Two Stylish Ways to Wear a Long Cardigan

Long cardigans are trending this fall, and today I’m sharing two ways to wear this Leith longline ribbed cardigan.

This is the burgundy fudge heather. (Where DO they get those names???)

How to Wear a Long Cardigan for Fall 2019

Choosing a flattering cardigan can be tricky. If they’re too long or too short, they can look frumpy; and if they’re too voluminous, they can add visual weight.

YOU MAY ALSO LIKE: How to Wear Cardigans Without Looking Frumpy

There are a few reasons why I particularly like this one. The fine gauge ribbed knit allows it to hang straight and sit close to the body, for an effect that is elongating and slenderizing, and the side slits add a nice detail.

A Stylish Way to Wear a Long Cardigan for Fall 2019

I also like that the shoulder seams sit on the shoulder. (A dropped shoulder can make shoulders look broader than they really are.)

Finally, the open front styling with no buttons is modern and uncluttered, making this cardigan easy to dress up or down.

Jo-Lynne Shane shares two stylish ways to wear a long cardigan for Fall 2019

For this first look, I went with a more dressed-down look that is still super versatile. I wore a grey tee with black jeans and black and white spotted mules.

I’d wear this to meet a girlfriend for lunch and shopping, for a casual dinner out with the family, to a meeting at my daughter’s school — things like that.

Jo-Lynne Shane shares two stylish ways to wear a long cardigan for Fall 2019

My jeans and shoes were both sold out, although at the time of this posting, a few sizes have been restocked in these mules. I also found some other great options that I linked at the end of this post.

spotted calf hair mules

And my Rag & Bone Camden shopper from the #NSale finally sold out after it went 50% off, but I did find a really cool grey suede version for a great price at Nordstrom Rack, and this one is the same as mine but with a different texture (and full price.)

Jo-Lynne Shane carrying Rag & Bone Camden Leather Shopper

For jewelry, I went with a silver disc pendant and a brushed silver cuff bracelet. I didn’t feel this look needed any statement jewelry, but you could definitely add a bolder necklace or earrings if you like.

I prefer a less-is-more approach with casual outfits like this, and there’s already a lot going on with a variety of patterns and textures. That’s one trick for making a simple cardigan and jeans more interesting.

I also like how the destroyed hem on the jeans and the style of the bag keep the look modern and gives it a bit of an edge.

Jo-Lynne Shane shares two stylish ways to wear a long cardigan for Fall 2019

Outfit Details:

Leith longline cardigan // grey tee // similar black jeans // similar spotted mules // similar bag

Another easy way to wear a long cardigan this fall is to throw it on over a fitted dress, like this popular Leith ruched tank dress.

Here’s a picture of the dress without the sweater. (Mine is the cloudy grey heather.)

Everyone talks about how universally flattering this dress is, and it really does have a lot going for it, but it I feel like it draws attention to a fluffy tummy. I’m wearing shapewear here, and I’m also hyper aware of my posture. (In the picture above, when I’m not standing up as straight, I think you can see what I mean.)

Jo-Lynne Shane wearing Leith Ruched Body-Con Tank Dress

Anyway, my point is, I do recommend this dress, but you have to be okay with a body-con style, and also with it being fairly short.

I recommend sizing up; I’m wearing a medium.

a stylish way to wear a long cardigan for fall 2019

This time, I did a little more accessorizing. I felt like this look could use a focal point, and a layered station necklace is perfect for that.

Mine is an old Stella & Dot favorite that has been discontinued, but this one is a good alternative.

Jo-Lynne Shane shares two stylish ways to wear a long cardigan for Fall 2019

I also added this Yves wrap bracelet — another Stella & Dot fave, but happily this one is still in stock.

To keep the look in line with fall, I wore suede peep-toe block heeled sandals.

Booties would be nice with this too, but it’s still warm enough for open shoes, and I think these are easier to wear with a dress. I still feel like most booties look clunky with dresses.

This time I carried a black tote, which is a little more polished and in keeping with the dress/sweater combo.

I’d wear this on a date night, but it could also be work appropriate — maybe with a few tweaks depending on your dress code. You could replace this ruched body-con dress with a tailored sheath, and swap out sandals for pumps or booties.

Jo-Lynne Shane shares two stylish ways to wear a long cardigan for Fall 2019

Outfit Details:

Leith longline cardigan // ruched tank dress // peep-toe sandals // similar tote // similar necklace // wrap bracelet

ADDENDUM: What coat do you wear with a long cardigan?

