Cardigan Styling Tips

Cardigans are the perfect lightweight layer to wear when the crisp autumn weather arrives. My tips for choosing and wearing the correct cardigan for my shape include looking for a V-neck style that isn’t too thick and bulky. I also search for a type that ends mid-hip. I purchased the same cardigan in navy, red, and gray from Ann Taylor a couple of years ago, and I’ve been babying them. Unfortunately, it isn’t easy to find a cardigan that isn’t tunic length.

I layer thin, lightweight cardigans over tanks, shells, and sleeveless shirts only to avoid adding bulk. If I wore short-sleeve tees, the line would show, so I don’t even buy those anymore. When I wear wide-leg or flare leg pants, I wear a shorter, more fitted top. If I tuck in a shirt and wear a belt, I always wear a third piece and leave it open so that only the front shows.

I wore the nude mesh pumps for comfort and the heel height needed for the jeans. The bag and shoes are from a couple of years ago. The necklace was a birthday gift from my friend Suzanne last year. It is here. (Use the code SAS10 for $10 off any one item at Beauty in Stone Jewelry.)

Similar if not the same items in the shopping links: Cardigans here, here, and hereShirt – Jeans here and hereShoesBagBeltWatchBracelet.

We are fortunate to have a couple of fine stores in our area that feature olive oils, balsamic vinegar, whole olives, and delicious medleys. We visited the Abingdon Olive Oil Company on Saturday before our early dinner on the porch at the Peppermill. Pictured above are my purchases. The staff carefully packs and ships via priority mail if you are not local.

On Friday evening, I made mushroom pappardelle pasta topped with aged asiago cheese for date night. (The video here shows how to prepare mushrooms.) I found fresh made Italian bread at Publix, and adding a fresh salad makes the meal complete. Mr. Mickey is thrilled that I am learning to prepare some simple Italian dishes.

Some of the shopping links on this site may allow me to earn a small commission at no extra cost to you.

80 Comments
  1. Great look! Question for different topic…any suggestions for replacing the Covered Perfectly pants? The ones you suggested years ago were wonderful, mine are starting to show subtle wear and should be replaced. Any ideas appreciated!

  2. I bet Mr. Mickey does! I thought you were at a restaurant looking at that great dish. I LOVE those shoes! Your necklace is so pretty with that white and gray casual look!

  3. You look absolutely fabulous! I love when you post pictures of you wearing jeans. They are my favorite, especially come fall. And, I have that exact sweater so you have inspired me, once again! Enjoy your day.

  4. This is the type of outfit I would wear everyday! One exception- skinny jeans/narrow straight leg jeans for me. Lucky you to be able to wear such feminine shoes and do your long walks. Plantar fasciitis hit me this summer and for an active person (previous long distance runner) my life has been a nightmare.
    Thank you, too, for the very helpful post on how to wear jean jackets.
    Susan, you look like you’ve lost weight.

    1. I have also had Planta fasciitis in the past. It is dreadful!
      Later this week, I’ll show you how I get the proportions right with straight ankle jeans and a blazer. Striking a balance makes all the difference. My weight has stayed about the same, but I slim down some in the summer with my daily walks.

  5. A great source for v neck cardigan sweater is Uniglo. I love their merino wool cardigan. Quality is great. Mine have held up and so so signs of wear after 3 years of use.

  6. Love this look. How I wish I could tuck in and wear h a belt, unfortunately not a good look at the moment but I’m working on it! Your dinner looks very good.

  7. This is definitely a go to outfit for me, casual, but refined. You look absolutely wonderful!
    I watched the video on the preparing the mushrooms. They look so yummy! I know what’s on my grocery list. Have a good week, Susan!

  8. I’ve purchased items from Abingdon Olive Oil now I think I need to place an order. Also been to the Peppermill it was a favorite restaurant when we lived there. Especially the porch!!
    Also love the necklace I’m going to check that out. I’ve always loved your style.

  9. Susan, this is one of my favorite looks on you and can work in any casual setting. You look so good in grey and white!
    I would love to know the brand of the mesh block heeled pump.

  10. Susan, you always look perfect! I love the cardigan you are wearing, however I have developed a significant allergy to cashmere and wool. When you are showing sweaters, can you try to look for cotton and synthetic blends!

  11. Love your look. Can you suggest a little bit longer v neck cardigan? Not tunic length but maybe boyfriend length? I really love gray sweaters.
    Thanks, Judy

  12. You look beautiful with your jeans and cardigan. I will try the mushroom dish too. Thanks so much for your inspiration.

  13. Susan,

    You always give the best tips, thank you! I’ve just gone through my closet (again) and this time I removed all the cardigans without a v-neck. I’m shorter than you, but my build is similar to yours, and I hadn’t thought about why some of my cardigans look so much better than others until I read this post. So I just wanted to say thank you for always generously sharing tips that help so many of us to dress better than ever. You look terrific in that outfit, btw.

