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Cardigans are very versatile pieces which should be a must-have for any wardrobe. The best thing about these tops is that they can be layered over other pieces, to create the cosiest outfit for the coldest winter.

As one of the most timeless pieces of clothing, there are countless ways you can wear cardigans. Our favourite for the new season is over a dress. Celebrities and models have already rocked this style, and we are sure you are going to love it, too.

Curious to find out more about this new trend? We have picked all the most stylish ideas to pair your cardigan with your favourite dresses. Ready to rock your next outfit?

Types of Cardigans for Women

Long Cardigans

As the perfect piece when you want to transition from one season to another, long cardigans are the best combination between comfy and chic. You can layer them over a short dress, and a pair of over-the-knee boots. If the temperature is too cold, you can play with different styles of thighs.

Button-up Cardigans

Made famous by the preppy fashionistas back in the 1980s, button-up cardigans can give an unexpected modern spin to your look. Layer them with a turtleneck maxi dress for the perfect autumn-ready outfit.

If you’re feeling fancy, try a piece with jewellery-like or colourful buttons. The more accessories you add, the bolder your look will be.

Short-Sleeved Cardigans

Cardigans are not exclusive to the colder season. Short-sleeved pieces are perfect for spring and autumn, and they allow you to show off your arms for a more casual and contemporary look. These pieces can be easily turned into a complimentary layer for your outfit by buttoning up the centre over a mini or midi dress.

Shawl Collar Cardigans

Ready to spice up your look? Shawl collars are cute and are the best way to enhance any casual outfit without looking overdressed. You can wear these pieces over a simple midi dress. Add a few, colourful accessories and a pair of leather ankle boots and you will be ready to go.

Wrap Cardigan Sweaters

Get all comfortable and snug with a wrap cardigan. These timeless pieces are perfect as your main outwear, or they can be layered over a wool dress to keep you warm and cosy.

Long-line knitwears are the perfect option to create more layers while still leaving ample room to move. Mix and match different fabrics and colours to enjoy countless, fabulous looks.

Chunky Knit Cardigans

If it’s freezing cold and you want to keep yourself all warm and cosy, then a chunky knit cardigan can make a huge difference. When paired with a midi or maxi dress, these pieces make your outfit cute and chic.

Of course, the length your dress needs to change based on what you are wearing underneath. For example, long and oversized chunky cardigans call for a tight-fitting dress.

Cropped Cardigans

If you want to add a cute layer over your favourite dress, cropped cardigans are perfect. We recommend wearing a pencil skirt dress and some heeled sandals or boots to highlight your silhouette. With the right accessories, this will be an excellent option for your formal events, without looking overdressed.

Cardigans are some of the best pieces you can have in your wardrobe. thanks to their versatility, they can be worn on several seasons, and the same cardigan can be used over and over again with different accessories to create many looks.

Can you wear a cardigan over a dress?

Of course, you can. In fact, you should definitely try it. However, make sure you find a cardigan that hits at the right spot at your waist. It mustn’t be too long or too short. You can still play with different lengths to achieve a dynamic effect, but don’t forget to take your height into account.

What do you wear over cardigans?

If you want to add another piece of outerwear to your cardigan, you must avoid the bulky effect. This means that if your cardigan is tight-fitting you can wear heavier coats, otherwise you should stick to lighter jackets. Denim and leather jackets are usually not recommended.

When and How to Wear Your Cardigan

Casual

All cardigans can become a cute casual piece if styled with the right dress. The best thing to do is to wear a cardigan which hits your hips or sits just below them, to enhance your body shape and create a slimming effect. Go for a monochrome colour scheme for a romantic look, or play with different colours if you want to stand out from the crowd.

Semi-Formal

Semi-formal occasions may be tricky, especially if there is no set dress code. However, cardigans can help you create an outfit which is perfect for going from day into the night, whether the weather or the occasion.

For example, a pencil-skirt dress and a cropped cardigan will make you look stylish but not overdressed. Don’t forget that shoes and accessories are what can really make the final difference.

Business Casual

If you’re heading to your office, don’t forget to wear your favourite cardigan! The easiest thing to do to create a cute outfit is to keep it simple with a nude shaded dress and a matching button-up cardigan. Add a thin waist belt to highlight your silhouette and make the overall look more dynamic.

