The Hunt: Black Cardigans

shrunken SIMONE CARDIGANSure, 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.

It’s boring but basic: the black winter cardigan. Whether you prefer them as part of a twinset, worn buttoned up beneath blazers, layered on top of button-fronts, worn open over dresses, or belted over skirts, there are a ton of ways to wear the basic cardigan sweater. Readers, where is your favorite cardigan from? Have you gotten any great deals recently?

Essential Merino Blend CardiganI like the look of The Limited’s “essential merino” collection — this classic cardigan is available in 6 colors, sizes XS-XL, and it’s on sale today: was $49.90, now $34.93. Essential Merino Blend Cardigan
Velvet trim merino cardiganBanana Republic’s merino cardigan has a band at the bottom (which you may or may not like) and velvet trim — it comes in 7 colors in sizes XS-XL for $69.50. Velvet trim merino cardigan
Neiman Marcus Cashmere CardiganThis cashmere cardigan from Neiman Marcus is on a fairly steep discount with the ongoing Columbus Day sale (ends 10/10) — the cardigan was $295, then marked to $159, and with the extra 30% off it comes to $111. It’s available in black, purple, camel, red, ivory, and “ocean” blue. Neiman Marcus Cashmere Cardigan
Women's Regular Long Sleeve Classic Cashmere Crew CardiganI was intrigued to see another blogger cite Lands’ End as one of the best cashmere sweaters out there. This classic crew cardigan is available in 10 colors (and petites and plus sizes), and has a matching shell if you like the twinset look. The sweater is $168, but note that you can get 40% off any one item with code LEAVES and pin 9876. Women’s Regular Long Sleeve Classic Cashmere Crew Cardigan
shrunken SIMONE CARDIGANTory Burch has offered the Simone cardigan (both the shrunken version as well as the original, more boyfriend-shaped cardigan) for years — it’s nice to see that this season it’s available in black and navy (sizes XXS-XL). The sweater is $225 at Tory Buch. (It’s available elsewhere, but only in less neutral colors — Bloomingdale’s has the rosemist and “candy apple” colors marked to $157, while Nordstrom and Neiman Marcus have it at full price.) shrunken SIMONE CARDIGAN
Inhabit Cashmere Basic V-CardiganAnother blogger turned me on to Inhabit cashmere sweaters a few years ago — so I can vouch for the fact that they are supersoft — definitely stalkworthy. (The brand has occasional sales, and it also appears at Bluefly and The Outnet from time to time.) They have a basic cardigan in 7 colors for $338 right now (le sigh). InhabitNY Cashmere Basic Cardigan

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  1. I Do Not Like the Cone of Shame :

    I’ll add J. Crew’s black cashmere cardigans (just got one today!) – list price is $188, but they often have 25%-30% off sales online.

    Just bought this after my beloved Banana Republic merino black cardigan finally died after years of abuse. A month after it’s demise I realized just how much I really use a black cardigan as a staple!

    • Seconding J.Crew! Though I’m a cardi and cashmere junkie, and I’ve actually found their merino a lot more consistently high quality than their cashmere. JC does a merino cardi like nobody’s business.

      Case in point: my little black merino Cielo cardigan, which has been with me about five years–gone from work to play, casual to formal, in the tropics and on ski trips (it’s very warm for a thin layer, but breathes so well that it somehow adjusts to every climate). NEVER once pilled on me. I’ve worn it to death, thrown it in the washing machine (despite the ‘dry clean’ tag) about a billion times, and it still looks like I just cut off the tag. It’s like a miracle sweater. (The ruffles even tuck under invisibly, for when I need a sleeker look.)

      • SF Bay Associate :

        Sadly, I’ve found that my years-old JCrew sweaters are going strong, but my bought-recently JCrew is pilling and falling apart. I wish I could go back in time and buy a lot more circa-2008 JCrew.

        • Ouch! that’s really unfortunate. I haven’t bought a J.Crew merino cardi for a few years, but felt that the ones in store look and feel much the same as they used to… I’m picking up another soon, but will take it with a grain of salt.