  14. Susan you look so “smart”, cute, stylish etc., as usual! One question I have for you–you mention on occasion that you are high waisted and ample-busted (as am I) yet you look good wearing belts and tucking in your tops. I almost never do. Even with my great Shapeez unlined minimizer, there is still barely any room between the bottom of the bust and the waist and I am so straight (narrow hips) that it just doesn’t look good. Maybe it is because I am only 5’1″? What is the trick?

    1. I would never wear this look without the open third piece. When only the front part of the waistline is showing, my issues are not so obvious. The vertical lines of the open cardigan “cut” the volume, and the fact that it ends mid-hip makes my proportions look much more normal. You may find that you look better wearing the top out if it is not too long, but avoid wearing a top and sweater of the same length. It will defeat the purpose of the third piece.

  15. I am still looking for a red cardigan. I was told by a salesperson that the best time to purchase red is around Christmas. Could you do a segment on red. Maybe around Christmas so we could fine these items. Thank you I have now changed my clothing purchase with the help of your guidelines. I get more compliments now and that feels good. I also have changed me eating, vegetarian for health reasons. You inspire me to keep going. Thank you

    1. I’m not good at following recipes. I make it up as I go along and rarely create the same thing twice.
      So here is the jest of how I created the dish.

      2 Tbsp of olive oil
      2 Tbsp of unsalted butter
      1lb of mixed mushrooms, roughly torn or cut in half
      1 yellow or sweet onion, chopped
      3 cloves of garlic, sliced
      3/4 cup of dry Marsala wine
      You can also use chicken stock to make the sauce. You may need to add more cheese to thicken it. You can also use corn starch.
      salt and pepper to taste
      fresh chopped parsley
      asiago cheese and or Parmigiano-Reggiano

      1) Add one tablespoon of butter and the oil into a large non-stick skillet, melt over medium-high heat.

      2) To the skillet (add a touch more oil if needed), add the mushrooms and onions and a pinch of salt, sauté on medium heat, until they brown and soften, about 10 minutes, add the garlic and cook for 30 more seconds.

      3) Deglaze with the Marsala, allow it to reduce by half, bring to a bubble, reduce the heat to medium-low and cook for about 10 minutes or until the sauce has thickened and reduced by about half.

      Cook the pasta in a big pot of boiling water for two minutes less than the package states. Remove the pasta and place it in the pan of cooking mushrooms. Toss well and simmer for two more minutes. Don’t let the mixture get dry. Add the cooking water from the pasta as needed.
      Watch the video here for more professional instructions. Also watch the video here.

  16. Love this post today! It made me go directly to my closet to see how the very similar pieces I have would work together. Inspiration once again. The murals at the Peppermill are so unique. Your pasta dish looks so yummy. I make Tagliatelle Mushroom Bolognese with mushrooms, carrots, onion, garlic, EVOO, thyme, crushed tomatoes. I will definitely try your pasta dish. The video is very helpful. Before you know it maybe we’ll see a “Cooking At Home With Susan” cookbook 😉
    Looking forward to picking up “Always Italy” by Frances Mayes at the library tomorrow. Thanks for the smiles today.

  17. You are so fortunate to have found such a great cardigan. Tunics and round necks are plentiful. Drapey uneven hemmed ones are not flattering to us full figured ladies – too much fabric.

  18. Love your outfit and style! I am currently redoing my wardrobe and have learnt a lot from your posts. Also want to thank you for the video to clean mushrooms, so funny that I have been washing them all these years and wiping them is definitely the way to go!

  19. This is a great look on you Susan. I appreciate the time you take in sharing your fashion wisdom. I also am a vegetarian and enjoy looking at your yummy meals too.

  20. If you have a big bum like me, a long tunic sweater will just accentuate it. I have a picture of me from behind walking hand in hand in a tunic length sweater with my grandson and I was horrified when I saw it! I think a shorter sweater, which would have cut the size of my bum would have been much better.

  21. Love this outfit on you and will do my best to replicate it now that fall is around the corner. I need to purchase a white shirt like this one. I have so enjoyed all your tips and look forward to more posts. Thank you for taking the time to share this delicious recipe. So appreciate all your efforts.

    1. I always wear a hat while outside for more than a few minutes. Also, try not to wash your hair more than three times a week. Too many products can weigh your hair down as well as cause a build-up. I use a purple shampoo (here) a couple of times per month to keep my gray bright, but don’t leave it on too long because it can be very drying. My other hair care products are here.

  22. Love this outfit! I love gray but feel so drab in it since my hair is now “natural “! You look beautiful as always. Maybe I need a lipstick!