Formal

Yes, cardigans are still a cool choice even for attending a wedding or going to the theatre. Bolero-style and long duster cardigans are very elegant yet contemporary pieces, which can keep you warm during winter and make any outfit perfect. Monochrome looks are particularly chic, but if you want you can just go wild by wearing a knitwear cardigan with oversized sleeves.

Are cardigans in Style?

Cardigan rose to popularity in the 1990s, but they are still a very iconic piece. Several high-couture brands have featured cardigans in their catwalks, and many celebrities are adopting these pieces as their go-to fashion tricks. True fashionistas could never say no to cardigans!

Quick & Easy Tips to Wear Your Carding Over a Dress

  • Your overall fit shouldn’t be too tight, otherwise, you won’t have any room to move properly. For this reason, you should avoid wearing bulky and oversized pieces together.
  • If you are wearing a button-up cardigan over your dress, choose a size that doesn’t strain across the chest.
  • Play with different and contrasting lengths. For example, a mini dress and a long cardigan will look lovely together.
  • Maxi dresses match perfectly with cropped cardigans and will make your silhouette more balanced and slimmer.
  • Semi-formal dress can become a bit more casual and sportier with a cropped cardigan. On the other hand, a knitted cardigan can change the overall look of an elegant dress.
  • Cardigans are not exclusive to the coldest months of the year. You can wear these pieces throughout the whole year and experiment with different fabrics and textures to find the perfect match with all the dresses you can find in your wardrobe.
  • Different patterns and colours can work just fine together, once you find the right matches. As a general rule, the cardigan should be the statement piece of the whole outfit, so you might want to wear these pieces with plain dresses.

How to Choose and Wear a Cardigan Based on Your Body Shape

Full Hips and Thighs

  • You might want to choose a cardigan which hits your dress just above or below the hips.
  • You can rock a midi or maxi dress, provided that you opt for a draped or asymmetrical hem.
  • Avoid cropped cardigans.

Large Bust

  • V-necks cardigans are always the best choice, as they have a slimming effect.
  • Always go for a fine-gauge knit and a trim fit.
  • Avoid chunky knits, oversized dresses and crewnecks.

Broad Shoulders

  • Cardigans with any kind of embellishments will drag the attention away from your shoulders.
  • Go for a cardigan which hits your waist, creating an hourglass figure.
  • Avoid boat necks or any piece which could emphasize the width of your shoulder.

If You Feel Uncomfortable Showing Off Your Tummy

  • “Boyfriend-style” cut covers the midsection of your body, creating a perfect slimming effect.
  • Avoid waist belts.

How do you wear a cardigan without looking frumpy?

Cardigans are usually worn as tops. To make sure that your outfit doesn’t look frumpy or chunky, you should carefully choose the clothes you wear underneath your cardigan. This means that you should generally avoid bulky knitwear, sweatshirts, or tops with big sleeves.

Can you wear a long cardigan with a dress?

Yes, cardigans and dresses look wonderfully when styled together. It is usually recommended to choose pieces with different lengths and colours, to create a perfectly layered outfit. You can also rock different patterns and fabrics. Don’t forget to pair your tights and accessories, too!

Have Fun with Drapes

Fringes are cute and versatile and can make any look more dynamic and contemporary. We recommend:

  • A long, nude shaded cardigan, with fringes. If you are a petite girl, you can wear an oversized piece.
  • A plain, cotton dress. If your cardigan is black or white, then this is your opportunity to play with colourful pieces.
  • Wear a pair of ankle boots to make the overall look cosy and wintery.

Total Black It’s Always Chic

When in doubt, total black is your perfect choice. Whether you are a plus size or a tall girl, this look never fails to enhance your body shape. You can recreate it with your favourite cardigan and dress.

  • Wear a woolly long cardigan or knitwear.
  • Pair it with a mini or midi dress.
  • If you want to wear thighs, choose a colourful pattern or a sheer texture. Avoid black thighs or leggings.

Metallics Make You Glamorous

Never be too afraid to rock some metallic pieces. Looking for an outfit you can wear when going from day into night?