          I’d really thought the J.Crew “good old days” phenomenon was over (referring to Ye Olde JC Cashmere circa early 2000s). I guess these economies of scale and downmarketing just keep going.

          Damn it, Jenna Lyons.

  2. Has anyone been able to find a good black cardigan that is not wool? My skin is very sensitive and even cashmere tends to itch.

    • J Crew Jackie cardigan from the Factory store and/or the outlets. Half price and then you can wear it until the threads run bare. I love the Jackie cardigan because it is non-wool/non-cashmere.

      • I am a huge Jackie fan (I have 8) but it is no good for winter. I wear them all summer specifically because they are not warm at all.

        Also, the Factory version is not at all the same as the regular version. I have 3 Factory Jackies and they are not even close to as good as the regular ones.

        • Westcoaster :

          I also love the Jackie and have about six or seven…I think they are fine for winter, especially with a blouse and Cami underneath.

    • Mountain Girl :

      I love Eddie Bauer and my new favorite sweater is the Christine from that site. I have it in black – wore it yesterday in fact. I don’t like to buy multiples of items in different colors but I am tempted to do so with this one.

    • oh, i posted this below, but I like Lands End Canvas’ cotton cardigan, the “Heritage”. I think they hold up really well, the same basic shape as the Jackie, crew neck, hit at top of hip. The only thing is they took them off the site for the summer and it doesn’t look like they are back yet, but if they come back, they had them in a bajillion colors, too.

      As a stop gap, you might try the basic Merona cardigan from Target. Also cotton.

      • working mama :

        I would only recommend a Target cardigan in an emergency or for a one-season wear. They tend to lose their shape and get worn out really quickly. I was disappointed to figure this out b/c they always have so many colors and awesome price.

        • I respectfully disagree. My black Merona cardigan from Target is going on its third winter, and it still looks great. It’s kept its shape and has not faded at all. On the contrary, my red cardigan from the Limited is totally faded and a bit stretched after one year. So disappointing.

          • Research, Not Law :

            I have to agree. I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the merona cardigan in fit, feel, and durability.

    • Talbots has a line of cotton “charming cardis” that I’ve really enjoyed.

    • Lands end has cotton cardis. They come in tons of colors and are not too short for my long arms. I have them in every color that looks good on me.

    • Dead Quote Olympics :

      Late to this (my fate on this site), but I just got two Vince ribbed cardigans, one black, at TJ Maxx for $99 each. They look great on my hourglass figure, which usually doesn’t take well to longer cardigans. They are mostly synthetic and very soft. I have no idea how well they will wear, but they haven’t stretched out a lot with the first wearings, which is a good sign. I wear my basics to death, so I’m willing to pay more because I know my cost per wear is going to be pennies. My TJ Maxx has a runway section, which is where I found them. Below is the full price version. I have to say, if I was going to pay THAT much, I’d spring for cashmere.

    • Barneys sells a Barneys brand sweater that is 78% silk, 20% nylon and 2% spandex. They carry them all the time, but they have different colors each season (they always carry black). They have cardigans, sleeveless shells, long sleeve pullovers and perhaps other styles. A couple years ago, the SKU for the black sleeveless shell in a Small was RN# 68865.

      The trick is that they only carry them in their outlet stores. So call one of their outlet stores and ask what their current colors are and if they can send you one. I have been told by the staff at the outlet nearest me that they do this all the time and that you can mail it back to them if you don’t like it. I haven’t done that yet, though.

      This is one of my two favorite sweater sets (the other is TSE), and I have it in several colors. It wears very well and is very reasonably priced.

    • August Silk cardigans; warm, lightweight, and wear beautifully. Nordstrom Rack usually has them at a great price, and I’ve seen them at my local Macy’s, too.

  3. eh230 - Chicago Shopping? :

    I will be in Chicago for a conference starting tomorrow. I have a bit of free time tomorrow afternoon and would like to do a bit of shopping. I am staying on Michigan Avenue relatively close to the Nordstrom. Going to Nordstrom is my number one priority since there is not one in my current city. Is there anything else I absolutely cannot miss. My city leaves a lot to be desired in the shopping department, and I generally shop online. Thanks!