Oh my gosh, you guys. Soooo many questions about outerwear with long cardigans… on every social channel I posted to today. 😂

So . . . the obvious answer is a long coat. Trench coats, wool coats, and puffer coats all come in knee-length styles. If you live in a climate that is so cold you can’t wear a sweater by itself for very many weeks, then you probably have a long puffer coat.

Here in Pennsylvania, it doesn’t get super cold for very long, but I always have one long, heavy duty puffer in my coat closet for the coldest of days. It also works well over long cardigans.

If it’s not cold enough for this coat, and I really want to wear a long cardigan, I will probably be willing to freeze long enough to get from the car to my destination (usually the mall, haha!)

And sure, there are days I choose not to wear a long cardigan because I want to wear outerwear that isn’t compatible. For that reason, I don’t have a dozen long cardigans in my closet, but I like to have one or two.

I was curious, so I pulled out my old tried and true puffer coat to see if it covers this sweater, and voilà!

It does. Barely, but I also zipped it up and it looks fine all the way around.

But that coat is like 10 years old, so this year at the #NSale I treated myself to a nice, new The North Face puffer coat. Unfortunately, it doesn’t quite cover this sweater, but I would still wear them together.

I mean, it depends on where I’m going and how polished I want to look, but I don’t think this combination is dreadful.

(And clearly if it is cold enough for this coat, I would not be wearing cropped jeans and mules… but work with me here. It’s 80 degrees here today.)

I certainly wouldn’t go out and buy a coat to go over my long cardigans, but I might go out and buy a long coat if I lived in a cold climate and didn’t have one . . . because I am here to tell you, when it’s REALLLLLY cold outside, it is so nice to be toasty warm inside a long cozy puffer coat, even if I just have a short distance to walk.

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photos: Alison Cornell

Join The Conversation

37 Responses

  1. These outfits look good!  The problem I have with long sweaters is what coat to wear over them.  A long dress coat often looks too dressy, but we have few days that warrant a sweater inside, but no coat outside.  A few, but not many.  Any tips?

    1. I just added an addendum to my post. 🙂 I wear a long puffer coat, but we have a lot of days I can get by with just a sweater. I consider long cardigans kind of like mules. I’m not going to wear them every day in the dead of winter, but there will be days sprinkled throughout the season when I can get by with them. And I wear them a lot in spring and fall.

  2. I visited the Fight the Frump post on cardigans, and would LOVE an expanded post just on point one (choosing the best type of cardigan for your body type). For example, what length fits best for those who are heavier on the bottom, etc. Thanks!

    1. I think it’s a matter of trial and error, as everyone’s proportions area different. I think in general, the slimmer cardigans and those that are ribbed tend to be most slimming on any body type.

  3. Great options!  I love that style on you!  Even though the longer cardigan just doesn’t look good on my body type….it gives me some color combo  ideas!  I don’t have that color t, but I do have a cardigan in that color in a style I do wear. Apparently I think I can only wear it for dressing up or church!  Thank you, yet again, for some inspiration!!  

  4. I love a long cardigan in early fall.  My only issue with them is once a coat is needed I don’t like wearing them because they hang beneath my coat! They are a short-term wear for me! Love the color of this one.  Have a great day!

  5. Your hair looks great in these photos! My hair is similar, do you mind sharing what products you’re using to get such nice results?

    1. Sure, I’ve been using Monat shampoo and conditioner for years. For styling, I use this root lifting spray – https://shopstyle.it/l/7EVP and sometimes that’s it. That and a big round brush. Other times I add some heat protectant — I’m not loyal to any one thing. Monat has a nice mouse too that adds volume.

  6. Jolynne, one of many things I like about you and your Blog is your fashion honesty such as this Leith dress. Though it does look nice on you, you’re honest about it drawing attention to the tummy area, which most women don’t want or need, us helpful. I can only imagine sitting down makes the dress even more awkward.. I no longer choose clothing, no matter how fun or pretty, if I have to fuss with it all day. Having said that I appreciate your suggestion if a sheath dress instead. I really like both  outfits you’re styling today and the option if casual or more dressy – double win!! I had ordered that cardigan in the Adobe color during the NAS but being petite, it swallowed me up. I was so disappointed b/c its a nice quality. Thank you also for including the prices on all the items you include in the widget. That extra little step is very helpful in deciding if an item is at a favorable price point for me to even entertain purchasing it. You’re the only fashion Blogger I’m aware of that includes the prices, so thank you!

    1. I’m glad that’s helpful! I figure people should know what they’re getting into when they click. 😂 Although, sometimes the sale prices don’t show up – so be aware of that.

