What Cardigans Are In Style For 2023?

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When I shared my post discussing how to navigate 2023 style trends, I received several emails, comments, and DMs asking me my thoughts on cardigans. I mentioned the waterfall cardigan felt dated with skinny jeans, but what is an alternative? What cardigans are in style for 2023?

First of all, you wear whatever makes you happy. If waterfall cardigans with skinny jeans make you happy, rock on with your bad self. Maybe try that cardigan with a different silhouette (try a lightweight drapey wide-leg trouser for a full head-to-toe drapey effect) but if you are looking to buy a new cardigan in a current silhouette or style, there are three prominent cardigan trends for 2023.

I originally wrote this post in the early spring of 2023. As the year has continued, I've seen these three cardigan trends only gain steam in popularity and with it an increase in color, textile, and size selection. I decided to update this post to link to current offerings in popular cardigans from a variety of retailers.

What Cardigan Styles Are Still Stylish?

First, let's assess your current cardigan wardrobe. Please know what I share is guidance, not gospel. Fashion is fluid in 2023; wearing what makes you happy is the most stylish thing you can do. But based upon what is available this year from retailers and trends showing on social media, street style, and runways, this is my assessment:

We've had several years of thigh-to-calf length duster cardigans. Most are open in front without buttons. These are still being sold (like this one from Quince or this one from Old Navy), and are still useful being something other than a blazer as the third piece of a work outfit or to add a bit of warmth. They are a great piece to wear with leggings and skinny jeans, but you've likely seen the pant silhouettes changing in stores and these dusters can feel bulky with 2023 denim silhouettes.

Similar to this, we have had a few seasons of the open-front cardigan. This is shorter a shorter cardigan sweater (mid-thigh/tunic length). This one from J. Crew Factory is a good example. Occasionally this sweater has patch pockets, and occasionally it will also have a self-belt (see the M.M.LaFleur Merritt Jardigan). This style of cardigan isn't going anywhere; it's a great alternative to a blazer and also cozy enough to be a loungewear favorite. However, keep the loungewear knits (AKA that Barefoot Dreams version, sweatshirt versions, and anything jersey) at home and the more structured and polished knitwear versions for work and weekend.

We have also had many years of the sweater blazer, and I don't see this disappearing any time soon. Sweater blazers like the J. Crew Factory Schoolboy Sweater-Blazer fit our pre-pandemic wardrobe paired with skinny jeans and Pixie pants, but also fit our current office and work from home vibe. Try updating this style of cardigan with a wider leg jean or trouser in 2023; you may like the results.

The classic jewelneck cardigan like the J. Crew Jackie Cardigan is a classic for a reason but may feel wrong with 2023 fashion. Try wearing it buttoned up like a shirt; either alone or over a tank, fitted tee, or camisole. 2023 versions of this cardigan will be shorter, hitting anywhere from cropped to high-hip. If yours is longer you may want to try a different style or length this year. If you love the one you have, consider getting a Beltaway and using the method I have in this video to have it looked tucked in without the bulk.

All of your “grandpa” and “varsity” style cardigans are still in style. These are v-neck sweaters that hit mid-hip to thigh like this one from Gap. This style of cardigan has buttons, and usually two patch pockets. This year, if they are lightweight enough, consider buttoning them up and tucking or half-tucking them to give them a fresh effect.

What Cardigans Are In Style For 2023?

As I mentioned above, there are three prominent cardigan trends this year. And I know these three cardigan trends will continue to be stylish as we head into 2024. They are also styles that will transition beautifully from fall to winter, and then winter to spring, and often be styles you may grab for a breezy summer evening. And come Fall/Winter 2024 you can still look chic rocking them with your favorite wardrobe staples. I'll break down these trends and how to wear them:

The Cropped V-Neck Cardigan

This cardigan hits anywhere from the bottom of the ribcage to high hip. It is a substantial weight, often with subtle ribbing, and has 3-4 large buttons (often horn/wood look). There is often a band at the bottom and the neck is high enough that it can be worn buttoned up like a shirt.

what cardigans are in style in 2023? Fashionable cardigans for women over 40 by Wardrobe Oxygen
Click the color names below to shop these v-neck cardigan sweaters; they will open in a separate browser window, tab, or the store's app if it's on your device:

Row 1: orange (4 colors; XS-XL) | tan (3 colors; XXXS-3X) | green (3 colors; XXS-XXL)
Row 2: gray (2 colors; XXS-XL) | yellow (XS-3X & petite) | blush (4 colors; XXS-3X)
Row 3: pink (4 colors; XS-4X) | tan (4 colors; 00-40) | lavender (6 colors; XXS-XXL)

You will see this cardigan EVERYWHERE, and at every pricepoint. It's the default sweater for the 2023 trend of looser pants, jeans, and midi skirts. This sweater is designed to hit high enough so it complements a more relaxed silhouette of bottom, often resting at the top of your hip/rear curve. I discuss this sweater and how it's popular due to the Quiet Luxury trend.