    • Pretty sure there’s a Topshop on Michigan Ave now.. I’ve been meaning to check it out because Topshops are even more limited.

    • I love NORDSTROM’s! But I have to remember this if I EVER get to I go there. I also love this Cardigan, but my Dad would say it is to tight for me and it show’s to much up top and the back is to tight for my sizeable tush. FOOEY b/c the price is RIGHT, but I prefer the black cardigan that is NOT so fitted b/c this way, it does NOT show that I have to loose weight.

      I am to meet David on SATURDAY in Brooklyn. He say’s that he lives in dumbo which is near the Brooklyn Bridge stop. I told him to meet me at the #4 stop so that I will NOT get lost in Brooklyn. FOOEY. My father says he is very nice, and will be a welcome change from Harold, who realy need’s to clean his act up. I do NOT like guy’s who need a shave, a haircut and a shower 100% of the time. FOOEY! And he has so little hair, it would NOT be that dificult to wash it.

      David has some kind of job in Manhattan, so he is alot better off then Harold, but I do NOT want to get the manageing partner mad at me for ignoreing Harold. I did NOT tell the manageing partner that his bald brother wanted me to go out with him! OMG! Maybe he should have Harold date the girl from the health club. She is cute and knows for sure what a soap bar look’s like, so I do NOT think she would like Harold EITHER.

      Roberta called and she want’s to get together for LUNCH. Yay!!! I told her let me look at all 10 case’s first and then we can meet. I told her about the one case where I knew the attorney, and she was thrilled that I actually knew Brian from COURT. The manageing partner says that it show’s that I am already a SEASONED litiegieator. Yay!!! I did NOT mention the settelment offer to Roberta, YET. We will see what Brian come’s back with after he talk’s to his CLEINT. I think I should get thru the case’s by tomorow so I can meet her mabye on Thursday or Friday. I will call her tomorow to set up lunch. The manageing partner says I should pay for it but NOT bill her. That is fine by me. Mabye we can go again to the Lamb’s club. I will ask Roberta, but we have to make sure we watch what we eat! Yay!!

    • AnotherLadyLawyer :

      When I lived in Chicago, I was obsessed with the Nordstrom Rack on State St. — I swear, all of my favorite clothes came from that store! It isn’t too far from real Nordstrom. You just walk south on Michigan over the river and a few more blocks south and make a right on Washington (State is one block west of Michigan).

      • Love Nordstrom Rack. I accidentally left my black cardigan at the restaurant I went to the night before the first day of the bar and I had been on the hunt for a new one for about 2 months. Got a great one at Nordstrom Rack for about $25 from this brand I had never heard of called 14th & Union. It is so soft and nice, though. I love it.

    • Go consignment store shopping in Lincoln Park and Lakeview — seriously. It’s all stuff people purchased on the Magnificent Mile and never or seldom wore, and the prices are great-to-fantastic. You can shop Nordstrom online. They offer free shipping and returns. Have a great time!

    • I like the Nordstrom cafe – the tomato bisque soup is so good and you can’t go wrong with any of the salads. It’s nice to take a shopping break. I also like the women’s lounges, just because….

    • Chicago Attorney Mama :

      Check out Nordstrom, Top Shop, and Zara on Michigan. There is a Nordstrom Rack on Chicago just west of Michigan Ave but I tend to find more at the Nordstrom Rack on State Street (in the loop). For higher end shopping, the Barney’s on Oak Street is always fun. There are lots of little high-end designer boutiques around that area as well — always fun to window shop! Finally, I second Julie’s recommendation to check out the consignment shops in Lincoln Park and Lakeview (if you have the time). Great designer options at a fraction of the price — and one of my favorite weekend activities when I have a little time to myself.

  4. emcsquared :

    I destroy cardigans, so I tend to buy inexpensive cotton ones from the Gap and Target and replace them on a regular basis. My favorite ploy is to stalk the BR in-store sales right around New Year – they always seem to have their cardigans on major discount. Last year I got 5 or 6 merino cardigans for $10-$18 each a few days before New Year. Lucky sizes and colors, of course.

