How To Wear Cardigan Outfits & Avoid Fashion Fails

Cardigan Outfits are one of those style combinations that can either make or break you as a fashion Diva. But, lets face it, Cardigans are one of those things that most if not every woman has in her wardrobe. Cardigans come in all shapes, sizes, colors, and prints, but, as we shall discover, all are not created equal. Some cardigan outfits and style combinations are better for some body types where other combinations fail embarrassingly. It can get so confusing, not to mention frustrating sometimes, but matching the correct cardigan style for your body type is important. 

Here are four different cardigan outfits - where they go wrong and you can avoid this fashion fatality.

A Waist-Length or Cropped Cardigan

First up, the most common and classic style of cardigan is the waist-length cardigan. I don’t own any cropped cardigans, so I’m lumping the waist length and cropped cardigans together. 

Fashion  Fail

If you are going to wear cropped cardigans, please, please, please DON'T layer them over a long blouse or top. As you can see from the picture, the difference in lengths creates confusion and distorts your overall body shape. Creating a most unflattering effect and a definite fashion fail.

How many times have you seen this or done this yourself? It is a common mistake but one that is easily corrected. But, of course, if you are into Grunge or a casual street style, this might be a look you want.

Fashion Flare

Define your waistline. Match a cropped cardigan with high waisted pants or skirts, A-Frame dresses or belted maxi/midis.

If you wear a blouse or shirt, tuck it in under a belt to help define a cutoff point for your top. 

Always bear in mind, the hem of your cardigan should never go more than a few inches past your belt or waist band to keep a good balance and symmetry.

Oversized Cardigan Outfits

Oversized cardigans can look amazing when matched with the right bottoms. With the bulk and size this cardigan can add, a fatal mistake that many of us make is matching it with loose bottoms. That means, maxi skirts, loose rompers and boyfriend jeans are out unless you are going for a street-grunge look. Quite often the wideness of the cardigan combined with the widening effect of the pants on the bottom have the overall effect of making you look... Wide. When you wear cardigan outfits, make them flatter you, not flaw you.

Instead, think slimming, thin style bottoms. Skinny jeans, pencils, fitted or bodycon skirts all work well. Create a size contrast to balance out the size of the cardigan.

Cheche luv fashion cardigan outfits

Hi, I'm Cheche... I love fashion, travel and enjoying life. I am the CEO and one of the founders of Luv Fashion.

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Fashion Mistakes With Cardigan Outfits & How To Avoid Them

The Wrap Cardigan

A wrap cardigan is basically a button-up cardigan without the buttons. Compared to usual cardigans, a wrap cardigan is sleeker and, in my opinion, slightly more elegant. It's also flattering as there are no buttons to add bulk around your tummy area. What I really like about this style is the sleek, button-free front which can add a pretty drapey texture to your outfit. Although I love the warp cardigan, I do have some reservations about it.

Cardigan outfits excessive layers
Excessive Layering

Warning - Try not to drape or layer excessively. Too much draping can add a lot of bulk to your outfit, ultimately causing you to appear larger or clunkier around the waist and hips. However, for those wanting to create curves, this might be a good thing. Just don't overdo it, balance is key :-) 

For example, if you simply must wear your fav chunky knit open cardigan - make sure your blouse or top is thinner and light-weight. 

The best way to disguise these areas is to avoid wearing too many bulky garments at the same time.

Wrap Cardigan Outfits

Here are a few styling strategies to employ: 

  • Wear the cardigan open without strapping it with a belt.  
  • Camouflage with dark colored tops. 
  • Wear a necklace, earrings, or accessories that highlight your best assets! 
Cardigan outfits Camouflage with dark colors
Camouflage with dark colors

Please avoid wearing a wrap cardigan with a short skirt. Take my word for it, it might seem like a good thing to do but the draped length creates odd-looking proportions with shorter skirts. If you're 5'4 or shorter you definitely need the correct length to your cardigan that augments and complements your height. I'm 5'2 and I learned a long time ago that taller women can wear long draped cardigans much better than shorter girls simply because they have a little more canvas to work with, so to speak. 

  • Dark jeans or pants work well with this cardigan because they help to elongate your silhouette, enhancing your figure. Drapey lapels create lovely long lines up and down your figure.  
  • Another trick is to wrap the draped ends together making it look smaller. If the wrap cardigan still makes you look and feel large, try wearing some heels to balance out the upper part of your body. 
  • Try wearing it with a belt to create chic, classy look. A wide belt adds a tough of edginess while a thin belt can make the cardigan outfit look sleek, chic and put together. 

The Boyfriend Cardigan

The "boyfriend" cardigan is typically slightly oversized and loose such as a cardigan borrowed from your boyfriend would typically be. This cardigan is often longer in length making it not only cute, but also making it useful in hiding those curves you don't want to show. This style works well when matched with knee length dresses, leggings or jeans. To give this outfit more definition and style, add a belt to cinch the waist. A textured or metallic belt will give any plain boyfriend cardigan the life it deserves. A great example of the Boyfriend Cardigan is a pic I showed you earlier in this article...

To achieve this chic look, wear a pale yellow knit sweater under a darker toned camel boyfriend cardigan. As you see, Blue skinny jeans and tight black thigh high boots balances out the long lines of the cardigan. I really like how this looks. This is a rare case where the skinny jeans and the thigh high boots can co-exist and look good.

Casual Single Button Knitted Long Cardigan


This long cardigan offers versatility that is key to wardrobe maximization that add contemporary-inspiration to achieve a trend-forward appeal. 

The cardigan outfits such as our next one successfully builds a casual business outfit around a black boyfriend cardigan. I love how the black cardigan and jeans are contrasted with the white button-up shirt and rolled up sleeves. A pair of black ballet flats can make the outfit look adorable.

Open Stitch Thick Boyfriend Cardigan


Team it with a white tee and your favorite jeans or leggings and flat sneaker or heeled ankle boots for a killer look.

This list is just the tip of the iceberg. There’s so much more that you can do depending on your style, taste, and occasion. You can never get bored discovering how to wear crop tops with shorts. Do you know of any other ways? Let us know by dropping in a text in the comments section below. We would love to hear from you. 

Love life... Luv Fashion


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