Any color works, but it seems a cream/ivory/beige version has been the most popular. Even I own one, this one from Universal Standard. I find I wear it most often buttoned all the way up, or with the last one or two buttons open. I wear it as a shirt, I wear it over crewneck tees, boatneck Breton striped tops, and tucked-in button-front shirts and blouses.

a collage of cardigans sweaters that are stylish right now. All nine are v-neck styles that are cropped to mid-hip length.
Click the color names below to shop these v-neck cardigan sweaters; they will open in a separate browser window, tab, or the store's app if it's on your device:

Row 1: yellow (3 colors; XXS-XXL) | black (4 colors; 00-40) | cream (2 colors; XXS-3X)
Row 2: lavender (2 colors; XS-XXL) | green (7 colors; XXS-4X) | red (7 colors; XXXS-3X)
Row 3: black (4 colors; XS-XL) | cream (3 colors; XS-XL) | pink (7 colors; XXS-4X)

As the season has continued, I have seen more fun colors, colorblocking, heathered yarns, and decorative buttons (especially gold). There is likely a cropped v-neck cardigan that fits your current closet and your personal style aesthetic.

Depending on the weight of your cropped v-neck cardigan, you can wear it under blazers, either open with a third layer underneath, or as your base layer. Remember, as I mentioned in this article about 2023 fashion trends, the theme of 2023 fashion is Take Up the Space You Deserve. If it's comfortable, don't be afraid to layer!

The Boyfriend Cardigan

The boyfriend cardigan has been in style for a while now, and has been in style before. Also known as the grandpa cardigan, the oversized cardigan, and the varsity cardigan; this sweater is also a substantial weight, has a banded v-neck and larger buttons (usually horn/wood look but occasionally decorative or the same color as the sweater). With optional patch pockets, this sweater hits anywhere from mid-hip to mid-thigh and is a straight cut without a band at the bottom.

a collage of stylish cardigan sweaters for women featuring v-neck boyfriend cardigans
Click the color names below to shop these v-neck cardigan sweaters; they will open in a separate browser window, tab, or the store's app if it's on your device:

Row 1: red (5 colors; XXS-4X) | blue (3 colors; XXS-XL) | brown (5 colors; XXS-XXL w/ petite & tall)
Row 2: tan (3 colors; XXS-4X) | gray (3 colors; 1X-3X) | dark red (6 colors; XXS-XXL)
Row 3: dark green (4 colors; XXS-XXL) | aqua (6 colors; XS-4X) | camel (4 colors; 3XS-3XL)

I explain these details because there is a good chance you will find or own a v-neck cardigan of this length that is open/without buttons, a lightweight knit (linen, silk, thin merino, etc.), has delicate pearlized buttons, and/or has a band at the bottom. Go ahead and wear these if you still have them, but don't add any more to your closet.

This sweater is called a boyfriend cardigan because it looks like you borrowed it from your boyfriend on the varsity team that earned him that sweater. While varsity-inspired cardigans are still in (contrast piping, sleeves a different color from the body, etc.), these sweaters can be a solid color, marled, an intarsia print, striped, and most anything else your heart desires.

The Sweater Jacket (AKA The Lady Jacket)

This year you are going to see a lot of sweater jackets, which will also be called Lady Jackets. The Chanel-inspired jacket is a big trend in 2023, and it is being made in heavyweight sweaters as well as tweed and boucle. This is usually collarless, hits at the waist or just below, and usually has the signature “Lady Jacket” gold buttons down the front and on pockets.

a collage of lady jacket style cardigans, a very popular cardigan sweater trend for 2023 and 2024
Click the color names below to shop these v-neck cardigan sweaters; they will open in a separate browser window, tab, or the store's app if it's on your device:

Row 1: navy with red and white (5 colors; 2-20/22) | lime and yellow (XS-L) | black and cream (14/16-26/28)
Row 2: black and white (XXS-3X) | tan (2 colors; XXS-XL) | gray (3 colors; 3XS-3XL)
Row 3: olive and cream (2 colors; XS-XL) | orange and pink (XS-L) | navy and blue (3 colors; XXS-XXL w/ petite/tall)

But beyond the Chanel-inspired Lady Jacket, you will see sweaters imitating bomber jackets, moto jackets, and even denim jackets. Sweaters with enough heft to handle zippers, larger buttons, collars, buttoned cuffs, and pockets. This is a trend you likely can find thrifting or even in your existing closet, but pay attention to length and weight.

These are not sweater coats, and they are not delicate. They are cropped to mid-hip length like a jacket. They are sturdy knits. Consider these an alternative to a blazer or a denim jacket as that third piece to pull together a top and bottom, or to add pizzazz to a dress.

