure to make a work wardrobe that little bit more interesting. We love the light grey long cardigan below from Lost Ink at Asos. It perfectly complements the white shirt and skinnies combo that we can’t get enough of.

Pops of colour appear from brands such as Boden, slouchy staples can be found in abundance at Asos and of course, the longline smart styles from Marks and Spencer are great if you want something classic and good quality. Whatever your needs and wants, we’re sure that you’ll be hitting the shops for some of these must have maxi cardigan outfits below:

All Saints Popcorn Cardigan
All Saints £178
Anthropologie Chauvet Cardigan
Anthropologie £61.95
ASOS Lost Ink Pleat Bottom Maxi Cardigan
ASOS £48
ASOS Selected Boxy Knit Cardigan
ASOS £65
Boden Crew Cardigan
Boden £44
Boohoo Emma Ruffle Sleeve Midi Cardigan
Boohoo £12
Mango Flecked Cotton Blend Cardigan
Mango £19.99
Miss Selfridge Flute Sleeve Knitted Cardigan
Miss Selfridge £28
Marks and Spencer Open Front 2 Pocket Cardigan
Marks and Spencer £29.50
Net-a-Porter Haider Ackermann Striped Wool and Cashmere Blend Cardigan
Net-a-Porter £910
New Look Black Fine Knit Longline Cardigan
New Look £17.99
Topshop Patchwork Cardigan
Topshop £45
Topshop Ruffle Sleeve Cardigan
Topshop £45
Very Batwing Cocoon Cardigan
Very £32
Very Mid Length Belted Sleeveless Cardigan
Very £7.50

How to Style a Long Cardigan: Our Top 10 Tips

  • Long and loose styles can work for all times of year and all occasions.
  • Don’t be afraid to go for colour or a pattern – make it fun!
  • When it comes to what to wear under a cardigan, keep the look simple if you’re going for something bold.
  • A knitted, oversized cardigan is perfect for the colder months – pair with skinnies, mom jeans or a belted dress and tights.
  • Throw it back to the 70s with a shorter, loose cardigan and flared jeans for something different.
  • When dressing for work, go for something more fitted made from softer fabrics.
  • An evening outfit can be brought to life with a striking floor length cardigan. Go for a duster or something with detail.
  • Heels and flats can totally change the style of your long cardigan – will it be chic or comfort today?
  • Adding a belt over a bulky cardigan can accentuate your shape and also turn it into a long cardigan coat – great for a smarter look.
  • Sleeveless long cardigans are a must have in summer or for a night on the town.

From dressy to casual, cardigan fashions stretch far wider than you perhaps first thought. They are so versatile, can really transform an outfit, and, most importantly, show individuality. Remember that the long cardigan isn’t just something to throw on if needs be, but a style staple that can really bring an outfit to life. Let’s get layering!

Read more great articles on women’s fashion here at alexie.co.

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