  23. I’ve been following you for a couple of years and that is my favorite look on you. My eyes go straight to your face. I know what sweaters I’ll be looking for going forward.

  24. I love this outfit on you! Very flattering! Your pasta dish looks delicious! I’ll be checking out the video. Did you make your own noodles? They look freshly made.

  25. Yes indeed, finding a v-neck cardigan that isn’t finger tip length is quite a challenge and I too stock up when located. Your outfit looks fantastic.

  26. You look terrific, as everybody has said. I noticed that the cuffs of the sleeves are turned up, not just pushed up. It seems to make the look more refined. A great look.

  27. Thanks Susan. It’s going to be sweater weather here soon and I’ve got some cardigans. I also watched the video and those mushrooms look delicious. Thank you and say hi to Mr. Mickey.

  28. I LOVE the look you have on with the jeans, shirt, cardigan!!! You also look tall and thin. I’m 4’10” so I look for these combos. I have several short length sweaters I won’t get rid of and I’m glad they’re returning. Susan, you look marvelous and I truly appreciate this info. Great job!

  29. Susan, you always look so elegant and put together. Since the pandemic, I have gotten away from accessorizing. I need to re think my daily choices.

  30. Great look! Getting sweaters and sleeveless shirts out of my closet now. Let’s see how many outfits I can make !

  31. Love this outfit! Crisp white shirt and jeans with a cardigan. All my favorite colors as well. Thank you for sharing, wish those cardigans were available!

    1. My shoulders and upper back are the widest part of my body. In addition, I have a flat behind and straight hips, so that equals an inverted triangle shape. When I gain weight, it shows in my middle first, which means I have a secondary apple shape.

  32. Terrific casual look. You always look so chic no matter what you’re wearing.
    The long tunic sweaters are here to stay I guess. Maybe we’ll be lucky and the short/cropped cardigans will make a come back like everything else.
    At 5′ 2″, I never even gave the length of a sweater a thought, but now I’ve learned that short is better. The long ones do cover the hips however; which is a good thing on this body!

  33. Susan, you do a great job of explaining how to pull an outfit together! I have read your emails for a few years now…always a good tip and interesting! I’ve adopted many of your tips and remind myself recycling year-to-year favorites, with new pieces is the way to go. I appreciate your referral sites…it makes new additions a lot easier!

    Thank you for your classic style updates.

  34. I always enjoy your posts! I have several lengths of cardigan for year round wear. I am rethinking how I wear them. Thanks.

  35. Susan, I am late seeing your post. I just have to say I love your new hairstyle on you! I know you said it was shorter than you intended but I think this is your most flattering cut yet!

  36. Thank you so much for the comments on the length of the sweater. I have struggled with that since my hips are wider than yours, yet I don’t want a sweater to stop at the widest part of my body. As always, you inspire me with your comments—thank you!

    1. I’m not good at following recipes. I make it up as I go along and rarely create the same thing twice.
      So here is the jest of how I created the dish.

      2 Tbsp of olive oil
      2 Tbsp of unsalted butter
      1lb of mixed mushrooms, roughly torn or cut in half
      1 yellow or sweet onion, chopped
      3 cloves of garlic, sliced
      3/4 cup of dry Marsala wine
      You can also use chicken stock to make the sauce. You may need to add more cheese to thicken it. You can also use corn starch.
      salt and pepper to taste
      fresh chopped parsley
      asiago cheese and or Parmigiano-Reggiano

      1) Add one tablespoon of butter and the oil into a large non-stick skillet, melt over medium-high heat.

      2) To the skillet (add a touch more oil if needed), add the mushrooms and onions and a pinch of salt, sauté on medium heat, until they brown and soften, about 10 minutes, add the garlic and cook for 30 more seconds.

      3) Deglaze with the Marsala, allow it to reduce by half, bring to a bubble, reduce the heat to medium-low and cook for about 10 minutes or until the sauce has thickened and reduced by about half.

      Cook the pasta in a big pot of boiling water for two minutes less than the package states. Remove the pasta and place it in the pan of cooking mushrooms. Toss well and simmer for two more minutes. Don’t let the mixture get dry. Add the cooking water from the pasta as needed.
      Watch the video here for more professional instructions. Also, watch the video here.

  37. I found and just purchased 4 shorter cardigans from Talbots, which I think I will enjoy. They are v-neck and shorter. Sine I am 4″11″ and petite, I really like them. I love Talbots Perfect shirts and the Classic. I do wear the bateau neck. Thanks again for your wonderful articles

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I blogged for five years as Fifty, not Frumpy. Now that I am in my sixties, I am sharing ideas and inspiration for using and loving what you already have.

Thank you!
Susan

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