    I love cashmere, but it never seems to last. Maybe that’s because I buy cheap cashmere? Dry cleaning seems to make cashmere rough, but gently hand washing with Woolite delicate detergent seems to stretch it out. Not to mention the damage done by my back constantly rubbing against my desk chair as I shift around (yes, I’m jittery).

    • The trick to caring for wool and cashmere sweaters is (a) to buy the best quality you can afford, and (b) never to dryclean or machine wash. Hand wash with Woolite or something similar (I like Eucalan, which is a delicate fibre wash that doesn’t require rinsing and smells like lavender), but do not rub vigorously as this will make the fibres felt. After washing, wring out in a towel (I roll mine in a towel and stomp on it). Then lay out a fresh towel and carefully lay out the sweater on the towel to dry. You have to lay it out in the shape you want it to dry, so make sure the seams are straight, hem is even, etc. Never hang a sweater to dry – it will just stretch out and end up in the wrong shape.

      I own sweaters that have lasted 10 years or more and are still in good shape, caring for them using this method.

      • This does work, but is not worth it to me. I’m with the person who dry cleans to avoid ironing. I just don’t do cashmere. Sad, but if the alternative is spending a few hours more a month on laundry I’m ok with it. Wash in machine, lay flat to dry is my method for any sweater.

    • Do not ever use Woolite on any natural fibers! Despite the name, it’s formulated for synthetics. Use Eucalan or just shampoo.

    • Research, Not Law :

      You really do need to skip the cheap cashmere.

    • I like the Laundress’s shampoo for wool and cashmere. Available online and at The Container Store. It does smell cedar-y when you’re washing, but it doesn’t hardly smell when the item is dry. I handwash because it makes the shampoo last a lot longer.

    • eastbaybanker :

      I wish I had this much time to spend on clothing care! I sometimes dry clean cotton sweaters to save time ironing.

    • Ooh, no, please let’s lay that myth to rest… I’ve had cashmere from all over the $50- to the $500- range, and honestly, how well it wears has much more to do with the sweater’s intent than with its supposed “quality.” Six year old $50 macy’s charter club (no joke!) sweater that goes and goes, and gets loftier with age? Check. One year old $300 cashmere sweater that tears, pills, and stretches beyond all recognition? Check. (Yes, ouch.) (And on sweaters in the four digit range: at least half the time, you’re just paying for design sensibilities at that point.) You don’t have to spend a lot of money just to get something that will wear and wear–you just have to be on your toes. A loose weave will rarely hold up well. Cashmere that’s designed to be so thin it’s “summerweight” or “tissue” will rarely hold up well. And alas, unimaginable softness from the get-go…may not hold up well. (If you mean ‘no pilling.’) Look for tight weaves in thicker gauges if you want durability. If you can imagine a schoolmarm in Scotland wearing something made in that knit, you’re on the right track. Also, sales. :)

      It’s annoying how cashmere (and cashmere care) gets fetishized, because–putting aside goats and hair grades and all that–it’s really just another kind of wool, and you can treat it accordingly. A cashmere sweater that’s built for durability (as opposed to, say, the gossamer effect) can certainly be put in the washing machine’s delicates cycle. Plus, there’s washers these days that are actually gentler than your human hands–see p. 248 of this month’s Vogue (U.S.; article not avail. online)). Quote re: what’s washable: after “‘the absolute no-nos,’ including fur; ‘the unpredictables,’ like viscose rayon, which may shrink in water, [then there’s] the rest–cashmere, silk, wool, polyester–which are pretty much fair game.” Truth. Just use common sense (e.g., something encrusted with embellishment is probably not to be washed).

      So what gives? Don’t overwash. The whole point of natural animal fibers like fur and wool is that they don’t absorb body oils and odors as much as cotton and other fabrics. If you’re wearing the sweater year round, I think you should probably ignore the strict “once a year” rule. But except for emergencies (e.g., essence de campfire smoke), I wash once per season worn, and all’s been fine. (You do probably want to sniff test just in case, though, since everyone’s chemistry is different.)

      Agreed that Woolite is harsh and to be avoided. Second The Laundress recommendation.

