The Corporette Guide to Stylish Cardigans for the Office


2018 Update: We still stand by this guide to stylish cardigans for the office — but you may also want to check out our recent roundup of jardigans!

We 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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Weekend Open Thread

Leith High-Low Long Cardigan | CorporetteSomething on your mind? Chat about it here.

I like the look of this high/low long cardigan, part of the Nordstrom clearance sale — the navy, of course, is more my speed, but the rust is also nice. The sweater was $66, but is now $38.90. Leith High/Low Long Cardigan

Here’s a similar plus-size option.

Psst: See our recent roundup of the best workwear at Nordstrom’s sale.

Frugal Friday: Secret Sweater Layered Cardigan

The Grommet Secret Sweater Layering Cardigan | CorporetteOur daily TPS reports suggest one piece of work-appropriate attire in a range of prices.

In general I’m a fan of The Grommet for clever little inventions I never knew existed, so I was excited to get the email about this “secret sweater,” designed for layering beneath a blazer (or wearing on its own). It seems like a great response to the common reader question of how to look professional when it’s freezing in your office. I like that it’s designed to be packable, too, which helps you adjust on the fly. It’s $39.95 at The Grommet, available in a variety of colors. Secret Sweater Layered Cardigan

Seen a great piece you’’d like to recommend? Please e-mail [email protected]


Thursday’s TPS Report: Cotton-wool ruffled placket cardigan

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

Cotton-wool ruffled placket cardiganWe saw this sweater in a J.Crew email the other day and immediately wanted it. Something about the ruffled placket strikes us as, well, perfect — it’s not too ruffly and won’t make a big bust look bigger, and it’s one of the only possibly appropriate ways that we’ve seen to wear tulle to the office.  We favor the darker colors, of course — the navy, purple — and slightly wish they hadn’t banded it at the bottom.  But otherwise:  great cardigan from J.Crew.  Available for $88 in heather stone (pictured), black, navy, “wild mushroom” (brown), and “orchid shadow” (purple).  Cotton-wool ruffled placket cardigan

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


Tuesday’s TPS Report: Milly Jacquard Chain Cardigan

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

We’re loving this simple navy cardigan with chain details along the cuffs and lapels.  It strikes us as relaxed but still buttoned up, in a preppy (but not too preppy) way.  We like that there’s a hook closure, as well as front pockets.  It’s $235 at   Milly Jacquard Chain Cardigan