The Best Cardigans to Call On for Sweater Weather

BRB, wrapping myself in cashmere and pretending I'm Nicole Kidman in "Big Little Lies."

 Gabriella Karefa-Johnson in a cardigan
(Image credit: Edward Berthelot/Getty Images)

A cashmere-wrapped Nicole Kidman in Big Little Lies, an artfully disheveled Mary-Kate Olsen in an oversized open knit strolling around SoHo with a latte in hand—the best cardigans create powerful style moments and are more than just an as-needed thermal layer. When shopped and styled thoughtfully, they can be one of the best sweaters in your cozy collection. And while not every cardigan you own needs to be a scene-stealing number of an HBO Max or It-girl caliber, you should take the style seriously—especially this season's offerings. Contemporary takes on the classic style are trend-informed (see: Jacquemus' multi-pocket number in electric lilac) and run a gamut of aesthetics, catering to both minimal and maximal dressers alike. 

Ahead, dive deep into our edit of trending cardigans for winter 2022-2023, and find some input and styling tips from a few fashion insiders to guide you throughout sweater weather.

What to Look For

"There are two ways to wear a cardigan in 2022: Tiny and tight, or open and oversized—there's no middle ground," shares Lisa Sanchez, fashion editor and lead stylist for fashion platform The Nines. You'll find that these oppositional cardigan styles perfectly mirror fashion's two attitudes as of late; Ultra-sensual, provocative silhouettes (think look-at-me sheers and high-shine party wares) in contrast to pieces that prioritize the wearer's comfort with baggy fits and easy materials.

  • Form-Fitting & Cropped

If a more showy sartorial perspective inspires you, Sanchez says to seek out cardigans made from tightly woven, compact knits in form-fitting silhouettes. "Choose a cardigan in a clingy knit, with fewer than three buttons, that's short enough to pair with your mid-rise jeans and trousers," she offers. Another option for bold dressers who want their sweaters to reflect their adventurous style is a cropped cardigan. Depending on how you style the tummy-baring style, the piece works for daytime outfits as well as daring going-out looks for after hours.

  • Oversized & Long

"If you go for an oversized cardigan sweater," says Sanchez, "take a cue from Kurt Cobain and go as long and slouchy as possible. Ideally, it should look like you snatched the cardigan from your grandfather's closet!"

In addition to roomy, borrowed-from-grandpappy options, longline coatigans—which is exactly what it sounds like: a hybrid cardigan-coat—are becoming quite a prominent 2022 sweater trend. Claire Heathcoate, co-founder of sustainable luxury fashion brand Loop Cashmere, describes it as "the perfect middle ground between the practicality and warmth of a coat and the stylish comfort of a cardigan." She adds that the dual-purpose piece offers worthwhile versatility, too. "The usual cardigan and coat may be a practical purchase, but they're often limited in terms of where and when they can be worn. The coatigan, however, is primed for both indoor and outdoor use, making it the perfect loungewear companion and a sophisticated outerwear option," says Heathcoate.

Styling a Cardigan

Diane Batoukina in a cardigan

(Image credit: Edward Berthelot/Getty Images)

Sanchez shares that the key to styling a cardigan, no matter its silhouette, is proportion play. "I always recommend pairing a cardigan with its opposite. If you're going big and bulky, try a teensy bra top underneath, or wear it with a pair of bike shorts," she offers. "And if the cardigan leaves nothing to the imagination, skip the skinny jeans. Instead, try a relaxed fit on the bottom to balance your proportions.

The Best Cardigans

Meet the Experts

Lisa Sanchez
Lisa Sanchez

Lisa is the Fashion Editor of The Nines, a site that features celebrity fashion exact matches and “buy it for less” versions of every outfit. Lisa has been working in various roles in the fashion industry since graduating from The University of Colorado in 2012.

Claire Heathcote
Claire Heathcoate

Claire Heathcoate is the co-founder of sustainable, luxury cashmere brand, Loop Cashmere, which was launched in 2020. Claire previously worked as a former Buying and Merchandising Director at Pure Collection. Having great awareness of the impact that fashion can have on people and the planet, sustainability has been woven into the heart of their brand, with their yarn and products sourced from Inner Mongolia. 

Emma Childs
Style Editor

Emma Childs is the Style Editor at Marie Claire, where she researches up-and-coming trends, curates shopping guides, and gushes about the must-buy items she can't stop thinking about. She previously wrote for TZR, Editorialist, Elite Daily, and Mission Magazine and studied Fashion Studies and New Media at Fordham University. When she's not writing up fashion deep-dives or finding the season's best pieces, you'll find her fiddling around in Photoshop and perusing HBO Max for the next show to base her personality on (currently, it's "Succession").