      Sorry for a novella of a post. I feel really strongly about this topic. :)

  5. I bought one from Target last year for $20. I wear it all the time and it’s still holding up. It resembles the one from the Limited but has long sleeves. I have long arms and I can vouch that the sleeves are definitely long enough. I can’t get enough cardigans, but I am not a fan of the very long ones that cover some of/all of my butt.. I feel like I’m swimming in it and I’m 5’11”.

  6. Sorry to TJ right off the bat, but career advice needed. I am a third year at a large firm. Until a month ago, I worked in group X, primarily for one partner. We have a great relationship and I really like the work, and according to my reviews, I’m good at it. Group X partner is well-respected and important to the firm.

    Recently, I transferred to another office in my firm for personal reasons, and a partner in group Y in my new office asked me to do some work for him. No one else in group X is in my current office. Group Y partner is difficult to work with and I don’t like the work. He is generally disliked in the firm. X and Y are litigation and transactional-based practices, so very different. Group Y is very busy. Group Y partner likes my work and wants me to choose which group I want to be in, even though I have not had any issues balancing my work for the two groups. He has told me that I can’t continue to split my time, again, even though I have more than met all deadlines and he is happy with my work.

    If both groups were busy, I would stay with group X without thinking twice for even a second. But group X is very slow and based on what I hear at bar section meetings seems like it will stay that way for awhile. My hours were terrible last year and I am concerned about my long term prospects with the firm if they are bad this year too (though I am currently billing slightly above target). What would you do? (And sorry for the novel/thanks for reading.)

    • What reasons has Partner Y given in saying that you can’t continue to split your time?

      • He doesn’t want to potentially have to fight with Partner X over me if both groups are simultaneously busy and feels that he would be disadvantaged in a dispute if I was considered a member of Group X. I have suggested that I am good at managing my time and will work harder to compensate for any conflicts, but he doesn’t think this is sufficient. I also explained to him that Group X’s work is highly cyclical and I (and everyone else I’ve talked to who practices in this area of law) expect a downturn for several years, so I think fighting over me will be unnecessary for the foreseeable future. He was unconvinced.

        • Then I wonder if you should call in that great relationship you have with Partner X. Clearly Y wants assurance from someone higher up than you. I wonder if some good-faith indication, directly to Y, that X is not going to fight over you will help. Perhaps the compromise is that you’re a member of Group Y but “sometimes do work for X.” If nobody likes Y and X is grumbling about this, there are tactful ways of acknowledging the position you’re in here, with X, and that this outcome is best but perhaps not ideal.

          I’d be wary of any promises of hours or quickening of business in area X–nobody can be held to those kinds of forecasts.

    • I’d consider your long-term career goals in making the decision. Generally speaking, it’s a lot easier to go in-house with a transactional background than a litigation one. That said, dealing with difficult personalities every day can make your life miserable. Any way to work in the busy/transactional/good background for in-house work group w/o doing everything for Partner Y? If you really prefer litigation/Partner X, can you talk to him/her about it & get a sense of whether the work will pick up at your firm in particular? It seems like a stretch to me to draw a conclusion about future work from a bar section meeting, but I don’t know your area, maybe that’s on point, but your firm could have a business development plan, too.

    • Former Partner, Now In-House :

      It may be time for some back channel communication. Are there a handful — or even one or two — powerful partners or very senior associates with whom you feel comfortable speaking about this? If so, I would lay out the facts and say “what is your advice.” Even if it doesn’t help you decide, it will lay the foundation for people to help you later. If you choose Group Y and the Group Y partner f*%#s you in a year, people will remember that you felt forced to work with him and will be more inclined to help you out. Or, they may be able to figure out a way for you to stay in Group X and supplement your hours in ways that don’t include the Group Y bad partner. At the very least, you will not be out there in the cold, dark waters all alone; other partners in the firm, who I promise you are currently clueless about the ultimatum you have been given, will help you navigate the waters.

    • Thanks for the input everyone. I’ve bought some time with Partner Y and I’m going to talk to Partner X. I know he will offer to tell Partner Y to back off, but that doesn’t solve the hours problem.