  7. Really really like the whole look of the dress and cardigan. It works in a way that looks like not trying too hard, which is important.

  8. Love the color of the cardigan!
    Thank you for the points on long cardigans!
    I always feel like it’s bathrobe and push them to
    the back of my closet.  I’m finding the key is where 
    hits shoulders and what’s under it.

  9. Love both looks and color combos!! I already own a similiar cardigan so you have given me inspiration.
    Living in Canada, we need jackets by October…… And coats/parkas by November (or earlier if old man winter comes sooner 😯). I agree with the others: what would look good over top without looking odd and disjointed? Or is this look better suited for southern/ warmer climates where no jacket or coat is needed?

    1. Hey Yelena, I just wrote an addendum to this post b/c I’ve had so many similar questions. If it’s that cold, don’t you have a long parka? That’s what I wear over mine. Otherwise, I Just freeze long enough to get where I’m going. A lot of times our winter temps hover in the 40s or 50s, which is bearable.

  10. I love both of these looks but living where I do, I know that I won’t get enough wear out of a long cardigan. However, the colours in your outfits give me food for thought. Thanks!

  11. You nailed this post! Love the color combinations and you look amazing in both outfits. I want to order the ruched tank dress although I don’t normally care for fitted dresses but I think it has great structure for adding layers and can be dressed up as you styled it or down with sneakers and a denim jacket. Thanks for sharing 😊

  12. I bought a long cardigan when they were first trending – gonna say four years ago. I’ve never worn it out, as it didn’t feel right but instead turned it into my warm weather bathrobe. Lol I tell you! I’m stylin’ in the mornings! 😂 
    Truth be told, I’m not a cardigan person. When the weather is a tad cool, I always reach for a jean jacket, blazer or light anorak. 
    This long sweater is very attractive with it’s texture, buttonless front and turned collar. You wear it well. 

  13. I love your color combination of the burgundy and grey, with the black jeans. I  have these colors  in my closet, and would have reached for a white tee, before I saw this post.  I really like the grey with it.  I have a couple of longish (I say that because I’m under 5ft and have to keep them from swallowing me) cardigans from the last couple of years and I am anxious to wear them more often this year.   Now, if it will just get cool enough, before the rain arrives and I need a rain coat instead!

  14. I love the color of that cardigan. I’ve purchased 3 long cardigans so far this season. I had stayed away from trying them on because I’m only 5’3 but when you find the right length even in the longer length they’re great.. 

  15. Thanks for this post. I love how you not only showed us how you styled this sweater, but also told us why you did what you did and why you selected this sweater over others you looked at. Love to learn from you. 

  16. Love the sweater, also love it with that grey dress, so cute!  I love long cardigans, I have a ton of them and wear them all fall, into winter and spring…unless its super cold.  can’t wait to start wearing them, they are very elongating therefore flattering on most. (I’m 5’4 so I need all the elongating I can muster)  I mostly wear them with denim jeggings and tall boots. 

  17. The long cardigans just look so cosy and are a nice way to usher in fall. Jo-Lynne, I find your writing style very entertaining. 👏🏻

  18. That was great reading on the tips to keep from looking frumpy in a cardigan!
    It’s not to early. I live in Florida and we’re buying them now. I just bought a light grey one that has a hood and pockets and I choose extra small so it fits close to my body. Every women loves pocket.! 😀

  19. Wow! I love, love, Love this sweater on you. It fits you well, and that color. Let’s just say it was made for you. Beautiful. 

  20. That is a very pretty long cardigan!  Thanks for showing us how it can work with a dress or with jeans.  We are having highs in the 90’s – low 100’s, so it definitely doesn’t feel like Fall.  We will have cooler temps eventually.

  21. Thank you for the addendum! I have always wondered what you are are supposed to wear if it’s a little cooler and need a thicker coat to get out of the car and into the mall! I always enjoy your post, thanks.

  22. Hey- so… I ordered the fig colored and the pink cardigans  but now with my feet issues (plantar fasciitis) I am wondering…. can I wear this with dress pants/flats to work?  And what a about with a dress & dressy flats? Not  sure if I will be able to wear my booties & boots that I bought last year….: just bought a pretty pair of Vionic flats hoping I can make the long cardigan work. Here are the new shoes:


    Couldn’t get the pic to post for some reason!

  23. Hi, I have fallen in love with the Burgundy Fudge Heather (I agree with you about the name) cardigan in this post. The reviews on the Nordstrom website said that it shed quite a bit. Did you find that to be true? Thanks for your help, as that sweater is so pretty. I love purple and it can be hard to find sometimes.

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