  • Wear a cosy, oversized cardigan. Grey and black are the colours which work best with metallic.
  • Add a metallic maxi dress.
  • If you’re looking for an alternative which can be worn on day time, you can just add some metallic accessories or boots.

Bulky Scarves Are Just Lovely!

No winter is too cold for a chunky scarf! These accessories can be paired with any outfit, so feel free to wear it with your dress and cardigan. Just make sure your scarf has a bright colour and matches your other clothes, as it will be your outfit’s statement piece.

Embrace Your Princess Vibes with Pastel Colours

Warm shades are perfect in autumn. The best way to enhance them is to layer more pieces and play with different colours. Just a few words of advice:

  • Plus size girls should go for bright, midi or maxi dresses. Avoid mini skirts, unless you want to wear tights.
  • Make sure at least one piece, such as your bag or shoes, is in black or any other neutral colour. This will balance the whole outfit’s colours palette.

Also Read:

How to Wear A Shirtdress in Winter (Women’s Edition)

How to Wear A Sweater Over Your Dress (Women’s Edition)

What to Wear with An Overall Dress in Winter (Women’s Edition)

Flower Dresses

Flower dresses are girly and cute, and they can be worn all year long. The best way to make them more winter-friendly is to add an additional layer over them. Opt for a black cardigan, and match it with your bag and shoes. Add a few golden accessories, such as a pair of earrings, for an additional touch of colour.

Different Lengths Are the Key

Layering a long cardigan over a shorter dress, especially if they’re in contrasting colours, is a good trick to make your silhouette look slimmer and taller.

  • Tall girls can wear high-knee-boots. If you are petite, you should opt for sandals or ankle boots.
  • Long necklaces and earrings are perfect accessories to add yet another layer and different lengths to your outfit.

Oversize, Over cuteness

Oversized pieces are some of the cutest clothes you can have in your wardrobe, especially if you are petite. To play with different body shapes, you can pair your oversized cardigan with short dresses, and wear no tights. Our tips:

  • Funny and extravagant patterns and designs will make your cardigan your statement piece.
  • Keep all the other accessories minimal, as you don’t want to steal the spotlight from your clothes.

Update Your Work Wear

Bring your cardigan with you whenever you go, including your office! To make your workwear less boring and more exciting, you can:

  • Wear a colourful cardigan, to contrast a black or dark dress.
  • Add a foulard or a silk scarf to express your personality and creativity.
  • Wear comfortable yet chic shoes to stand out from the crowd.

White Dresses Are Underrated

White dresses can be cute, especially if paired with a contrasting collar and a chunky cardigan. Our recommendations:

  • There are several interesting plus sizes alternatives to white dresses, which can help you balance your colour palette better.
  • If you are uncomfortable with white dresses, opt for other light colours.
  • Pastel colours are great, so you should definitely go for a pastel cardigan!

Red Details Are the Secret

Red is a wonderful colour which can immediately change any outfit. Whether you are attending a formal event, or just going out with your friends, you can transform your dull black dress with a bright red cardigan.

Add a cute scarf and a waist belt to enhance the whole look.

Three Layers Are Better (And Cosier) Than Two

When the temperatures are freezing cold, there is only one way to create the perfect outfit and enjoy your time outdoors: layering over different pieces!

  • Start with a turtleneck shirt or sweater.
  • Add a midi dress. Make sure none of these pieces is too bulky, as you will need some room to allow movements.
  • Finish your outfit with a long black cardigan.
  • You can add extra accessories and a cute pair of tights.

Cold Colours for The Cold Weather

If you love wintertime, you surely fall in love with its beautiful colours every year. Now, you can embrace your winter queen vibes with an outfit made of cold-coloured pieces.

  • Grey and black tones work wonderfully together, but make sure your outfit is never too dark.
  • Don’t forget your thighs!

Pink Is A Magic Colour

Pink is a lovely colour which can be worn at any time of the year, including the coldest season. Match a pink cardigan with a pink dress for the ultimate romantic outfit.

  • Try to not mix too many different shades of pink.
  • Wear black shoes or other accessories to make the overall look more contemporary.