  7. I totally second Target cotton cardigans. They are comfortable and hold up well for the price.

    Also, for cashmere- I really like the Lord and Taylor cashmere cardigans. They have both “twinset” type cardigans and a longer more casual “car coat” type cardigan that I love – espcially now when I don’t really want to wear a coat, but it is too cold to have nothing.

  8. [insert clever name here] :

    The absolute best cardigan I ever purchased was from Banana Republic in spring of 2004 – (translation, sadly not made anymore). It is in my regular rotation (i.e., worn once a week or maybe every other week) with the appropriate amount of washing. Over the past eight years, yes EIGHT YEARS, this miracle-fabric cardigan has not lost its color or shape (low spin wash, hang to dry). Plus, the fit is perfect – long sleeves that fit my long arms without being too short, long length to fit my long torso, and perfectly nipped in at the waist so it’s not boxy or unflattering. I have not found any article of clothing before or since that I have loved as much, or worn as often, as this one.

    • I have a miracle Zara cardigan from 2007 and a 2008 dockers one (when dockers had a lovely women’s store in San Francisco).

  9. they are not wool, but I love Lands End Canvas’ basic cardigan which is cotton. I have a couple of colors, but didn’t buy black, and then they pulled it from their website for the summer (which is, by the way, so annoying! Why do retailers pull everything long-sleeved in the summer? Our offices are still cold, people still want to buy long-sleeved basics year round, RAWR)

    And meanwhile, Target just reintroduced their true long-sleeve Merona cardigans (after only having 3/4 sleeve for forever) and I grabbed one of those in black. They are good basics, last for a couple of years, but are only $20, so that works for me.

  10. I have the Land’s End black cashmere cardigan. It’s great.

  11. CPA to be :

    Quick hive advice needed!

    A firm is taking me to dinner tonight before I go in for my second interview with them tomorrow– are suit separates okay for dinner, or should I wear the one full suit I have both today and tomorrow?

    • Cornellian :

      biglaw, not cpa, but I think suit separates is okay for dinner.

    • I Do Not Like the Cone of Shame :

      Of all your choices, strongly suggest not the same outfit for dinner AND tomorrow’s interviews. Keep to full suit for tomorrow.

      For dinner, I’d opt for something a smidge less formal – such as a (professional-looking) sheath dress under a jacket. Or separates, like you suggest. Nothing too cocktail-party-ish, but not something stiff and formal. I’m guessing the people you’re having dinner with are coming straight from work, so if possible try to be more in sync with what they are likely to wear at work (this is different than tomorrow’s interview, where it’s almost expected you aim for more formal).

      Good luck! Tell us later how it went!

  12. Diana Barry :

    Ladies, thoughts on turtleneck, *short sleeve* or *sleeveless* sweaters? I have a few that I got a few years ago (2008?) and they just look wrong to me now. Should I chuck them?

    • They tend to look wrong to me, too. (So, your neck is cold but your arms are warm?) I have one that someone gave me, and it’s OK – I mean, I think it’s fairly flattering on me, but it looks awful with something over it, IMO, and I usually want the possibility of putting on a blazer or cardigan over it in case of rampent air conditioning, so it rarely gets worn. In other words, I would say ditch them. :)

    • Wear with a patterned shirt underneath, belt on top optional? I don’t own anything like this but if I did this is my thought on how I’d wear it.

    • Mountain Girl :

      I wear one but only with a particular wool jacket I have. I find that jacket itchy on my neck but don’t necessarily want the added warmth of a long sleeve turtleneck. I don’t like short sleeves but sleeveless are okay. The only thing I don’t like is I feel like I am committed to wearing the jacket all the time as sleeveless in the winter would be entirely too cold.

    • I have a black short sleeve one that I wear often during the fall. I like how the neckline works with long necklaces especially.

    • On some people they look great, but if you don´t feel it, chuck them. Or wear them under a jacket for that beatnik intellectual style sans the sleeve bulk.

    • eastbaybanker :

      I have a short sleeve lightweight cotton turtleneck sweater that I wear when it’s technically winter but still feels warm like fall (I’m in California). It’s comfy but seasonally appropriate. The turtleneck shell, I have never understood.

