17 Anything-but-Traditional Cardigans to Snatch Up This Winter
Single-digit temps, we don’t like you, but we’re making due. Cue the cheeky cold-weather accessories, trend-right puffer jackets and heavy knit Aran sweaters that promise to deliver never-ending warmth and hold you down on the style front. While we *wish* there was some top-secret formula for mastering cold-weather dressing, spoiler alert: there’s not. But arming yourself with LOTS of layers is a great start. Before you go reaching for yet another predictable cable knit sweater, why not show some love for a snazzy cardigan that’s practically a wardrobe workhorse in its own right? Forget the stuffy librarian-chic and Granny-approved cardis that once haunted you during your grade school days — the latest crop of cardigans is anything but snoozy. Ahead, you’ll find 17 eclectic boss babe-approved cardigans that’ll cure a case of the December blues and elevate you to street MVP status like that.
1. Free People Her Cardigan ($680): Let’s hear it for fluorescent brights that can be spotted at least a mile away on bleak winter days when the weather is rather meh. This effortless throw-on-and-go knit cardigan — in a look-at-me shade of hot pink, no less — is giving us ALL the ‘90s feels. Don’t be surprised if we whip out a lace slip, a slouchy beanie, acid-wash jeans and lace-up Docs any second now in nostalgia.
2. Front Row Shop Leopard Oversized Wool-Blend Cardigan ($127): If eccentric is your middle name, then you best believe this oversized leopard print cardigan will be right up your alley. In order to achieve the right amount of quirk factor, DO toss it on with a graphic t-shirt, a swishy metallic pleat skirt and Adidas Superstars.
3. Staud The Akira Cardigan ($235): Wake up, sleepy head! Just because you’re strapped for time doesn’t mean you can’t roll out of bed looking flawless. This cashmere and wool blend cardigan featuring a contrast trim is meant to be teamed with everything from cropped denim flares to laid back-chic velveteen bottoms for a look that’s anything but mainstream. Snow day fun? Pop this bad boy over a thin turtleneck for maximum warmth and staying power.
4. Motel Arlo Sequin Cardigan ($148): Why NOT make sporting holographic sequin paillettes 365 days a year the new thang? Perhaps you’ll reach for this OTT sequined cardigan for a New Year’s Eve bash at the club, or maybe you’re ready to take it out for a spin on the streets. Either way, this party-ready cardi packs way too much panache to fly under the radar or gather dust in the back of your closet.
5. Madewell Ryder Cardigan Sweater in Bird’s-Eye Windowpane ($110): When it comes to cardigans and knits, we fully trust that Madewell will come through. Sure enough, they’ve managed to work their sartorial magic once again. Whether you’re a busy bee, a homebody or a self-proclaimed #girlboss (or all three!), you’ll seek solace in this slouchy grandpa-style cardigan that never tries too hard. The minimalist windowpane print is conservative enough for your nine-to-five, dialed down enough for traveling and cool-girl enough for hanging low on the weekend.
6. ASTR Frances Fringe Duster Cardigan ($149): Usher in some post-festival season flair with this fringe duster cardigan that will slay — you can bet on that. Wear it over a velvet slip dress and mid-heel ankle boots for a GNO, or belt it over some flea market flares and chunky clogs for a boho-meets-Southwestern vibe.
7. H&M Metallic-Print Cardigan ($40): Did someone say daytime sparkle? Right this way for a little (or a LOT of) extra seasonal cheer. Don’t hesitate to reach for this shimmery turquoise metallic knit cardigan the next time a case of the outfits blahs hits. Day or night, work or play, it’s a certified crowd-pleaser.
8. Mango Flared Sleeve Cardigan ($80): If there’s one trend Instababes are flocking to these days, it’s an extra-wide sleeve that demands attention. Channel those comfy-cozy log cabin vibes with this cream-colored bell-sleeve cardigan that’s just as comfortable as it looks. (Take note: The black contrast trim reads more urban sophisticate than frumpy stay-at-home grandma.) With black culottes and simple pearl studs on standby, it’ll even pass for the boardroom with flying colors.
9. J.Crew Lightweight Wool Cardigan Sweater in Zebra Print ($78): Even J.Crew is shaking up their cardigan game this season. Combat a case of the mundane Mondays with this bright and cheery red cardigan that’s begging to be styled with a chambray shirt (a signature half-tuck required, natch) or a plain white tee. The well-placed prancing zebra embroideries are guaranteed to elicit smiles from random passersby and moody co-workers alike.
10. Glamorous Looping You In Shag Cardigan ($168): What to wear when you’re heading straight from dinner to drinks? All signs point to this textured shag cardigan that brings the diva appeal. Hitting the dance floor in stiletto ankle booties and a plunging-neck bodysuit will be non-negotiable, if we have any say in the matter.
11. Callahan Studded Cardigan ($212): Resist the urge to play it safe with this DGAF studded cardigan that would put our girl RiRi out of business (just kidding… sort of). Team it with high-shine leather pants, an alternative ear cuff and a vintage band tee for all affairs occurring in the p.m. Fierce would be an understatement.
12. ModCloth Practice Team-Quirk Cardigan ($55): We don’t know about you, but we’re on #TeamQuirk. The more patches, the better for a look that says, “You do you, girl.” This collegiate-inspired varsity striped cardigan will double for a low-key work sesh at your fave coffee shop or a weekend spent Netflixing and chilling from the comfort of your futon. Count us in, please.
13. Rag & Bone Jackson Intarsia Merino Wool Cardigan ($575): Splurge a little, why don’t ya, for this intarsia wool cardigan you’ll inevitably wear every. Single. Day. Cozy doesn’t even begin to explain just how comfortable you’ll be sporting this layering piece alongside a longline wool coat and OTK boots. The arrow print design will lend itself well to many casual ensembles, though we’re partial to a white pocket tee, black skinnies and Chelsea boots for a downtown vibe.
14. Ecote Icon Bomber Sweater ($98): Just when you thought your obsession with bomber jackets couldn’t get any more out of hand, you discover this retro-looking cardigan that will serve as your sidekick in disguise — AKA, you won’t be able to put it down. Designed for babes who walk to the beat of their own drum, this slouchy zip-up knit cardi featuring a bold heart graphic on the back can be paired with anything from a tulle party dress to vintage mom jeans for a rad look.
15. Free People Geneva Cardi ($298): Boho days have arrived: If this fuzzy embroidered cardigan doesn’t make you want to reach for a felt fedora and suede desert boots, then we don’t know what will. Beyond the I-just-returned-from-Coachella appeal, it’s guaranteed to stun with gray skinny jeans and a fringed crossbody bag for a photo op at your family’s tree farm. Not to mention it’s made to keep you company when on the road — hello, dreaded airport queues and overnight flights.
16. Scotch & Soda Short Knitted Cardigan ($169): Part ‘70s revival, part rockstar, this colorful knit cardigan is the ceaselessly chic layering piece you didn’t know you needed, but now won’t be able to live without. Is it too late to point out the beaded bug brooch that calls to mind something from your grandma’s jewelry box? Delivering up a medley of bold patterns and an equally zany palette, this dynamic cardigan is for the risk-taker in all of us.
17. Lazy Oaf Mono Oversized College Cardigan With Back Slogan ($98): Lazy? Us? Nah. LA girls, don’t hesitate to style this alongside some vintage denim cutoffs, distressed biker boots and a messy topknot for an afternoon spent shopping at The Grove. You don’t have to tell us twice.
Which of these next-level cardigans will you be investing in? Follow us on Pinterest for more colorful style inspo!
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