The Corporette Guide to Stylish Cardigans for the Office

stylish-cardigans-workWe shared our first Corporette Guide to Cardigans way back in 2010, so we figured it was time for an update — and the timing is just right for those of you who freeze in your air-conditioned offices during the summer, or are shopping for easy layering pieces for the fall.  We’ve talked about how how to button cardigans for work in the past, as well as how to buy seasonless cardigans.

Ladies — which is your favorite KIND of cardigan to wear to the office? Do you have a favorite brand or style that you keep buying, or have stocked up on recently?  What are your biggest struggles with finding stylish cardigans for work, or styling them to look appropriate for work? 

 

stylish cardigans for office1. Banded. These cardigans have some banding at the bottom and (usually) on the sleeves, which makes their shape a bit blousy or boxy. They can come with a matching shell for a twinset look, or be worn by themselves with, for example, a button-front shirt or blouse, or a nice tank or tee (such as the cardi pictured, Saxxon Wool Cardigan, available at Brooks Brothers in nine colors for $148). Because these kinds of cardis have their own shape, they’re less than ideal for wearing with dresses, and, for our $.02, best with pants. Ideally you want full-length sleeves so that you can easily wrap it around your neck if you need to — that said, three-quarter length sleeves are very popular, such as this Halogen cardigan (20+ colors, regular, petites, and plus sizes, for $27-$56). If the twinset is very boxy (think a more Jackie O cut), then they can be worn over your shoulders, almost like a cape. Other examples: reader favorite Supima Cardigan at Lands’ End ($19-$89, a zillion colors and prints, regular, petite, and plus sizes), reader favorite Charming Cardigan at Talbots, $19-$99, this merino cardigan in 12 colors for $39 at Uniqlo, or this J.Crew cashmere cardigan (16 colors!, sizes XXS-XXL; pictured at very top). One of my budget favorites has always been August Silk — look for them at spots like TJ Maxx, but Amazon also carries them, as does Macy’s.

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Wednesday’s TPS Report: Cashmere Blazer – Shawl Collar with Pockets

Our daily TPS reports suggest one piece of work-appropriate attire in a range of prices.

Aqua Cashmere Blazer - Shawl Collar with PocketsI love a shrunken sweater blazer like this — perfect to wear with jeans (as styled) as well as with dresses, trousers, and more.  It’s just a bit more structured than a cardigan, and just a bit more comfortable than a blazer.  This cashmere blazer is marked to $165 (down from $220) at Bloomingdale’s, with free shipping.  Aqua Cashmere Blazer – Shawl Collar with Pockets

Seen a great piece you’d like to recommend? Please e-mail [email protected]
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Thursday’s TPS Report: Silk Cotton Interlock Shaped Jacket

Our daily TPS reports suggest one piece of work-appropriate attire in a range of prices.

Eileen Fisher Silk Cotton Interlock Shaped Jacket I think this could be a great basic cardigan/jacket for the office. It’s silk jersey, so you know it’s soft, the color will wear well, and it’ll hold it’s shape — and I really like the long slope of the collar, as well as the two buttons. I’d buy a size down and wear it with another color beneath it — something contrasting (like a purple tee beneath the green) could be fun, but something complementary (such as a navy sheath dress) could also be nice. Either way, it’s a great deal: the sweater was $258, and is now marked to $90 at Neiman Marcus (available in leaf, bark, or hibiscus in regular and petites). Eileen Fisher Silk Cotton Interlock Shaped Jacket

Seen a great piece you’d like to recommend? Please e-mail [email protected]
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Tuesday’s TPS Report: C by Bloomingdale’s Cashmere One Button Blazer

Our daily TPS reports suggest one piece of work-appropriate attire in a range of prices.

C by Bloomingdale's Cashmere One Button BlazericonI have gotten such use from my sweater blazers that I am always on the hunt for more, and this simple one-button one at Bloomingdale’s looks like it just might fit the bill. I like that it’s cashmere, and just about as basic as they come, with simple lapels and singular, high button. It’s available in black, red, gray, and a dark blue “nightfall,” all for $200. C by Bloomingdale’s Cashmere One Button Blazer


Seen a great piece you’d like to recommend? Please e-mail [email protected] with “TPS” in the subject line.

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The Hunt: Shrunken Blazers

Elizabeth and James 'Elizabeth' Shrunken Ponte Knit BlazerSure, we all know what basics professional women are supposed to have in their closets, but if you’re buying one for the first time or replacing one you’ve worn into the ground, it can be a pain to find exactly the right incarnation in stores. In “The Hunt,” we search the stores for a basic item that every woman should have.

One of my favorite wardrobe staples is the shrunken blazer.  It can be a great way to keep an outfit sleek (such as by adding it to a sheath dress) or to make a more casual outfit, more professional (by adding it on top of, say, a hip-length tunic blouse) — it’s also a great look with most jeans.  Expensive ones are easy to find (such as, say, the one pictured above (Elizabeth and James ‘Elizabeth’ Shrunken Ponte Knit Blazer, available at Nordstrom for $395) — but for today’s “Hunt,” I thought I’d look for ones under $150… If you’ve recently purchased a shrunken blazer, please let us know in comments!

Urban Renewal Vintage Wool Blazer The cheapest item on the list is this “vintage” wool blazer from Urban Outfitters.  Love the blue for the pop of color, but there’s also a more sedate army green.  At $48 it’s not a bad way to try the trend, but because it’s wool it probably won’t be as comfortable or as stretchy as many of the other ones featured here.   Urban Renewal Vintage Wool Blazer
Fitted Ponté-Knit Houndstooth Peplum JacketNext up, this ponte knit peplum jacket from Spiegel.  While I love the houndstooth pattern, I wish it came in solids.  It’s $59 at Spiegel (sizes 2-18). Fitted Ponté-Knit Houndstooth Peplum Jacket
Jones New York Signature Jacket, Three Button BlazerThis sweater blazer from Jones New York also fits the bill, particularly if you prefer a more relaxed fit to your “shrunken” sweater.  The seam at the waist is a nice touch, also.  It’s $69.98 at Macy’s (sizes S-XL). Jones New York Signature Jacket, Three Button Blazer
Aqua Ponte BlazerThis ponte blazer from Aqua brings comes with some interesting details reminiscent of menswear, most notably the shawl collar.  I’m also a fan of the interesting paneling on the back.  It’s $98 at Bloomingdale’s (sizes S-L). Aqua Ponte Blazer
Sun Spiral Jacket LOVE the unusual details on this “Sun Spiral Jacket” from Anthropologie — the pleats on the neckline and pocket, as well as the ornamental sun spiral on the front — gorgeous.  Also love that it’s a very wearable ivory — perhaps it’s just me, but I’d wear it January through August (and then stop, lest people think you’re still wearing summer clothes).  It’s $148 at Anthropologie (sizes 0-12). Sun Spiral Jacket

Like this feature? Check out other recent installments!

Bargain Friday’s TPS Report: Metallic Cardigan

Our daily TPS reports suggest one piece of work-appropriate attire in a range of prices.

Newport News Metallic CardiganWe always love a good sweater blazer, and this one from Newport News is no exception. We like the way it has the comfort of a sweater but the authority of a jacket, and we think the gray color gives it a ton of possibilities for outfits. Furthermore, the cable knit detailing on the sleeves and the front looks flattering and interesting.  It’s $45 at Newport News (formerly $99). Metallic Cardigan

If you’ve recently seen a great work piece you’d like to recommend to the readers, please e-mail [email protected] with “TPS” in the subject line. Unless you ask otherwise, we’ll refer to you by your first initial.

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