  13. Related questions: What are thoughts about wearing non-maternity outer layers (cardigans and blazers), unbuttoned, obviously, throughout pregnancy? I have been looking and looking, but have yet to find anything in maternity that I’m not absolutely swimming in (I have a very small upper body, and maternity sizes seem to be extremely biased against extra-smalls). I’ve just been wearing my regular cardies and jackets, but that feels weird after a while. Does it look weird, or am I just overthinking this?

    • TO lawyer :

      A pregnant lawyer at my firm was doing this probably till her 7th month or so and I didn’t think it looked weird at all! Granted, I’ve never been pregnant, but if your non-maternity layers are not uncomfortable and look professional enough over your other clothes, I don’t see a problem!

      • I’m already to 7, but I’m thinking that I’m going to have to do that straight up through 9!

        • This is totally OT and hopefully not stalker-ish, but you’re already 7 months?! Holy cow, it seems like you just found out. I hope it’s going as fast for you as it is for us. :)

          • I know, right? And I announced pretty early, by most people’s standards! I might be getting ahead of myself just a little bit – I’m 29 weeks, so maybe that’s a little bit shy of 7 (no one in the pregnancy world talks in months, so it’s hard to keep track), but it is just speeding along!

            I’m not sure whether that’s a good thing or a bad thing. :)

        • Oh and for an on topic comment, I wore open non-maternity cardigans through my entire pregnancy and thought it looked fine.

    • I never bought a maternity suit (I am tall and XS, which is practically impossible to find in maternity sizes). I wore black maternity pants with my regular black suit jacket (unbuttoned) when I needed to be in business formal. It wasn’t the most stylish I ever looked, but it got the job done. And I never got any flak in court; if anything, judges were very solicitous (e.g., telling me I could argue while sitting at the counsel table). I also wore regular cardigans unbuttoned. Again, they looked better when I wasn’t pregnant, but I don’t think they looked particularly bad.

    • a passion for fashion :

      i basically only did this. i bought one maternity blazer and the rest were my regular things unbuttoned. i never button any of my suits though, fwiw

    • Seventh Sister :

      I did it all the time, especially with my second pregnancy. I have very narrow shoulders but am pretty average-sized everywhere else. Lots of maternity tops were too big through the shoulders, so wearing my non-pregnancy ones worked well. I wore a lot of blazers, esp. my gray linen-and-silk Barneys one since it was very structured and made me feel much less like a whale.

    • Research, Not Law :

      That’s what I did for both my pregnancies.

    • I’m a petite, so long sleeve anything in maternity clothes swims on me. I’ve gotten away with wearing dresses and cardigans to depositions, but I have not needed to go court while pregnant. I haven’t been able to fit into one of my non-maternity blazers since late second trimester. I’ve gone up probably 3 cups sizes? People give you some slack when you’re pregant, expecially when you’re already in your 3rd trimester. I’m at 37+ weeks right now, so I’m really hoping pretty much every day is my last day of being pregnant right now.

    • lucy stone :

      I think everyone does this here. We don’t have any stores that sell regular professional clothing, let alone maternity professional clothing.

    • Chicago Attorney Mama :

      I did this until about my 7th or 8th month. I too am relatively small on top — and I hated to spend money on clothes that I didn’t even like or that didn’t fit me correctly. This way I got to wear my nice clothes as long as possible, which made me feel more comfortable and more like myself. I also found it extremely challenging to find professional looking maternity clothes.

  14. So, how often do you wash your cardigans?

    I’ve dealt with the excess of A/C in the summer by leaving a Target cardigan at work and slipping it on most days. I bring it home on weekends and wash it. It’s definitely showing some pilling, but I’ve gotten a lot of wear out of a fairy cheap piece of clothing.

    I need some long sleeved cardigans and will probably spring for multiples this time so I won’t be wearing the same one each day. :-)

    Just wondering if there’s any consensus (I have what is very much a desk job, but I do go out on the manufacturing/distribution floor at least once a day and sometimes more).

    • Research, Not Law :

      I only wash when they are dirty or stretched out. Probably varies from 1-8 wears between washes.

  15. MA Finance :

    nordstrom rack has the perfect 3/4 sleeve vneck cardigan.