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Cardigans for women - The complete Guide

By Muhammad Asif October 03, 2019

A cardigan is an open front, knitted sweater that is worn through arms (instead of the typical pullover sweaters). It comes with buttons, zippers, or toggles and you can choose to keep it open or closed. Cardigans with buttons are the most common while those with zippers are a relatively new thing in the market.

cardigans for women

As for their fabric, cardigans are made traditionally with wool. Other fabrics of cardigan include cotton and a blend of cotton, wool, and synthetic structure. The outfit can be thick or thin, fitted or loose, and in a variety of styles, textures, and colors. 


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What are the different types of cardigans?

Cardigans come in a variety of colors, textures, and styles. Following are some of the most common types of cardigans: 

  • Cardigan Vest
  • Jacket Cardigan
  • Cropped Cardigan
  • Belted Cardigan
  • Long Cardigan
  • Tunic Cardigan
  • Open Cardigan
  • Wrap Cardigan

Cardigan Vest 

This cardigan is sleeveless and is perfect when the weather is mild. One can also wear it in cold weather, but he/she would have to put on some additional layer to stay warm. It is best to wear if you do not want to wear a heavy or long sweater. 

These cardigans look good on both men and women. They exude style and can present a dressy look if combined with the right clothes. They are usually made of cotton-wool, cashmere, linen, or thick sheep-wool. Moreover, they narrow down to the waistline, knees, or hip-line. They come in a wide range of designs and colors because of which they complement and match almost everything you wear with them. 

Jacket Cardigan 

Jacket or hooded cardigans are front open and look like a jacket. Some of them have a zipper as well. If you want to pull a casual look, wear this type of cardigan with blue jeans. These days, many of the jackets are coming with hoods, thus called hoodies. They are good to go if you want a sporty look. 

Hooded cardigans go well with sweatpants as well as jeans and can be knee-length, waist-length, and hip-length. They come in different fabrics, including linen-cotton, knitted-wool, lace, and even cashmere. 

Cropped Cardigan

These cardigans end right below the chest area and are made up of thin materials like lace. They are perfect to team with long dresses having printed fabrics. Wear the cardigan having solid colors to accent the dress. You can also wear them with nightgowns. 

Mostly, cropped cardigans have hooks or buttons in the front. However, they are designed to be left open. These cardigans are made of lace, knitted-wool, linen, cashmere, and linen-cotton. Depending on their material, you can wear them with both dresses and more casual outfits. These cardigans have short or three-quarter sleeves. Their maximum length is waist-level, as they are meant to accent the dress. 

Belted Cardigan 

Belted cardigans are classier and more stylish. Besides, they also keep you warm, as they are made of linen, linen-cotton, knitted-wool, and cashmere. However, avoid the belted cardigan if you are overweight or plump. The belt makes the midriff area prominent. 

That is why it suits the slim, well-toned bodies better. Belted cardigans are available in different lengths. They are usually fairly long, but they also come in short lengths. Regardless of the size, they look good in jeans, leggings, stockings, dress slacks, and high boots. They can go with both dressy and casual outlook. 

Long Cardigan 

This kind of cardigan is similar to open cardigans only that it is longer, as the name suggests. It comes down to the ankles or at least below the knee. That is why it is a perfect substitute for long coats. So, if you do not want to put on an extra-large or a bulky overcoat, the long cardigan is your way out. It is easy to carry and offers the same benefits as the overcoat does. 

A long cardigan comes with large buttons or a zipper on the front. It suits people who are lean or thin. Moreover, it is usually very dressy, but you can wear it on casual occasions as well. 

As for the fabric, a long cardigan can be made of polyester-wool, knitted wool, or even cashmere. It looks great with anything from regular trousers and leggings to jeans and even stockings. 

Tunic Cardigan 

These cardigans are extra-long and can be with or without buttons/zipper. They are similar to a basic cardigan with one difference they reach right above the knee. They are usually made of polyester wool, knitted wool, or linen cotton. 

Tunic cardigan goes well with stockings or jeans and looks fabulous with long boots. It offers more coverage of your body as compared to a regular cardigan. Also, it comes in a variety of colors, styles, and designs. It can meet your winter or fall needs as long as the weather is not extremely cold. 

Open Cardigan

Open cardigan comes in different styles, but one feature is the same in all of the styles— front open without any buttons or zippers. If you want to close the front section, you will have to pull the front side together with your hands. 

This cardigan comes in a wide variety of styles and colors, be it a basic, solid-colored cardigan or that with fancy geometric designs. It is made of linen cotton, polyester wool, or knitted wool. It goes well with tee shirts, tank tops, and jeans. As for its length, it usually reaches below the knees.

Wrap Cardigan

Wrap cardigan is similar to the open cardigan, but it is more protective against the external environment. You can wrap it around you like a shawl. This cardigan is a big hit in the fashion world these days. It looks good with skinny jeans or leggings along with boots. Moreover, if you do not want people to know your weight, wrap cardigan can help you with that.

What is the difference between cardigans and sweaters?

Cardigan is a type of sweater, which is lighter and thinner than the other types. Moreover, cardigans are mostly machine-knitted and suitable for autumn and spring season while sweaters are an extreme-weather outfit, as they are warmer and thicker. Cardigan reaches below the upper body while other types of sweater usually cover arms and upper body. It opens at the front while some sweaters are not front open. 

Also, a cardigan is suitable for dressy events like garden parties, while sweaters are deemed as casual wear. The cardigan is worn over some other outfit while sweaters can be worn without wearing any other garment underneath. 

What do you wear under a cardigan?

The cardigan is a versatile garment that goes with a variety of outfits. Here are a few ideas regarding what to wear under a cardigan. 


You can wear button-down clothing underneath a cardigan. Silk, plaid, or classic button-down outfit is a perfect match for a loose cardigan. This outfit offers a dimension to the simple, one-note cardigan, rendering the overall look more interesting. 

A combination of plaid and oatmeal exudes style, especially when worn with blue jeans. This can be a trendsetter for fall. White jeans can also set the tone of the advent of winter with this combination. 

Silk Tank

Silk tank is also a good outfit to wear with a simple, cozy cardigan. It can pull off a casual look and is a perfect combo for a date. An oversized cardigan will pair better with a silk tank than a well-fitted cardigan.


As the dictum goes, simple is beautiful. A simple t-shirt is the best combination with any type of cardigan. It gives off a relaxed, comfortable look and does not require much of an effort on your behalf. If you want to add more interest to your clothes, try a printed T-shirt with a statement necklace. 

Long Tunic 

Go for a short-over-long look with a long tunic. It will prevent the cardigan from appearing too frumpy or boxy. It looks legit with a fitted cardigan. 

Printed Outfit 

You can wear a bold print like dots, stripes, or florals under a solid cardigan. This style makes such busy prints look more sophisticated. You can augment the look by wearing white or blue jeans with it. 

Bright Colors 

Wear a brightly colored top under a plain, simple cardigan, or you can reverse it by combining the plain top with a brightly colored cardigan. The point here is to maintain balance. Match cobalt, grass green, yellow, and hot pink with any plain outfit. 

Dress with Long Cardigan 

You can wear a fitted, thin dress with a long cardigan. It will give a dressy as well as a cozier look. A long cardigan teamed with a summer sundress is a perfect fall-look and is more practical in terms of your wardrobe’s mileage.

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