How to Wear a Cardigan Sweater 5 Different Ways

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How to wear a cardigan sweater 5 different ways

How to Wear a Cardigan Sweater 5 Different Ways

We all know how to wear a cardigan sweater the traditional way. Especially the short cardigans that we grew up wearing. While the longer cardigans are more fashionable as late, I wholeheartedly think we can wear what we have and still look modern. See if you agree.

Quote of the day: “I believe that every person is born with talent.” Maya Angelou

One of my Forever Fierce friends, Amy, once joked that I could style a parka jacket 20 different ways as my talent. And she’s probably right, LOL! I have no idea why I love the idea of making our items work in more than one way. Yet, it’s fun for me and hopefully gives you ideas that you might not have thought of otherwise. It’s also part of my “fix it” mentality, to make our clothing work for many occasions.
This is no different than how I try to give ideas of how to make a wrap top more modest or wear a skirt that you may think is too short.

In fact, many of my earlier posts on the blog used this same idea of styling the exact same piece for casual, business and dress up. You may remember how we experimented with this for bomber jackets and ankle pants.

Short cardigan outfit

Wearing a Cardigan the Traditional Way

Wearing a short cardigan over another top or dress is norm. And there is nothing wrong with wearing it this way. What I will suggest is that since the shorter cardigans could be considered out of date, it will help to add modern elements to the look.

For this look above, I tried to incorporate a contemporary vibe by print mixing with my pants and top, along with wearing my peep toe booties. This blouse has seen many changes. The original blouse started tearing under the arm, so I had my mom put on different sleeves that you can see in this older post.
Obviously I am hard on my clothing because the same thing happened with these sleeves after many wears. Therefore, I just removed the sleeves and I am now wearing it sleeveless.

Insider tip: Another great way to make an outfit fresher is to throw in a different color purse instead of trying to match it to the outfit. Lesley did this recently with a red backpack if you need another example.

Wear your sweater backwards

Wear Your Top Backwards

This trick is something my mom practices regularly when she feels that a top is too low in the front. It’s one of the hacks I used to make my wrap top more modest.
If you are going to wear a top this way, make sure to see if the label is obvious. You can take out the label (and if you want it in the sweater for the future, resew it in a side seam). Or you can try to hide it with a scarf (like I did above) or use a brooch and/or necklace (like Nancy and Charlotte did in this post) to camouflage it.

Insider tip: Button up your cardigan first and then pull it over your head to wear it this way.

How to Wear a Cardigan Sweater Under Other Items

The opposite of how we usually wear a cardigan is wearing it under other items instead of over them. Even though it is considered a topper, that doesn’t mean it can’t be versatile. Let me give you three examples of how that can work.

Wearing a cardigan under a vest

Wearing your Cardigan under a Vest

As a self proclaimed vest lover, I feel they are underappreciated. It’s understandable if I think back to how I used to wear them. In the past I only thought to wear them over a blouse or top. And since I tend to be cold most of the time, they didn’t seem to add enough warmth.
However, after realizing that a vest could be worn over a sweater (like above) or even a jacket (like we’ve shown before), vests took on a whole different meaning.

This olive green vest has been featured before in this series. In fact, I layered it over a sweater, but showcased the sweater buttoned up. If you leave the cardigan unbuttoned, most of the time you only see the sleeves.

Insider tip: My top is actually a tunic. If the tunic is thin enough, you can wear it as a top by tucking it into your jeans.

How to wear a cardigan sweater under a dress

How to Wear a Cardigan Sweater under a Dress

Wearing your cardigan under a sleeveless dress can add the warmth you need without taking away the focal point off the dress. The drawback, of course, is if you get too warm, it’s not as easy to take it off, LOL!
However, many women comment that it’s hard to find dresses with sleeves. So if you have many sleeveless dresses, this is an option.

We have shown how to style a white blouse in the same manner in the past. The concept of wearing another top under your dress would even work with a t-shirt, turtleneck or any other kind of top.

Insider tip: I added the scarf to cover up the discrepancy of the collars.

How to wear a cardigan sweater under a blazer

Wear Your Cardigan as a Top

Another example of wearing your cardigan under other items would be wearing it under any jacket as a top. This is one reason to organize your pieces by color in your closet.

This makes your cardigan work even for a business outfit and yet you still look pulled together if you need to remove the blazer.

Insider tip: When I style my sweaters this way (and below) I will wear a short sleeve t-shirt underneath. This means I don’t need to wash the sweater as much, which makes it last longer.

5 ways of how to wear a cardigan sweater

Photo credit: Rob Filogomo


My good friend sent me this turquoise cardigan as it used to be her mother’s sweater.

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