A long cardigan is one of the most overlooked year-round closet staples, and if you love them, you’re in good company. These aren’t your grandma’s cardigans—there are endless ways to wear a long cardigan so that you look stylish and put together while remaining warm and comfortable. Today I’m sharing 10 long cardigan outfit ideas to give you a fresh perspective on this elegant piece, whether you want to dress it up for work, wear it in your home office, or keep things casual for the weekend.
Note: Below, I’m styling a few of my favorite long duster cardigans—a few also qualify as coatigans, but most of these outfit ideas will work with mid- to maxi cardigans regardless of weight and color.
1. With Booties and a Tee
Starting with the simplest option of all: a long cardigan, jeans, and a crewneck t-shirt or crisp white button-down.. There’s very little that can go wrong with this look, so it’s my personal favorite when I want to feel put together but my creative style juices aren’t flowing. Finish this casual outfit with comfortable ankle boots and everyday jewelry. I recommend slim straight leg jeans in an ankle length—this is ideal for different boot shaft heights.
2. In a Monochrome Look
Dressing in monochrome is an easy way to look polished regardless of the season. Layer a cream, beige, or white cardigan over a sweater, white jeans, and heels for a streamlined outfit that’s office and date night ready. To dress it down, just swap in sneakers, loafers, flats, slingbacks, or booties in a coordinating color.
3. Layer Black on Black
Black on black looks often get pigeonholed as edgy, but that doesn’t have to be the case. Try a black cardigan with faux leather leggings, sneakers, and a long sleeve white tee or white hoodie. I love this casual look for school dropoff, a morning coffee run, or errands. A note on the leggings: I prefer Commando faux leather leggings to Spanx as they have a slight sheen that more closely resembles real leather.
4. Mixing Neutrals
Try color blocking in a neutral palette by pairing a tan cardigan with a black tee and white jeans. If this combo feels boring to you, add interest with a patterned bag or scarf. In fall and winter, a houndstooth, check, or plaid print would make the whole look pop.
5. With a Dress
Try styling a long cardigan over a midi or maxi dress. Sleeveless or bodycon dresses will work best to help avoid any bulk in the arm area, and I recommend opting for a slim-fit, longline cardigan instead of an oversized cardigan as the latter can swallow your figure. Play with different dress and cardigan lengths until you find a combination that feels balanced. If you feel like you’re losing your waist, belt the dress.
6. With a Blouse
One of the main reasons a long cardigan is such a great essential to have on hand is that it can both elevate casual pieces and dress down formal styles. For instance, if you’re wearing a satin blouse with trousers and heels, a long cardigan will dress down the whole ensemble. Swap the blouse for a lace camisole, and suddenly you have a date-night-ready look.
7. Break Up a Mini Skirt
If you want the relaxed vibe of a long cardigan and the playfulness of a mini skirt, just wear both. Try a mini with a bodysuit and over-the-knee boots, then layer a long cardigan to break up the look. The cardi will add drape and length to the entire ensemble while also toning down the sexiness of the mini skirt.
8. Out For Date Night
To style a long cardigan for date night, try pairing a v-neck top or lace cami with ankle length skinny jeans, strappy heels, and a clutch. I love this option for early fall and late spring because the cardigan functions as a coat that can be removed once you’re indoors or want to show a little more skin.
9. Over a Jumpsuit
Try styling a white, tan, or beige cardigan over a sleeveless black jumpsuit to make your summer and spring jumpsuits cold-weather friendly. You could definitely try a black on black long cardigan outfit here, but I like adding in a lighter color cardigan to break things up. If you have a white or tan jumpsuit, do the opposite, invert this formula. As for shoes, try a tall shaft ankle boot (the hemline of the jumpsuit should cover the top of the shaft), slingbacks, or d’orsay heels.
10. With Wide Leg Pants
Last but not least, lean into the length of the cardigan with wide-leg pants, a fitted top or bodysuit, and a belt. The belt is crucial to create your waist, which would otherwise get lost between the black top and black pants. This is a gorgeous statement look for an important meeting at the office but could also be dinner-party friendly with a v-neck fitted top or even a tucked-in lace camisole.
Long Cardigans & Dusters
Long Cardigan Styling Tips
Not all long and duster cardigans are equal, so here are a few important tips to keep in mind when shopping for and wearing long cardigan outfits.
- Look for long cardis that balance a sophisticated, tailored cut with a laid-back vibe. This is the sweet spot for feeling comfortable in them without looking baggy.
- Here are a few specific specs to watch out for. Avoid chunky knits, cable knits, bell sleeves, and large patch pockets; look for side slit or diagonal pockets, a relaxed (but not oversized) fit, and elongating details, like side slits.
- Keep cool and warm tones in mind when choosing beige and white cardigans. Take an audit of your closet before you buy & find a cardigan with that color palette in mind (for example, mushroom beige will go with more cool tones; ivory bone will go with more warm tones). I like to have long cardigans in a few different colors in my closet: a grey cardigan, warm white cardigan, and pure black cardigan are a great starting place!
- Pay attention to the collar. Shawl collar and collarless cardigans are the most versatile, while notch collar, peak lapel, and single breasted styles usually layer best over collarless tops (crewneck sweaters, v-neck bodysuits) and turtleneck sweaters.
- Keep the buttons in mind. Some of my button-down cardigans can double as a dress, which is so fun for early fall, but they usually look best over simple tops, bottoms, and dresses (think solid colors and minimal lines) when it comes time to layer.