Striking the perfect balance between comfortable and cool, a colourful knitted cardigan is the throw-on piece that will instantly upgrade any outfit. From sunset-inspired patterns to cosy chunky knits, we’ve found the best styles to wear now.
It’s official, the not-so-humble cardigan is having a major moment. Forget any notions of stuffy knits, this season designers have elevated the wardrobe stalwart to new levels of cool with neon brights, statement buttons and ultra-flattering fits. The Stylist fashion team are firm believers in the power of a wear-with everything knit, and we’ve found the best cardigans to button over even the most understated outfit to instantly elevate your look to new levels of laidback-cool.
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For I love cardigans. Always have, always will. Because there’s no outfit the humble cardigan can’t fix. Wearing a loose-cut floaty midi dress that a proper jacket would overpower? Throw on a cardi. Need an extra layer for that Lake Como wedding, for after the sun sets? A fine-knit cropped cardi is the answer. Or what about those days when the weather just can’t decide what it’s doing? Simple: a classic cotton t-shirt and a cardi, and a timeless trench.
Oh-so cosy, endlessly comforting and now, effortlessly cool. Directional designers like Marques’Almeida, Gucci and Ganni are all offering versions — some printed, some plain. Some oversized, some neat-fitting. The Row do a maxi version, while Weekend MaxMara offered a cropped one. You see, the very best thing about cardigans is there really is a version for everyone.
A chunky knit woollen cardigan is a failsafe and chic — a sartorial blanket, you could say. London-based designer Ashley Williams got our hearts beating faster with a series of pastel, playful cardigans during AW19 which acted as a catalyst for the trend. Of course, we can’t forget the Katie Holmes’ viral Khaite bralette/Cardigan hybrid moment last year further cemented the mainstay item. Not to mention, layering them across your shoulders Fresh Prince of Bel Air Carlton-style, remains a contemporary option the fashion circuit aren’t opposed to.
And contrary to popular belief, they’re really easy to wear. Here, Stylist has decoded the best colourful cardigans to buy now — and how to wear them.
Baum und Pferdgarten
Who says cardigans have to be wallflowers? This style from Baum und Pferdgarten proves otherwise. Knitted from a mood-boosting shade of Crayola yellow wool, this cardi is the perfect choice to throw on when you want to make a statement with minimal effort. Wear with straight leg jeans or over loose-cut maxi dresses for a playful yet polished take on the trend.
House of Sunny
Already spotted on the incredibly stylish designer Maria Bernard and stylist Hannah Mw, we predict this sunset-inspired House of Sunny beauty will sell out. Every bit as soft as your favourite comforting knit, a slim-fit and oversized collar make this cardigan feel chic enough to wear to dinner and drinks when paired with raw hem jeans and white ankle boots. A 9am-9pm winner.
This cardigan is the piece that will inspire to you start uploading those #WFHoutfit mirror selfies on Instagram. Crafted from a soft wool-blend with a lightweight finish, this vibrant fuchsia knit strikes the perfect balance between laidback and chic. Layer over an oversized frill-collar shirt for a playful, influencer-approved look.
Want to make a style statement without looking too ‘done’? This short-sleeved cardigan stand out in a bold shade of orange, but thanks to a fine-knit and streamlined fit, working with all your favourite day-time outfits. Wear yours with straight-leg jeans and a pair of square-toed heels for a chic yet understated look that looks just as cool by day as it does by night.
Cult French label Jacquemus brought all the colours of a summer sunset to life in its SS20 collection. If you’re looking for a vibrant knit that will spark joy in your wardrobe, this joyful striped pink cardigan taps into one of the most versatile yet striking trends set to command SS20: neon. Button over bare-skin or layer over a longline silk slip dress for a carefree take on the trend.
Prefer to stick to a neutral palette? Opt for a pared-back approach that is no less effective with this rich shade of burnt orange. The oversized arms and cropped fit make this chunky knit the perfect piece for layering. Button yours over a white t-shirt and add gold chain necklaces for a look that exudes effortless Scandi street style cool.
Commes de Garcons Girl
Puffed-sleeves, frilly collars and pastel shades are three of the biggest trends this spring, and this playful cardigan combines them all in one covetable cardigan. Team with dark jeans and minimal heels (perhaps a slick of nude lipstick) and consider your outfit complete. After a more minimalist take? Slip on a black slip skirt and chunky boots for a non-fussy approach that’ll still maintain a stylish finish.
What could be more soothing for the soul than cocooning yourself in a layer of cashmere? This knit is so wonderfully soft that you’ll never want to take it off, which, thanks to Marni’s wear-with-everything colourblocking style, you’ll never need to. Button yours over a white-shirt and dark wash denim to channel the kind of laidback chic that brunch was made for. Looking for a more glamorous approach? Layer over a silky slip dress and add a chain-link shoulder bag for an elegant evening look.
Shop Marni cashmere cardigan at My Theresa, £720
Images: courtesy of brands