What Lightweight Cardigans Are In Style?

In the warmer months or when living in a warmer climate, when you desire a cardigan it is for a temporary chill (the sunset, you're going outside for lunch, the space is overly air-conditioned) or because you wish to have more coverage (sleeveless dress, the outfit is very fitted over the torso or rear).

Consider a classic style in a lighter-weight yarn, still steering from the overly delicate linen and pointelle. You can still wear your lighter-weight long cardigans, grandpa cardigans, sweater blazers, and jewel-neck cardigans. but instead of defaulting to black, white, or beige, consider using the cardigan as a way to add a pop of color or personality to your outfit.

A way to update your existing cardigans is to switch out the buttons. Places like JoAnn's, Michael's, and even Amazon carry small buttons perfect for lightweight cardigans. If your cardigan has white or pearl buttons, consider switching them out for horn, wood, the same color as the sweater, or a nod to the Lady Jacket trend with small gold buttons.

But you may find less of a need for cardigans as you incorporate more current trends into your closet. Clothes aren't as fitted, sleeveless isn't as much as the default, and there are a lot of really cool lightweight jackets on the scene that keep you warm and stylish.

But What About [Enter Favorite Cardigan Style Here]?

My grown-ass friend, you do you. If you love your cardigan enough to have this question at the end of this article, it means it is a part of your personal style aesthetic and should continue to be in your closet. Make sure it is in good condition and is truly a part of your style and not just a sartorial security blanket.

There are no rules in fashion anymore. There is no trend you must adopt, nothing in your closet you have to toss to remain stylish. However, in 2023 you have permission to try something new. To try a combination that before you felt was wrong or weird or unflattering. To fail, and know it's just an outfit and not going to ruin your life, and try again. To have some fun, be a little wacky, be a little bold, and be unapologetically you.

A woman with curly hair wearing a plaid blazer holds a green fur coat over her shoulder on a city street.

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  1. I too like the cropped v-neck style, BUT some of them have way too much going on at the sleeve cuff. Even the petite version sometimes have a bell-like sleeve, pulled into a ribbed cuff.
    If I could make a Frankenstein I’d have the cropped v-neck with the boyfriend style sleeve/cuff.

    BTW – thank you for getting rid of the captcha with the photo squares.

  2. Thanks for updating this. I love the cropped v-neck style and got a new cream one from Marine Layer that I like. Also found a cobalt blue one with rhinestone buttons at a store called Oui in Munich, Germany. It’s perfect for that juxtaposition with distressed jeans!

    But I’ll be checking your suggestions out as well—it’s a style I can’t have enough of.

    1. It’s the person who designs how the clothing will look in stores. What will go in what section of the store, what the mannequins will wear, where the posters, shelves, displays will be. They also train the staff on the new product lines – the colors, the fabrications, styling tips, and also educate the team on dress code and sales/styling tips. I also was in charge of stock, had a team of folks who would process new merch, bring it to the floor, keep the stock room organized, and assist with the overnight store changes with me.

  3. I’m so excited that cropped-length cardigans are back in style – most of mine have been worn to death but it’s been hard to replace them with something I like. Maybe this is my year!

  4. Hi, what are people wearing to offices with dresses? I used to have a curved hem cardigan that came up under the butt, raglan sleeves and a drapey but not bulky merino that I wore to shreds with my dresses but haven’t found a good substitute.

  5. I love the longer, thicker type of grandpa/boyfriend cardigan, but the ones I like most are often made with mohair or alpaca. I can’t take either wool. Would love to find one of lambswool, so it has volume and puff.

    1. Try thrifting one! I found a cream lambswool long cardigan on Etsy – it’s collarless with big buttons, so I can wear it as is.

      But if you find one you like secondhand that has the ‘wrong’ buttons (small & pearlised etc), it’s a very quick replacement to do (seriously – I’m a beginner sewing by hand & found it easy!)

    2. What type of dress? I think I am going to re-try all of my shorter cardigans with my maxi dresses and see if any work ‍♀️

  6. I’ve loved cardigans since the 90’s & still do. The v-neck ones that people are wearing as tops are so lovely but I’ve yet to find one that isn’t too low cut on me. So that’s a trend I’m not able to pull off, unfortunately. The Talbots cardigan with all the stripes that you shared—just bought that in my local store a few days ago during their 25% off sale. It needs a top underneath, so I picked up a sleeveless periwinkle blue tank they had in the store (so springy!) but also ordered an ivory tank from Amazon. With olive pants, that cardigan and the ivory tank will be right up my alley! I love when you do posts like this—very helpful to see what’s out there & what may or may not work from my own closet.

  7. Such a great article – particularly your messaging that was summed up in the last paragraph. This is why you are my favorite blogger.

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