Highlight Your Waist

Layering your cardigan over a dress can create a comfy and cosy look, but it can jeopardise your silhouette if both pieces are too bulky. To keep yourself warm and still show your curves off, we recommend a waist belt. This can be a thin piece of accessories or even the statement piece of your look!

Long, Cosy and Oversized

When you need to go out, but you want to feel like you’re staying in, there’s nothing better than a long and oversized cardigan. However:

  • Be careful, since these pieces may make your body shape look taller and unbalanced.
  • Add at least a few accessories, such as a small bag. Otherwise, you might look underdressed.

A Belt to Rule Them All

Your cardigan and your dress look so better together than you want to preserve your style until you get back home? Add a waist belt over your cardigan, to make the outfit more dynamic and creative. Don’t forget that the belt should be long enough to allow some room for your movements!

Experiment with Stripes

Striped cardigans are very cool because they can be either formal or informal pieces depending on the dress you are wearing underneath. For a versatile look, try the following:

  • A black and white striped cardigan
  • A shorter dress in a bolder colour, such as green
  • Your favourite accessories and your best smile!

Different Fabrics

If it’s spring or autumn and you want to wear a lightweight dress, you can add your woolly cardigan as a second layer to stay all warm and cosy. The two different fabrics, once together, will create a lovely style. Add a small shoulder bag and a pair of sandals or ankle boots.

Enjoy A Sunny Day with Your Cardigan

When it’s sunny but you still don’t want to show your arms off, a pretty cardigan can save your day. To make the look less wintery, add a few summer-style accessories, such as a big beach bag or a straw hat. This look is perfect for going from morning till evening and always feel comfortable with what you are wearing.

Contemporary Look, Romantic Vibes

If you feel romantic but you can’t say no to a contemporary outfit, we recommend the following:

  • A midi dress in a cute pattern or pastel colour.
  • A button-up cardigan. Opt for a warm colour, such as orange or nude.
  • Add a thin waist belt to enhance your body shape.

Black and White, The Perfect Match

Whether you are attending an important event in the morning, or you are getting ready for a night out, black & white is always the perfect match.

  • Wear a black pencil skirt dress and a long white (or nude, if you feel more comfortable in this colour) cardigan.
  • Add an embellished bag.
  • Don’t forget your favourite accessories!

March Towards Fashion with Your Boots

The best way to wear a mini dress and a jacket-style cardigan even when the weather is not so warm? A pair of knee-high boots! If you are a tall girl, opt for nude colours, otherwise, go for darker shades. Petite girls should instead prefer ankle or heeled boots.

Match Your Cardigan with Your Accessories

It is easy to make your cardigan your outfit’s statement piece if you follow our quick tips.

  • Match your cardigan’s colour with your bag. Nude shades are usually the best ones since they are pretty versatile.
  • If you are really into this style, match your shoes, too!
  • Don’t forget additional accessories, to enhance the whole outfit.

Contrasting Colours, Perfect Outfit

If you want to conquer the spotlights, then your cardigan can make your outfit fabulous and drag all the attention on your style.

  • Choose two contrasting colours. For example, blue and mustard yellow work perfectly together.
  • Keep all your accessories minimal, as you want to focus everything on your clothes.

Go Bold with Your Favourite Dress!

We all have one favourite dress, which we would wear every day, regardless of the weather. You can still rock it all year long if you match it with a cute cardigan. Opt for matching colours and a cardigan which is shorter than your dress, for a more balanced result. Play with more accessories to adapt your style to any situation.

Double the Collar, Double the Fun

Collared dresses are so cool! They’re perfect as a workwear piece, or for an afternoon out with your friends. If you like this look, you can enhance it even more with a collared cardigan. Just try to use different and contrasting colours, and avoid mixing any other shades when choosing your accessories. You will be the most glamorous woman in every room!

Other Articles You May Enjoy:

How to Layer A Dress in Winter (Women’s Edition)

How to Dress Long Dresses in the Fall – Outfit Ideas & Styling Tips (Women’s Edition)

How to Dress a Sweater and Skirt Outfit This Fall – Outfit Ideas & Styling Tips

About The Author

May is totally crazy about the 80s and everything the decade inspired! Having grown up in a household that was totally taken over by 80s music and fashion its only natural that May lives and breathes the 80s!

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